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Health

    Consuming too much salt can be dangerous for your health. It can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol to skyrocket, but it might also cause memory loss, according to a new report.  >> Read more trending news Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, to determine if salt was linked with memory loss. To do so, the researchers observed mice, which were split into two groups. One group was given food containing 4 percent salt, and the other was fed food with 8 percent salt. The amounts represented an “8- to 16-fold increase in salt compared to a normal mouse diet” and was comparable to a high-salt diet for humans, scientists noted.  >> On AJC.com: These 5 'healthy' foods may have more salt than you think After eight weeks, they examined the animals using magnetic resonance imaging, which captured photos of the anatomy and physiology of the brain.  They discovered the high-salt diet reduced resting blood flow to the brain, causing dementia. They saw a 28 percent decrease in the blood flow in cortex and a 25 percent decrease in the hippocampus, which are two areas of the brain associated with learning and memory.  Analysts also administered a recognition test, and the mice that consumed more salt performed significantly worse, compared to the mice on a regular diet. Mice with salty diets spent less time building nests and gathering materials. This was the case even for mice that had healthy blood pressure levels.  >> Related: These are the best diets for 2018 “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” senior author Costantino Iadecola said in a statement. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.” Why is that? The researchers discovered that the high-salt diet prompted an immune response in the gut, which increased a protein called interleukin 17. Its job is to regulate immune and inflammatory responses. But high levels of interleukin 17 can cause a reduction in the production of nitric oxide, which affects brain functions.  >> On AJC.com: Here’s what we always get wrong about salt Luckily, the scientists revealed they were able to reverse the immune signals by discontinuing the high-salt diets and prescribing drugs to lower the interleukin 17 levels. Scientists now hope to continue their investigations by further exploring interleukin 17 and other ailments associated with it. They said their findings may be able to “benefit people with diseases and conditions associated with elevated IL-17 levels, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases.”
  • As Oklahoma voters prepare to make a decision on legalizing medical marijuana, one family is using cannabis oil to help a young girl with a rare medical condition. >> Watch the news report here >> On FOX23.com: Oklahoma Gov. Fallin sets election date for medical marijuana measure KOKI has been following the story of Jaqie Angel Warrior for years now. Her mother, Brittany Warrior, said she needs cannabis oil to help with the seizures she has every day. >> On FOX23.com: New poll finds 62 percent of Oklahomans support medical marijuana measure Jaqie Angel Warrior suffers from a rare and potentially deadly form of epilepsy. Traditional pharmaceuticals haven't worked well for her, the family says. She started having seizures at 5 months old. At 20 months old, the family put her on cannabis oil at the advisement of her neurologist. Since then, she has been weaned off all pharmaceuticals. Jaqie's mother, Brittany Warrior, said they were losing all hope before they tried cannabis oil. >> Read more trending news  'Prior to starting cannabis, Jaqie had anywhere from 150 to 300 seizures a day. She was catatonic and life was fading out of her before my eyes,' she said. The family has traveled back and forth, and even temporarily moved to states with legalized medical marijuana. Now that State Question 788 is on the ballot in Oklahoma, Brittany Warrior hopes that voters will support the measure to help her child.
  • To celebrate being 104 years old, like Ruth Ann Slade did Tuesday afternoon, one must have good genes and what her friend called “inner strength.” >> Watch an interview with Slade here Slade, who spent 37 years as a first- and second-grade teacher in Poasttown, Ohio, has beaten breast cancer twice and persevered after her leg was pinned under a patio door for 18 hours as her body temperatures fell to dangerous levels. “I see a survivor,” said Chuck Veidt, 60, who cares for Slade in his West Alexandria Road residence. “She is something else. A true survivor. Her mind is better than mine. She’s a tough act to follow.” When asked about her 104th birthday, Slade said: “I don’t believe it myself.” >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  About 10 years ago, Veidt checked on Slade in her home up the street from his to see if she needed anything from the grocery store. He was shocked to see her lying face down in the kitchen as about a foot of snow accumulated just outside the door. She was rushed to Middletown Regional Hospital, where her body temperature returned to safe levels after two hours. She suffered frost bite. She later told Veidt she listened to the furnace turn off and on so she wouldn’t fall asleep. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979, she had her left breast removed. Thirty-one years later, the cancer returned in her right breast. Longevity is part of Slade’s DNA. Her father and mother lived to be 91 and 89, respectively, though she has buried her two younger brothers and sister. She credits eating fresh food from the family garden for her long life, but Veidt chimed in that Slade often told him not being married was the reason. Born in a farmhouse in Madison Twp. in 1914, Slade graduated from Middletown High School in 1932. Her last MHS class reunion was her 60th in 1992. She’d probably be the only one still alive for her 86th class reunion. “A class of one,” Veidt said with a smile. >> Read more trending news  Slade taught two years in a one-room school house, then 35 years after Poasttown built a new school. One of her former first-grade students, Homer Hartman, 86, attended Slade’s birthday party. Before Hartman was wheeled into the house, Slade gave a warning: “He’s going to tell a bunch of lies about me.” Hartman didn’t disappoint. While he called Slade his “favorite” teacher, he said she frequently put him in the corner of the classroom. “She didn’t let me get away with much,” he said. She responded: “I never put him in the corner. None of my students.” Slade retired in 1972 and said there is no way she could teach today because of the lack of discipline shown by some students. “Kids would tell me where to go,” she said with a smile. Is Slade afraid to die? She just shook her head. “A new experience for me,” she said. She paused, then added: “When (God) comes for me, I will be ready to go.”
  • Ibuprofen is one of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers used worldwide, and researchers have long warned users about the risk of heart attack and stroke associated with the drug. But scientists now believe that ibuprofen, commonly sold under brand names such as Motrin or Advil, could potentially result in male infertility. >> Read more trending news The new findings come from researchers in Denmark and France who examined the effect of the drug on a group of men between the ages of 18 and 35. Thirty-one men were given the maximum limit of 600 milligrams, or three tablets, of the drug each day for six weeks, a dosage commonly used by athletes. Other study participants were administered a placebo. In just two weeks, the researchers found the men who took ibuprofen had an increase of luteinizing hormones, which males use to regulate testosterone production. If men ever get this hormonal condition, it typically begins during middle age. >> Related: Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack by one-third, new study finds At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased — a sign of dysfunctional testicles. “The increase indicated that the drug was causing problems in certain cells in the testicles, preventing them from producing testosterone, which is, of course, needed to produce sperm cells,” Medical XPress reported. As a result, the body’s pituitary gland responded by producing more of a different hormone, essentially compensating for ibuprofen’s effect on testosterone production. This phenomenon is called compensated hypogonadism, which can reduce sperm cell production and infertility, the scientists wrote. The condition is also associated with depression and increased risk for heart attack and stroke. >> On AJC.com: Want to gain some muscle? Beware of ibuprofen, study says Because the small group of young male participants who took the drug only consumed it for a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Bernard Jegou, co-author of the study and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France, told CNN. Compensated hypogonadism can lead to a temporary reduction in sperm cell production, but that’s not cause for alarm. The larger concern, Jegou noted, is that using the drug for much longer periods of time could lead to a much more serious issue: overt primary hypogonadism, “in which the symptoms become worse -- sufferers report a reduction in libido, muscle mass and changes in mood.” The medical community, including the study authors, believe larger clinical trials are needed to understand ibuprofen’s effects on men using low doses of the drug and whether or not long-term effects are indeed reversible.  Read the full study, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
  • A seemingly healthy and active 21-year-old from Pennsylvania has died of complications from the flu.  'He was into physical fitness. He was going to school to be a personal trainer,” Kyler Baughman's mother, Beverly Baughman, told WPXI. >> Read more trending news He was working, going to school and celebrating Christmas with his family.  'We saw him the 23rd for our family Christmas get together and we noticed he wasn't feeling well. He looked run-down and had a bit of a snotty nose,” Beverly said. He celebrated with family again Christmas night, and returned to work Tuesday, but came home early because he wasn't feeling well. 'He kinda just laid down and went about his day and that was the day he was coughing and said his chest hurt, he had a mild cough,” said Baughman's fiancée, Olivia Marcanio.  Within two days, Baguhman's health took a turn. He was running a fever on and off.  On Wednesday, he went to the emergency room, then was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he died less than 24 hours later.  His mom said it was from complications from the flu.  'Organ failure due to septic shock caused by influenza,” Beverly Baughman said.  The Baughmans are now left grieving a sudden and most unexpected loss.  They're hoping by sharing his story, it could help save someone else.  'Try and know your body; don't let things go. Whenever you have a fever and you have it multiple days, don't let it go,” said Kyler’s father, Todd Baughman. “Get it taken care of.” 'I think he thought, ‘I just got the flu, I'll be all right, I'll go rest a little bit.’ He was always on the go. I just think he ignored it and thought it would go away like most people, and I think people need to pay more attention to their bodies,' Beverly Baughman said.
  • With so many diets and fitness fads, it can be difficult to determine which might be best for you. However, a new ranking might make the decision a little easier. >> Read more trending news U.S. News & World Report recently released its list of the best diets, including ones specifically for weight loss. For their eighth annual round-up, the publication’s editors and reporters looked into medical journals and government reports to create in-depth profiles for diets.  A panel of national health experts, including nutritionists, dietitians and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss, then reviewed the summaries. They considered factors such as how easy the diets were to follow, their ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss and their safety. >> Related: How to lose weight: Take a break from your diet for 2 weeks, study suggests U.S. News analysts then converted the experts’ ratings into scores, ultimately constructing nine sets of best diets rankings: best diets overall, best commercial diets, best weight-loss diets, best for diabetes, best heart-healthy, best for healthy eating, easiest to follow, plant-based and best fast weight-loss diets.  Here are the top 10 best diets overall: DASH, Mediterranean (tie) The Flexitarian Weight Watchers MIND, TLC, Volumetrics (tie) Mayo Clinic Ornish The Fertility Here are the top 10 best diets specifically for weight loss: Weight Watchers Volumetrics Jenny Craig Vegan The Flexitarian DASH, The Engine 2, Ornish, Raw Food, SlimFast (tie)
  • If you just can't resist eating the last bits of raw cookie dough from the bowl while baking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a message for you: don't. >> Read more trending news As holiday bakers took to kitchens nationwide last week, the FDA reminded people to refrain from eating raw cookie dough or face the possibility of getting sick. The warning comes after the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state officials investigated an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour that in 2016 sickened 63 people in 24 states. The outbreak started in December 2015. The CDC determined at least half of those who fell ill made something at home with flour. Subsequent tests linked the outbreak with General Mills flour produced in Missouri, and the company issued a voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour. Although many people know about the danger of getting salmonella poisoning from raw dough, fewer people may be aware that eating raw flour carries its own risks. 'Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,' Leslie Smoot, a senior advisor in the FDA's Office of Food Safety, said last year. The bacteria is killed during cooking or processing through boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving or frying. However, raw dough does not go through any of those 'kill steps,' according to the FDA. For anyone who still hopes to use raw cookie dough in something like homemade cookie dough ice cream, authorities suggest using commercially made dough. 'Manufacturers should use ingredients that include treated flour and pasteurized eggs,' FDA officials said. The FDA released the following food handling tips for handling raw flour: Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked. Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times. Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products. Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature. Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.
  • Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report. >> Read more trending news Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment. To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency. Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water. After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent.  Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent. “The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement.  As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein.  But they say the overall benefits would still be positive.  “Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”
  • Do you like to indulge in an occasional soda every once in a while? Be careful, because two sugar-laden drinks a week could up your risk for diabetes and strokes, according to researchers. Researchers from universities in South Africa recently conducted an experiment, published in Journal of Endocrine Society, to determine the link between sugary drinks, including sodas and juices, and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the chance of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To do so, they reviewed 36 studies from the last decade that examined people who drank more than five sugary drinks a week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. With the data, they were able to assess the possibility of disease. They found that consuming two sugar-sweetened drinks a week could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 42 percent. And just one sugar-sweetened drink can significantly elevate blood pressure. “Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is steadily rising among all age groups worldwide,” lead author M. Faadiel Essop said in a statement. “Our analysis revealed that most epidemiological studies strongly show that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.” They believe their findings prove there should be more education about the harmful effects of such drinks, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. That’s why they hope to conduct more studies to confirm their results. “Our understanding of this topic would benefit from additional research to further clarify how sugar-sweetened beverages affect our health,” Essop said. “We do see some limitations in the current research on this topic, including a need for longer-term studies and standardized research methods.” »RELATED: You can avoid strokes and heart attacks with these two household fruits, study says
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women under 60 years old are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the same age group. In fact, data from 2015 showed black women had a 39 percent higher breast cancer death rate. >> Read more trending news New research from Emory University, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute points to differences in health insurance as the culprit. The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included data from the National Cancer Data Base on 563,497 black and white women between the ages of 18 and 64 who had been diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer between 2004 and 2013. The researchers examined five factors for the study: Demographics (age, stage, state, year of diagnosis, etc.) Comorbidities (other health conditions) Insurance (lack of insurance, private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.) Tumor characteristics (size, type, stage, etc.) Treatment (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, etc.) The findings They found that insurance explained one-third of the additional risk of death among the black women compared to white women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Additionally, almost three times as many black women (22.7 percent) were either uninsured or had Medicaid insurance compared to white women (8.4 percent). “Lack of insurance is a barrier to receipt of timely and high-quality treatment and screening services,” study authors wrote. Other major factors that explained the differences: tumor characteristics (23.2 percent), comorbidities (11.3 percent) and treatment (4.8 percent). Nearly 80 percent of the women in the study had the most common type of breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive breast cancer) and according to the researchers, when matched for factors such as insurance, comorbidity and others, those factors accounted for a combined 76.3 percent of the total excess risk of death in black patients. The authors noted that when it came to treatment differences, black and white women contrasted most for hormone therapy, which, according to ACS, is typically used after surgery to help reduce the chance of recurrence. “Several studies reported that black women are less likely to complete chemotherapy and hormone therapy,” study author Ahmedin Jemal told the ACS. “This could be for many reasons, including problems with transportation or the inability to pay for medicine.” Additionally, previous research has shown that black women get lower quality mammograms and are less likely to have a follow-up appointment after receiving abnormal mammograms. And insurance is vital for both high-quality cancer care and for early detection. “We know so much about cancer prevention and control,” Jemal, who is also vice president of the ACS surveillance and health services research program, said. “But we’re not applying it to the whole population equally. We have to make the standard of care available to everyone, including people with low income. And blacks are disproportionately represented in that group.” Read the full study at ascopubs.org Learn more about the study and more about how women can protect themselves from breast cancer at cancer.org