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Updated: 17 hours 41 min ago

Vaccine for Deer Against ‘Mad Cow’-Like Illness Shows Promise

Sun, 2014-12-21 07:42

SUNDAY, Dec. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new vaccine created to fight an illness similar to “mad cow disease” in deer might also protect livestock and even humans from similar brain infections, researchers report.

The vaccine appears to help prevent deer from becoming infected by the incurable brain disorder known as chronic wasting disease, according to the report in the Dec. 21 online edition of the journal Vaccine. Chronic wasting disease is caused by mysterious infectious particles known as prions that go rogue.

Prion infections are also thought to cause horrific human diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (including the strain behind mad cow disease), kuru (a condition that affects cannibals who eat human brain), and fatal familial insomnia (an inherited condition that leads to increasing sleeplessness and death), the researchers said.

“Now that we have found that preventing prion infection is possible in animals, it’s likely feasible in humans as well,” senior study investigator and neurologist Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said in an NYU news release.

Chronic wasting disease is common in North America’s captive deer and in the wild. The disease also affects elk, caribou and moose, and scientists fear it could spread to livestock, especially cattle.

If further research confirms the vaccine’s effectiveness, the study authors hope they can vaccinate a small number of animals, maybe 10 percent, and stop overall transmission of the disease, according to the news release.

For this study, the researchers gave five deer the vaccine, while another six received an inactive placebo. All of the deer were exposed to prion-infected brain tissue.

Monitoring over two years showed that all of the deer given the placebo developed chronic wasting disease. Four deer given the real vaccine took significantly longer to develop infection — and the fifth one is infection-free, the researchers said.

“Although our anti-prion vaccine experiments have so far been successful on mice and deer, we predict that the method and concept could become a widespread technique for not only preventing, but potentially treating many prion diseases,” said lead study investigator Fernando Goni, an associate professor at NYU Langone, in the news release.

More information

For more about chronic wasting disease in deer, see the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Holiday Trimmings Can Trigger Allergies

Sat, 2014-12-20 07:37

SATURDAY, Dec. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The holidays can be anything but joyous for people with allergies when they contend with fresh trees, scented candles and other allergy triggers.

“The dust from the boxes and on the decorations that have been packed away in dank basements or dusty attics is triggering reactions in my allergy and asthma patients,” Dr. Rachna Shah, an affiliate faculty member at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in Loyola news release.

Shah, who is also an allergist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., offered some tips to help people with allergies breathe easier during the holidays.

Clean your Christmas tree, whether it’s real or artificial. “A tree that is moldy increases the spore counts in the home exponentially after just a few days, triggering reactions and illness,” Shah said. “Some have found relief by spraying down the tree with water to remove mold and then limiting the amount of time the tree is indoors to 12 days or less.”

If you decide on a live tree, you need to know that no variety is less allergenic than others. Also, stagnant water in the tree holder collects mold, which can trigger allergies.

“Artificial is the best if you have allergies,” Shah said.

Store decorations in sealed plastic tubs and clean them occasionally during the year and before you use them.

If you or a family member has food allergies, bring your own treats to parties. “Those with egg, nut or dairy allergies especially can play it safe and enjoy the parties if they know what they are eating and drinking,” Shah said. “Communicating in advance with the host can help avoid illness.”

Do not use scented candles or home fragrance oils, keep your home free of real poinsettias and fresh floral arrangements, and control the humidity levels in your home in order to prevent the growth of mold, Shah advised.

And take time to relax. “Anxiety has been shown to increase asthma symptoms,” Shah said. “Use relaxation methods such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga to maintain control during the holiday hustle-bustle.”

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about allergies.

Categories: Health & Fitness

11 Splurge-Worthy Gym Buys for Fit Fashionistas

Fri, 2014-12-19 17:25

‘Tis the season to treat yourself…not only to a calorie-crushing workout, but to some great new gym gear. Why? Because you deserve it. Granted these picks are pricey—but, hey, sometimes you just want to feel extra fancy while you trudge away on that treadmill or pulse your way to a bootylicious backside.

Here, a few fashion-forward items we’re totally swooning over.

Total tank

Consider upgrading your basic yoga tee for this sexy VPL Convexity Breaker Tank ($195; vplnyc.com)— the adjustable straps provide a more customized fit while giving your girls a nice little lift.

Mellow yellow

The T by Alexander Wang Studded Logo Sports Bra ($145; nordstrom.com) provides full coverage during all of your favorite low-impact activities (think barre, Pilates, and yoga).
RELATED: The 10 Best Sports Bras for Women With Big Busts

Animal instinct

Battle the breeze with ease in the stylish polyester Adidas by Stella McCartney Essentials Starter Kit Windbreaker ($300; adidas.com). And don’t forget to pack a snack, like an energy bar in the front zip pocket in case you get hungry mid-workout.

Cozy cover-up

Whether you’re headed to kickboxing or frolicking in the snow, the tech fleece faux-shearling lined Y-3 Faux Fur Track Hoodie ($245; barneys.com) is just the sheath you need to chase away chilly temps.

Flash pants

These funky printed Lucas Hugh Vitascope Print Leggings ($440; shopbop.com), which have inner thigh mesh panels for added breathability, are sure to turn heads whether you’re running errands or striking a yoga pose.
RELATED: 9 Workout Pants That Take You From Barre to Brunch

Master of disguise

After a kick-ass workout with your stability ball, hide the vinyl evidence by slipping yours into this avant-garde Gaiam Silk Patina Balance Ball Cover ($350; amazon.com).

Camo crusader

A moldable footbed ensures each step in the Valentino Rockrunner Camouflage kicks ($875; valentino.com) is super comfy. Plus the studded back adds a bit of an ’80s punk vibe.

RELATED: 5 Bright Running Shoes That Add a Little Flash to Your Dash

Black magic

Consider the Physhion Vixen ($300; physhion.com) the perfect LBGB (little black gym bag). Not only is it swanky looking, but it has multiple pockets to help keep you organized (including one for shoes), a removable pouch for storing wet clothes, and even its own gym lock.

Sweaty sweetheart

Wiping sweat off your brow just got a little more chic thanks to Shourouk’s Wimblee Swarovski crystal-embellished stretch-terry wristband ($74, sale; net-a-porter.com).

RELATED: 9 Fitness Buys That Will Inspire You to Hit the Gym

Prize fighter

This super luxe Louis Vuitton Karl Lagerfeld Punching Trunk ($161,000; celebrating.monogram.lv) is not just the perfect traveling closet, but it is a storage container for all of your upscale workout tools. Inside you’ll find a boxing bag, gloves, and a yoga mat—all with LV’s signature print.

Sassy stripes

Your friends are sure to get a kick out of this colorful Paul Smith Signature Stripe Football ($410; paulsmith.co.uk). Plus it’s perfect for a pickup game in the park.

RELATED: 10 Fitness Trackers Worthy of a Spot on Your Wish List

Categories: Health & Fitness

10 Biggest Food and Weight Loss Stories of 2014

Fri, 2014-12-19 16:01

Photo: Getty Images

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I compiled my last round-up, but it’s that time again! As a research junkie, I think this year’s crop of studies in the areas of nutrition and weight management have been particularly fascinating.

Here are my top 10 picks for discoveries that have either broadened our knowledge, or shed new light on the best ways to stay nourished and lean.

Night shift workers burn fewer calories

This intriguing study found that shift workers burn fewer calories, which means that the amount of food needed to maintain weight becomes excessive, promoting weight gain. The lesson: if your job requires working when most people are sleeping, find ways to curb your calorie intake, or employ healthy habits to help regulate or suppress your appetite.

RELATED: 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Gut bacteria play a major role in weight control

Number one on my list of the compelling revelations in 2014 is the handful of studies about the role of gut microorganisms in weight management. One study found that there is a relationship between body clock regulation, gut microbiota, and metabolism. When mice received gut bacteria from jet-lagged humans, they gained significant amounts of weight and had abnormally high blood sugar levels (yikes!). Another found that gut bacteria affect cravings, mood, and food choices. And a third concluded that the healthfulness of gut bacteria may play a role in metabolic syndrome risk. All of this research may lead to a future that involves personalized gut microbe testing, special diets specifically designed to alter these organisms, or tailored probiotic therapy. Stay tuned!

Coffee may help prevent obesity

If there’s one thing my clients love, it’s hearing that a food they enjoy is actually beneficial. Two studies this year offered some good news about java. Animal research from researchers at the University of Georgia concluded that a compound in coffee called CGA allowed mice fed a fatty diet to not only stave off weight gain, but also maintain normal blood sugar levels and healthy livers. Another Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who gulped down a placebo. For more about other potential health benefits of enjoying your morning cup of Joe, check out my post 6 Healthy Reasons to Keep Loving Coffee.

RELATED: Best and Worst Health News of 2014

Obesity tied to autoimmune diseases

We’ve heard plenty about the connection between obesity and chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But research from Tel Aviv University concluded that obesity leads to a breakdown of the body’s protective self-tolerance mechanisms, which results in a pro-inflammatory environment that may lead to or worsen autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s Disease and multiple sclerosis, or hinder their treatment. The silver lining: adequate vitamin D may help, both with immunity and weight control. Here’s more about vitamin D, and 6 other nutrients to zero in on as you age.

In women, optimism affects diet quality

There aren’t a lot of feel-good studies tied to weight management, but I loved the conclusion of this one from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, researchers found that those with higher levels of optimism made healthier choices, and had more success in making dietary changes over a one-year period. Those who scored better on the healthy eating index also had lower BMIs, smaller waist measurements, and fewer chronic health conditions. More proof that attitude is everything.

RELATED: 14 Strategies to Become a Happier Person

There’s a new type of good fat

When scientists say they’re blown away, it’s pretty big news. And that’s just what researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center declared when they uncovered a previously unidentified class of fat molecules that enhance blood sugar control, and may offer a promising avenue for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Unlike omega-3 fatty acids, which are not made in mammals, these “good” fats, called FAHFAs, are produced and broken down in the body. Feeding mice extra FAHFAs resulted in a rapid and dramatic drop in blood sugar. Scientists also looked at FAHFA levels in humans, and found they were 50 to 75% lower in those who were insulin resistant and at high risk for developing diabetes. The data suggest that changes in FAHFA levels may contribute to diabetes. Groundbreaking. Surely there will be more research to come in this area.

Produce is connected to happiness

I love getting my hands on any research related to happiness, so I was thrilled to find this study, which tied healthy food choices to mental health. Scientists at the University of Warwick’s Medical School found that five daily servings of produce may just keep the blues away. More than a third of subjects with high mental well-being consumed five or more daily servings of fruits and veggies. In contrast, happiness was high in less than 7% of those who ate less than one daily portion of produce. In another study in young adults, a higher fruit and veggie intake was tied to “flourishing,” which includes greater happiness, creativity, curiosity, and positivity. For more about how eating well can bolster your mood, check out my post 5 Reasons to Eat Healthier Than Have Nothing to Do With Your Weight.

Umami may curb eating

A very foodie-forward study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that umami—also known as the 5th taste—boosts appetite but also increases post-meal satiety, which may help support weight control. Naturally found in mushrooms, truffles, green tea, seaweed, and tomatoes, incorporating more of this this unique palate pleaser may help you naturally eat less overall. To give it a try, check out my tips on umami, which include suggestions for now to sneak it into healthy meals.

RELATED: 12 Foods That Control Your Appetite

“Fat shaming” causes weight GAIN, not loss

I think we all intuitively know this is true, yet weight bullying persists, even if it’s self-directed. In this UK study, researchers found that over four years, those who reported weight discrimination gained weight, whereas those who didn’t actually shed pounds. So if you tend to berate yourself, with a goal of weight loss motivation, stop. And for techniques that work check out my post 5 Dos and Don’ts for Weight Loss Motivation.

Language stimulates the brain in the same way as food

This compelling study found that the reward region of the brain that drives us to eat (and also enjoy sex, gambling, drugs, and games) is stimulated by learning new words and their meanings. Interesting! I can’t guarantee it will work, but when a craving strikes, try visiting a site like vocabulary.com to see if logging some lingo time will satisfy your fix.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Categories: Health & Fitness

8 Genius Ways to Sneak in Exercise Over the Holidays

Fri, 2014-12-19 15:31

Photo: Getty Images

Here’s the scenario: You’re visiting family for the long holiday weekend. It’s too cold to go outside and there’s no gym or equipment within miles. It would just be so tempting to roll over and drift off into a Godfather-rerun-and-endless-eggnog haze.

But you’ve made big promises to yourself: You’re going to get in some exercise, consistently, this holiday season. But how to make the space—both physical and psychological—when the overwhelming urge is to pull on your ugly sweater and plop down on the couch like everyone else?

Thankfully, our favorite celebrity trainers are always in a giving mood. They’ve shared their best tips on motivation and workout etiquette, along with simple, effective exercises you can do just about anywhere.

Try one or all of these moves over the holiday break for some extra calorie blasting.

1. Be an early bird

“If you can muster it, wake up 30 minutes before everyone else to get your workout in. That way no one will be surprised and no one will bother you. But whenever you do it, the key is to have a time that’s consistent. Schedule it into your holiday week and commit to it like a job.”
—Anna Kaiser, founder of AKT InMotion studio, trainer of Sarah Jessica Parker, Sofia Vergara

Steal this move from Anna: Heel Click
Stand with your feet two to three feet apart, then sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a half squat, raising your arms in front of your chest, elbows bent. In one motion, press through your heels to jump into the air while swinging your arms down to your sides, clicking your heels together in midair. That’s one rep. Immediately lower back into a squat position. Do 10 reps.

RELATED: 4 Exercises to Beat a Fitness Plateau

2. Indulge…within reason

“Remember that health and fitness are a part of your everyday life. It’s not something that you can turn on and off. Do everything in moderation. Allow yourself that one day to indulge with one meal of your choice during the holiday season, and then get back to it the next day.”
—JR Allen, owner of 2 Day Be Fit, trainer of Mary J. Blige

Steal this move from JR: Inchworm with Mountain Climbers
Clear enough space so that you’ll be able to get into a push-up position. With feet together and legs straight, bend over and touch the ground. With your legs still straight, walk out with your hands until you are in a push-up position. Then do a mountain climber: bring your knees to your chest one at a time. Return to push-up position. Walk back with your hands until your legs are straight again. Repeat 10 times.

3. Respect your hosts

“Getting your sweat on doesn’t need to spark drama or be some clandestine operation. To slip away from the festivities discreetly, say something casual like: ‘I’m gonna pop into the basement for a fast body-weight workout. Takes less than 10 minutes.’ Above all, remember: you’re a guest in this house. Be respectful and go with the flow.”
Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body and creator of The 21-Day Reset Challenge

Steal this move from Adam: Stick-Up Sprints
Raise your fingertips to the sky, keeping your biceps in line with your ears. Sprint in place as fast as you can for 30 seconds, raising knees up to at least hip-height. (Holding your arms overhead works your shoulders and challenges your core, he says.)

RELATED: Your Perfect No-Gym Workout

4. Pack wisely

“I’m a huge fan of Thera-Bands. They’re inexpensive and portable, and they make great stocking stuffers! You can even use them on the couch when everyone’s watching TV. Keep one in your pocket over the holidays to use whenever you have a spare minute. Just having it with you will give you peace of mind to know you have control over your fitness.”
Michelle Lovitt, trainer of Lauren Graham and Laura Vandervoort

Steal this move from Michelle: Bow and Arrow
Hold Thera-Band in both hands. Extend the left arm forward. Grab the band close to the left hand with your right hand. Keeping both arms at shoulder height, pull the band back leading with the right elbow. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.

5. Keep your goal in sight

“If you’ve got parties lined up, then try to live lean and clean on the days you aren’t going out. Eat lighter, hydrate, stick to proteins and less starchy carbs. For motivation, keep your New Year’s Eve dress in plain view, and try it on during the holidays to make sure you’ll be able to fit into it.”
Ramona Braganza, trainer of Paula Patton and Dominic Cooper

Steal this move from Ramona: Stick ‘Em Ups
Stand with your back against a wall. Keep knees slightly bent and place arms bent at 90 degrees against the wall, elbows and wrists touching, with head against wall. Slowly slide your arms up 6 inches, then back down. Repeat for 1 minute. (You should feel it working between your shoulder blades once you step away from the wall, she says.)

RELATED: A 20-Minute, Hot-for-the-Holidays Workout

6. Help me…help you!

“If you need to steal away in the middle of the day to work out, say ‘Hey guys, it’s time for my break. ’I’ll be back in 15 minutes.’ Then, offer to watch the kids for 15 minutes later on. Above all, if you remind people that you’ll be happier if you get your workout in, they’ll be happy for you to do it, too.”
—Anna Kaiser

Steal this move from Anna: Skater Tuck
Sit on the ground with your right arm extended slightly behind you supporting your upper body and your left foot flat on the floor. Squeeze your left glute as you lift your hips up and extend your right leg out in front of you, then stretch your left arm upward into a modified side plank. (Keep your left knee bent at 90 degrees.) Next, do a tuck by hinging at the waist and bringing your left elbow and right knee toward each other while tucking your bent right leg underneath your torso, then return to modified side plank. Do 10 reps, then switch sides.

7. A little goes a long way

“Stick to your workouts, even if you cut the time in half from 40 minutes to 20, or even 20 to 10. Sweating just a little each day will keep you in touch with your body and activate endorphins. You will feel more inclined to keep the sweat going if you don’t stop doing it for too long.”
—Ramona Braganza

Steal this move from Ramona: Stair Step-Ups
Stand facing stairs. Place your right leg 2 or 3 steps up. Press into the heel of your right foot and lift your left leg up onto the step. Step back down on your left foot. Repeat for 1 minute, then switch legs.

RELATED: A 5-Minute, Energizing Morning Yoga Routine

8. Share the wealth

“When the time seems right to work out, invite anyone who is inclined to join. If your offer draws blank stares or riotous laughter, laugh it off with them and promise to be quiet. You never know, you may just ignite a new healthy, holiday tradition.”
—Adam Rosante

Steal this move from Adam: High/Lows
Start in a push-up position, hands below shoulders, legs extended. Lower to a forearm plank, one arm at a time, then return to a push-up position, pressing one hand up from the ground at a time. Continue repeating the move, up and down, for 30 seconds.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Cocaine, Amphetamines May Up Injection Drug Users’ Suicide Risk

Fri, 2014-12-19 14:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Injectable drug users who also use cocaine and amphetamines have nearly double the suicide attempt rate of other substance users, a new study finds.

“We know that substance use is associated with the risk of suicide attempt and completed suicide,” Didier Jutras-Aswad, a psychiatry professor at the University of Montreal, said in a university news release. “However, there are many different profiles of drug users. We wanted to know who among substance users were actually more likely to attempt suicide.”

The researchers studied 1,200 adults who had injected drugs within the previous six months. In surveys, researchers asked them questions about drug use and suicide attempts.

At the start of the study, 6 percent of participants said they’d tried to commit suicide within the past six months, a much higher rate than in the general population.

Participants were then questioned twice a year for an average of four follow-up visits. During this follow-up, 143 participants reported at least one attempted suicide. Chronic and occasional use of stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines was associated with nearly two times greater odds of reporting an attempt than the use of other drugs, the researchers found.

The researchers suspect that cocaine and amphetamine users are more vulnerable to suicidal urges because they’re more impulsive and moodier than people who use narcotic painkillers, for example. Also, they said, there are few cocaine addiction programs to help them stop using the drug.

“Our study addresses a number of important issues that could change practice,” Jutras-Aswad said. “While it confirms that drug use itself represents a significant risk for suicidal behavior, it identifies cocaine and amphetamine users as a higher-risk population. We therefore need to develop more effective intervention and prevention programs tailored to this target population.”

The study was published recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

More information

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

Categories: Health & Fitness

Could Bacteria Play a Role in Colon Cancer?

Fri, 2014-12-19 12:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Dense bunches of bacteria called biofilms can be found on most colon polyps and cancers, a new study finds.

The researchers said these biofilms were especially prevalent on the right side of the colon.

The presence of these biofilms may represent an increased likelihood of colon cancer and could offer a new way to predict a person’s risk for the disease, the researchers said.

Like tooth plaque and slime on pond stones, these biofilms may coat the mucus layer of cells lining the colon, according to background information from the study. There, the biofilms may cause inflammation and some noncancerous bowel diseases, said Dr. Cynthia Sears, professor of medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The researchers examined healthy and cancerous tissue collected during biopsies on almost 120 people. Biofilms were present on 89 percent of tumors removed from the right colon, according to the researchers.

Biofilms were found on only 12 percent of tumors removed from the left side of the colon. The reasons for the difference between the right and left side of the colon are unknown, the researchers said.

The risk of developing colon cancer may be five times higher in people with biofilms on the right side of the colon, compared to those with no biofilms, said the authors of the study.

“What was so striking was that these biofilm-positive samples cluster so dramatically in the right colon. In fact, it’s virtually a universal feature of tumors that appear in that section of the colon, although we don’t understand why,” Sears said in a Hopkins news release.

It may be possible to develop a noninvasive test to detect these biofilms and predict a person’s risk of developing colon cancer. Most of these cancers develop over five to 10 years “and it’s a disease that’s curable if you diagnose it early,” Sears said.

Colonoscopies are currently the “gold standard” in detecting colon cancer. But only about 60 percent of Americans get them, according to the researchers. And colonoscopies often aren’t available in resource-poor countries, they noted.

The study was published online recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about colorectal cancer.

Categories: Health & Fitness

FDA Approves First in New Class of Drugs for Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Fri, 2014-12-19 12:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat advanced ovarian cancer, along with a test to identify patients eligible to receive the drug.

Lynparza (olaparib) belongs to a new class of drugs called poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. The drug is for women who have already received extensive treatment for advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes, according to an FDA news release issued Friday.

“Today’s approval constitutes the first of a new class of drugs for treating ovarian cancer,” Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the news release.

“Lynparza is approved for patients with specific abnormalities in the BRCA gene and is an example of how a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease can lead to targeted, more personalized treatment,” he said.

Approval of the AstraZeneca drug was based on a clinical trial of almost 140 women with BRCA mutation-associated ovarian cancer. Thirty-four percent of the patients on the drug had partial shrinkage or complete disappearance of their tumors for an average of eight months, the FDA reported.

Nausea, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, decreased appetite, joint and muscle pain, and cold-like symptoms were common side effects of the drug. More serious side effects included lung inflammation; the bone marrow cancer acute myeloid leukemia; and myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition where the bone marrow is unable to produce enough functioning blood cells, the FDA said.

Women must undergo a genetic test to confirm BRCA gene mutations before they can be treated with Lynparza. The test to confirm those genes was approved by the FDA in conjunction with the drug.

BRCA genes play a role in repairing damaged DNA. Normally, they work to suppress tumor growth. Women with mutations that cause defective BRCA genes have an increased risk for ovarian and breast cancer. It’s believed that 10 to 15 percent of all ovarian cancer is associated with these mutations, the FDA said.

In 2014, nearly 22,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 will die from the disease, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about ovarian cancer.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Caramel Apples Linked to Deadly Listeria Outbreak, CDC Says

Fri, 2014-12-19 12:37

Photo: Getty Images

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — U.S. and state health officials are investigating a listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples that has killed at least four people and sickened 28 others in 10 states.

Consumers should not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples until more information becomes available, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a news release.

As of Dec. 18, a total of 28 people had been infected with the outbreak strains of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 26 people who have been hospitalized, five have died. Listeria infections contributed to at least four of those deaths, the agency said.

Nine illnesses occurred in pregnant women or newborn infants, and there have been three cases of invasive illness (meningitis) among otherwise healthy children aged 5 to 15, the CDC said.

Symptoms of listeria infection include fever, chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting. Antibiotics are typically used to treat the infection.

Of the 18 ill people interviewed so far, 15 said they ate commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming sick. To date, no illnesses have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and prepackaged, or to caramel candy.

Although caramel apples are usually sold in the fall, the CDC said they may still be for sale in stores or may be in consumers’ homes.

Investigators are trying to identify specific brands of caramel apples that may be linked to the outbreak, and to pinpoint the source of contamination, the CDC said.

Dr. Ambreen Khalil is an infectious disease specialist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. She explained that listeria is a “food-borne illness that can [show up] in different forms, including bloodstream infections, infections of the central nervous system such as meningitis, or brain abscesses, gastroenteritis or endocarditis,” which can affect the heart.

Listeria poses particular problems for people with weakened immune systems as well as pregnant women and the elderly, Khalil said.

Dr. Leonard Krilov, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., said recommended guidelines to prevent listeria infection include rinsing raw produce or scrubbing firm-skinned produce — such as melons and cucumbers — and then drying them well.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about listeria infections.

Categories: Health & Fitness

4 Beauty Trends That Look Good on No One

Fri, 2014-12-19 11:43

Photo: Getty Images

As a beauty editor, I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to lipstick shades, style choices, and the color of my hair. (Just ask my coworkers—sometimes they don’t even recognize me.) But with each passing year, it seems like there are more and more trends that leave me asking why?

Case in point: Four of the latest—and most unflattering—buzzworthy looks.


From bold to bleached and even tattooed, the ‘It’ feature is having its best year ever. The latest fad on social media: the Instagram Brow. Also known as the fade, arches go from light and barely-there at the inner corner to dark and defined at the outer tips. While the look may photograph well, in real life it will look like your makeup routine was, eh, cut short. For more proof, makeup artist Wayne Goss recently told The Cut that ombré brows should be illegal.

Wash-and-literally-go hair

That’s right: Full-on soaking wet hair is in again. Slick strands were spotted on spring 2015 runways, including DKNY, Maison Martin Margiela, and Thakoon. But contrary to what the fashion elite want us to believe, this isn’t a look for the streets—and definitely not for the office. A fresh-out-of-the-shower hairstyle is unflattering, making most look unkempt and even a little tired. For an effortless look, try tousled waves or a windswept ponytail instead.

Photo: Maison Martin Margiela/Getty Images

RELATED: 5 Pretty Hairstyles You Can Do at Home

Pastel pits

I get it, girl power! But I’m not dyeing (see what I did there?) over the latest feminist craze: sporting armpit hair in rainbow shades of pink, purple, and green. I’ll be the first to admit that I too get sick of shaving my armpits sometimes—and my legs and bikini line for that matter—but is growing and showing the best approach? I think not. Just ew.

50 Shades of Gray…hair

First it was Kelly Osborne, then Kylie Jenner. Now, GirlsZosia Mamet is sporting silver strands—apparently because she was “bored.” Seems like instead of fighting against grays, today’s A-List youth are jumping the gun and intentionally aging their hair. Thing is, achieving and maintaining a hue that doesn’t wash out your complexion isn’t easy. And needless to say, gray hair will add years to your look.

Photo: Getty Images

RELATED: 18 Fashion and Makeup Mistakes That Age You

Categories: Health & Fitness

Crohn’s, Colitis May Have Genetic Underpinnings, Study Finds

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The intestinal bacteria that cause inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may be inherited, researchers report.

The findings, published recently in the journal Genome Medicine, could help in efforts to prevent the disease and treat the 1.6 million Americans with Crohn’s or colitis, the study authors added.

“The intestinal bacteria, or ‘gut microbiome,’ you develop at a very young age can have a big impact on your health for the rest of your life,” lead author Dan Knights, an assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering and the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota, said in a journal news release.

“We have found groups of genes that may play a role in shaping the development of imbalanced gut microbes,” he explained.

The study of 474 adults with inflammatory bowel disease who live in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands found a link between the participants’ DNA and their gut bacteria DNA. The Crohn’s and colitis patients also had less variety of gut bacteria and more opportunistic bacteria than the general population.

The findings are an important step in creating new drugs for the treatment of Crohn’s and colitis, the researchers said.

The investigators also found that antibiotics can worsen the imbalances in intestinal bacteria associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

“In many cases, we’re still learning how these bacteria influence our risk of disease, but understanding the human genetics component is a necessary step in unraveling the mystery,” Knights said.

Previous research has identified associations between gut bacteria and increased risks for health problems such as diabetes, autism, heart disease and some types of cancer, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about inflammatory bowel disease.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Preschoolers Need Eye Screening, Experts Say

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — All children should have their eyesight checked between the ages of 3 and 6, preferably every year, eye experts say.

The new vision-screening guidelines for preschool-aged children are from an expert panel of the U.S. National Center for Children’s Vision Health.

The panel said that children in this age group require screening for eye problems, particularly vision issues that require correction with glasses, such as amblyopia (“lazy eye”) and strabismus (a disorder of eye alignment).

Early detection and treatment of vision problems is important in terms of a child’s development and readiness to school, according to the authors of the recommendations in the January issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

The two “best practice” screening tests identified in the guidelines are visual acuity testing with eye charts and instrument-based testing using equipment called an autorefractor.

The panel also outlined how the screening tests should be performed and how screeners should be trained and certified.

“Unfortunately, many children receive neither appropriate screening to help identify those who need immediate eye attention, nor a comprehensive examination by an eye care professional, prior to beginning school,” Anthony Adams, journal editor-in-chief, said in a journal news release.

“These National Expert Panel reports are an important starting point for identifying vision health screening procedures and tests and definitions of expected performance measures to be tracked across the country,” Adams said. The goal, he said, is to ensure that children with problems identified on screening tests receive appropriate, comprehensive eye examinations and follow-up care.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the warning signs of vision problems in children.

Categories: Health & Fitness

E. Coli Germs Found on Farmers Market Herbs

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Potentially illness-causing E. coli bacteria were found on nearly one-quarter of herbs bought at farmers markets, according to a new study.

Researchers checked cilantro, basil and parsley from almost 50 vendors from 13 farmers markets in Los Angeles and Orange counties in California, and in the Seattle area. Out of almost 150 samples tested, 24 percent were positive for E. coli. One sample was positive for salmonella, according to the researchers.

Both types of bacteria can cause sometimes serious or even deadly illness.

E. coli can cause symptoms such as severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea that may become bloody. Salmonella symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever around 12 to 72 hours after consumption that can last four to seven days, the researchers said.

Of the herb samples found to have E. coli, 16 had levels considered unsatisfactory under Public Health Laboratory Service guidelines. While only one sample tested positive for salmonella, 14 others had suspicious growth, according to the study.

The study was published recently in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

“While farmers markets can become certified to ensure that each farmer is actually growing the commodities being sold, food safety is not addressed as part of the certification process,” study co-author Rosalee Hellberg, assistant professor in the Food Science Program at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., said in university news release.

“Certain herbs such as parsley, basil and cilantro have been implicated in many food outbreaks over the past two decades, so our study focused specifically on the safety and quality of these three herbs,” she added.

More than 8,000 farmers markets were listed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market directory as of August 2013.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about food safety.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Cancer Treatment Costs Weigh Heavily on Patients, Study Finds

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The cost of cancer treatment can cause financial stress that threatens patients’ well-being, a new study finds.

Researchers examined data from 1,000 people in the United States who had been diagnosed with colorectal or lung cancer. Of those patients, almost 900 had finished their treatments and were cancer-free, and more than 100 had advanced cancer.

Nearly half of the patients said they were struggling to pay their medical bills, which was linked with a poorer health-related quality of life.

This “financial toxicity” can impact cancer patients regardless of income, employment, or status of their cancer and other health problems, according to the study.

“Our focus has been on how the cost of cancer care impacts a patient’s well-being, and we found that patients are at risk of experiencing financial harm as a result of the treatments we prescribe,” lead author Dr. Yousuf Zafar, associate professor at Duke University, said in a university news release.

“Even for patients who have insurance, those out-of-pocket costs add up,” Zafar said.

“Patients are at risk for not adhering to their treatments due to cost. They may have to borrow, spend their savings, or cut back on basics like food and clothing, all to help pay for care,” he explained in the news release.

“Financial toxicity is potentially harming our patients. Without a doubt, we have our patients’ best interests in mind, so if we become more cognizant of that, we’re more likely to act on it,” Zafar added.

“We as physicians don’t bear the burden of finding the answer on our own. We might not have all the answers on how to decrease our patients’ costs, but we have people around us — pharmacists, financial advisors, social workers — who are just a phone call away,” he concluded.

The study was published Dec. 16 in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

More information

The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition offers patient resources.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Older Cars a Bad Choice for Younger Drivers

Fri, 2014-12-19 07:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New research warns parents that buying an older car for their teens may put their young lives at risk.

Nearly half of teen drivers killed in the United States between 2008 and 2012 were driving cars that were at least 11 years old and often lacked important safety features that are available on newer cars, the study found.

Eighty-two percent of teen drivers killed in crashes were in cars at least six years old, 34 percent were in cars six to 10 years old, 31 percent were in cars 11 to 15 years old, and 17 percent were in cars at least 16 years old.

Teen drivers killed in crashes were nearly twice as likely as middle-aged drivers to be in a car that was 11 to 15 years old, 20 percent vs. 12 percent, according to the study published online Dec. 18 in the journal Injury Prevention.

The findings are from an analysis of more than 2,000 teen (ages 15-17) driver deaths and almost 19,000 middle-aged (ages 35-50) driver deaths.

Only about one in 10 of the vehicles driven by fatally injured teens had electronic stability control. This feature is particularly useful when a driver loses control, a relatively common problem among newly licensed young drivers, the researchers noted. They said electronic stability control can reduce the risk of death in single-vehicle crashes by about half and by about 20 percent in multivehicle crashes.

Only 36 percent of vehicles driven by teen and middle-aged drivers had optional or standard air bags, but those driven by adults were slightly more likely to have air bags as standard equipment.

The study authors also looked at the types of vehicles in fatal crashes and found that 29 percent were in a mini or small car, 35 percent were in a midsize or large car, 17 percent were in pickups and 17 percent were in SUVs.

Teens who died in crashes were more likely than middle-aged drivers to be in a mini or small car (29 percent vs. 20 percent) or a midsize car (23 percent vs. 16 percent), and less likely to be in a large pickup (10 percent vs. 16 percent).

Because teens are more likely to get into crashes than older drivers, it’s important for parents to consider safety as well as cost when choosing a vehicle for their children, the researchers said.

Newer vehicles are “more likely to have better crash test ratings and important safety features such as [electronic stability control] and side air bags,” they noted, adding: “Parents may benefit from consumer information about vehicle choices that are both safe and economical.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about teen drivers.

Categories: Health & Fitness

E-Cigarettes Less Addictive Than Regular Cigarettes, Study Finds

Fri, 2014-12-19 07:37

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Former tobacco smokers find e-cigarettes less addictive than traditional cigarettes, new research finds.

Even though they “smoke” e-cigarettes as often as they did regular cigarettes, thousands of ex-smokers said they have fewer cravings and are less likely to feel impulsive and irritable over their need to smoke, researchers reported.

“The pattern was really very clear. The score was significantly less for e-cig use than for tobacco use,” said lead researcher Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. “E-cig users feel less addicted.”

E-cigarettes have become more popular during the past five years, the researchers said in background information. These battery-powered devices deliver nicotine and flavorings through inhaled vapor, and some people say they help smokers give up traditional cigarettes. While they contain far fewer cancer-causing and toxic substances than cigarettes, their long-term health effects are unknown.

For this study, recently published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the researchers used an online survey to assess more than 3,600 e-cig users’ previous dependence on cigarettes and their current dependence on e-cigarettes.

The ex-smokers, all of whom now use e-cigarettes, reported their smoking is about the same. They have about 24 sessions a day with e-cigarettes, and used to smoke about 24 cigarettes daily.

However, their dependence on e-cigarettes is much different:

  • They are more likely to wait longer for their first smoke of the day, 45 minutes on average compared to 27 minutes when they used cigarettes.
  • Two out of five would wake in the middle of the night to smoke a cigarette, but only about 7 percent continued to do so with e-cigarettes.
  • About one-third had strong cravings to use their e-cigarettes, compared with more than nine out of 10 when they smoked cigarettes.
  • About one-quarter reported being irritable or nervous when they can’t use e-cigarettes, versus more than 90 percent who recalled feeling that way as cigarette smokers.

There are a couple of reasons why e-cigarettes might create less addiction to nicotine, Foulds said.

First, e-cigarettes typically are worse at delivering nicotine than tobacco cigarettes. “Blood nicotine levels get a much larger boost with smoking than with e-cigarettes,” he said.

How people use e-cigarettes also might help explain the difference.

Because people don’t have to light an e-cigarette, they are under less pressure to smoke in concentrated bouts, Foulds said.

“When you smoke cigarettes, you smoke it in one go. You go outside from your workplace and you take 10 puffs, you smoke it until it’s three-quarters done and then you throw it away,” he said. “With e-cigs, they take two or three puffs, and then wait 10 or 15 minutes and have another two or three puffs. It’s kind of like they’re grazing on it, rather than binging on it.”

Health advocates said they found the study interesting, but remain reluctant to endorse e-cigarette use. The devices are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, although the agency has announced its intention to extend its tobacco authority to cover e-cigarettes.

“Unregulated products, particularly those that are marketed as intending to help smokers quit, are very troubling,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association. “Where we have this unregulated situation, we don’t know the ultimate health effects of using these products.”

Manufacturers of e-cigarettes are producing more powerful devices that deliver higher nicotine concentrations, Sward said.

Such innovations could increase the addictive powers of e-cigarettes, and concerns exist that e-cigarettes maintain nicotine dependence for people who might otherwise have quit smoking altogether, she said. Experts also worry that kids who use e-cigarettes might find them a “gateway drug” that leads to tobacco use.

The study authors noted that dependence might vary by liquid nicotine concentration, product characteristics and could increase with time.

This study used a new addiction measurement questionnaire that could “lead to improvements in cessation treatment for both traditional cigarette smokers as well as electronic cigarette users,” said Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.

However, Folan added that in this study “there is some concern about comparing an individual’s past recollection of their addiction to traditional cigarettes with their current addiction to electronic devices.”

The researchers received funding from Penn State Social Science Research Institute and Cancer Institute, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

More information

For more on e-cigarettes, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Loss of Teeth Linked to Physical, Mental Decline in Study

Fri, 2014-12-19 05:37

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Older adults who have lost all their teeth have faster decreases in memory and walking ability than people who still have at least some of their teeth, a new study says.

The findings suggest that total tooth loss could provide an early warning of increased risk of physical and mental decline in older people, the British researchers said.

However, the findings don’t prove that tooth loss causes the physical or mental decline.

The study included more than 3,100 participants 60 and older. People with no remaining teeth did about 10 percent worse on tests of memory and of walking speed than those with at least some teeth, the researchers found.

The link between complete tooth loss and mental and physical problems was strongest in people between 60 to 74 years old compared to those 75 and older, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60- to 74-year-olds,” lead author Georgios Tsakos, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, said in a college news release.

Tsakos noted that socioeconomic factors, such as education and income, may be the common links between tooth loss and poor physical and mental health.

“Regardless of what is behind the link between tooth loss and decline in function, recognizing excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life. There are many factors likely to influence this decline, such as lifestyle and psychosocial factors, which are amenable to change,” Tsakos said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about seniors and dental health.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Study Supports Benefit of Widely Used Glaucoma Drug

Thu, 2014-12-18 17:37

THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Prostaglandin analogue eye drops — a common form of glaucoma drug — significantly reduce the risk of vision loss in patients with the eye disease, a new study finds.

British researchers led by David Garway-Heath, of the Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, tracked outcomes for more than 500 people newly diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma — the most common form of the disease and one of the leading causes of blindness.

About 45 million people worldwide have this type of glaucoma, and the number is expected to rise to 53 million by 2020 and 80 million by 2040, according to the researchers.

However, they found that the use of latanoprost — a form of prostaglandin analogue eye drops — reduced the risk of vision loss in these patients by more than 50 percent over two years, compared to those who received an inactive placebo.

The study, published Dec. 18 in The Lancet, received funding from drug maker Pfizer.

“Medication to lower raised eye pressure has been used for decades as the main treatment for open-angle glaucoma to delay progressive vision loss,” Garway-Heath said in a journal news release. “But, until now, the extent to which the most frequently prescribed class of pressure-lowering drugs (prostaglandin analogues) have a protective effect on vision was not known,” he said.

“Our findings offer solid proof to patients and practitioners that the visual deterioration caused by glaucoma can be reduced using this treatment,” Garway-Heath added.

Two experts in eye health said the study offers reassurance to patients.

Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said that glaucoma is typically treated by interventions that lower the level of pressure within the eye.

“Elevated eye pressure can lead to optic nerve damage,” which can harm vision, Fromer explained, so glaucoma “is most commonly treated with a prostaglandin analogue eye drop to reduce eye pressure.”

The new study shows “that the use of these medications can greatly reduce the risk of visual loss, and a significant benefit in the treatment group could be seen at one year,” he added.

Another expert agreed. “Prostaglandin analogues are typically the first line in treatment for most glaucoma patients as they are an easy, once-a-day medication with a low side-effect profile,” said Dr. Reena Garg, assistant professor at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City.

But Garg also stressed that these medications are not a cure for glaucoma.

In glaucoma, “visual loss can only be slowed, not stopped,” Garg said. “It is necessary to educate patients that while glaucoma cannot be cured, proper follow up with a trained specialist can slow the progression of the disease allowing patients to maintain good vision throughout their lifetime.”

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about glaucoma.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Some Blood Types Might Raise Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

Thu, 2014-12-18 17:37

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — In what scientists say is a first, a new analysis suggests that some blood types place women at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

How much higher? According to a team of French researchers, women with blood type B positive appear to face a 35 percent greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes than women with blood type O negative.

However, experts questioned the value of the findings when so many other risk factors for the blood sugar disease can be countered with lifestyle changes.

At play in the study was the basic principal that, as the American Red Cross notes, “not all blood is alike.”

Type A blood, for example, carries the A antigen on its surface, sparking a specific immune response whenever foreign substances enter the body. Type B blood carries the B antigen, while type AB carries both, and type O carries neither.

An additional variable, known as the Rhesus (Rh) factor, further distinguishes one person’s blood from another’s as Rh positive or negative. The result is eight distinct blood types: O positive, O negative, A positive, A negative, B positive, B negative, AB positive and AB negative.

Because accurately matching blood types can prove critical (particularly in the case of blood transfusions), identifying blood type is commonplace.

But screening blood type for diabetes risk is not.

Enter a team led by Guy Fagherazzi, of the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Villejuif, France. The researchers set out to analyze data on more than 82,000 French women. All the women were tracked from 1990 to 2008.

In the Dec. 18 issue of the journal Diabetologia, Fagherazzi and his colleagues report that women with type A blood ended up with a 10 percent higher overall risk for diabetes than women with type O blood. Those with type B blood faced a more than 20 percent greater risk, while the risk profile of the AB blood type proved inconclusive.

Looking at just the Rh factor, the team found that diabetes risk was the same whether or a not a woman was Rh positive or Rh negative.

Then, the authors combined blood types with Rh factors.

The result: relative to women with O negative blood, diabetes risk was 17 percent greater among A positive women, 22 percent higher among A negative women, 26 percent greater among AB positive women, and 35 percent higher among B positive women.

As to whether the finding might apply to men, the authors suggested in their study that it’s likely it would, since nothing in the finding appeared to be gender-specific.

They also suggested that the impact of blood type on diabetes risk may play out on a number of levels, including inflammation, molecular structure, the microbial composition of the gut and metabolic activity.

Fagherazzi stressed in the study that the exact nature of the blood type-diabetes association will remain unclear until further study.

But Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer at the American Diabetes Association, questioned the value of the finding.

“This is a highly problematic paper,” he said. “And I’m really not sure it sheds any light on the subject. Over an 18-year period they were only able to identify about 3,500 cases of diabetes out of 82,000 women. That figure is so low, compared with what we know about diabetes here and in France, that it basically means they didn’t really identify people with diabetes. And that means that all of their statistics are highly doubtful.”

“So, I would say this is a poor paper with very faulty data, about which I would draw no conclusions,” Ratner said. “It doesn’t teach us anything. And we are certainly not going to screen for diabetes based on blood type. We have far better ways of identifying risk.”

Dr. John Buse, director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, seconded the thought.

“The important thing for people to know is that diabetes is a very common illness,” he said. “And there are lots of risk factors that we can do something about. If you’re overweight, you can lose weight. If you’re sedentary, you can become more active. If you smoke, you can stop. Blood type is not a risk marker that anyone can do anything about, and we’re not going to screen for it.”

The French researchers did not respond to requests for comment on the study.

More information

Visit the American Diabetes Association for more on risk factors for this blood sugar disease.

Categories: Health & Fitness

9 Awesome Examples of GPS Art

Thu, 2014-12-18 16:48

Winter can be a tough time for even the most devoted runners. Between sub-zero temperatures, icy paths, and a lack of fun races on the horizon, motivation is at an all-time low. So if you’re dreading lacing up your sneakers, check out these adorable GPS creations for a little inspiration.

Runners and bikers are using their GPS-based tracking apps to plot out their routes in tons of fun shapes, from adorable pandas to pints of beer. One British runner even proposed to his girlfriend in a carefully planned 5.71 mile route (and she said yes!).

Photo: Ben Chudley/Facebook

There’s also a woman who prefers to spice up her runs with more, shall we say…salacious shapes, and now maintains a cheeky Tumblr blog filled with GPS genitalia.

Here, our nine favorite examples of GPS art:

A running woman ( function() { var func = function() { var iframe_form = document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-1ee016f97cfeba50b57dff1fc61068fc-549373354a34e'); var iframe = document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-1ee016f97cfeba50b57dff1fc61068fc-549373354a34e'); if ( iframe_form && iframe ) { iframe_form.submit(); iframe.onload = function() { iframe.contentWindow.postMessage( { 'msg_type': 'poll_size', 'frame_id': 'wpcom-iframe-1ee016f97cfeba50b57dff1fc61068fc-549373354a34e' }, window.location.protocol + '//wpcomwidgets.com' ); } } // Autosize iframe var funcSizeResponse = function( e ) { var origin = document.createElement( 'a' ); origin.href = e.origin; // Verify message origin if ( 'wpcomwidgets.com' !== origin.host ) return; // Verify message is in a format we expect if ( 'object' !== typeof e.data || undefined === e.data.msg_type ) return; switch ( e.data.msg_type ) { case 'poll_size:response': var iframe = document.getElementById( e.data._request.frame_id ); if ( iframe && '' === iframe.width ) iframe.width = '100%'; if ( iframe && '' === iframe.height ) iframe.height = parseInt( e.data.height ); return; default: return; } } if ( 'function' === typeof window.addEventListener ) { window.addEventListener( 'message', funcSizeResponse, false ); } else if ( 'function' === typeof window.attachEvent ) { window.attachEvent( 'onmessage', funcSizeResponse ); } } if (document.readyState === 'complete') { func.apply(); /* compat for infinite scroll */ } else if ( document.addEventListener ) { document.addEventListener( 'DOMContentLoaded', func, false ); } else if ( document.attachEvent ) { document.attachEvent( 'onreadystatechange', func ); } } )();


RELATED: 15 Running Tips You Need to Know

A Thanksgiving turkey


A big thumbs up for beer


A cute whale


Clearly @wallygpx is the most talented GPS artist, based on these masterpieces:

King Kong attacking the Empire State Building


RELATED: Run Happy All Winter Long

A World War II fighter jet


A game of ping-pong, complete with players


Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster


And—most impressive of all—the world


If you want to make your own GPS creations, there are a ton of running apps to choose from. The most popular is MapMyRun, and they even hosted their own contest to find the best GPS art last year. RunKeeper, Nike+, and Strava Run are good options as well.

So if it looks like a scene from Frozen outside your window, take a few minutes and plot out an Olaf to trace through the streets. With that distraction, the cold won’t bother you anyway.

RELATED: 10 Fitness Trackers Worthy of a Spot on Your Wish List

Categories: Health & Fitness