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Friday
Jul192019

Broken heart syndrome found more commonly in people with cancer, study shows

ktsimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- One in six people with broken heart syndrome had cancer, according to an international study across nine countries, including the U.S.

The findings were published this week in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Broken heart syndrome, otherwise known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo syndrome, is a real phenomenon. Emotional or physical stress causes the heart to stop pumping well. Stress could be from anything: money problems, unemployment, divorce, a bad breakup, anger, a bad infection or a recent surgery.

This temporary condition causes the main heart chamber to balloon, so blood does not flow well. Chest tightness or pain and shortness of breath make people with broken heart syndrome feel like they could be having a heart attack.

The reason broken heart syndrome has this effect on the heart is unknown, and in the past, doctors have written about patients with broken heart syndrome and cancer. But no one has ever looked more closely at the relationship -- until now.

The study looked at 1,604 people with broken heart syndrome, 267 of whom had cancer. The most common cancer was breast cancer, followed by cancers of the digestive system.

Although broken heart syndrome is often thought to be related to emotional stress, physical stress is also a cause. People who had both broken heart syndrome and cancer said that they actually had less emotional stress than those without cancer. Their broken heart syndrome came after surgery or some physical trauma.

This means that it could be a two-way relationship; cancer may be a physical stress that causes broken heart.

“They don’t know the direct reason why there seems to be this association between cancer and the broken heart syndrome,” Dr. Nieca Goldberg, cardiologist and medical director of the Joan Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone, said in an interview with ABC News. “But I would say that being hospitalized or treated for cancer is an emotionally stressful event, and they may have been more likely to have procedures, and this could also be a stressful event.”

“Our study also should raise awareness among oncologists and hematologists that broken heart syndrome should be considered in patients undergoing cancer diagnosis or treatment who experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or abnormalities on their electrocardiogram,” Dr. Christian Templin, the study's senior author and director of Interventional Cardiology at Switzerland's University Heart Center Zurich, said in a statement from the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Basically more research needs to be done," said Goldberg. "If someone comes with a diagnosis of broken heart syndrome, they shouldn’t automatically think they have cancer. They should be evaluated by their physicians. It’s another opportunity to have their normal preventive health care screening done.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul192019

Florida to require mental health courses in public schools beginning in sixth grade

recep-bg/iStock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) - Florida public schools will now be required to offer at least five hours of mental health instruction to all students in sixth through 12th grades every year.

The state Board of Education unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve the new requirements, which are part of a mental health initiative spearheaded by Florida first lady Casey DeSantis, the wife of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Ron and I have traveled the state and have heard from many families who voice concern about the struggles that adversely affect so many of our children," the first lady said in a statement. "We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges. Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.”

Under the new mandate, public school students in grades six through 12 must take courses every year related to youth mental health awareness and assistance to grades sixth through 12th.

The courses must include instruction that will help them identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness, take them through the process of getting or seeking help for themselves or others, provide awareness of the resources available, and teach them what to do or say to their peers who are struggling with mental health disorders.

“We are going to reinvent school-based mental-health awareness in Florida, and we will be the number one state in the nation in terms of mental health outreach and school safety, all because of the governor’s and First Lady’s remarkable vision,” the state's Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in a statement released following the vote on Wednesday.

A study published in 2016 by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that one in six children in the country, aged 2 to 8, had a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder.

Depression and anxiety are the most common diagnoses among adolescents, aged 12 to 17, while behavior problems are most common among children aged 6 to 11, according to a study published in 2018 by The Journal of Pediatrics.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul192019

How to keep your pets safe and cool in a heat wave 

Chalabala/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With an extreme heat wave set to bake the U.S. from New York City all the way to Kansas City for the next few days, here are some ways to keep your four-legged and furry family members safe and cool as the temperatures outside soar.

The American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty released guidelines for how to keep your pets safe from overheating.

How to keep pets safe from overheating

- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets. This can include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse, according to the ASPCA. Other symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit or a body temperature of over 104 degrees.

- As temperatures rise, keep your dogs away from hot asphalt. Sensitive paw pads can burn on hot asphalt, and an animal's body that is very low to the ground can heat up quickly, so keep walks to a minimum.

- Don't over-exercise your animals during a heat wave.

- Trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog completely as the layers of a dog's coat can protect from overheating and sunburn.

- Brush cats more often than usual during excessive heat.

- Provide plenty of water for pets when it gets hot out.

- Never leave your pets alone in parked cars.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul192019

Carrie Underwood opens up about her workout routine after giving birth

John Shearer/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Between her family, her music career and her clothing brand, country superstar Carrie Underwood definitely keeps busy.

And just months after having her second child, her life is back in full swing.

"It takes a while to feel like yourself again," she told ABC News' Good Morning America.

At the event for her brand CALIA by Carrie Underwood, the singer said she was "frustrated" getting back to the gym and feeling like she wasn’t performing at the level she was at pre-baby No. 2.

"I get frustrated because I have high expectations for myself," she said. "And after having my second child, going into the gym when I got the clear from my doctor, doing a push-up was way harder than it was not too long ago."

Underwood said she's learned the importance of listening to her body to tell her the type of workout she needs, taking it day by day.

It "really depends on the day, you just gotta listen to your body," she said, adding that she welcomes a good run or a great walk that's "nice for your soul."

This approach translates to her inclusive clothing line, which she said strives to help women start out by looking and feeling their best while training (or even just lounging around).

"A lot of people will go workout in order to feel great, but if you feel great in the first place, you’re one step ahead," she said.

Underwood is currently on tour in the U.S. and her two boys are with her on the road.

"I consider myself so lucky that I do have a job that I get to take my children with me, and they get to be around me and I don’t have to choose anything," she said. "Life and work colliding makes for a mess sometimes, but [mine is] good."

"It’s hard," she added, "but it’s worth it."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

Feds charge pharma execs, pharmacists with conspiring to distribute controlled substances

Darwin Brandis/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Two former pharmaceutical executives and two pharmacists were charged on Thursday by federal prosecutors in Ohio with conspiring to distribute controlled substances.

Anthony Rattini, the former president of pharmaceutical distributor Miami-Luken and James Barclay, the former compliance officer of Miami-Luken were charged alongside pharmacists Devonna Miller-West and Samuel “Randy” Ballengee, according to court documents.

In one instance, prosecutors claim that Miami-Luken distributed 3.7 million hydrocodone pills to a single pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia -- a town with a population of about 400 people from 2008 to 2011.

That averages out to 9,250 hydrocodone pills for every resident of the town.

Neither attorneys for the four defendants or the defendants themselves immediately responded to ABC News requests for comment. Three of the four defendants were arrested on Thursday morning, officials said. An arrest warrant for Barclay remained outstanding as of Thursday evening.

It is alleged in court documents that the pharmaceutical executives filled suspicious orders from the two pharmacists in an effort to enrich themselves while the opioid crisis in the Appalachian region was peaking.

Distributor Miami-Luken made over $173 million in profit from 2008 to 2015, according to federal prosecutors, and was a drug wholesaler for 200 companies in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

Miami-Luken, continued to fill large, suspicious orders even after being warned, prosecutors charge.

“Today’s arrests should be a wake-up call to distributors and pharmacists who are allowing opioid prescription pills to be illegally sold and dispensed from their facilities,” Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Administrator John Martin said in a release. “These actions will not be tolerated by the DEA, and they will be brought to justice.”

The company closed up shop earlier this year according to local news reports.

In addition to the hydrocodone pills that the former executives allegedly distributed 2.2 million pills over the span of two years to a pharmacy that prosecutors say had been cut off by other wholesalers.

The former executives also allegedly distributed 1.8 million Oxycontin's to a doctor and pharmacy that was believed to be under DEA investigation for over prescribing, those entities are not named.

In one instance, Ballengee, who ran Tug Valley Pharmacy in Williamson, WV, purchased 120,700 hydrocodone pills from Miami-Luken and from 2008-2014 bought 6 million dosage units of hydrocodone.

"It was further part of the conspiracy that Devonna Miller-West and Samuel “Randy” Ballengee purchased excessive amounts of controlled substances from Miami-Luken through their respective pharmacies," prosecutors charged in court filings. "As pharmacists, Devonna Miller-West and Samuel “Randy” Ballengee failed to ensure that controlled substances were distributed properly, for a legitimate medical purpose, ignoring obvious signs of abuse and diversion."

The records go on to contend that Miller-West and Ballengee "distributed controlled substances, namely oxycodone and hydrocodone, Schedule II and III controlled substances, to customers outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

200th New York firefighter dies from 9/11 illness as funding debate rages on

FDNY(NEW YORK) -- As 9/11 first responders push Congress to extend funding for their care, a grim new marker was reached with the death of the 200th member of the New York City fire department from World Trade Center related illnesses.

Firefighters Kevin Nolan died on Tuesday and Richard Driscoll died on Wednesday, according to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).

"It is almost incomprehensible that after losing 343 members on September 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die due to World Trade Center illness," fire commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement Thursday. "These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover others. We will never forget them."

Congress is currently considering a 9/11 victims compensation bill that would ensure funding through 2090.

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House overwhelmingly last week, but proponents are waiting for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to the Republican-led Senate floor for a vote. The Senate bill has been held up since Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised concerns about how it would be paid for.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about the deaths and called for the fund to be fully funded.

"They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done. The Senate MUST fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund," de Blasio wrote in his tweet.

 Nolan retired from the FDNY in 2007 and is survived by his wife and three adult children, the New York Daily News reported. The specific nature of his illness was not immediately publicly disclosed.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York said his funeral is scheduled for Saturday. On their website, they asked all off-duty members to attend in their class A uniforms.

Driscoll, retired from the department in 2002 after serving for 32 years, was the 200th FDNY member to die of a World Trade Center-related illness, and died of cancer.

He was a Vietnam veteran and the FDNY confirmed that he had been cited five times for bravery in the course of his career.

According to a list compiled by the union, there have been eight FDNY deaths so far in 2019 as a result of World Trade Center-related illnesses.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

Working women may have slower memory loss later in life than stay-at-home moms, research finds

pixdeluxe/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- New research found that working mothers had a slower rate of memory decline and loss later in life compared to non-working mothers.

The research from a team at the University of California, Los Angeles, was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Tuesday, and looked at over 6,000 American women born between the years 1935 through 1956.

The researchers asked the women to complete standardized memory tests every two years between the ages of around 55 to 80, and found that working mothers who are paid to work in young adulthood and midlife (whether single or married) had a slower rate of memory decline compared to non-working mothers.

Marriage played a comparatively smaller role in age-related memory decline compared to work, the researchers found.

The average memory performance for married women with children who never worked between the ages of 60 and 70 years old declined 61 percent faster compared to married mothers who participated in the paid labor force.

“We have to be crystal clear here. This is not about which one is harder. This is about possible different engagement in the brain, different parts of the brain that may exist when women leave the home and interact either with adults or work just in a different environment outside the home,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent said on Good Morning America explaining the study.

“A couple years ago, data in Australia showed that women who worked harder through their middle age actually had higher rates of cognitive decline,” she added. “So we have to caution: association does not prove cause and effect. We’re not saying which one is harder. We’re just saying that not only can you lead by example, show children that women can work, can financially contribute, but it might be good for the brain.”

Meanwhile, the average memory performance for women who experienced a prolonged period of single motherhood without working declined 83 percent faster between the ages of 60 and 70 years old, compared to married mothers who participated in the workforce, researchers found.

"Though preliminary, our research provides evidence that participation in the paid labor force may help prevent late-life memory decline among women in the United States. Possible pathways include mental stimulation, financial benefits, and social benefits," Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

"Future research should evaluate whether policies and programs that facilitate women’s full participation in the paid labor force are effective strategies to prevent memory decline," she added.

The research comes at a time when two-thirds of people living with Alzheimer's disease in the U.S. are women, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

Social media, screen time linked to depression in teens, study says

Alex Potemkin/iStock(NEW YORK) -- For today's youth, taking a selfie is like second nature. But their connections with social media may be skewing their view of their world.

Being a teenager is tough already -- is too much screen time making it tougher?

A new study shows frequent social media use and television viewing is linked to depression in teens.

Previous research has revealed increased rates of depression among teenagers, but researchers at the University of Montreal wanted to determine whether increased screen time could help explain the rise.

"If screen time changes and you see depression changing, you can begin to start considering whether it is a causal relationship," the study's lead author, Dr. Patricia Conrod, said in an interview with ABC News.

Researchers followed almost 4,000 Canadians aged 12 to 16 over four years. Every year, students completed a survey about the amount of time they'd spent in front of digital screens and the specific type of activity they had engaged in -- social media, television, video-gaming or computer use. Surveys also asked them to self-score their depressive symptoms.

Over the course of four years, as little as a one-hour annual increase in social media or television viewing was associated with more severe depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem.

The study didn't suggest all screens were a problem. Increasing video gaming and computer use was not associated with increases in depressive symptoms, most likely because these platforms are more interactive and are less likely to make teens directly compare themselves with others.

"Television and social media, more than any other types of media, expose young people to content and images that accentuates the unrealistically positive and idealized presentation of other young people," Conrod said. "Kids form unrealistic expectations of what is normal, which makes them feel like they are not measuring up."

For those in the study who were prone to higher levels of depression, as social media use went up, so did their symptoms. The relationship suggested a spiral, as teens who were more depressed were more likely to view content that validated their state of mind.

The algorithms of social media, in particular, send suggestions for similar content depending on what users have viewed before. Researchers said that could aggravate users' depression and increase feelings of hopelessness, leading to more offerings that depress them further -- possibly even to the point of suicidal ideation.

The solution? Rather than telling kids to avoid screens, researchers suggested teaching them how to be savvy digital users.

"Young people should be advised to be more critical of how they interpret the world and social norms on the basis of what they are exposed to," Conrod said.

Doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics agree, suggesting that parents "treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life."

Here are their recommendations for parents:

Set limits. The same rules set in the real world should be set in the virtual world. Limit the time your kids spend online. Be knowledgeable about the apps and websites your children are using and what information they're accessing online.

Screen time should not equal alone time. Engage with your children when they are using screens. Offer to watch their television shows or play their video games. This way their screen time becomes a more social event, where you have the chance to discuss the content.

Technology should not be a reward. Screens are an easy way to calm your child or keep them quiet, but pacifying them with media is forming a very bad habit. Children should learn how to handle their emotions and manage boredom without the aid of a screen.

Find a balance. Kids will inevitably interact with screens as more schools provide children with tablets and computers in the classroom. Set a good example and teach your kids about the importance of privacy and the dangers of predators and sexting.

Listen to your kids. Ask your children how the digital content they consume makes them feel. Remind them that what they see online is not an accurate measure of reality, that someone may have taken 30 photos to post that one "candid" shot.

The bottom line: Teach your kids to use screens in a smart way.

Reading articles online, watching interesting videos, sharing pictures and memories with friends and family on social media can feed their curiosity, enrich their understanding of the world, and allow them to connect with others.

So before you store away the very screen you're using to read this article, talk to your kids about how their screen can be a tool for good.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

Wine down in this yoga class that combines vino and vinyasa

fizkes/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- Un-wine with a yoga class that's all about adding a little flavor to the practice.

Vino Vinyasa Yoga, a unique studio in Los Angeles, New York City and Austin, Texas, offers the opportunity to mix yoga with wine tasting.

The first part of the experience is a 45-minute, all-levels yoga flow.

The yoga and wine educated instructors lead students through poses while also telling them facts about wine.

Then students move on to tasting different wines.

"Pretty much any grape you can imagine, we have a different class," said founder Morgan Perry. "So if you come back time and time again, you're always tasting a different wine and learning something new."

Perry says the classes take place at different venues. The one ABC News' Good Morning America visited took place at Hummingbird Nest Ranch near Los Angeles.

"Wine tasting is really, really mindful and yoga is obviously a mindful movement but they both require balance as well," Perry said. "You want balance in your wine, you don't want too much acidity or tannin or sugar and you need balance, obviously, for yoga."

"I think that together they're just really the perfect combination. They really complement each other very well," Perry said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul182019

Teen with cancer to wed high school sweetheart

Mollie Landman(MT. PLEASANT, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania teen won't let a rare form of bone cancer stop him from saying "I do" to his high school sweetheart.

Brady Hunker says he was "instantly drawn" to Mollie Landman the moment he saw her in seventh grade at their school in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

"My mom says I would come home and just say, 'Mollie this' and 'Mollie that,'" Hunker told ABC News' Good Morning America.

The couple officially started dating four years ago "and the rest is history," she added.

"Even before Brady's diagnosis, we were always seen as a very different couple because we were always seen as very big Christians and put God first," said Landman, whose father is a pastor.

They credit their faith for helping them remain positive when Hunker was diagnosed in July 2016 with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in his right leg.

"It was the size of a brick when they found it," he said.

Hunker began treatments at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Landman stayed by his side through it all.

"I couldn’t think of anyone in the world at our age who would’ve been by my side and stuck with me through this,” he said.

Hunker's cancer went into remission for about a year but came back in March 2018 during his junior year of high school, "and it was pretty much everywhere."

The two began to have serious conversations about marriage when Hunker's cancer relapsed.

"You don't know what the future holds, so we just wanted to spend as much of that time together as we could," Hunker said.

The two got engaged at a Christian camp this past April.

"I thought it was really special," Landman said.

Due to Hunker's diagnosis, the couple wants to get married as soon as possible, but have limited funds to pay for a wedding.

Hunker created a campaign on GoFundMe to help raise money for some of the wedding costs.

"I want the love of my life to have the wedding she always dreamed of," the GoFundMe description reads.

The campaign went viral online and exceeded its goal of $15,000 in two months. Any extra money raised will help pay for their honeymoon and fulfill a "bucket list" of places the couple wants to visit.

"We never even dreamed that this page would’ve blown up the way it did and can’t even comprehend their generosity," Landman told GMA.

The couple plans to wed later this month, surrounded by their friends and family.

"I can't wait to take this next step together," Hunker said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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