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Archive for the ‘Health News’ Category

Nicotine Patch Use During Pregnancy May Increase ADHD Risk for Child


Expectant mothers have likely been advised that smoking may result in serious harm to their unborn baby, however, those using nicotine replacement may be doing just as much harm.

This according to a new study out of Denmark may be bad news for mothers who have been trying to kick the habit while looking out for the health of their child. The use of smoking replacement therapies like the nicotine patch for example are believed to increase the chances of the child developing ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This condition is often recognized when the child first begins attending school. Typical symptoms include the inability to learn at the pace of one’s peers and the inability to get along with others.

Like most early studies, researchers are quick to reiterate that it doesn’t necessarily mean that nicotine will result in ADHD. There are other theories as well. Senior author Dr. Carsten Obel told Reuters.com via email that perhaps women who smoke are more likely to themselves have ADHD which then results in them passing this to their children independently of the side effects of nicotine while pregnant.

At this point in the research process, it simple appears there could be a connection.

Researchers concluded the following after in-depth analysis:

  • ADHD was more likely to develop in children whose mothers used nicotine as opposed to their fathers
  • Mothers who reported using nicotine replacement had children who were at similar risks for ADHD that children of smokers would
  • When compared to non-smoking mothers, children with two parents who smoked were 83% more likely to develop ADHD.

While this information may alarm expectant mothers, it seems most medical professionals agree that my taking nicotine replacement therapy is at least favorable to smoking while pregnant and certainly favorable to smoking around a newborn baby. It’s important to always discuss any medication or therapy you are undergoing while pregnant with your doctor.

5 Tips for Enjoying the 4th of July Safely

fireworksBy Emily Murray

The 4th of July is right around the corner and visions of campfires, cookouts and pool parties are filling the minds of Americans this week.

While our independence is certainly a great time to celebrate, it can also be a weekend of overindulging and accidents.

Here are 5 tips for keeping your holiday safe.

1. Drink Plenty of Water
Not only is hydration important in the hot  summer months but it can also help prevent you from overeating. While we may think we know what our bodies need, did you know sometimes we end up mistaking thirst for hunger? Be certain to keep nice cold water nearby this holiday weekend.This is especially true if you are planning on indulging in holiday libations.

2. Eat Normally
If you are heading to a BBQ, you might think ‘I’m going to refrain from eating today so I will be plenty hungry when I get there!” This is unfortunately a common thought but it’s one surefire way to mess up your metabolism and lead to overeating. Additionally, if the celebration is kicked off with alcoholic drinks, the last thing you want to do is drink on an empty stomach. Be sure to eat as you normally would prior to heading out to the party.

3. Wear Sunscreen
Nothing can ruin your 3-day-weekend faster than a sunburn. Not only is it uncomfortable in the moment but you are also putting yourself at an increased risk of developing skin cancer and premature aging caused by sun damage. During the most intense hours of sunlight be sure to cover your face with a hat. Even though this may shade your face, you should still apply your sunscreen as well.

4. Be Moderate in Your Drinking
If you do decide to drink over the holiday weekend, try and stick to the 1 drink per hour rule. You want to enjoy and relax but you don’t want to end up embarrassing yourself or putting yourself at risk for alcohol poisoning. Of course cabs are a must if you are drinking and needing to get home by the end of the day. The price of a cab is nothing compared to the cost of a DUI or the unthinkable accident that could result from driving impaired.

5. Watch Children Around the Pool/Lake/Ocean
Unfortunately, many children drown in pools and open water every summer. If your pool is not equipped with a gate, be sure to keep an eye on all kids at your place. With one small slip, disaster can result.

A Sobering Look at Alcohol Related Deaths

vino rosso splashingBy Emily Murray

While many working the 9 to 5 Monday through Friday work schedule are at this moment celebrating happy hour, the Centers for Disease Control have released some pretty sobering statistics.

Did you know that the agency has now found that 1 in every 10 deaths is due to excessive alcohol consumption in Americans between the ages of 20 and 64?

That’s pretty incredible…and downright terrifying.

Unlike freak accidents and the countless other dangers we encounter on a daily basis, in this age group, many are causing their own demise.

Included in the causes of death related to alcohol were car crashes, violence, alcohol poisoning and the impacts of long-term heavy drinking.

One thing that many of us dispute is the idea of ‘excessive consumption.’ What does this mean exactly? According to the CDC, 8 or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men constitutes as excessive.

Not only are deaths resulting from too much alcohol consumption, but the economy is impacted as well. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for costing the U.S. nearly $224 billion in 2006. In that same year in North Carolina alone the state paid $6 billion in alcohol related expenses.

Just a little something to keep in mind as we slip into summer celebrations and happy hours. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation but it can also be abused just as easily.

What You Should Know About the Gluten-Free Fad

gluten free words in flourWhile labels touting “gluten-free” ingredients are on nearly every grocery store shelf, did you know that the amount of people who are sensitive to gluten is actually very small? In fact, it’s estimated that only 1% of the U.S. population is impacted by celiac disease and around 10% have a poor reaction to it which is referred to as non-celiac gluten intolerance or simply gluten sensitivity.

So why does it seem like every product we see is shouting loud and clear that they are gluten-free? Well, marketers are tricky and have a way of jumping on board with the latest fad. Many of us aren’t actually sensitive to gluten at all yet we have a bad association with it in our minds and if given the option between a product containing gluten and the same gluten free, we are more apt to go with the gluten free one.

Those who are suffering from celiac disease however will gladly voice their praise for clear labeling. For the nearly two to three million Americans impacted by this disease, eating gluten, or even coming into contact with a utensil that has touched gluten, can be enough to set off a chain reaction of stomach issues, resulting in permanent damage to the small intestine.

So what exactly is gluten? It’s a type of protein that is used often to improve the texture of dough in food products. It’s found in wheat, rye, triticale (which is a cross of wheat and rye) and barley.

So if you are one of the nearly 93% of the people who don’t have a reaction to gluten, is there any benefit to saying buh-bye to all those gluten filled products? As a TIME article reported on the subject, “Many anti-gluties will surely tell you they feel better, fitter, more energetic…” It’s believed however that going gluten-free tends to have a placebo affect like so many food fads that have come and gone before.

Bottom line: Unless you have a specific gluten allergy or celiac disease, most experts agree there is no reason to avoid eating gluten.

New Breakthrough in Hair Regrowth

Bald man headBy Emily Murray

For many men, balding is unavoidable but that doesn’t stop it from coming as a surprise. One day you are looking at a healthy and aesthetically pleasing hairline, the next you are noticing stray hairs in your comb and on your pillow. Thanks to a new treatment however, we may be seeing a revolutionary breakthrough in hair regrowth therapy.

The drug used for this therapy is one that may be a bit of a shock – it’s actually an arthritis medication.

This discovery came about when a 25-year-old man had a strange disease that left him completely bald. His disease not only impacted the hair on his head, but also all body hair. With the help of the arthritis drug, this man regrew not only the hair on his head but on his body including eyelashes, eyebrows and even facial hair.

In addition to the disease, this patient also had plaque psoriasis. After medical assessment, doctors at Yale determined that the patient would benefit from the use of 10mg a day of an arthritis drug. After two months of treatment, improvements were noticeable. After three additional months at 15mg, the patient began growing hair. At the eight month mark, his head was completely covered in hair.

It’s the hope of those involved in the study that a topical form of this medication may possibly help those suffering from acute alopecia in the future.

The Return of Mad Cow Disease?

brown and white cow in the meadowEmily Murray

While many of us thought we had seen the last of mad cow disease, it is one again making headlines and the store that could be selling the tainted meat is one that might shock you – Whole Foods.

Many people flock to the this natural food store since they offer local produce and meat that are deemed ‘healthier’ due to their lacks of hormones and antibiotic use in the meat and lack of chemicals used to grow their produce. This week several Connecticut Whole Foods locations have recalled their grass-fed rib eye steaks as a precaution.

Today, however, Whole Foods has announced that the meat safe to eat.

So where did this recent panic come from?

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ruled that the risk is “remote” it is possible that a Missouri company may have sold tainted beef, 4,000 pounds of it to be exact. The product that was under the highest level of risk was the bone-in rib-eye roasts.

The recall was initiated by Fruitland American Meat of Jackson, MO who suspects the potentially tainted meat was packaged between the months of September and April. While larger amounts are being recalled as a precaution, they believe that in actuality only the equivalent of meat from about four of five steers is likely at a high risk.

Typically those impacted by mad cow disease in  a given year are slim to none. It’s estimated that only one in every million people is impacted and typically they are over the age of 60.

Smartphones Lead to Lower Sperm Quality

Close up of smart phone in pocket jeansBy Emily Murray

Science and medical professionals have conducted countless studies in an attempt to debunk myths and follow hunches when it comes to cell phone usage and our health. So far, we have read many headlines linking cell phone use to cancer, sleep problems and cell disturbance but now researchers believe there may be a link between cell phone usage and poor sperm quality.

The reason cell phones are believed to impact health is that they release low level electromagnetic radiation.

Researchers looked at 10 studies conducted recently, analyzing a potential link between smartphones and infertility in men. What they discovered was that in the group of 1,492, cell phones reduced sperm motility 8% and viability by 9%.

The reason for this damage however is not entirely decided upon yet. one factor to consider is that unlike most women who carry their phones in purses or bags, men typically place their phones in their pants pocket. While they may not even be aware of it, the temperature increase caused by the phone is around 2.3C. It’s a proven fact that temperature increase reduces sperm production, so this is one theory.

Another theory as to why smartphones are interfering with sperm is that the radiation is coming into play. Though it may be minimal, it’s possible that it could be enough to cause a drop off in sperm.

While the details are yet to be determined, perhaps it’s a good idea to take that phone out of your pocket just in case!

Anti-Counterfeiting Day and the Truth About Fake Drugs

While the cost of trademarked medications is pricey, cheap non-FDA approved counterfeit drugs may be putting your life at risk. Yes, they cost less but do you know what you are really getting when you order from these illegal pharmacies?

Today as we celebrate anti-counterfeiting day, the Partnership for Safe Medicines has released a graphic that shows what you could be ingesting when you opt for these cheap fakes.

Source: Partnership for Safe Medicines

Not what you were hoping to buy, is it?

The scariest thing perhaps about the counterfeit medication industry is that many of these pills actually do look like the real thing, it’s only when the ingredients are inspected that the massive differences appear. It’s estimated that industry brings in about $75 billion each year globally.  In a study conducted by the World Health Organization it was discovered that 75% of these counterfeit medications have either no active ingredients, the wrong amount or the wrong ingredient. Additionally, 8% had impurities and contaminants and only 15% had the right ingredient and right dosage amount.

With sobering statistics like these, you can see the true cost of buying cheap counterfeits. It’s not worth the risk. Make sure when you order medication that it is coming straight from the manufacturer and that a pill pedigree is available. This will trace the pill from production and you can be certain you are getting the real medication.

New Study Finds 1/3 of Population is Overweight

Obese Word Scale Overweight Heavy Weight LossBy Emily Murray

All the buzz you are hearing in the media regarding the ‘obesity epidemic’ is on par with a recent study confirming that a third of the world’s population can be categorized as obese or overweight.

If you do the math, that’s nearly 2.1 billion people.

As you can imagine, not all areas of the world are impacted as heavily by obesity. In the developed word however, men are more commonly considered obese than adult women.

Conversely, in the developing world it’s just the opposite. When it comes to children, this same study also reports that obesity and being overweight has increased worldwide in adolescents since 1980.

While many turn a blind eye to the issue, obesity is not to be taken lightly. Those who are medically categorized as obese or overweight are actually more likely to suffer a variety of medical complications including diabetes, certain cancers, stroke and heart disease to name a few.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States was listed in the study as having a “high prevalence of obesity,” with 31.6% of men and 33.9% of women. Essentially 13% of the populations obese people live in the U.S. While these statistics may be grim, they can serve as a wake up call for those who need to keep their weight in check for their health.

Bacteria on Airplanes Remains Long After Passengers Leave

airplane seat and windowBy Emily Murray

With Memorial Day weekend travel ahead of us, a recent study regarding the amount of bacteria on airplanes might just have you doubling up on your hand sanitizer supply.

It comes as no surprise that germs are present on airplanes. In fact, germs are everywhere you look. As referenced in a recent TIME article about this study, the average person sheds 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells each and every hour. When you consider that skin cells inherently carry bacteria and that 1% to 2% are carriers of MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus), this is rather frightening. When you take your seat on the plane, you are sitting in thousands of shed skin cells and inevitably, bacteria. 

The study conducted by researchers at Auborn University was an attempt to answer the question, “does bacteria stay around on the plane long enough to infect the next passenger?” In order to answer this, researchers knowingly spread some of the most dangerous bacteria on common plane surfaces like the fold down trays, seat pockets and toilet handles to see how long they would survive without a human host.

One scary discovery was that MRSA thrived in seat pockets and could live for up to 168 hours! E. coli on the other hand could live in the rubber armrest for 96 hours. They also discovered that the more porous the surface, the longer bacteria could survive.

The results showed the following regarding the germiest places on the plane:

*Seat pocket – 8 days

*Arm rest – 7 days

*Leather sear – 7 days

*Plastic window shade – 3 days

*Plastic tray table – 3 days

*Steel toilet handle – 2 days

Researchers hope that these sobering statistics might prompt the airline industry to improve their current sanitation practices. With Memorial Day travel right around the corner, keep this study in mind and be sure to sanitize the surfaces around you as well as your hands prior to eating to help prevent the spread of bacteria the best that you can.


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