Leptin Could Help Revert Amenorrhea in Pre-Menopausal Women

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The hormone leptin may be effective in treating women who have stopped menstruating due to a lack of fat, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Amenorrhea can affect pre-menopausal women who don't have enough fat, such as long-distance runners, gymnasts and those with eating disorders.  As a result, these women can experience infertility and bone loss due to abnormal hormone levels.

But researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that replacing leptin, a hormone usually made by cells that store fat, could revert the loss of periods.

In the study, 20 amenorrheic women between the ages of 18 and 35 were either given a synthetic form of leptin or a placebo for 36 weeks.  Out of 10 women who received the hormone, seven of them began menstruating and four of the seven were found to be ovulating.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Active Girls Twice as Likely to Experience Stress Fractures

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Young girls who participate in physical activities for several hours a week are twice as likely to suffer from a stress fracture than girls who do not, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital followed 6,800 adolescent girls for seven years and found that those who were physically active for eight or more hours a week were more likely to develop the injury.  The increased risk for stress fractures was specifically associated with running, basketball, cheerleading and gymnastics.

The study also found that young girls with a history of osteoporosis in their family were almost twice as likely to develop a stress fracture, putting them at an even higher risk if they also engage in the specified sports.  These girls are advised to lower their fracture risk by incorporating more lower-impact activities into their weekly routines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman Sets World Record With 52 Cosmetic Procedures

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Cindy Jackson, a Londoner who hails from the American Midwest, has had $100,000 in cosmetic procedures, including 14 full-scale operations as well as cuts, pulls, peels and jabs.

She's had Botox, five face-lifts and liposuction, and her eyes have been done -- twice.  In total, Jackson has had 52 cosmetic procedures, a world record for the most procedures ever undergone by one person.

"I didn't set out to break, to set a world record, it was never my ambition, it's just that I had so much done," she said.

Asked why she had, she gave a simple reply: "For me, it was just to look better."

"For me, the best result is one that looks natural," Jackson added.  "I wouldn't ever want anyone to stop and stare at me and say 'that woman's had a lot of surgery.'  I would never want to look like I'd had anything done."

Jackson, 55, grew up in small town Ohio, with a short-tempered father and low self-esteem.

She recalled a comment someone made to her when she was young: "One guy said when I was 14, 'You know Cindy, when you smile, from the side your nose and chin almost meet.'"

"It was like being in the wrong body and wrong face and I felt that very much and wanted to change it," she said.

When her father died, he left her some money, and she used it to start her transformation.

She says she's been careful to take it slow, but also said she just wants to look beautiful and young.

"I feel like a young spirit and I don't want to look in the mirror and see and old face.  I feel this is me," she said.  "This is the way I should look."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Working Overtime Could Increase Risk for Heart Disease, Researchers Say

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Researchers at University College London report that long work days could increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.

The study, to be published in the April 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at almost 7,100 low-risk British civil servants between 1991 and 2004, screening out individuals who showed signs of heart disease. Researchers found that the employees who worked 11-hour days or longer on a consistent basis were 67 percent more likely to develop coronary illnesses than those who worked only seven or eight hours.

Still, the study authors noted that other factors were considered in their analysis such as age, cholesterol levels and whether or not a patient smokes. A direct cause-and-effect relationship between long working hours and heart disease could not be confirmed.

But while changes to patient care may be unnecessary at this time, the study's investigators suggest adding questions about working hours to physical exams if further research supports their findings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: College Athletes Risk Sudden Heart Attacks

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A new study published Monday in Circulation suggests that athletic young people have a higher risk of potentially fatal heart problems.

Researchers examined roughly 400,000 NCAA athletes between the ages of 17 and 23. Collected data found that one in 43,770 died of cardiac arrest.

The study may promote stricter physical examinations of student-athletes. The American Heart Association is also urging colleges and universities to keep more automated external defibrillators around sports arenas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jennie-O Turkey Store Issues Turkey Burger Recall

Jennie-O Turkey(WILLMAR, Minn.) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service warned Monday that more than 27 tons of frozen turkey burgers are being recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

Jennie-O Turkey Store is recalling its four-pound boxes of its All Natural Turkey Burgers with Seasonings of Lean White Meat.  The recalled boxes, containing 12 1/3-pound individually wrapped burgers, can be identified by the use-by date of Dec. 23, 2011.

Twelve cases of salmonella have been reported in connection with the contaminated turkey meat distributed last November, according to Consumer Reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


When Is Cosmetic Surgery the Answer to Bullying?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just seven years old, Samantha Shaw of Sturgis, S.D. is about to experience something very grown-up: she's going to have cosmetic surgery.

It's not because she has a serious facial deformity or a life-threatening medical condition. Samantha is having cosmetic surgery because she gets teased about her protruding ears.

"The kids at school always ask her about her ears, and sometimes adults can be worse," said Cami Roselles, Samantha's mother. "One lady walked up to her and said, 'Oh my God, what happened to your ears?'"

When people ask, Samantha just tells them she was born that way, but Roselles said the questions really bother her daughter.

Samantha's doctor thought her ear deformity would get better as she got older, but Roselles said nothing changed. After doing some research, she looked into a type of cosmetic procedure called otoplasty, more commonly known as "pinning back" the ears.

Samantha, who will have her otoplasty on April 5, isn't the only child to undergo cosmetic surgery because of bullying. Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that the number of children and teens who get cosmetic surgery increased nearly 30 percent over the past decade. Experts believe an increase in bullying behavior is one reason for the upward trend.

Brian Donoghue, an 11-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., had the surgery last summer. His mother, Valerie, said kids at school would often ask Brian why his prominent ears looked the way they did. But even though Brian was able to use humor as a defense mechanism to fend off the taunts, his mother, who is an assistant principal at a high school on Long Island, said she's seen the effects of bullying and didn't want her son to go through that.

Experts say bullying can cause problems like depression in victims, and eventually, bullied children may start to lash out, feel depressed, and have academic difficulties.

Dr. Frederick Lukash, the plastic surgeon who handled Brian's case, said he could tell from drawings Brian did that he was tormented by the teasing.

"His drawings showed exaggerated ears while other kids had normal ears. I could tell there were some deep-seated issues," Lukash said.

Before doing surgery on a child, Lukash said most surgeons will talk to the child during multiple consultations to find out how the child feels, and how he or she interacts with peers. He encourages them to draw pictures. In many cases, like Brian's, it's clear children are upset by constant teasing.

As kids get older, teasing can take a turn for the worse and turn into bullying. In the age of social media and the Internet, parents say it's reached a new level.

But other experts say doing plastic surgery on a child sends the wrong message.

"Changing appearance is not the solution," said Cheryl Rode, director of clinical operations at the San Diego Center for Children. "We never want to hold the victim responsible for the bullying."

Rode said the responsibility must lie with schools and other places where children are as well as with society.

Roselles said she decided to go through with the surgery because she's worried the teasing may turn into more serious bullying.

Otoplasty can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. That is more than Roselles could afford, so she reached an organization called the Little Baby Face Foundation. Surgeons working with the foundation operate for free on children with facial deformities, and the foundation covers other expenses, like Samantha's trip to New York City.

Otoplasty is the most common cosmetic operation done on children. In addition to cleft lip or cleft palate surgery, it's the only cosmetic procedure acceptable for young children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


For Those Addicted, Food is Like a Drug

Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Researchers led by Yale University doctoral student Ashley Gearhardt discovered that women who exhibit more signs of food addiction, when shown a picture of a milkshake and then given a taste of it, had more activity in areas of the brain associated with "craving" than women who showed fewer signs of food addiction. The women who showed more signs of food addiction had less activity in the part of the brain that decreases the desire to eat.

In order to measure food addiction, the researchers used a scale similar to the one used to measure drug addiction. Food addicts exhibit many of the symptoms as those addicted to drugs and alcohol, including an obsession or preoccupation with food, binge eating and a lack of control over eating.

The study's authors hope future studies can determine how the brain responds to food ads and whether certain foods are addictive. With that knowledge, they believe, advertising can be used to send healthier messages about food.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nighttime Leg Twitching Sign of Heart Problems?

Siri Stafford/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- New information finds that restless leg syndrome could be a sign of hidden heart problems.

Millions of Americans are thought to suffer nighttime muscle twitching of the legs and it wasn't always thought to be a big deal but Dr. Arshad Jahangir at the Mayo Clinic, where the research was conducted, says it can be linked to a thicker heart muscle.

Jahngir and others looked at 584 patients with the syndrome and found that those with more frequent twitching were more likely to have a thickening of the heart.

The link is not yet certain, but if you suffer from restless legs syndrome, Jahangir advises it's worth discussing with your physician.

“Not every patient who has frequent leg movement had ventricular hypertrophy,” Jahangir said, “so we need to understand more why some people get this type of thickening response and others not.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scientists Discover New Alzheimer's Disease Risk Genes

Comstock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Scientists have discovered five genes linked to an increased risk for late-onset Alzheimer's -- a finding that sheds light on the still mysterious disease and could lead to new predictive tests and treatments.

Two mammoth research teams -- one from the U.S., the other from Europe -- identified variations in the genes ABCA7, MS4A, CD2AP, CD33 and EPHA1 that are associated with an increased susceptibility to the disease.  The results were published as two separate reports Monday in Nature Genetics.

"This is the culmination of years of work on Alzheimer's disease by a large number of scientists, yet it is just the beginning in defining how genes influence memory and intellectual function as we age," Gerard Schellenberg, leader of the University of Pennsylvania study, said in a statement.

The U.S. study, which was carried out by researchers from 44 universities and research institutions across the country, involved genetic analysis of more than 11,800 people with Alzheimer's disease and almost 11,000 elderly people who were "cognitively normal."

The discovery is an important step in a long journey toward new treatments for the neurodegenerative disease that impairs memory and cognition.

"We're all tremendously excited by our progress so far, but much remains to be done, both in understanding the genetics and in defining how these genes influence the disease process," Schellenberg said.

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Although specific genetic mutations are known to cause the early onset form of the disease, the late onset form is thought to arise from a complex interaction of susceptibility genes and other risk factors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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