Most Americans Have No Resolution for 2011

Photo Courtesy -- MaristPoll.Marist.Edu(POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.) – A majority of Americans are not planning to make a New Year’s resolution for 2011, according to a recent Marist poll.

Of those polled, 56 percent say they are not likely to set a goal for themselves going into the new year. Forty-four percent say it is possible they will set a resolution.

For those who plan to make a resolution, however, losing weight and quitting smoking are at the top of the list.

Although an equal amount of men and women – 44 percent – say they will make a resolution, the percent does vary by age. Among younger people -- those under 45 -- 58 percent say they plan to make an improvement this year. Only 34 percent of those 45 and older say they will make a resolution.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


‘Anthropomorphism’ Could Ease Cancer Diagnosis

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(CHICAGO) – How doctors describe cancer to patients who have just been diagnosed has a lot to do with how they react to the diagnosis, according to a new study reported by consumer affairs.

By describing cancer using human characteristics and behavior – known as anthropomorphism – patients feel more confident they can beat the disease, according to authors Sara Kim and Ann L. McGill of the University of Chicago.

"The present research shows important downstream consequences of anthropomorphism that go beyond simple liking of products with humanlike physical features," the authors said. The research examines the effect the practice has on an individual’s risk perception.

The authors found that people felt they could better control a disease like skin cancer if it had "humanlike evil intentions to hurt people."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Eleven Years Later, Triplet No. 3 Arrives

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WALSALL, England) -- Ryleigh Shepherd was conceived in 1998, the same year as her 11-year-old twin sisters, but she wasn't born until 2010.

The three girls from Walsall, in Great Britain, who were born more than a decade apart in two different centuries, are actually triplets. All were the product of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and came from the same batch of frozen embryos. Ryleigh came from the same group of embryos that had allowed her parents -- Lisa and Adrian Shepherd -- to give birth to twins Megan and Bethany.

British experts say they know of no other case in which three siblings from the same round of fertility treatment have been born with such an age gap.

How long embryos can be frozen and still viable is still not known, but American fertility experts say they have great confidence in the success of new reproductive techniques.

"It's incredibly common for people to go back a second and third time," said Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. "There have been recorded cases of kids born far longer apart. This doesn't tip the scales."

Fertility experts estimate that about 400,000 embryos are currently in frozen storage in the U.S., and a more comprehensive survey will be underway in the spring.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mystery Diagnosis: Albright's Syndrome

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Friendly and playful, Carter Hearn from Lufkin, Texas, may act like a regular, happy-go-lucky little boy, but he suffers from a rare condition that sets him apart from other children. At just four years old, Carter stands at nearly four-feet tall and weighs 90 pounds, just a couple inches shorter, but nearly twice as heavy, as his six-year-old sister, Kaylie.

His mother, Deena Hearn, said she first noticed her son's abnormal growth when he weighed almost 30 pounds as an infant. Concerned about her son's health, Hearn took Carter to doctor after doctor, but she said physicians often accused her of simply over-feeding the boy and told her to "get him on a diet." Aside from his unusual girth, Carter suffered from other health problems, including a heart murmur, difficulty breathing and bone deposits under his skin that his mother said felt like pebbles.

It wasn't until Hearn said she watched a Discovery Health special three years ago on an Australian child who had a chubby round face and looked just like Carter, that the concerned mother thought they might have solved the mystery of Carter's strange condition. A visit to a physician in Dallas confirmed her suspicions.

"Carter has a syndrome called Albright's Hereditary Osteodystrophy," Hearn explained. "He has what's called pseudohypoparathyroidism, Type Ia."

According to the National Institute of Health, pseudohypoparathyroidism, or Albright's for short, is a very rare genetic disorder -- affecting only one in 20,000 people -- in which the body has trouble responding to the parathyroid hormone. People with this disorder produce the right amount of the hormone, but the body is "resistant" to its effect. The mutated genes are passed down through one parent, or occur through a spontaneous mutation of the egg or sperm.

In Carter's case, a Type Ia condition causes short stature, round face and short hand bones. Those common traits are often why many Albright's children can look uncannily similar.

After receiving the diagnosis, Hearn was referred to the Kennedy Krieger Children's Institute in Baltimore to be evaluated by Dr. Emily Germain-Lee, the leading authority on Albright's. According to Dr. Germain-Lee, one of the most promising treatments for Albright's currently is growth hormone therapy, which another of her patients has been undergoing for the past seven years.

Hearn said she is hoping to get her son started on growth hormone treatments in the next couple of years, but in the meantime, she also hoped doctors will become more aware of Carter's condition and properly diagnosis other kids dealing with the same thing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


New York Blood Center Seeks Blood Donors after 1,000 Blood Donations Lost from Blizzard

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- More than 1,000 blood donations were lost due to weather-related cancellations prompting the New York Blood Center, which serves more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and New Jersey, to request that communities donate blood and platelets.

O-negative and O-positive blood types are needed most, but all blood types are encouraged to donate.

"Mother Nature has delivered a hard slap to our blood supply," NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis.  "And the blizzard came on top of lower-than-needed holiday collections, so we're urging our neighbors to step up."

Eligible blood donors were asked to donate Monday and in the coming days, but should visit the New York Blood Center website before leaving home for information about cancellations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Jenny Craig Updates Signature Weight Loss Program with New Technology

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CARLSBAD, Calif.) -- Popular weight management company Jenny Craig wants to change the way its clients lose weight.  The company announced plans Monday to integrate technology through its Metabolic Max Program that will assist Jenny Craig consultants in tailoring clients' weight loss programs to clients' individual needs. 

The technology, developed by BodyMedia, Inc., will use data provided by the BodyMedia FIT device, which tracks daily calorie burn and permits customers to log calories online and with smartphones.

"Integrating this technology from BodyMedia, Inc. allows us to offer an even more personalized approach to weight loss to consumers," Patti Larchet, CEO of Jenny Craig, Inc. said.  "Jenny Craig is thrilled to add the latest technology to its clinically proven program to offer clients a truly unique program that is personally tailored to their individual metabolisms."

Customers who sign up for Metabolic Max will receive the BodyMedia FIT device to be worn on the upper arm.  The FIT will measure the electric conductivity of sweat, skin temperature and body motion to determine client calorie burn granting clients the ability self-monitor their weight loss habits.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Beware of Slips and Falls, Frostbite and Hypothermia, Doctors Warn

Photo Courtesy - Chris McGrath/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Gabriel Wilson, associate medical director at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, worked his emergency room shift until 3 a.m. Monday. He cared for three people who sustained wrist fractures, one person with an ankle fracture and two who had received blows to the head. Every injury stemmed from slips on ice and snow.

"These are the typical snow-related injuries, and the only thing one can do, other than being careful walking in the snow, is to wear padded gloves, jackets and hats, which may cushion the fall," said Wilson.

Winter weather conditions have gripped most of the Northeast, causing travel delays and cancellations galore. As the blizzard tapers off and people are left to re-book flights and trek through piles of snow, doctors warn people to take special care.

Dr. Richard Bradley, associate professor of emergency medicine and chief of EMS and disaster medicine at University of Texas Medical School at Houston, reiterated the importance of keeping warm during the plummeting temperatures.

"The onset of hypothermia can be very difficult to detect," said Bradley. "We lose a lot of people every year from it, because people often don't realize they're becoming hypothermic."

Bradley said people often chalk up hypothermia symptoms to feeling sleepy or fatigued. "But as the hypothermia worsens, people realize even less that they're getting colder," said Bradley. "We see this a lot in people who are alone and don't have anyone to say, 'Hey, you don't look so good.'"

Dr. Hersch Leon Pachter, a professor and chairman of the department of surgery at New York University School of Medicine, said hypothermic patients who come into the emergency room are often homeless.

"A lot of people off the street come in with hypothermia," said Pachter. "They're sleeping outside and being exposed to the elements."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D Can Help Curb Childhood Respiratory Infection

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Infants with higher levels of vitamin D in their cord blood are less likely to develope a respiratory infection, according to a new study led by the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The research, published in the January 2011 issue of Pediatrics, followed 922 newborns in New Zealand until they were five years old and found that infants with the highest levels of vitamin D in their cord blood were two times less likely to have had a respiratory infection compared to infants with lower vitamin D levels.

The risk of wheezing was also reduced. The study's authors theorize that the reduced risk of wheezing in childhood may be linked to fewer respiratory infections in infancy.

Higher levels of cord-blood vitamin D did not have an effect on the rates of asthma.

Research from the early 2000s suggested that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of breathing problems in children.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


End-Of-Life Care at Home Can Improve Quality of Life for Patients and Families

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- It's one of the most difficult conversations a doctor can have with a patient -- deciding how and where the terminally ill should best spend their final days.

"Physicians for a long time have believed these conversations would harm patients and they are difficult and upsetting," Dr. Alexi Wright, an oncologist at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute said. "Without any evidence that they improved care, I don't think there was a real push to have these conversations."

Wright, who has studied the impact of end-of-life discussions on patients' treatment, has found that patients who have those conversations with their physicians had better outcomes. Those patients and their families were not more likely to be distressed at the news.

For one of Wright's patients, 63-year-old Lois Riley, her end-of-life discussion was a conversation that ended with an agonizing decision -- should she battle her cancer with aggressive chemotherapy with no assurance of prolonging her life, or undergo less intensive chemo that would allow her to spend quality time with her family?

Riley was living the life she always imagined when she received the news her disease would ultimately take her life: a loving marriage, a fulfilling job and a family complete with three daughters and four grandchildren. She did not plan on the devastating diagnosis of terminal ovarian cancer.

"It made me angry, it made me sad," she said. "I didn't want to hear that, I wanted to hear that I was going to get strong and beat this."

Deciding to change her treatment so she could continue living at home, Riley said, has impacted every facet of her life.

"I've tried to spend quality time with everyone. We do a little bit more of private moments," she said.

The study determined that those who died in hospitals experienced more physical and psychological discomfort than those who died at home. According to a survey by the National Hospice and Palliatative Care Organization, 80 percent of terminally ill patients prefer to live out their last days at home as opposed to a hospital.

"Patients who died at home were less likely to die in pain. They had less psychological suffering and their loved ones saw that their overall quality of life was better," Wright said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Salmonella Outbreak in 15 States Linked to Alfalfa Sprouts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts that has sickened 89 people in 15 states and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the illnesses have occurred in Midwestern states, with 50 cases in Illinois, 14 in Missouri and nine in Indiana.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said many of the people who became ill said they'd eaten alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants in several counties. The department is trying to determine the source of the outbreak.

The CDC said the illnesses were reported between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21. So far, no one has died as a result of the outbreak, but about 18 people have been hospitalized.

According to the CDC, most people infected with salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain between 12 and 72 hours after exposure. Illnesses can last up to a week. If diarrhea is severe, it may require hospitalization, and if the bacteria enter the bloodstream and spread, it can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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