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Health

    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
  • When a 7-year-old boy fell asleep following a late-night wedding party, his mother expected him to be tired, but she could never fathom what would unfold. >> Watch the news report here The boy, Wyatt Shaw, was admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, during the first week of October after his mother tried and tried and tried to wake up him following the exciting Sunday night wedding festivities. “Monday I tried to wake him up, and he fell back to sleep,” the boy’s mother, Amy Shaw, told WDRB. “[I’d say], ‘Wyatt, Wyatt, Wyatt!’ And he fell back to sleep again.” Wyatt slept for 11 consecutive days. According to WTVR, medication usually used to treat seizures finally woke the boy up, but doctors are mystified by what happened. Every test performed on Wyatt came back clear. >> On Rare.us: 'Nothing brings me more joy': Artist brings smiles to sick children with beautiful tattoos “[The doctors] said, ‘We’ll probably never know, but we’re just going to treat him now with rehab to get him better,’” Amy Shaw said. >> On Rare.us: Anthony Rizzo breaks down in tears at Chicago hospital Wyatt is having some trouble talking and walking, but he’s improving and is well aware of his story, WDRB reported. The only thing he doesn’t understand is the same thing the doctors don’t — what happened to him. >> Read more trending news  His mom hopes he’s back to showing off the energy he’s always exhibited, especially that night cutting up the dance floor at the wedding. A benefit concert is being held for Wyatt and his family from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at Northside Hall in Radcliff, Kentucky.
  • The American opioid epidemic claimed another victim Monday.  >> Watch the news report here The mother of 22-year-old Elaina Towery shared a gut-wrenching photograph of her clutching her daughter just moments before she was taken off life support at a Detroit hospital. >> See the photo here Elaina reportedly died due to an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. She fell into a coma on Thursday. Cheryl Towery, 49, told WJBK that her daughter had been battling addiction for seven years. “She’s my only daughter, my best friend,” Cheryl said. “She was supposed to start her new job today; now she’s on life support.” >> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight She told WJBK that her daughter and a friend had stopped at a Detroit Burger King last week. Elaina went inside to use the restroom. After about 20 to 25 minutes, her friend thought it was odd that she had not returned. Shortly afterward, a Burger King employee found Elaina unconscious on the bathroom floor. Only moments earlier, Cheryl said, she had received a text message saying her daughter would be home soon. “By 6 p.m., 6:30, 7, I finally got a message on Facebook,” Cheryl said. >> How heroin changes our brains and more things to know about the drug She said her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest. Elaina had survived five previous overdoses and visits to five different treatment centers, Cheryl said. “I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room,” Cheryl said. “Because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her.” She said her daughter’s addiction began in 2010, when she started to abuse prescription drugs to deal with an abusive boyfriend. That boyfriend, who was convicted of domestic abuse and other crimes, is also the father of Elaina’s 5-year-old son, Christopher. She gave up her son due to her addiction, Cheryl said. Cheryl believes Elaina giving up her baby contributed to her addiction problems. She was also working as a prostitute, Cheryl told WJBK. “[She was] beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin,” Cheryl said. >> Read more trending news Cheryl said she made the decision remove Elaina from life support on Monday after it became clear that her daughter's vital organs were failing and that there was no brain activity. “I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people need to be locked up,” she said. Read more here.
  • The toilet bowl holds quite a bit of muck, but according to a recent report, there’s another item in your home that’s even filthier: your kitchen sponge. Researchers in Germany conducted a study to determine the different types of bacteria found on a sponge. To do so, they sequenced the DNA of 28 samples of bacteria collected from 14 sponges.   >> Dirtier than the toilet? These 5 items are among the filthiest in your home They found 118 genera of bacteria. That’s more than what’s found on toilets.  'Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets. This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges, which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house,' the study said. >> On AJC.com: Toothbrushes can be more germ-ridden than a toilet seat However, the scientists noted that most of the genera of bacteria discovered was not harmful. The pathogens that were found were most concerning, because those can cause infections among humans.  >> On AJC.com: How well are you cleaning the 10 filthiest places in your kitchen? 'Kitchen sponges are likely to collect, incubate and spread bacteria from and back onto kitchen surfaces, from where they might eventually find their way into the human body,' the study said. “Direct contact of a sponge with food and/or the human hands might transfer bacteria in and onto the human body, where they might cause infections, depending on their pathogenic potential.” Although many boil or microwave sponges to rid of toxins, analysts found that the latter method only kills 60 percent of bacteria. Plus, the bacteria could increase after cleaning, because the microbes re-colonize.  >> Read more trending news To minimize the spread of germs, researchers suggests that people replace their sponges at least once a week.
  • Over the past two decades, teen birth rates have declined by nearly 65 percent, according to new data released by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on Friday. But last year, the teen birth rate for U.S. women ages 15-19 hit a record low after it fell nine percent since 2015. To come up with the numbers, researchers at the NCHS obtained birth certificates for 2016. According to the study, the birth certificates represent 99.96 percent of all births in the country as of Feb. 16, 2017. The researchers found that for every 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2016, there were 20.3 births — a 51 percent fall from 2007, when there were 41.5 births for every 1,000 women in that age group. >> On AJC.com: Opinion: Celebrate declines in teen pregnancy Since 1991, the rate among all teens has plummeted by two-thirds. 'Data [from previous years] really suggests it is access to contraceptives and use of contraceptives that has really led to these kind of changes,' Elise Berlan, a physician specializing in adolescent medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told CNN. Berlan said most teens are using some form of birth control: condoms, withdrawal and the pill. Unlike teens, however, the birth rate for women between the ages 30-34 increased last year and women ages 35-39 had their highest birth rate since 1962. >> Read more trending news But overall, U.S. fertility rates still hit a historic low in 2016, the CDC and NCHS study found, largely due to fewer young women (teens and 20-somethings) giving birth. And demographers are debating whether or not these declining fertility rates are leading the country toward a “national emergency,” as some demographers have described, according to the Washington Post. But some are still optimistic, citing lower fertility rates in other developed countries that have leveled off. And, as the Washington Post points out, “as fertility treatments have extended the age of childbearing, the birthrates among women who are age 40 to 44 are also rising.” Read the full CDC and NCHS study.
  • A bite from the aggressive Lone Star tick could do more than give you an irritable rash — it could potentially induce a dangerous meat allergy. » RELATED: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer  The tick, widely distributed in the southeastern and eastern United States, is spreading to even more areas, including Minnesota, New Hampshire and Long Island, New York, and is making people allergic to just a single bite of meat. According to Wired.com, something in the tick bite makes people sensitive to the sugar compound alpha-galactose, or alpha-gal, found in meat from mammals. » RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it  And unlike most allergies, which are dependent on a mix of genetic and environmental factors, alpha-gal allergies seem to affect anyone and everyone, regardless of genetic makeup, Wired reported. » RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals Some bite victims will experience a hive-like rash or a dangerous anaphylactic reaction about four hours after eating meat.  » RELATED: WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites Such allergies are still incredibly rare and the government hasn’t issued any health warnings yet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution, range and abundance of the Lone Star tick has increased steadily in the past 20 to 30 years. » RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals “We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northwards and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Ronald Staff, allergist and clinical professor of medicine, told Business Insider. » RELATED: Girl dies from possible tick bite Saff said he's now seeing patients every week who have been bitten by ticks and developed the meat allergy. The best thing to do while scientists continue research to track and understand the species is to try to prevent tick bites overall. » RELATED: Woman loses arms, legs after tick bite  The CDC recommends avoiding tick habitats, using insect repellents with DEET or permethrin and actively checking for ticks after you’ve been outdoors. Click here to read more on tick prevention and removal tips.
  • On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that will be in the July issue of “Pediatrics” and its recommendations in response to the study. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States” is the largest study to look at the number of gun-related injuries and death in children and adolescents. It looked at numbers from National Vital Statistics System, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the National Violent Death Reporting System. >> Read more trending news Here’s what it found: On average, 1,297 children a year die in the U.S. from gunshot wounds and 5,790 are treated for a gunshot wound. Death from a firearm is the third-leading cause of death for children in the U.S. behind illness/congenital defect and motor vehicle injury. 53 percent of gun deaths in children were homicides, 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional deaths, and 3 percent were due to legal intervention or undetermined intent. Homicide deaths by firearms in children have declined, but suicide deaths are on the rise. 4.2 percent of children ages 0 to 17 in the United States have witnessed a shooting in the past year. 82 percent of children killed by guns were boys. Children 13-17 years old had a 12-times higher rate of being killed by a firearm than children 12 and younger. Race mattered: The annual firearm homicide rate for African-American children (3.5 per 100,000) was nearly twice as high as the rate for American Indian children (2.2 per 100,000), 4 times higher than the rate for Hispanic children (0.8 per 100,000), and ∼10 times higher than the rate for white children and Asian-American children (each 0.4 per 100,000). The suicide rate was highest for white and American Indian children (each 2.2 per 100,000), almost four times the amount for African-American (0.6 per 100,000) and Hispanic (0.5 per 100,000) children and over 5 times the rate for Asian-American children (0.4 per 100,000). The rate of unintentional firearm deaths for African-American children was twice as high (0.2 per 100 000) as the rate for white children (0.1 per 100,000) and 4 times the rate for Hispanic children (0.05 per 100,000). Southern states and parts of the Midwest had the highest rate of firearm homicides among children. Firearm suicides are more evenly distributed among states, but higher in Western states. In younger children, homicides often happen in a multivictim scenario and by family conflict. Older children were more likely to die from crime and violence. A shooter playing with the gun was the most common reason for an unintentional firearm death for all children. Of children who committed suicide by firearm, 60 percent used a handgun, 42 percent had a crisis in the past, 71 percent had relationship problems, 34 percent were depressed, 26 percent had a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, 18 percent were receiving mental health treatment and 26 percent disclosed their intent to die by suicide to someone. Most spent 10 minutes or less thinking about it before they did it. What are pediatricians to do with this information? And what are parents supposed to do? Dr. Eliot W. Nelson of the University of Vermont wrote the academy’s response recommendations for its physicians: Ask parents if there are guns in their house. Do not get in a debate about their rights to have a gun. Talk about safe storage practices such as a gun safe and lock, storing guns unloaded and storing bullets separately.
  • Do you always wash your hands in hot water? A new study suggests you can turn the heat down a notch because cleaning your hands in cold water is just as good.  >> Read more trending news Professors from Rutgers University-New Brunswick conducted an experiment to learn the most effective way to clean your hands. While many people assume warmer temperatures get rid of more germs, the researchers’ results proved that it’s a myth.  Analysts gathered 20 volunteers, asking them to wash their hands, which were covered in bugs, 20 times each in 59-, 79- and 100-degree Fahrenheit water with varying amounts of soap. »Related: How well are you cleaning the 10 filthiest places in your kitchen?  They determined that there was no difference in the number of insects removed in each of the water temperatures or amounts of soap.  »Related: Photos: The 10 germiest items in your home  'People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness [goes], this study shows us that the temperature of the water used did not matter,' researcher Donald Schaffner said. Although the scientists noted their study was small and more research was needed, they recommend people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, using an adequate amount of soap to cover the entire surface. 
  • An estimated 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. » RELATED: Alzheimer’s disease fueled by gut bacteria, new study finds  According to a recent report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate from the disease has risen by 55 percent in recent decades. Experts collected data from death certificates and found that 93,541 Americans who died in 2014 had Alzheimer’s disease cited as the cause of death. That’s a rate of 25.4 deaths per 100,000 people. >> Read more trending news It’s a 54.5 percent increase since 1999, when the rate of Alzheimer’s disease deaths was 16.5 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. » RELATED: How does Alzheimer's disease kill you?  By 2050, experts estimate the number will jump to 13.8 million afflicted U.S. adults ages 65 and up. The increase is due to multiple factors, including the growing population of older adults and increased reporting and diagnosis by physicians and medical examiners among others, according to the report. While most U.S. Alzheimer’s disease deaths occurred in a nursing home or a long-term care facility, that number has dramatically declined since 1999, from 14.7 percent to 6.6 percent in 2014. » RELATED: Living with Alzheimer’s disease and the fight to combat it  Instead, more and more patients died at home instead of in medical facilities.About a quarter of Alzheimer’s patients in 2014 spent their last days at home compared to just 13.9 percent in 1999. “Millions of Americans and their family members are profoundly affected by Alzheimer's disease,” CDC acting director Anne Schuchat said in a statement. “As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer's disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of caregiver than ever before.” » RELATED: How to help Alzheimer’s patients enjoy life, not just ‘fade away’  In addition, patients, caregivers and publicly funded long-term care facilities bear significant financial and societal costs due to increasing rates of Alzheimer’s deaths. Experts recommend more federal funding toward caregiver support and education and toward research to find a cure. According to the CDC report, the U.S. is estimated to spend a total $259 billion in 2017 on care costs for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. » RELATED: Don’t go it alone when caring for a spouse with dementia  And those caring for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance in 2015. “This is a tidal wave of Alzheimer's disease that is now upon us. We've been saying Baby Boomers are getting older and we have to be ready. Now it's here. It's here, and it's not going away unless we do something serious about it. Ultimately, we want to eradicate this disease. That is possible,” Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs at the Alzheimer’s Association, told CBS News. Click here to read the full CDC Morbidity and Mortality report.