New Study Finds Acupuncture May Curb Severity of Hot Flashes

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANKARA, Turkey) -- Many women are willing to try anything to get rid of the dreaded hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause.

A new study out Monday offers an alternative to the herbal remedies and hormone replacement therapy so many turn to: traditional Chinese acupuncture.

The study, conducted by the Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, concluded that acupuncture, which treats patients by inserting and manipulating needles in the body, curbs the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, largely related to mood.

The authors based their findings on the experience of 53 post-menopausal women. The participants measured their symptoms using a five-point scale before and after treatment.

Twenty-seven of the women received traditional Chinese acupuncture for 20 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. The rest thought they were given acupuncture treatment, but the needles didn't actually penetrate the skin.

The women who received real acupuncture showed significant drops in the severity of their hot flashes -- and that's not just true of the women in this study.

Jacqui Danilow said she turned to acupuncture to ease her hot flashes that would come on with no warning.

"Suddenly, you are very warm and you think the thermostat has gone up inside your body and you never know why it happens or what causes it," she said.

Weekly acupuncture treatments "were like a miracle," Danilow said. She rated the severity of her hot flashes at a "10" before her treatment -- after four months, they were a "3."

Dr. Arya Nielsen from the Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Integrative Medicine said acupuncture, which she has been performing for 35 years, is effective for women who are having menopausal symptoms -- and can help provide relief.

Researchers suggest the reason why acupuncture may work for women suffering from hot flashes is that the treatment is able to boost the production of endorphins and that could help stabilize body temperature.

Authors of this study caution that their sample size was very small, and they did not follow up with patients after treatment, so they do not know if the positive effects of acupuncture continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Use of NSAIDs May Be Linked to Men's Sexual Performance

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A new study indicates that regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could be associated with greater chance of erectile dysfunction.

Common over-the-counter NSAIDs include acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).

In the cross-sectional study in a large health care system, the rate of erectile dysfunction was 35.2 percent among middle-aged men who regularly took NSAIDs compared to only 24 percent among those who did not, reported Dr. Steven Jacobsen, director of research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues.

After adjusting for other factors which included age, ethnicity and body mass index, study authors say the difference in percentages worked out to a 1.22-fold greater probability of erectile dysfunction for NSAID users, according to the study published online in the journal Urology.

"While this raises the question of the role of inflammation and COX pathways in erectile dysfunction etiology, we cannot exclude alternative explanations," the researchers wrote.

Jacobsen told MedPage Today that if the association is indeed true, then it may be time to discuss the risks and benefits of using NSAIDs, whether for prevention or for treatment of various ailments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Study Shows Prevalence of Eating Disorders Among US Teens

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Teenagers in the United States have a lifetime risk of 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent of developing anorexia and bulimia, respectively, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study -- the first nationally representative investigation of the prevalence of eating disorders among U.S. adolescents -- analyzed a sample of over 10,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18.  Along with the prevalence of developing anorexia and bulimia, the study's authors also found that teens had a 1.6-percent lifetime risk of developing a binge-eating disorder.  These estimates are similar to those found in other studies.

One expert, who was not named, told ABC News that he found it surprising that there was no difference in the risk for developing anorexia between boys and girls.  He said that anorexia was considered more prevalent in girls than boys, so this study either points to an interesting shift in disease prevalence among adolescents, or is somehow methodologically flawed to have not picked up on that perceived difference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Survey: Americans Have Highest Risk of Developing Bipolar Disorder

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- People in the United States have the highest risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to a new survey of 11 countries released Monday.

The World Health Organization surveyed more than 61,000 people from countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and found that the U.S. took the top spot with an estimated 4.4 percent of its population at risk for developing the disorder in their lifetime.  New Zealand followed in second place with 3.9 percent of its population at risk.

The lowest rates were seen in developing countries such as India, with a prevalence of 0.1 percent.   But this lower rate may reflect the stigma associated with mental disorders rather than actual lower rates of such disorders.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Exergaming 'Viable Alternative' to Exercise

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures(PROVO, Utah) -- A new study by researchers at Brigham Young University suggests that exergaming -- that is, playing active video games for exercise -- may be a good alternative to traditional physical activity for children.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, studied 39 boys and girls from Boston who averaged 11 to 12 years of age.

Researchers found that children who played video games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Boxing expended the same amount of energy as those who walked on a treadmill for the same amount of time. Some argue, however, that trials which are longer in duration may not yield the same results.

Exercise from the games and walking on the treadmill at three miles per hour were both considered a "moderate intensity" activity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Popular Characters Influence Food Preferences for Kids, Study Shows

Jupiterimages/Pixland(PHILADELPHIA) -- If a food is branded with your child's favorite cartoon character, it could make them think it tastes better, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who ate a food with popular characters on the packaging thought the food tasted better than those who ate the same food that did not display a character.

Although the study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, was specific to one location is the U.S., similar studies have reached the same conclusion. Study authors believe the influence of characters in food advertising could have a negative effect on nutritional choices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How a Sweet Potato Is Saving Lives

Ablestock[dot]com/ThinkstockDOCTOR'S NOTEBOOK
By DR. RICHARD BESSER, ABC News Senior Health and Medical Editor

(NEW YORK) -- In a little village in Burkina Faso, under the scorching heat of the dry African season, I met a woman who has been empowered by a sweet potato.

Fatiba is 30 and she has three young children. She manages the family, grows the crops, cooks the meals, and sells produce in the market. She has been learning new farming techniques at the model garden center supported by Helen Keller International.

She lectured me about the importance of eating fresh produce, the impact of drip irrigation and mulch for extending the scarce water, and the nutritional value of the orange sweet potato.

"The orange sweet potato has Vitamin A," she said. "Our white sweet potato does not. I want my family to eat the orange one to make them healthier."

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of preventable blindness and death in children around the world. Fatiba is taking steps to make sure her children and community are spared this problem.

She rides her bicycle 10 miles from the garden center back to her family compound to show us her own garden. Her face beams as she shows me the crops: cow peas, sweet peppers, and eggplant. She has grown carrots this year for the first time.

"They are a very good source of vitamin A," she tells me with the pride of someone who has newfound knowledge.

The garden means independence for her. Not only can her family have fresh vegetables every day for the first time ever, but the excess produce brings in money that is liberating.

She is quick to give her husband credit, too. Without the strong thatched fence that he built, the goats, donkeys, cattle and other animals would have destroyed the garden.

She fries up some sweet potato so I can give it a try and we sit on a mat with her children for an afternoon snack. They are a bit suspicious of me, but absolutely love the potatoes.

What's not to love? Sweet potato fries -- trendy in America -- are saving eyesight in Africa and are doing much more than that. The agricultural lessons that come with the potatoes are empowering women and improving their lives and the lives of their families.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Americans Not Getting Enough Sleep; Using Electronics Before Bed

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A large number of Americans are not getting the sleep they need, with many reporting using some sort of technology in the hour before going to bed. A new study released Monday says the two are related.

The National Sleep Foundation reports in its 2011 Sleep in America poll that 43 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 claim they rarely get a good night's sleep on weeknights.  Furthermore, the study found that 60 percent experience a sleep problem regularly, such as snoring, waking up in the middle of the night, or waking up too early.

Meanwhile, 95 percent of Americans surveyed reported using electronics, such as a TV, computer, or cell phone within the hour before trying to fall asleep, at least a few times a week

"Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour -- making it more difficult to fall asleep," said Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., MD, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

"This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep.  Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need," Czeisler added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fight Aging: Recommendations for Best Anti-Aging Makeup

Jupiterimages/Pixland(NEW YORK) -- There are plenty of products on the shelves that promise to cover up the signs of aging, but which ones are really worth your money?

Reporters at Good Housekeeping magazine spoke with dozens of dermatologists and makeup artists to determine the best anti-aging makeup to help dry skin, wrinkles, or an uneven complexion.

What Can You Do For Dry Skin? Nothing accentuates fine lines like dry skin does, but luckily, there's an easy fix.  Rosemary Ellis, the editor in chief of Good Housekeeping, recommends you use makeup that has moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

If you have dry skin, avoid any products that have the word "matte" anywhere on the packaging. A matte finish highlights dryness.

Their pick: Stila Illuminating tinted moisturizer, SPF 20 ($32, Sephora).

If your skin is really dry, you should avoid any base makeup that contains salicylic acid because the exfoliator sweeps away skin's natural oils.

What Can You Do For Lines? Retinol is among the most popular of line correctors found in foundations and concealers. Adding this form of vitamin A to makeup may increase cell turnover and collagen production, which is the basis of de-wrinkling. Retinol can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so if you use retinol, you must use a daily SPF product.

Their pick: L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Serum Absolute SPF 17 ($15 in drugstores) has retinol and built-in sun protection.

Look For Peptides: Peptides are wrinkle-fighting proteins that are finding their way into makeup. They are key to collagen synthesis and they enhance the performance of antioxidants.

Their pick: Mary Kay Timewise Luminous-Wear Liquid Foundation ($20, provides a blend of peptides and antioxidants.

Choosing Foundations: Most anti-aging makeup contains light-reflecting particles that create an instant optical illusion. Look for sheer and creamy foundations. Powder can crease and cake up, calling attention to wrinkles.

What Can You Do About Age Spots? Age spots or dark spots can become pronounced with sun exposure. Whether you're dealing with one or both, SPF can be a valuable addition to your makeup collection. Start with a sheer, luminous foundation because tiny reflective particles are the instant antidote to dullness. Then, brush on a creamy concealer over pronounced splotches and pat it in with your finger. Dermatologists like soy as an ingredient for fading and brightening, and certain antioxidants -- such as goji berries -- boost the skin's radiance and natural UV defenses.

Their picks: Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 ($15 in drugstores). Contains soy and light-reflecting mica and silica.

Maybelline New York Age Rewind the Eraser ($13 in drugstores.) This foundation contains SPF 18 and goji berries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Fight Aging: Good Housekeeping's Recommendations for Best Anti-Aging Makeup


Study Discovers New Genes Tied to Heart Disease

JupiterImages/LiquidLibrary(LUBECK, Germany) -- A new study published in Nature Genetics has made major strides in understanding the role that genetics plays in heart disease.

CARDIoGRAM, a study by researchers at the Universitat zu Lubeck in Germany, with help from teams at Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, and Johns Hopkins, has lead to the discovery of 13 new genes that increase the risk of heart disease.

Of those discovered, three were linked to cholesterol and high blood pressure, while 10 others played a role in heart disease by unknown mechanisms. Understanding their mechanisms could help improve the understanding of the disease process and ultimately help to develop new treatments.

The study, which is the largest ever genetic study, included 167 scientists from 100 research organizations worldwide who examined the genetic basis of heart disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio