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Thursday
Feb172011

Survey: Over 700,000 Young Teens Drank Alcohol Last Month

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An estimated 709,000 young teenagers between the ages of 12 and 14 drank alcohol last month, according to a survey released Thursday.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that almost half of those who drank got the alcohol from their family or at home, indicating family members can play a direct and important role in reducing young adolescents' access to alcohol.

According to SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., "People who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are six times more likely than those who start at age 21 and older to develop alcohol problems."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

New CDC Report Says Many Americans Get No Exercise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Exercise is key to good health and an essential tool in the fight against obesity, but new numbers suggest that many Americans don't get any physical activity at all.

In a checkup of the nation's health, the CDC found that fewer than two in 10 Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity. The findings were published Tuesday in the agency's annual report on health statistics.

Regionally, the problems are even more pronounced. Inactivity runs rampant across the U.S. South and Appalachia, where nearly 30 percent of people reported that they do not get any physical exercise -- not even light activities such as golfing or gardening.

"That's probably even an underestimate of the real problem," said Dr. Antronette Yancey, a professor at UCLA who serves on a board that supports first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. Yancey said that in self-reported data, participants often vastly overstate their actual activity.

In Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee, inactivity rates are at least 29.2 percent in more than 70 percent of counties. These states also have some of the highest levels of health problems, such as diabetes and obesity.

Federal guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week, including two days of full-body strengthening.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

People Who Handle Conflict Make Better Lovers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) - If your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't hold a grudge after a fight, chances are they would make a more stable and fulfilling romantic partner then those who don't handle the conflict well, reports Psychological Science.

A study by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development's Institute of Child Development found that those who recover better after conflict make better romantic partners.

"What we show is that recovering from conflict well predicts higher satisfaction and more favorable relationship perceptions. You perceive the relationship more positively," said lead researcher Jessica Salvatore. "If I'm good at recovering from conflict, my husband will benefit and be more satisfied with our relationship."

Salvatore and her team studied 73 individuals from birth to young adulthood. They found that those who grew up with a caregiver who was more responsive to their emotional needs recovered better from conflict and were less likely to let the conflict spill into other parts of their relationship.
 
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Fast-Food Calorie Labels May Not Mean Healthier Choices

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) - You would think that finding out your favorite fast-food hamburger has more than 600 calories would prevent you from ordering it, but new research suggests that for some, that isn't the case.

A new study has found that displaying the calorie content of items at fast-food restaurants doesn't make parents of young children or teenagers order healthier food, reports Science Daily.

Researchers studied orders at four fast-food restaurants in New York both before and after legislation was implemented there that made it mandatory to display calorie and nutritional content.

"We didn't notice a change in calories purchased before and after labeling [went into effect]," said study leader Dr. Brian Elbel, assistant professor of medicine and health policy at the New York University School of Medicine and Wagner School of Public Service.

In fact, the number of calories per order actually rose slightly for teens, on avearge. Although just 57 percent of teens studied in New York noticed the labels, the teens bought 755 calories worth of food compared to 730 calories before the labels were implemented.

The study authors have recommended that a similar study be conducted nationwide when mandatory labeling takes effect across the entire country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Report: 25 Percent of Americans Over 45 Take Statins

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that a staggering number of American adults over 45 years of age -- one out of every four -- takes cholesterol-lowering statins.

The figures, from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics annual report, represent a tenfold increase from the years between 1988 and 1994, when just two percent of adults over 45 took statins, compared to 25 percent from 2005 to 2008.

Another startling statistic is the amount of men 65 to 74 years old who take the drugs. According to the report, over half of men in that age bracket take statins, which can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Long Wait in ER Allegedly Cost Toddler Her Hands and Feet

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Parents of two-year old Malyia Jeffers are suing a Sacramento hospital after alleged ER negligence resulted in the amputation of their daughter's hands and feet.

Malyia's parents brought her to Methodist Hospital in Sacramento because their daughter had a high temperature, but, despite their child's increasing weakness and persistent fever stemming from an advanced strep infection, they say Malyia did not receive treatment for five hours, Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV reports.

"At this point she couldn't walk," the girl's father, Ryan Jeffers, told KXTV. "I was carrying her around for another hour-and-a-half. They tell us we're next, so we're figuring we're next. Still hours went by, so I really told them that...you have to see her now. Her fever's gone up, hasn't gone down from the Motrin or Tylenol."

Once seen by medical staff, Malyia's condition required that she be flown to Stanford University Hospital, where she was diagnosed with septic shock. The shock resulted in the loss of her feet, her left hand and part of her right hand.

In rare, more aggressive types of strep, the streptococcus bacteria that causes the illness can move from the throat to the bloodstream and the resulting sepsis can lead to the loss of extremities, says Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and co-author of Baby 411.

"When the bacterial infection goes through the bloodstream, you have sepsis and a problem with your blood clotting ability. As a result, [the infection] cuts off the blood flow to the extremities and those areas die," Brown says.

The family has filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and five emergency room employees, suing for compensation for their daughter's past, present and future medical bills, according to court documents.

In response to the lawsuit, the hospital released a statement saying: "At Methodist Hospital, patient care and safety is our No. 1 priority. We were sorry to hear about the eventual outcome for Malyia, and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. We are unable to comment on matters of impending litigation." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Widow of Patrick Swayze Announces Bill to Reduce Pancreatic Cancer

Photo Courtesy - Logan Mock-Bunting/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- The widow of the late actor Patrick Swayze spoke on Capitol Hill Wednesday announcing the re-introduction of a bill to cut the mortality rate from pancreatic cancer, the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act.

Most patients afflicted with the disease die within a year.  Lisa Niemi Swayze says there must be early detection and better treatment to give patients more hope. "A lot of these cancers that have seen such incredible progress over the last twenty years or so have done so because they had survivors championing their causes - and pancreatic cancer can't boast that kind of alumni."

Swayze died in 2009, nearly 22 months after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The disease is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and is relatively underfunded. There is no cure or early detection.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Are Routine Pelvic Exams a Thing of the Past?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- "Put your feet in the stirrups and scootch your butt all the way down. Further down. Little further. Now, try to relax." These are the instructions that usually accompany the routine, often dreaded, pelvic exam that is de rigueur for most gynecological checkups.

Some women are resigned to this exam, others find it embarrassing and unpleasant, and still others may detest it so much they avoid seeking gynecological care in order to skip it -- but what if it wasn't always necessary?

What if women could safely go for two or three years, granted they were healthy and without symptoms of disease, without the hassle?

That is precisely what a commentary published in the January edition of the Journal of Women's Health is suggesting: in healthy, asymptomatic women, a pelvic exam doesn't have to be done yearly, and in women under 21, perhaps not at all. And many gynecologists feel that this assertion has been a long time coming.

Authors of the commentary argue that many of the reasons pelvic exams are employed today are unnecessary and could be replaced by less invasive techniques. The evidence suggests that less frequent pelvic examinations have no detrimental effect on health outcomes in everything from testing for STDS to prescribing hormonal contraceptives to screening for gynecological cancers.

The authors' arguments "are completely valid," says Dr. Diane Harper, director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. "There are so many other health needs, including behavioral medicine, depression, coping skills, domestic violence, etc., that need to be addressed in the time that we used to do pelvic exams."

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is taking this issue to heart.

"It's something that's on their plate for discussion to have possibly new recommendations for the annual examinations in the near future," says ACOG representative Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a Louisville, Ky. based gynecologist. "The reason this is being addressed is that when we look at pelvic exams historically, they have just not been linked to an increase in diagnosis of things like ovarian cancer." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Study Shows Casual Video Games Lower Depression Symptoms

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GREENVILLE, N.C.) -- Casual video games, such as family-friendly, non-violent puzzle games, can significantly lower symptoms of depression, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Researchers at East Carolina University's Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic conducted the year-long study of nearly 60 participants, all of whom were clinically depressed.  Researchers found that those who were exposed to the video games -- about half of the participants -- had their depression symptons go down by 57 percent.

Participants who played also had an average mood improvement of 65 percent and a reduction in anxiety by an average of 20 percent.

"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression," said Dr. Carmen Russoniello, director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic at ECU and the professor who oversaw the study.

"In my opinion the findings support the possibility of using prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or perhaps even a replacement for, standard therapies including medication," Russoniello added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Survey: Use of Temporary Doctors Increasing

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- As a shortage of doctors ensues in the U.S., more and more hospitals and medical groups are resorting to hiring temporary physicians to fill in the gaps, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the temporary physician staffing firm Staff Care, polled various facilities and found that 85 percent of them had used the part-time doctors sometime in the past 12 months.  This new average is an increase from the previous year, when the average was 72 percent.

Of those surveyed, 63 percent noted that the top reason for using temporary physicians was to have someone fill in until the facility could find a permanent doctor.

"There are simply too few physicians to fill all the available vacancies today," said Tim Boes, president of Staff Care.  "Temporary doctors are providing critical, interim patient care services for many healthcare facilities until they can find the full-time physicians they need."

The survey also found that psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists were the most demanded temporary doctors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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