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Thursday
Jan132011

Bayer Tests Fat-Loss Injection for Double Chin

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LEVERKUSEN, Germany) -- A simple injection in the neck to get rid of that double chin? Sounds too good to be true, and that very well may be the case concerning Bayer's newest fat-dissolving injectable, ATX-101, which is beginning phase III trials in Europe.

The upcoming multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study will test the efficacy of ATX-101 for eliminating localized fat under the chin, known as submental fat. The companies announced Monday that they are enrolling patients for the trial in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the U.K.

The drug utilizes half of the two-drug, off-label cocktail used for the notoriously problematic fat-dissolving injectable Lipodissolve that prompted a public warning by the Food and Drug Administration in spring 2010.

Lipodissolve, which was marketed as a quick and easy "lunchtime lipo" procedure a few years back, utilized two chemicals, phosphatidylcholine (PC) and deoxycholate (DC), neither of which were FDA approved for fat elimination.

ATX-101, is just sodium deoxycholate (DC in solution).

Research has shown PC actually inhibits the fat-dissolving effects of DC, so researchers are testing the efficacy of DC alone for fat elimination, said KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., which teamed with Bayer in August 2010 for the upcoming trial.

KYTHERA hopes ultimately to bring an FDA-approved compound for injectable fat elimination to the U.S. market. Two phase II trials in humans have been done in the U.S. so far and a third is underway.

"We are very pleased with the progress that has been made in Europe with ATX-101," Keith Leonard, KYTHERA's president and CEO, said in a press release on the trial. "The initiation of these Phase III studies marks an important milestone in our collaboration with Intendis and further demonstrates the potential of ATX-101 as a first-in-class injectable drug for localized fat reduction."

But plastic surgeons are wary of this renewed attempt to test DC as a cosmetic fat-dissolver.

"I would be very cautious. Even if it's approved in Europe, people will start purchasing it and sneaking into the U.S. illegally," said Dr. Darrick Antell, a plastic surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital in New York and a spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "There's no doubt in my mind that if it's approved for the small area [under the chin], then people will start using for large areas and I have no doubt that there will invariably be adverse effects. [Injectable fat-dissolvers] need a lot more work. People who would use this sort of medicine at this point would be like driving ahead of your headlights."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Genetically Modified Chickens Stop Bird Flu Spread

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The idea of tweaking genes for healthier, tastier or more abundant food makes some people uneasy. But what if genetically modified food could help prevent the spread of a deadly disease, saving human and animal lives as well as money?

According to a study published in Science, genetically modified chickens could stop the bird flu virus -- specifically the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain -- in its tracks.

"The chickens can be infected, but they don't pass the virus on to other chickens in the flock," said study co-author Professor Helen Sang from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

Bird flu outbreaks in the U.S. are rare and involve viral strains that generally affect birds. But over 400 human cases of H5N1 have been reported in more than a dozen countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 60 percent of these have been fatal.

Although there's no sign of H5N1 in the U.S., the country still feels the fury of bird flu. The virus is transmitted to chickens by wild birds, forcing farmers to slaughter entire flocks. So while it hasn't threatened public health, bird flu continues to fuel significant animal welfare worries and economic woes.

But given the logistical challenges of replacing current flocks with the flu-fighting variety -- not to mention mixed feelings about genetically modified food -- the GM approach to beating bird flu may be hard to get off the ground.

"Replacing the world's chicken population with genetically modified chickens wouldn't be cheap. It looks good on a drawing board, but it might not fly," said William Schaffner, chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "There are lots of great ideas out there, but the filter of realty whittles them down pretty quickly."

But as poultry farming becomes more centralized, farmers are beginning to get their stock from a few, large suppliers, according to Sang.

"I think it would be very hard to get to the backyard chickens in many of the affected countries," Sang said. "But the majority of the poultry raised are coming from a small number of breading companies and producers who could choose to incorporate the genetic modification into their breeding program."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Writing Can Help Avoid Choking Under Pressure

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jasmin Sultana, 24, of Queens, N.Y., knows only too well what it means to choke under pressure.

The first time she took her driving test, tears welled up in her eyes and she could not see the road. She pulled over mid-test, stopped the car, and told the tester, "I just can't do this."

"Even though I was prepared for it, leading up to it I was really sweaty," said Sultana. "I started to feel nervous, and during the test I started crying."

The second and third time she took the test, Sultana could feel her stress level building. Again, she choked.

"I just couldn't concentrate," she said. "It became such a long process to pass this test."

Sultana was wrapping up her final college year before she got the nerve to try it again. This time she brought a friend along. Right before the test, her friend assured her there was nothing to worry about.

Sultana thought about failure, she told her friend. She thought about what her tester thought about her. She thought taking a deep breath to quell the anxiety won't work for her. But she also thought, "I've got to pass this thing." She didn't want to take this test again.

"Telling someone put things in perspective for me, that it's just a test that I've been prepared for," said Sultana, who went on to pass the test.

Letting out all of her fearful thoughts before test time may have done the trick, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study suggests that simply writing about your anxiety just a few minutes before a high-stakes event can help you perform significantly better.

Researchers conducted four separate studies that focused on test-taking anxieties of high school and college students. Before giving the students a test, researchers assigned different groups of students with high performance anxiety to either write down their anxieties about taking the upcoming test, write freely about any topic, or not write at all.

"I am afraid I am going to make a mistake," wrote one student in the expressive writing group.

"I just want to stop thinking about how I am going to fail," another student wrote.

The study found that those who wrote about their test anxiety in some cases received a whole grade letter higher than those who wrote about an unrelated event, or did not take the time to write.

"It's really a counterintuitive finding -- that dwelling on your worries can have a positive impact," said Sian Beilock, an associate professor in the department of psychology in The University of Chicago and co-author of the study.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Cancer Costs Predicted to Skyrocket by 2012

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- Karin Gaines of Rockford, Ill., is battling breast cancer for the second time in her life. She's taking two different medications to treat her disease, which also has spread to her bones.

In addition to the physical and mental toll her disease takes on her, it's also very difficult for her financially. Though she says she's fortunate to have COBRA insurance, her out-of-pocket costs are steep.

"COBRA is really expensive, and I still have out-of-pocket costs at the beginning of the year. Plus, every time I go in for a test or to see the doctor, there's a $30 co-pay," said Gaines, who is 56. "Last year, my out-of-pocket cost was $10,000."

Gaines knows she isn't alone, that there are many other cancer patients who are uninsured and have to foot enormous bills on their own.

Those costs, according to a new study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), are expected to soar to $158 billion by the year 2020.

Researchers led by Angela Mariotto, a statistician in the NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences in Bethesda, Md. analyzed available data on the number of new cancer cases, survival rates after diagnosis and costs of care, and projected a staggering 27 percent increase in the cost of cancer care over the next decade.

The most expensive cancers are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

"This number is a bit higher than we expected," said Mariotto.

She said the data are estimates that assume the number of new cancer cases remains the same over time, treatment-related costs remain the same and the population ages at the rate projected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The NCI study also estimated that if costs in the early and late stages of cancer treatment rise by two percent a year, which is consistent with current trends, the projected cost of cancer could be as high as $173 billion a year.

Experts said the increase has a number of causes, including increased cancer survival, a growing number of older Americans, treatment advances and the desire to offer and receive the best and most care.

One of the main reasons for the skyrocketing cancer price tag is the growing number of Americans who are getting older.

"Cancer is a disease that affects more older people than younger, so the burden will be greater in 2020 than it is today," said Mariotto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

USDA to Announce Healthier New School Lunch Guidelines

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce Thursday the first new school lunch guidelines in 15 years.

Throughout that time span, childhood obesity rates in the country have continued to rise.

"The more we can reinforce the right set of choices and encourage the right set of choices, the greater the chances are that we will get a handle on obesity," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told ABC News.

The new guidelines, which are based on an Institute of Medicine study, will call for a reduction in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.  Schools will be required to serve more whole grains, as well as serving both fruits and vegetables daily.  And, for the first time, schools will have to set maximum calorie counts in addition to minimum ones.

Here's an example of a current school lunch:

-- Breaded beef patty on a roll
-- Fruit popsicle
-- Low-fat milk

And here's what a meal might look like under the new rules:

-- Baked fish nuggets
-- Whole wheat roll
-- Mashed potatoes
-- Broccoli
-- Peaches
-- Skim milk

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Study: Thirdhand Smoke More Hazardous Than Previously Believed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thirdhand smoke -- the smoke that sticks to clothing, hair and furniture -- may be more dangerous than previously believed, according to a new study from the American Chemical Society.

The study, published in ACS’ journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that residual nicotine from thirdhand smoke can form toxic pollutants when it comes in contact with ozone in indoor air.  As a result, babies crawling on carpets, people laying on couches or people eating tainted food could be at a health risk.

Researchers for the study, which was published in ACS’ journal, Environmental Science & Technology, tested how nicotine interacted with indoor air on various materials, like cellulose and cotton, to simulate results on household surfaces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Teens Seek Plastic Surgery to Combat Bullying

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There is a small but growing number of teenagers who say being teased or bullied prompted them to consider or even undergo cosmetic surgery. Nearly 90,000 teenagers had cosmetic surgery in 2007, and doctors say the numbers are growing.

"I do see a fair amount of parents coming in with their child because of bullying and teasing and feelings of self-consciousness," Dr. Michael Fiorillo, a cosmetic surgeon, said. "My preference is, of course, to work out the issues first, the bullying, the teasing. But there are certain situations where people are mature enough. And surgery is a final resort."

Popular cosmetic surgeries for teenagers include nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations, ear tucks and Botox injections.

But while teens say plastic surgery helps them to gain self-esteem, critics say they're potentially losing on a number of levels.

"The idea of someone getting plastic surgery to avoid bullying seems to me as crazy and worrisome as if a black person were to go to a doctor and say, 'I wanna become white to avoid racism,'" Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child psychiatrist, said. "The problem is clearly with the phenomenon of bullying, and not with the person's nose."

Hallowell said parents who allow their teens to get plastic surgery may be putting them at risk, both psychologically and physically.

"Any time you have any kind of surgery, there's risk of infection, risk of -- the wrong patient getting the wrong procedure," Hallowell said. "So, you [want to] have darn good reasons for doing it. And when you do the risk-benefit analysis, cosmetic surgery, to avoid bullying, unless you are severely deformed, clearly doesn't pass the test."

Hallowell says teens who are determined to have cosmetic surgery should, at the very least, wait until they've reached adulthood.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Research Pinpoints Your Risk of Autoimmune Disease

Photo Coutesy - Getty Images(ROCHESTER, Minn.) – New research has revealed the average risk an American will face of developing an autoimmune disease in their lifetime, reports WebMD.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say that one in 12 women and one in 20 men will develop such a disease over the course of their lives.

"We estimated the lifetime risk for rheumatic disease for both sexes, something that had not been done before," researcher Cynthia Crowson said. "Prevalence and incidence rates existed, but prevalence figures underestimate individual risk and incidence rates express only a yearly estimate."

The most common autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis, followed by polymyalgia rheumatic. According to the research, 3.6 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men will develop rheumatoid arthritis while 2.4 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men will develop PMR.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Study: Parents Reading To Hospitalized Infants Can be Beneficial

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- It may come as no surprise, but reading to a newborn child can help improve the relationship between parent and infant. A new study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics shows that 69 percent of children spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit after birth responded positively after being read to by a parent.

The study sought to find if there was a difference between newborn children spending time with a parent immediately after birth, if going into the NICU made a difference. Surveying 120 families, the study showed 69 percent of parents reported that reading helped them feel closer to their baby, and 86 percent reported it was enjoyable.

Parents also reported an increased sense of control and more intimate feelings with their child after reading.  One study participant shared her feelings on the results with Time magazine.

"Reading gave us a way to stay close. I couldn't talk to her or touch her, but she heard the sound of my voice. That simple activity helped me get through the situation, and I have beautiful memories of the experience,” said Mélissa Asselin, who has a five-year-old daughter with pulmonary hypertension.

The study concluded that parents who read to their babies in neonatal intensive care were three times as likely than other parents to continue to do so in the future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio



Wednesday
Jan122011

Eighty Percent of Women Unhappy with Weight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) – More than 80 percent of American women ages 25 to 54 do not believe they are at their ideal weight, according to a new survey.  The poll, conducted by McNeil Nutritionals and SHAPE Magazine, may also reveal the behavior that leads women to be overweight. 

According to the survey, only 17 percent of women consider the nutritional value of food the most important factor in purchasing it. It also revealed that 91 percent of women were unaware that 3,500 calories must be burned in order to lose a pound of fat.

Although a majority of women may not be aware of what it takes to lose weight, more than a third think about their weight at least three times daily, according to the poll.

The most common reason women gave for poor weight habits were stress, demands, family obligations and finances.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio