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New York City Health Officials Confirm First Ebola Case

Thu, 2014-10-23 18:37

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New York City health officials said Thursday that a health care worker who recently returned from West Africa has tested positive for Ebola.

The patient, identified as Dr. Craig Spencer by city officials, had been working with Doctors Without Borders helping to treat Ebola patients in Guinea, one of three countries hit hard by the disease, The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, a city official said Spencer returned to New York City on Oct. 14, and by 11 a.m. Thursday morning he had developed a 103-degree fever. He immediately alerted Doctors Without Borders. Emergency medical workers in full personal protective gear transported him from his Manhattan apartment to Bellevue Hospital, where he has been since 1 p.m.

In a statement, New York City Health Department Commissioner Mary Bassett said Spencer arrived at the hospital with “a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms,” and had traveled from West Africa within the 21-day window of incubation for the Ebola virus.

According to the Times, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already dispatched a team of experts to help with the case.

New York health officials also said that they immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts, and would quarantine anyone they thought might be at risk, the Times reported. Spencer had traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley and then took a taxi home, the newspaper said.

According to the Times, Spencer is a fellow of international emergency medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and an instructor in clinical medicine at Columbia University.

In other news, Amber Vinson, one of two nurses battling Ebola after contracting it from a patient at a Dallas hospital, is now free of the virus, according to a statement released by her family on Wednesday.

“We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” Vinson’s family said in the statement, ABC News reported.

The statement added that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

The other nurse, Nina Pham, is being treated at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.; her condition was upgraded from fair to good on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Dallas health officials said that Pham’s pet dog Bentley, a spaniel, tested negative for Ebola, NBC News reported.

Both Vinson and Pham became infected with the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on American soil. He died of the illness on Oct. 8

Also, Ashoka Mukpo, 33, the freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola while working for NBC News in Liberia has cleared the virus from his system. He has since left the special isolation unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he had been treated for the past two weeks, the hospital said Tuesday.

Mukpo is one of eight Americans who have been diagnosed with the often deadly virus that has been plaguing three West African nations — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — since the spring.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials this week tightened guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The new recommendations call for full-body suits and hoods with no skin exposure and use of a respirator at all times. There will also be stricter rules for removing equipment and disinfecting hands, and the designation of a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment used while treating a patient.

The revised guidelines are apparently in response to the two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan.

Health officials aren’t sure how the nurses became infected with Ebola.

But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the nurses caring for Duncan had some of their skin exposed.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 4,900 people out of nearly 10,000 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization.

More information

For more on Ebola, visit the World Health Organization.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Experts Predict ‘Catastrophic’ Ebola Epidemic in West Africa If Aid Delayed

Thu, 2014-10-23 16:37

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A large influx of international aid is needed, and soon, if West Africa is to avoid tens of thousands of deaths from the widening Ebola crisis, a team of Yale University researchers predict.

Using a specially designed mathematical model, the researchers looked at the possible future of the outbreak in just one densely populated county of hard-hit Liberia — Montserrado County, home to the capital city of Monrovia.

The researchers said that if international aid isn’t delivered to Liberia in sufficient time and quantity, by Dec. 15 Montserrado County will have more than 170,000 cases of Ebola — 12 percent of its population — and more than 90,000 deaths.

However, if the international community ramps up efforts by Oct. 31, almost 98,000 of those cases could be avoided.

“Our predictions highlight the rapidly closing window of opportunity for controlling the outbreak and averting a catastrophic toll of new Ebola cases and deaths in the coming months,” study senior author Alison Galvani, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

“Although we might still be within the midst of what will ultimately be viewed as the early phase of the current outbreak, the possibility of averting calamitous repercussions from an initially delayed and insufficient response is quickly eroding,” she added.

What’s needed, according to the Yale team, are better diagnosis, treatment and prevention efforts on the ground in Liberia and in the two other countries affected by Ebola, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Essential elements include more Ebola treatment center beds, a fivefold increase in the rapidity at which new Ebola cases are identified, and the distribution of protective kits to households containing anyone already infected to cut the rate of Ebola’s spread, the researchers said.

Even if international interventions were to be delayed until Nov. 15, about 54,000 new cases in Montserrado County might still be averted, the researchers said.

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, about 10,000 cases of Ebola have so far been reported in the three affected countries, and more than 4,900 people have died.

Time is of the essence, the researchers said, to prevent the outbreak from exploding into something much less containable.

“The current global health strategy is woefully inadequate to stop the current volatile Ebola epidemic,” study co-author Dr. Frederick Altice, professor of internal medicine and public health at Yale, said in the news release. “At a minimum, capable logisticians are needed to construct a sufficient number of Ebola treatment units in order to avoid the unnecessary deaths of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people.”

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published online Oct. 23 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

More information

For the latest on the West African Ebola outbreak, head to the World Health Organization.


Categories: Health & Fitness

4 Face Sheet Masks For Gorgeous Skin

Thu, 2014-10-23 16:15

Photo: Sephora.com

What’s all the fuss about the new sheet masks? Besides being virtually mess-free, dummyproof, and travel-friendly, these single-use masks take skin transformation to a whole new level. “The fabric sheets are soaked in serum—a light liquid made of very small molecules—so ingredients penetrate faster and more deeply than a standard cream or gel mask,” says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.

There’s one for every skin concern. Here, four to try.

Reboot aging skin

Must-try product: Le Mieux Moisture Infusion mask ($25; myskincarebox.com)

Why we love it: Made for sensitive and stressed skin, it’s packed with luxe ingredients like marine collagen and caviar extract to firm lines and make dull skin glow.

Give eyes a lift

Must-try product: Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing eye masks ($17.50 for 3 sets; sephora.com)

Why we love it: Moisture-rich and spiked with retinol, these lima bean-shaped pads (sized to fit the undereye area) smooth out crow’s-feet and diminish dark circles.

RELATED: Tips to Make Your Eyes Pop

Firm up your neck

Must-try product: Rodial Glamtox neck masks ($56; ulta.com)

Why we love it: A clever cocktail of wrinkle-fighting peptides and wheat protein temporarily tightens crepey neck skin.

Fill in smile lines

Must-try product: Sulwhasoo Microdeep Intensive Filling Cream & Patch ($195; neimanmarcus.com)

Why we love it: Hydrating hyaluronic acid in this 30-day cream-and-patch duo plumps smile lines, while red ginseng stimulates collagen to help iron out wrinkles long-term.

RELATED: 13 Everyday Habits That Are Aging You


Categories: Health & Fitness

The Tough Truth About Egg Freezing Perks

Thu, 2014-10-23 16:01

Photo: Courtesy Fortune.com

Ambitious young women on Silicon Valley campuses are going to learn a hard life lesson.

Last week, Apple ( APPL ) and Facebook ( FB ) created a media firestorm after announcing that their lush benefit packages will now include egg freezing coverage. But lost in the theoretical discussions about the merits of this perk are more realistic considerations.

The cavalier marketing of whizzy egg freezing is clearly working if two of the largest tech companies are signing up to pay for it. Yet knowing what I know now about reproductive medicine, I would advise any woman considering this risky surgical procedure to consider that egg freezing–using startup lingo–is the very high-risk “A round.” It is a long, long way from a successful exit.

Egg freezing is far from settled science. In the UK, which is one of the few countries to track and account for fertility treatment outcomes, only 20 babies have been born from frozen eggs, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). And no one knows for sure how egg freezing chemicals are absorbed by eggs, or how they affect cell development.

For a 38-year-old woman, the chance of one frozen egg leading to a live birth is only 2% to 12%, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). This is a key finding given that the average age of non-medical egg freezing customers in the U.S. is 37.4.

Amid the latest tech perk bragging rights, sobering facts about the procedure’s limitations and the associated risks have been overlooked and underreported.

First, most people don’t realize the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the ASRM do not endorse the use of egg freezing to defer childbearing. The ASRM’s decision to lift the “experimental” label from this still young procedure in 2012 only applied to medically indicated need, such as women with cancer.

Second, there are no guarantees for a successful or healthy pregnancy and delivery. In order to attempt pregnancy, egg freezing must be followed by in vitro fertilization (IVF) with another laboratory procedure, a technique known as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). For the latest flash freezing process trumpeted by enterprising fertility clinics and a host of profit-driven service providers, the most comprehensive data available reveals a 77% failure rate of frozen eggs resulting in a live birth in women aged 30, and a 91% failure rate in women aged 40.

But the dry statistics don’t take into account the very real emotional strain and trauma that often accompanies artificial reproduction and their frequent failures. Silicon Valley celebrates success. Even business failure can be accepted as an opportunity to learn. But failure takes on a much deeper personal meaning when it involves parenthood expectations.

I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly where fertility medicine is concerned. The first time I visited a fertility clinic I was 33 and in great health. I met with an ASRM affiliated doctor who received his training at Stanford University. My attempts were paid out of pocket (none of my employers offered infertility benefits). I pursued increasingly complex procedures including egg retrievals and ICSI IVF with both fresh and frozen embryo transfers.

This venture spanned seven years with three Bay Area fertility clinics. Every effort, before I turned age 40, resulted in failure. The dazzling promise of motherhood sold by for-profit clinics led to miscarriages and devastating, prolonged despair, which took me another decade to fully reconcile. My experience, unfortunately, is far from unique. Around the world, an estimated 1.5 million each year attempt IVF and 1.2 million fail.

Rather than debate the merits of employee perks, energy would be better directed at holding to account those doctors, clinics and service providers engaging in increasingly irresponsible or unethical behavior–often at the expense of uninformed or naïve customers.

In the pursuit of new perks employers would do well to apply more scrutiny to reproductive technology vendors who, in the name of scientific invention and potential new business markets, push to sell treatments while losing sight of the most basic code of medical conduct: do no harm.

Unfortunately many ambitious young women on Silicon Valley campuses and in workplaces around the world are going to learn a hard life lesson; when it comes to fertility options, the odds are rarely stacked in their favor.

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos works in the venture capital and tech sectors. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Silent Sorority. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Huffington Post. Her op-ed, “Selling the Fantasy of Fertility,” was nominated for a 2014 Exceptional Merit in Media Awards (EMMA) by the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Fortune is a global leader in business journalism with a worldwide audience of over 15 million. Fortune magazine, Fortune.com, and Fortune’s live events share stories about and advice from top executives that help global leaders accelerate their businesses’ success..

Categories: Health & Fitness

Let’s Stop Shaming Each Other About Food Choices

Thu, 2014-10-23 15:49

Photo: Getty Images

The siren call of the cupcakes was strong. Cruising the supermarket aisles, I’d come upon Entenmann’s Halloween cupcakes, the ones my mom had bought for me as a kid. They’re a real comfort food for me—vanilla cake, chocolate, and not-found-in-nature orange icing, plus a sprinkling of candy corn (yes, I’m on Team Candy Corn). I picked up the box. I gazed longingly at it. Then I willed myself to put it down and headed to the checkout. The cashier asked how I was doing. “I resisted the Halloween cupcakes!” I blurted. She gave me a look. “Ugh, I’d never eat that,” she said. POP! went the burst of pride I’d had over successful cupcake resistance. It was the first time I got food shamed for making a good eating decision.

As people get increasingly conscientious about what we put into our mouths—is it low fat? Low sugar? Gluten free?—we’re also getting more judgmental other people’s food choices. Perhaps you’ve experienced this, as I have, during meals with friends. During one recent girls’ night out, I listened as two friends debated what to eat. “The veggie lasagna looks great—I love a good lasagna!” said one. “I am soooo not going to carb-land!” the other announced. “I’m getting the salad with grilled chicken.” And then: They both ordered the salad with grilled chicken. My husband’s gotten all holier-than-thou over chia seeds, which he puts on everything except his toothbrush. “I sprinkled chia seeds into my yogurt—you should too!” has become a common morning refrain at our house.

RELATED: 9 Low-Fat Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

OK, he’s my husband, he may be gloating but he’s just trying to get me to eat better. Lots of times, other people can have a good influence on your eating habits. At a recent work lunch, a colleague of mine who’s lost a lot of weight was raving about sardines, high in protein, Omega-3s, and vitamins. I told her I have never eaten them because I find the smell overwhelming. But she pressed on: “You have to try them! I flake them over salad, like tuna, and it’s delicious! Sometimes, I eat them out of a can!” I was convinced, although I’m easing myself in (first step: I’ve purchased a can, and it is sitting in my pantry.)

In general, though, calling out people for their food choices isn’t healthy behavior. Food shaming doesn’t just induce guilt; it feeds into our already heightened concerns about following the “perfect” diet, making us hyper-aware and even obsessive. And it drains the joy out of eating. Food humiliation recently reached a new low when pranksters from LifeHunters—a Dutch video company—hit a high-end food expo and passed off pieces of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and Big Macs as new, organic alternatives to fast food. Expo attendees raved. So now people are fools for thinking fast food tastes good but, it must be said, DUH! It does. I’m not championing McD’s here, but liking the taste of a Big Mac does not make you an idiot who deserves public shaming.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Cure an Unhealthy Relationship With Food

The phenomenon affects even those of us who are totally on the ball, like Health fitness editor Rozalynn S. Frazier. She was grabbing lunch recently and ran into a college sorority sister. Roz had a heaping bowl of angel hair pasta with veggies and marinara sauce in her hands and, she recounts, “I said something to her like, ‘Look at you being all healthy with your salad! I don’t usually eat like this, I have to run 20 miles tomorrow.’ She was not at all focused on my food, and I’m not sure why I felt the need to defend my pasta. I love food and love to eat—probably why I work out so much!”

It’s sad that we reflexively feel the need to stand up for our food choices, lest we be the victims of food shaming. Defense should be reserved for hockey, basketball, and football, not the sport of eating.

RELATED: The Surprising Truth About 4 Diet Maxims


Categories: Health & Fitness

The Great Reason Why You May See Teal Pumpkins This Halloween

Thu, 2014-10-23 15:34

Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon teal pumpkins while trick or treating this year—it’s the new, very cool way that people are showing that their home is safe for kids with food allergies. Dubbed The Teal Pumpkin Project, the idea is to display a painted greenish-blue pumpkin as a way to tell the world that you are handing out non-food treats instead of (or in addition to) candy.

To take part, just do this DIY project: Paint a pumpkin teal, set it outside your door, and offer fun little goodies (Oriental Trading Company and Amazon are great sources for kid favorites like glow bracelets, playing cards, spider rings, and crayons). You can also show that you’re there for kids with allergies by hanging this printable sign from the non-profit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) on your front door.

As a mom of a 7-year-old with severe tree nut and peanut allergies, I can tell you that candy-centric holidays like Halloween (and Easter…and Valentine’s Day, oy) are a nightmare for families with food allergies. You wouldn’t believe how few mainstream candy makers produce chocolate in a nut-free facility (it’s my big pet peeve), despite the fact that one in 13 children suffers from food allergies and, according to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control study, food allergies have increased 50% between 1997 and 2011. Even stars like Julie Bowen have spoken out about the challenges of raising a food-allergic child.

On Halloween night, I always end up pulling out all the fun candy from my son, Gus’s, bag…while worrying that I’ve missed a piece that could harm him. Forget if your kid has a soy allergy, another of the 8 most common food allergens; it’s in virtually every processed chocolate product.

I so wish this great program had been around for our past Halloweens. But it’s here now, and I plan on doing it up. Won’t you join me?


Categories: Health & Fitness

The New Super Seed You Need to Try

Thu, 2014-10-23 15:11

Getty Images

There seems to be a seed revolution happening on supermarket shelves these days. Everything from breakfast cereals to granola bars to yogurts has chia and flax in them. And now, the latest super sexy seed is hemp.

It may be fairly new trend-wise, but hemp seeds actually have been around for millennia. Though it’s currently illegal to grow it in the U.S., that wasn’t always the case: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew it.

So, why’s it banned? Hemp is related to marijuana (the two plants belong to the same genus, Cannabis Sativa), but unlike marijuana, you can’t get high on hemp. Though it contains a trace amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that makes you high, there isn’t anywhere near enough in hemp to get that result. Eating hemp also won’t cause you to fail a drug test (though if you’re in the U.S. Air Force, we didn’t tell you to eat it).

Now you know what hemp doesn’t do. What’s it good for?

RELATED: 8 Salads That Satisfy

Nutritional Benefits

Hemp is protein-rich and it’s full of omega-3  and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s a good source of fiber. And it’s loaded with minerals such as zinc and magnesium.

What do I do with it?

There are many ways to enjoy hemp seeds. Here are some of my favorites:

In smoothies. Add a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds ($14 for 12 ounces, amazon.com) to your smoothie instead of nut butter to get the protein and fiber boost with a neutral flavor. Great for anyone with a nut allergy. It also comes in powder form ($23 for 32 ounces, amazon.com) if you prefer that for smoothies.

RELATED: 26 Quick, Healthy Juice and Smoothie Recipes

On salads. Toss a tablespoon or two on top of salad right before serving for a bit of texture and mildly nutty flavor. Similar to what you might do with sunflower seeds. It’s also a nice addition to pasta salads.

As a topper. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top of a pilaf or other side dish to give it more texture and a nutritional boost. Or, try it on yogurt or oatmeal.

As a spread. Again, perfect for people with nut allergies. Grind up a cup of hemp seeds with 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil, a tablespoon or two of honey or maple syrup and a big pinch of salt. A neutral type of oil like grapeseed works well, or go crazy and use hemp seed oil ($13, amazon.com). Use the finished product as you would any nut butter: on bananas or apple slices, in a sandwich, licked off a spoon. (Oops, did we say that?)

RELATED: Best and Worst Nuts For Your Health

In granola. I love to make homemade granola, and now I toss in some hemp seeds to give it something extra. With such a mild flavor, it goes well in all of my favorite recipes.


Categories: Health & Fitness

What 5 Dietitians Order at Chipotle

Thu, 2014-10-23 14:41

Getty Images

Tacos, burritos, guacamole—oh my! If you love Chipotle, you’re not alone; in its earnings report this week, the chain announced that same-store sales rose nearly 20%, pushing it to more than $1 billion in sales for the quarter. As a result, the chain plans to add 180 to 195 stores around the country in the next year alone.

That’s a lot of chips and salsa.

With numbers like that, we think it’s safe to assume you’re visiting this place too. So, we polled five registered dietitians to find out their expert orders. Here’s what’s on their trays:

RELATED: What Health Pros Order At Restaurants

If you want a satisfying salad

“A salad, no dressing, made with romaine, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and guacamole (the salsa and guac serve as the dressing).”
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor

If you want a healthy burrito to bite into

“I order a burrito with chicken, black beans, sauteed peppers and onions (I ask for extra), guac, lettuce, and the mild salsa. Delicious!”
—Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, creator of the Fannetastic Food blog

RELATED: Quiz: Which Restaurant Meal is Healthier

If you want something simple and classic

“I get the burrito bowl with chicken, beans, brown rice and double veggies. No toppings.”
Laura Cipullo, RD

If you like to pile on toppings

“Vegetarian burrito bowl, double the black beans, half the rice, includes peppers and onions, mild salsa and a small bit of the corn salsa, lettuce and sometimes a super-light sprinkle of cheese. I get the guacamole on the side—save it for later!”
Marisa Moore, RD

If you want a little bit of spice

“Burrito bowl: I get brown rice, black beans, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole, lettuce, and top with a little Tabasco sauce.”
Brittany Kohn, RD

RELATED: Americans Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants


Categories: Health & Fitness

Beware Claims That Activated Charcoal Can Cure Gut Troubles

Thu, 2014-10-23 14:37

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A man who hoped to detoxify his body with a supplement known as activated charcoal may have instead triggered a case of the intestinal disorder known as colitis.

Activated charcoal is a supplement that soaks up gases and odors, making it a common treatment for people with flatulence. It’s also purported to be a treatment for colitis, according to a new report detailing the man’s condition.

While it’s not clear if the over-the-counter supplement actually made the man sick, he recovered after he stopped taking it, the report found.

People “should be wary of articles on the Internet which suggest activated charcoal can treat colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Our case report suggests activated charcoal can actually cause inflammation of the colon known as colitis,” said Dr. Jessica Davis, lead author of the new report, and a senior resident in internal medicine at George Washington University. “Patients should be aware that if they are taking over-the-counter or herbal supplements, they may cause more harm than benefit.”

She added that physicians should be aware that patients may be using activated charcoal. Davis also recommended that doctors keep this man’s experiences in mind and be on the look-out for other patients who may have had similar experiences.

Activated charcoal isn’t the regular charcoal that’s used in barbecues. Instead, it’s carbon that’s been superheated in order to create tiny crevices that can soak up substances, explained Dr. Pat Raymond, a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

In medicine, activated charcoal is used in poisoning and overdose cases to soak up the poison or drug, she said. “It does a great job of absorbing medications that aren’t meant to be there,” Raymond said. In addition, it’s long been marketed as a treatment for people with flatulence since “it absorbs the gas, or at least the noxious odor.”

Activated charcoal is “generally felt to be a very benign” unless it absorbs medications that a person is taking, she said.

Activated charcoal has been touted online as a treatment for a number of digestive conditions, according to Davis. In the case she and her colleagues profiled in the new report, an alternative medicine practitioner told a 48-year-old man to take activated charcoal as part of general “detoxification” for fatigue.

According to the report, the man sought medical care within days after taking the treatment. He had stabbing pain in his abdomen, diarrhea and nausea, according to the report. The man was diagnosed with a possible case of colitis, a condition that inflames the colon and causes symptoms like diarrhea.

His symptoms improved when he stopped taking the charcoal supplements and began taking antibiotics.

“We cannot be 100 percent certain that the activated charcoal was the cause of colitis in our patient, but the timing of his symptoms occurring within days of starting activated charcoal was highly suspicious,” said report lead author Davis.

If the activated charcoal was the cause, could the man have simply taken too much? That’s also not clear. “The dosing recommendations for activated charcoal are not well-established,” Davis said. It’s also not known how the supplement might have caused colitis in the first place.

“The lesson for doctors is that, as with any treatment, even the most benign of medications has risks and benefits that must be weighed,” Davis said.

As for patients, they should be aware that over-the-counter and naturopathic medications can have side effects. “The use of any supplement or medication should be discussed with a doctor,” she said.

Raymond advises against colon cleanses because the colon does a good job of taking care of itself. Since the colon system essentially composts waste, getting it cleansed is akin to using a pressure washer on your compost heap, she said. “Leave it alone,” she advised.

The report is scheduled to be presented Oct. 21 at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Philadelphia. Reports released at meetings should be considered preliminary until they’ve undergone the peer review process required by major medical journals.

More information

For more about colitis, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Study Finds Kidney Stones Linked to Weakened Bones

Thu, 2014-10-23 14:37

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Kidney stone patients may be at increased risk for broken bones and may require treatment to protect their bone health, a new study suggests.

Researchers led by Dr. Michelle Denburg, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, analyzed data from nearly 52,000 British kidney stone patients and more than 517,000 people without kidney stones.

During a median follow-up of nearly five years, kidney stone patients were at significantly higher risk for fractures, and this increased risk affected all bones, Denburg’s team found.

Overall, males with kidney stones were 10 percent more likely to suffer broken bones than those without kidney stones. The risk was highest among male teens — those with kidney stones had a 55 percent higher risk for fractures than those without kidney stones.

Among women, those with kidney stones had a 17 percent to 52 percent increased risk of fractures from their 20s to their 60s, with the highest risk among women aged 30 to 39, according to the study published online Oct. 23 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The findings only point to an association between kidney stones and fracture risk, and do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. However, the researchers believe that efforts to boost kidney stone patients’ bone health might help shield them from fractures.

“Given that the median time from diagnosis of [kidney stones] to fracture was a decade, we might be able to intervene during this interval to reduce the burden of future fracture,” Denburg said in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about kidney stones.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at New York City Hospital

Thu, 2014-10-23 14:37

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New York City health officials said Thursday that a health care worker who recently returned from West Africa is in an isolation unit at Bellevue Hospital while he is tested for Ebola.

The United States has seen numerous “false alarms” in cases such as this, but this patient seems to fit the profile of possible Ebola infection, since he was working with Doctors Without Borders in one of the countries affected by the disease, NBC News reported.

“A person in New York City, who recently worked with Doctors Without Borders in one of the Ebola affected countries in West Africa, notified our office this morning to report having developed a fever,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement released Thursday. “While at this stage there is no confirmation that the individual has contracted Ebola, Doctors Without Borders, in the interest of public safety and in accordance with its protocols, immediately notified the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, which is directly managing the individual’s care.”

In a statement, New York City health department Commissioner Mary Bassett said the unnamed patient arrived at the hospital with, “a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms,” and had traveled from West Africa within the 21-day window of incubation for the Ebola virus.

The first results of testing are expected within 12 hours, Bassett said.

“As a further precaution, beginning today, the Health Department’s team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts, to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” she added. “The Health Department staff has established protocols to identify, notify and, if necessary, quarantine any contacts of Ebola cases.”

In other news, Amber Vinson, one of two nurses battling Ebola after contracting it from a patient at a Dallas hospital, is now free of the virus, according to a statement released by her family on Wednesday.

“We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” Vinson’s family said in the statement, ABC News reported.

The statement added that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

The other nurse, Nina Pham, is being treated at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.; her condition was upgraded from fair to good on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Dallas health officials said that Pham’s pet dog Bentley, a spaniel, tested negative for Ebola, NBC News reported.

Both Vinson and Pham became infected with the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on American soil. He died of the illness on Oct. 8

Also, the freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola while working for NBC News in Liberia has cleared the virus from his system and can leave the special isolation unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he had been treated for the past two weeks, the hospital said Tuesday.

A blood test confirmed by the CDC found that Ashoka Mukpo, 33, can head home to Providence, R.I., NBC News reported Tuesday night.

“Recovering from Ebola is a truly humbling feeling,” the hospital quoted Mukpo as saying. “Too many are not as fortunate and lucky as I’ve been. I’m very happy to be alive.”

And in a statement released Wednesday morning, Mukpo expressed gratitude to an American medical missionary who battled and beat Ebola: “Thank you to Dr. Kent Brantly, whose generous blood donation played a pivotal role in my recovery. May his health flourish and his compassion be known to all,” Mukpo’s statement read.

Mukpo is one of eight Americans who have been diagnosed with the often deadly virus that has been plaguing three West African nations — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — since the spring.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials this week tightened guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The new recommendations call for full-body suits and hoods with no skin exposure and use of a respirator at all times. There will also be stricter rules for removing equipment and disinfecting hands, and the designation of a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment used while treating a patient.

The revised guidelines are apparently in response to the two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan.

Health officials aren’t sure how the nurses became infected with Ebola.

But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the nurses caring for Duncan had some of their skin exposed.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 4,900 people out of nearly 10,000 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization.

More information

For more on Ebola, visit the World Health Organization.


Categories: Health & Fitness

5 Ways to Deal With the End of Daylight Savings Time

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:38

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If you’ve been starting your day in near-total darkness each morning, relief is in sight: November 2 marks the end of Daylight Savings Time (in most of the country) and the day when your clocks “fall back” an hour. That means you’ll get a bonus hour of light in the morning, but lose an hour in the afternoon.

Although the prospect of leaving work when it’s dark out may be depressing, sleep specialist and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD, reminds us to count our blessings. “Believe it or not, people have an easier time adjusting to this time change than to the one in March,” Breus says. “That’s because we gain an hour of sleep in the fall, but end up losing an hour when we ‘spring ahead.’”

Here, how to make the transition to Standard Time as seamless as possible, plus some silver linings to the time change.

Don’t change your routine on November 1

The night before the time change, just go to bed when you usually do, Breus advises. “Most people are already sleep deprived, so in all likelihood you could use the extra hour of sleep you’ll get,” he says. “Think of it as your own little hour-long staycation.”

RELATED: 10 Weird Causes of Winter Depression

Use it as a sleep hygiene checkup

You can use the time change to diagnose your sleep habits. Before bedtime on November 1, set your clock back an hour (cell phones will be updated automatically at 2am), and keep your alarm set for your regular wake up time. “If you find yourself sleeping for the entire extra hour in the morning, that’s a sign you’re sleep deprived,” Breus says.

If, on the other hand, you wake up before your alarm goes off, that’s your body telling you that you’re getting enough sleep. “The fall time change is a once-a-year opportunity to calibrate your ideal bedtime.”

RELATED: 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

After the time change, maximize your sun exposure…

Even after the fall back, it’s not uncommon to feel out of sorts the first few days of November. It doesn’t help that the sun will start setting close to 5pm. So what should you do?

While your afternoon mood might take a hit because of the looming darkness, Breus advises taking advantage of the extra sunlight in the morning, which can give you a mood boost to start the day. If you tend to work out in the evenings, switch your routine to the morning. At the very least, make an effort get outside during your lunch break, if only just to take a walk around the block.

…and maybe boost your indoor light

If you’re still feeling draggy in the afternoon after a few days, consider investing in a light therapy box, which can counteract your brain’s inclination to start producing melatonin when the sun goes down. Just be sure to look for one that provides alertness-promoting blue light. “Blue light mimics sunlight and tells the brain to stop producing melatonin, the chemical that starts your brain’s sleep engine,” Breus explains.

If you need a little burst to get over that 4pm hump at work, click on the light and let it shine for no more than 20 minutes. “That amount should be enough to make you feel more alert for a couple hours,” Breus explains. If you want to get to bed at a reasonable hour, be sure not to use the light after 7pm; any later than that can interfere with your sleep.

Breus likes the Philips goLITE BLU ($137, amazon.com), but Amazon has a range of light therapy box styles and sizes. Don’t want to buy another gadget? Definity Digital by LightingScience makes alertness-promoting bulbs you can install in most household fixtures ($70, amazon.com).

RELATED: 7 Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder

And if you have kids…

The downside to falling back is that small children, already allergic to spending extra time in bed, may actually start waking up an hour earlier. (I foresee this gloomy prospect in my own household, where my 5-year-old and 2-year-old, already attuned to a 6 am wake up, will go right on waking up at the same time, which will actually be 5 am come November 2.)

Here’s how to get them to get with the program. “Starting about a week or so before the time change, every two days put your kids to bed 15 minutes later, in a stair-stepping pattern,” Breus says.

In other words, on October 25, put your kids to bed 15 minutes later. Then again on October 27 and October 29, so that by October 31, they’re going to bed an hour later. (Added bonus: an extra hour of candy-fueled capering on Halloween!) When November 2 arrives, they’ll be acclimated to going to bed an hour later, and—in theory, at least—waking up an hour later that morning, which will wash out when the clocks reset.

And if the bedtime rollback plan doesn’t take? Breus suggests making the morning of November 2 a special occasion. The night before, lay out books or games the kids can play with quietly when they wake up. Set an alarm in their room(s) for when you’ll wake up and tell them it’s bonus playtime and they don’t have to bother mom and dad!

If the thought of your kids quietly reading and biding their time until the sun comes up sounds preposterous, don’t hesitate to bring out the big guns. “Even setting your kids up to watch a video in the early morning is okay in this instance,” says Breus. “In all likelihood, the parents could use that extra hour of sleep, so do whatever it takes to take advantage of it.”


Categories: Health & Fitness

Gestational Diabetes May Influence Daughter’s Weight Later

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:37

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Daughters of women who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant may be at increased risk for being obese later in childhood, a new study suggests.

The research included more than 400 girls in California who were followed from 2005 to 2011, with annual visits to check their height, weight, body fat and abdominal obesity. The girls were between 6 and 8 years old at the start of the study. The researchers also examined the medical records of the girls’ mothers.

Twenty-seven mothers developed gestational diabetes, according to the researchers. Girls whose mothers had gestational diabetes were 3.5 times more likely to be overweight later in childhood than those whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes, according to the study.

Daughters were 5.5 times more likely to become overweight if their moms had gestational diabetes and were overweight before pregnancy, the study found. The daughters were also more likely to have higher amounts of body fat as well as abdominal obesity, according to the researchers. These associations were independent of other factors known to influence overweight/obesity in girls, including race/ethnicity, having an obese mother, and stage of puberty, the study noted.

“Glucose [blood sugar] levels during pregnancy, particularly gestational diabetes, were associated with the girls being overweight, and this association was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy,” said study lead author Ai Kubo, an epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., in a Kaiser Permanente news release.

However, this study only found an association between a daughter’s later weight and her mother’s weight and diabetes status during pregnancy. It wasn’t able to prove that these factors directly caused the girls to be overweight.

But the findings suggest that getting women to control their weight and improve their lifestyle before pregnancy may help reduce their children’s risk of obesity, the researchers said.

Results of the study are published in the Oct. 23 issue of Diabetes Care.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines how to care for yourself and your baby during pregnancy.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Disease Severity in One Eye May Predict Progression in the Other

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:37

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The severity of age-related macular degeneration in one eye is associated with the risk of developing the disease and its progression in the other eye, a new study finds.

“Macular degeneration is a disease of the retina which damages central vision and can lead to legal blindness, and this disease is more prominent in the geriatric population,” said Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

In fact, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans 60 and older, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

“Macular degeneration is also a ‘symmetrical’ disease, although one eye may precede the other in the progression of retinal damage and subsequent visual loss,” explained Fromer, who was not connected to the new study.

In the new research, a team led by Ronald Gangnon of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, analyzed data from more than 4,000 participants in the Wisconsin-based Beaver Dam Eye Study. The researchers sought to assess how the severity of age-related macular degeneration in one eye might affect disease risk and progression in the other eye.

They found that disease severity was key: More seriously age-related macular degeneration in one eye was associated with increased risk and more rapid progression of the disease in the other eye.

However, less severe disease in one eye was associated with slower progression of the disease in the other eye, the researchers said.

“The severity of macular degeneration in one eye largely tracks the same course as in the fellow eye,” Fromer said.

Another expert said the Wisconsin study supports what ophthalmologists have already known about macular degeneration.

According to Dr. Scott Brodie, the usual estimate for the appearance of the disease in a second eye “is an incidence of 50 percent in the second eye over five years” — meaning that about 10 percent of patients with macular degeneration in one eye will go on to develop the condition in the second eye in each successive year.

“Patients with age-related macular degeneration in one eye are advised to maintain a continuing relationship with their eye doctor, and to undergo a dilated eye exam once or twice each year to monitor for development of macular disease in the fellow eye,” said Brodie, who is professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

He added that certain patients, “may benefit from dietary supplementation with antioxidant vitamins and minerals [the so-called 'AREDS' vitamins] to reduce the risk of progression in the fellow eye.”

The study was published online Oct. 23 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about age-related macular degeneration.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Disease Severity in One Eye May Predict Progression in the Other

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:37

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The severity of age-related macular degeneration in one eye is associated with the risk of developing the disease and its progression in the other eye, a new study finds.

“Macular degeneration is a disease of the retina which damages central vision and can lead to legal blindness, and this disease is more prominent in the geriatric population,” said Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

In fact, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans 60 and older, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

“Macular degeneration is also a ‘symmetrical’ disease, although one eye may precede the other in the progression of retinal damage and subsequent visual loss,” explained Fromer, who was not connected to the new study.

In the new research, a team led by Ronald Gangnon of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, analyzed data from more than 4,000 participants in the Wisconsin-based Beaver Dam Eye Study. The researchers sought to assess how the severity of age-related macular degeneration in one eye might affect disease risk and progression in the other eye.

They found that disease severity was key: More seriously age-related macular degeneration in one eye was associated with increased risk and more rapid progression of the disease in the other eye.

However, less severe disease in one eye was associated with slower progression of the disease in the other eye, the researchers said.

“The severity of macular degeneration in one eye largely tracks the same course as in the fellow eye,” Fromer said.

Another expert said the Wisconsin study supports what ophthalmologists have already known about macular degeneration.

According to Dr. Scott Brodie, the usual estimate for the appearance of the disease in a second eye “is an incidence of 50 percent in the second eye over five years” — meaning that about 10 percent of patients with macular degeneration in one eye will go on to develop the condition in the second eye in each successive year.

“Patients with age-related macular degeneration in one eye are advised to maintain a continuing relationship with their eye doctor, and to undergo a dilated eye exam once or twice each year to monitor for development of macular disease in the fellow eye,” said Brodie, who is professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

He added that certain patients, “may benefit from dietary supplementation with antioxidant vitamins and minerals [the so-called 'AREDS' vitamins] to reduce the risk of progression in the fellow eye.”

The study was published online Oct. 23 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about age-related macular degeneration.


Categories: Health & Fitness

How Selfies Can Help Dermatology Care for Eczema

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:30

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) — While in-office visits may still be best, taking a photo of a skin lesion and sending it to your dermatologist for analysis may be a valuable piece of eczema care, a new study finds.

“This study shows something interesting — patients’ eczema improved regardless whether they saw the doctor for follow-up in the office or communicated online,” said one expert not connected to the study, Dr Gary Goldenberg of New York City.

The new technology “gives patients another valuable option of communicating with their doctor,” said Goldenberg, who is assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City.

The new study was led by Dr. April Armstrong of the University of Colorado, Denver, and published online Oct. 22 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

The study included 156 adults and children with eczema: 78 received typical in-person, follow-up care, while 78 received online follow-up care.

The patients in the online care group sent photos of skin outbreaks to dermatologists, who evaluated the photos, made treatment recommendations and prescribed medications.

After one year, clearance or near clearance of eczema was achieved by almost 44 percent of patients who received in-person care and more than 38 percent of those who received online care only.

The findings show that online dermatology services could help improve access to care in the United States at a time when there are not enough dermatologists to meet demand, the researchers said.

According to Goldenberg, Web-based care, “would be especially important for patients that live in rural areas or those that have transportation issues.”

Dr. Doris Day is a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She stressed that the office visit still has a big role to play in patient care, however.

“Atopic dermatitis and other chronic conditions often have a strong emotional component,” she noted. “My experience is that the office visit is very important in building the physician-patient relationship and also for the physician to identify any other conditions, such as depression, and to support the patient’s compliance in following their skin care regimen.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about eczema.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Controversial Chemical BPA May Leach Into Skin From Receipts

Thu, 2014-10-23 13:17

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Touching cash register receipts can dramatically increase your body’s absorption of a potentially dangerous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), researchers report.

BPA, originally created as an estrogen supplement, has been linked to developmental problems in infants and children, and cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease in adults, researchers say.

The chemical is found in products ranging from plastic water bottles and food-can linings. It is also used as a print developer in thermal paper for airline tickets and store and ATM receipts, according to the researchers.

“Thermal paper is typically used for cash register receipts in restaurants, making BPA contamination of food from fingers and hands likely,” said lead author Julia Taylor, an assistant professor in the division of biological sciences at the University of Missouri.

Because BPA is an endocrine disruptor, the health risks to humans are considerable, she contends.

“BPA from thermal paper can be absorbed into your blood rapidly. At the levels measured in this study, many diseases such as diabetes and disorders such as obesity may increase,” Taylor said.

A similar chemical used to replace BPA in thermal paper also “can pose a threat to human health,” she added. “Handling [thermal paper receipts] should be kept to a minimum.”

Moreover, commonly used skin care products appear to boost the absorption rate of BPA, Taylor said.

For the study, published Oct. 22 in the online journal PLOS One, Taylor’s team had people touch cash register receipts after using a hand sanitizer. The researchers then took blood and urine samples.

They found that BPA from these receipts seeped into participants’ skin, dramatically increasing the amount of BPA in their body. Hand sanitizer boosted the rate of absorption, the researchers said.

To mimic behavior at fast-food restaurants, some participants were given French fries to eat with their hands after handling BPA-coated receipts. Here, too, the researchers found that BPA was rapidly absorbed through the skin.

Taylor said that because BPA is so widely used, it can be detected in the urine of over 90 percent of Americans.

BPA is being replaced in some cases by the chemical bisphenol S (BPS), Taylor said.

“The shift toward manufacturers’ use of BPS in thermal paper may be a response to public awareness about BPA and a desire for a more acceptable substitute,” Taylor said.

However, it may be no safer, she said. BPS is similar to BPA in that it also mimics estrogen, Taylor said.

“It is also more persistent in the environment. Because of these two factors alone, as a substitute it is not an improvement over BPA,” she said. “More broadly, the recycling of paper often incorporates paper receipts, and both of these compounds end up in recycled paper products, further increasing the potential for exposure.”

Steven Gilbert, director and founder of the U.S. Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders in Seattle, said 15 billion pounds of BPA are used each year in the United States, and they’re “going someplace.”

“All of us have BPA in our bodies. This is an interesting example of a source of BPA exposure,” Gilbert said.

“We should be more careful with the chemicals we put into the environment,” he added.

Steven Hentges, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, took issue with the study, calling the experiment “unrealistic.”

Moreover, he stressed that BPA is safe.

“Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate that consumer exposure to BPA — from all sources — is extremely low,” he said. “Typical BPA exposure from all sources is about 1,000 times below safe intake levels set by government bodies in the U.S., Canada and Europe.”

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said BPA is safe for use in food containers, Hentges said. “FDA’s current perspective is based on its review of hundreds of studies, as well as its comprehensive research on BPA,” he said.

More information

For more on BPA, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Ebola Nurse Amber Vinson Now ‘Free’ of Virus, Family Says

Wed, 2014-10-22 16:37

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Amber Vinson, one of two nurses battling Ebola after contracting it from a patient at a Dallas hospital, is now free of the virus, according to a statement released by her family on Wednesday.

“We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” Vinson’s family said in the statement, ABC News reported.

The statement added that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

The other nurse, Nina Pham, is being treated at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.; her condition was upgraded from fair to good on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Dallas city health officials said that Bentley, Pham’s spaniel, tested negative for Ebola, NBC News reported.

Both Vinson and Pham became infected with the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Duncan, a Liberian national, was the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed on American soil. He died of the illness on Oct. 8

In other good news, the freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola while working for NBC News in Liberia has cleared the virus from his system and can leave the special isolation unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he had been treated for the past two weeks, the hospital said Tuesday.

A blood test confirmed by the CDC found that Ashoka Mukpo, 33, can head home to Providence, R.I., NBC News reported Tuesday night.

“Recovering from Ebola is a truly humbling feeling,” the hospital quoted Mukpo as saying. “Too many are not as fortunate and lucky as I’ve been. I’m very happy to be alive.”

And in a statement released Wednesday morning, Mukpo expressed gratitude to an American medical missionary who battled and beat Ebola: “Thank you to Dr. Kent Brantly, whose generous blood donation played a pivotal role in my recovery. May his health flourish and his compassion be known to all,” Mukpo’s statement read.

Mukpo is one of eight Americans who have been diagnosed with the often deadly virus that has been plaguing three West African nations — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — since the spring.

The latest good news followed reports that an unidentified patient being treated at Emory is now “free of Ebola virus disease” and was discharged Sunday from the facility, the medical center said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

The man, who has requested anonymity since being admitted to Emory’s Serious Communicable Disease Unit on Sept. 9, now poses no threat to public health and has left the hospital for an “undisclosed location,” the hospital added.

Emory had previously successfully treated two medical missionaries who became infected in West Africa, the site of the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials this week tightened guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The new recommendations call for full-body suits and hoods with no skin exposure and use of a respirator at all times. There will also be stricter rules for removing equipment and disinfecting hands, and the designation of a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment used while treating a patient.

The revised guidelines are apparently in response to the two nurses in Dallas who became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan.

Health officials aren’t sure how the nurses became infected with Ebola.

But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the nurses caring for Duncan had some of their skin exposed.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 4,900 people out of nearly 10,000 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization.

More information

For more on Ebola, visit the World Health Organization.


Categories: Health & Fitness

Your Happiness Break: A Talking Seashell With Shoes

Wed, 2014-10-22 16:29

Day to day, you find yourself trying to make your way through what seems like a never-ending to-do list, complete with everything from meeting deadlines to getting through that pile of dirty laundry in the corner to squeezing in a long run for that marathon you singed up for…wait, maybe that’s just me. Regardless of what’s on your list, as it grows, so does your stress level, which can leave you feeling anxious, irritable, and depressed. Next thing you know, you’ve fallen off the happy track.

That’s why you should stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch this amazingly cute video of “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” a character created by comedian Jenny Slate and her husband Dean Fleischer-Camp.

The stop-animation video—which is the first Marcel flick since 2011 and the third in a series—features an adorable little mollusk chatting about things like where he puts his deodorant, how “shrimp are the idiots of the sea,” and how his shell feels tight when he’s stressed. For you true Marcel lovers, Slate and Fleischer-Camp have released their second children’s book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been ($12, amazon.com).

Besides that fact that we think that you’ll get a kick out of it, studies show that expecting a laugh from watching a funny video can help decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania have also found that as people get older, they tend to find ordinary treats (like a manicure or a pumpkin spice latte) just as happiness-inducing as extraordinary ones like a trip to Bali. The authors think that as we age we’re more aware of how fleeting time is, so we’re more likely to appreciate everyday bright spots.

And trust us, this video will definitely be a bright spot in your day.

RELATED: 13 Ways to Beat Stress in 15 Minutes or Less


Categories: Health & Fitness

Renee Zellweger: ‘I’m Glad I Look Different’

Wed, 2014-10-22 15:30

Photo: Getty Images

Unless you live under a boulder, you’ve no doubt seen the mean-spirited Internet posts about Renee Zellweger’s face. The backstory: On Monday, after the Oscar-winning actress attended the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards—an event that is supposed to honor the work of talented women—all anyone could talk about was the 45-year-old star’s appearance. Her crime? Wait for it: Not looking the same as she did MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO, back when she was in Chicago and Jerry Maguire.

Now really, who looks the same a decade later? I sure don’t. (Every time my iPhone camera accidentally reverses to selfie mode, I jump back, frightened.)

Some news outlets even hauled out plastic surgeons who do not know the actress to speculate on what she has or hasn’t had done. Ever heard someone ask why Brad Pitt doesn’t look like he did in Thelma & Louise? Of course not, because he was like 25 then and it’s a bonkers question.

RELATED: 18 Fashion and Makeup Mistakes That Age You

Can you imagine if regular women were exposed to this kind of scrutiny? You’d come in to work one day feeling bright-eyed and then read in your company’s e-blast: “Has Lisa had work done? She seems to be doubling up on concealer. And she is clearly dying her hair because you can see a few gray roots. She looks nothing like her ID photo from 8 years ago!”

Renee, to her total credit, is rising above the silliness. She told People in a statement: “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.” Zellweger went on to admit that she wasn’t always living a balanced lifestyle: “I am healthy. For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself,” she said. “Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”

Among her smart choices, according to the star? Her boyfriend, Doyle Bramhall. “I did work that allows for being still, making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself,” she said.

RELATED: 7 Strategies to Love the Way You Look


Categories: Health & Fitness