SEARCH

Tuesday
Dec072010

Family Support for Gay Teens Saves Lives

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The suicide of Billy Lucas and other teens who were harassed for being gay has put the spotlight on bullying, but support at home may be the largest single factor in protecting youths struggling with coming out, researchers say.

Though it may seem obvious, research from San Francisco State shows that support at home can have a protective effect on the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youths, bolstering their self-esteem and reducing the likelihood that they will suffer from depression, substance abuse, or become suicidal.

Compared with teens who report high levels of family support, those who report low levels of family rejection are over three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to attempt suicide. Those who report high levels of family rejection are 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide.

"We need to help parents learn to not just help their child survive, but thrive," says Caitlin Ryan, lead author on the study and director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Dec072010

Alcoholic Whipped Cream: The Proof Is on the Pudding

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) ---Don't eat pie and drive. That's the expert recommendation if your pie has an added dollop of Whipped Lightning, a new 30-proof dessert topping.

So-called "whipohol" products like Whipped Lightening and CREAM are essentially whipped cream infused with alcohol.  At 15 percent alcohol, they contain three times more alcohol per volume than beer and deliver the same high-octane kick as many liqueurs. And since they're considered more adult beverage than food, they're not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or sold in supermarkets. If you reach for a can at your local liquor store, expect to be carded.

Some experts say these spirited toppings are bad news because sugar and cream blunt the taste of alcohol, which ups the risk of alcohol abuse. Even if you intend to drink responsibly, a liquored-up dessert might lead to impaired driving or a failed sobriety check.

"The effects of alcohol are cumulative," said Robert Doyle, a physician and psychologist with Harvard University Health Services. "Together with drinking, a few servings of whipohol could theoretically push you over the legal limit."

Doyle says it's possible that the effects might be further exacerbated if you consume other foods with a high alcohol content as well. Those rum balls, flaming flambes and sherry sauces made with alcohol often retain more hooch than most people realize. According to a 2007 USDA study, even after simmering or baking for two hours, more than 10 percent of alcohol remains; quick-flamed desserts retain about 75 percent of the original alcohol; and alcohol that's stirred into hot liquid without further cooking retains 85 percent of its original potency. It all adds up.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Daily Aspirin Use May Reduce Cancer-Related Deaths, Researchers Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A study released Monday shows that long-term daily aspirin use reduces risk of cancer-related deaths for a number of common cancers such as esophageal, colorectal and lung cancers.  It has been known that taking daily aspirin can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, but this is the first study suggesting that daily aspirin can reduce cancer deaths.

The authors analyzed data from previous studies that evaluated the benefits of aspirin for prevention of cardiovascular disease.  Over 25,000 people and eight different studies were assessed, and the data revealed that those individuals who took aspirin had a 20 percent lower risk of cancer-related death compared to trial participants not taking aspirin.  Aspirin was particularly effective in reducing mortality from adenocarcinomas, which are particular types of cancers found in many tissues.

The beneficial effect of aspirin was apparent only after five years, but increased as time went on.  The benefit was also not dependent on the dose of aspirin.  As the authors themselves state, “These findings have implications for guidelines on use of aspirin," as well as for our understanding of cancer.

As for cancer patients wondering if a daily aspirin is the right option for them, Eric Jacobs, Strategic Director of Pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society says it may not be for everybody.

“Many people may wonder if they should start taking aspirin tomorrow.  It’s important to first discuss aspirin use with your doctor who knows your personal medical history.  Decisions about aspirin use should be made by balancing the risks against the benefits.  Even low dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding,” he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Thrill-Seeking Gene May Lead to Promiscuous Sex, Cheating

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In what is being called a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY) have discovered that about half of all people have a gene that makes them more vulnerable to promiscuity and cheating.

Those with a certain variant of the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism -- or DRD4 gene -- "were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity," according to lead investigator Justin Garcia.

DRD4 is the "thrill-seeking" gene, also responsible for alcohol and gambling addictions. The gene can influence the brain's chemistry and subsequently, an individual's behavior.

The desire to cheat or sleep around seems to originate in the brain's pleasure and reward center, where the "rush" of dopamine motivates those who are vulnerable, the researchers say.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Lithium Batteries Pose Deadly Threat to Kids

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- They're common in everyday objects all around us, in gadgets like remote controls, watches, calculators, thermometers, toys and greeting cards. Nickel-sized lithium batteries, or button batteries are often accidentally ingested by young children and they can be deadly.

Reports of children ingesting these "button batteries" have increased. More than 35,000 button battery cases are reported to poison control centers annually and at least 13 have been identified as the cause of death.

Within as little as two hours, after the round 20-25mm battery enters the body, it can cause severe tissue damage and other serious complications. When a lithium battery becomes lodged in the body, it gives off an electrical current. Once the electric charge is set off, it reacts with the surrounding skin, producing a strong acid similar to that found in home drain opener.

More than 80 kids have permanent damage from ingesting button batteries. The chemical reaction triggered by the batteries can damage vocal cords leaving children with a life-long whisper. Damage to the intestinal tract means some children require feeding tubes and even multiple surgeries.

Emergency physicians suggest parents be on the lookout for the batteries and get down on the floor at their child's level and look around to make sure they aren't lying around the house.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec052010

Weight Watchers Overhauls Points System

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Weight Watchers, the weight-management and packaged food empire, surprised its legion of users last week when it updated and overhauled its immensely popular points-based dieting system.

Introduced 13 years ago and not changed since, the system has been a huge success for both the company and for the thousands of users who have successfully shed unwanted pounds.

The company's new dieting system -- called PointsPlus -- seeks to guide users toward healthier and more satisfying foods, the company said. Weight Watchers has said the new system will help dieters realize that a 100-calorie apple is a better choice than a 100-calorie bag of chips.

The new system focuses on fruits and vegetables, which are now zero points, while dried fruits and starchy vegetables -- like potatoes and corn -- still have points assigned to them.

What this new weight management science takes into account is the energy contained in each component of a calorie and how much effort the body must exert to process each calorie, according to the company.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec052010

Vaccine Against Meningitis Could Save Millions in Africa

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- An inexpensive new vaccine used to inoculate against bacterial meningitis will be administered in a large portion of Africa where the disease is rampant, The New York Times reported Saturday. The vaccination could save millions of lives in West Africa.

The highly contagious disease is an infection in the brain and spinal chord, and can have highly debilitating effects even when treated immediately with antibiotics. At 50 cents a dose, the new vaccine against meningitis is remarkably cheap, and is being compared to similarly ubiquitous, groundbreaking inoculations against smallpox and polio.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec032010

FDA to Review Another Weight-Loss Pill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The FDA on Tuesday will bring together outside experts to review another weight-loss pill -- the third this year.
 
Contrave is a blend of naltrexone, a drug used to help junkies and alcoholics kick the habit, and bupropion, an anti-depressant that’s also used for smoking cessation and seasonal affective disorder.
 
Contrave’s prospects seem no better than the last two weight-loss pills, which both were shot down by the FDA this fall.
 
An FDA staff review released Friday finds Contrave fell short of the agency’s weight-loss targets. And the reviewers want a study to focus specifically on the drug’s effects on the heart.
 
Anti-depressants can cause suicidal thoughts, but no one in the last Contrave study “completed or attempted suicide.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec032010

FDA Panel Recommends Lap Band Expansion

 Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 8-2 Friday in favor of expanding use of the popular Lap Band weight-loss device for use on those who are less obese, potentially expanding the eligibility for surgery from 13 million Americans to nearly 32 million.

The decision comes in response to a request by Lap Band manufacturer Allergan to lower the recommended body mass index needed to qualify for the procedure.

And, like a majority of the FDA panel members, many experts also believe that the time has come to expand eligibility for the weight-loss procedure.

In Lap Band surgery, an inflatable ring is placed over part of the stomach to reduce the amount of food consumed. The procedure had already approved for people categorized as morbidly obese, or adults with a body mass index, or BMI, of at least 40, and those with BMI of 35 who have at least one obesity-related health problem.

The panel now recommends the BMI lower limit drop to 35 for those with no related health problems and 30 for those with weight-related medical problems. Patients categorized as obese but who weigh 34 pounds less than the original indication would qualify.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec032010

Nurses Beat Other Professions for 11th Time in Honesty and Ethics Survey

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- Gallup reports that 81 percent of Americans surveyed said that nurses have "very high" or "high" honesty and ethical standards.  This is significantly greater than the next-highest-rated professions -- military officers and pharmacists.

Gallup only began to ask Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of nurses since 1999.  Since then, the profession has topped the list in all but one year -- 2001.

Car salespeople, lobbyists and members of Congress received the lowest honesty and ethics ratings by Americans with a mere nine percent "very high" rating for members of Congress and a lower seven percent for car salespeople and lobbyists.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio