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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

Thursday
Dec022010

New Guidelines Highlight Advances in Stroke Prevention

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | American Heart Association(DALLAS) -- The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Thursday announced new prevention guidelines for stroke to be published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.  The guidelines were last updated in 2006.

According to new research, the guidelines say that emergency room visits are critical opportunities to identify and intervene for patients at high risk for stoke.  New prevention information also declares that making healthy lifestyle choices lowers risk of first-time stroke by 80 percent compared to those who make no changes.

The American Heart Association also noted that this is the first time that prevention guidelines address stroke "as a broad continuum of related events."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, though  stroke death rates in the U.S. have decreased by over 30 percent in recent years. 

"We think the majority of the reduction is coming from better prevention," said Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., director of the Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C.

 Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

New Survey Shows Americans Still Trust Their Doctors

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images

(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- Despite the volubility of medical advice -- both online and around the world -- Americans still seem to trust their doctors and rarely seek a second opinion after their first diagnosis. The latest results from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare Survey show that 70 percent of Americans trust their doctor's word and see no need to seek additional information or other opinions.

This information contradicts what Gallup describes as doctors' complaints about their patients not trusting their opinions and spending hours surfing online medical sites. The poll shows that the eldery are especially sure of their doctor's diagnoses and medical advice. It also reveals that patients with college or graduate degrees do not necessarily doubt their doctors more than anyone else.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

FDA Panel to Consider Lap Band Expansion

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee convening Friday will consider a request by manufacturers of the Lap Band to allow the popular weight-loss device to be used on those who are less obese.

The request by Allergan, the same company that manufactures Botox, will likely prove to be a controversial one, as some say such an approval could push the band further into the realm of cosmetic elective surgery. And the fact that the chairwoman of the FDA committee considering the request owns stock in Allergan will likely do little to quell this controversy.

While the heads of FDA advisory panels do not vote, in this case, Dr. Karen Woods, the chairwoman of the FDA advisory committee making the determination, could stand to gain financially from an affirmative decision, according to ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.

"It is disturbing that the person who's heading the review committee has stock in that company," Besser told ABC News, "Allergan has a lot to benefit if this is approved."

Today, nearly 13 million Americans may qualify for Lap Band surgery, but if the FDA approves Allergan's request, the number eligible for the procedure could spike to nearly 32 million.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio