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Friday
Apr132018

Here are the people most likely to use marijuana based on their professions, study says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People can now buy marijuana for medical use in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Should employers be worried about safety hazards of marijuana use both on and off the job?

A survey released by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) Thursday may help inform employers in Colorado about marijuana use in their industry.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) -- a phone survey about health habits in general -- and published a breakdown of marijuana use by industry and job.

Of the more than 10,000 workers surveyed, 14.6 percent answered yes to the question, “Did you use marijuana or hashish in the last 30 days?” They were not asked whether they used marijuana while on the job. Not surprisingly, use was more common in males and among young people, with nearly 30 percent of those in the 18- to 25-year-old age group reporting at least one use in 30 days.

Which profession smokes the most pot?

In the “accommodation and food services” industry, 30 percent of workers reported smoking pot at least once in the past month. Those in the job category “food preparation and serving” had the highest use at 32 percent of workers.

What other professions have a high proportion of marijuana users?

“Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media” came in second at 28 percent.

Marijuana use was reported by 19 to 21 percent of workers in “production,” “life, physical, and social science,” “sales and related,” and “installation, maintenance, and repair.”

What about people in high risk jobs?

While the study doesn’t reveal if anyone actually got high on the job, the researchers did take a special look at industries in “safety-sensitive occupations” in which workers are responsible for their own safety or the safety of others.

Those in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture industries all fell above the state average in percentage of workers reporting marijuana use. Notably, healthcare, utilities, or mining, oil, and gas all had less than 10 percent of their workers report marijuana use.

All three of these low-use industries are also those known to perform drug testing on employees.

The impact of marijuana use on job safety

This survey raises as many questions as it answers. The first and obvious, question: How many of these individuals have routinely or ever been under the influence of marijuana on the job? Similarly, just how frequently are they using?

We don’t have the answers. In the overall BRFSS population, employed and unemployed, just under half of the “within the month” marijuana users reported daily or near daily use. Of the remaining users, just about one-fourth of the population report using weekly, and the remaining one-fourth used only one to three times per month.

Since just over half of the total survey group was employed, it's impossible to say how many of the daily users are in the workforce. Another drawback to the survey, adults who had been employed within the past year -- even if they were not working at the time of the survey -- were included. It’s possible, then, that the time they were using pot and the time they were working in the reported profession had no overlap.

There's very limited evidence to suggest that marijuana use increases the risk of the workplace injury. However, there's certainly potential for problems if daily marijuana use is coupled with full-time work, particularly in safety-sensitive industries.

“The country is gradually becoming legalized with marijuana. We have highly anxious people," said Dr. Scott Krakower, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, with an interest in drug use and abuse. "I think that is going to lead to increased marijuana use in a lot of industries. I don’t know if we’re 100 percent prepared for that.”

It is well-established that in the short term, marijuana use is associated with slow reactions, low attention, poor coordination and impaired executive function, or higher-level thinking. At higher doses, with variance depending on a person's body mass index and tolerance level, it can cause hallucinations, paranoia, delusional beliefs and feel emotionally unresponsive. All of the above impact a person’s ability to function in the workplace.

“There’s no good clear timeline” for the effects of marijuana to leave the system, Krakower said.

“If employees are smoking marijuana on their breaks," he added. "It’s going to have a downward repercussion for the rest of the workday.”

Infrequent marijuana users, defined as those using less than weekly, will become impaired after smoking or ingesting 10 milligrams or more of THC, a finding which “applies to smoking, eating, or drinking the marijuana or marijuana product,” according to the CDPHE. They should wait at least six hours after smoking or eight hours after eating or drinking marijuana before entering the workplace or performing safety-sensitive activities. Most of these studies were performed with a dose of 18 to 35 milligrams of marijuana; a typical joint can contain more than that.

Drug screens are unreliable for evaluating whether someone is impaired from marijuana use, as they can remain positive for up to 30 days after last use in people who use marijuana frequently.

Public health officials and employers will benefit from more standardized reporting of circumstances related to marijuana use when it comes to safety events, from machinery accidents to car crashes.

Next steps: Workplace marijuana use policies

In states where marijuana use is legal, companies are currently left to their own judgment regarding workplace use.

Those with a policy that allows medicinal or recreational marijuana use during personal time will have difficulty interpreting a positive drug screen -- was the employee high at work or does the result reflect his or her use last weekend?

Experts have suggested implementing standardized cognitive testing rather than drug screens for those approved to use marijuana while employed -- or for those with a suspected marijuana-related workplace safety incident.

For those allowing medical marijuana use among employees, Krakower suggested that “companies should come up with a specific template that goes to the doctor. To justify how long ... for what ... what’s the frequency, duration [of use]. Will there be regular check-ins?”

Marijuana use is frequently linked to mental health issues

If an employee is using marijuana, Krakower suggests that employers dig further.

“Is there anxiety, is there ADHD, is there depression?" he said. "If marijuana is there, what else are we missing? Are we meeting [our employees'] needs?”

Federal law allows employers to prohibit employees from working under the influence of marijuana and may discipline employees who violate the prohibition without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Several states have laws, however, which prohibit discrimination based on its use, citing evidence supporting the positive effects of marijuana on various health conditions. With widespread legalization, we will likely see publicized court cases surrounding these issues.

Now that marijuana is legal, Krakower said, “It’s a whole new world.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr132018

Bride with stage 4 cancer enjoys 'beautiful' wedding despite doctors' urging her to push up the date

Tiffany Ellis Photography(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- Despite being urged by doctors to do otherwise, one bride battling stage 4 cancer kept her wedding date because it had a special meaning for her.

Laurin and Michael Bank wed on March 24, which was also the couple's third anniversary of when they first started dating.

Still, the two were unsure if they'd ever make it to their wedding date due to Laurin's battle with stage 4 cancer in her bones, liver and lungs.

"We were just very adamant about ... not letting cancer rule our lives. We were going to have a wedding on our terms," Laurin, 29, told ABC News. "Mike and I, we’re a team. I know that if he supports me, it’ll work out."

The Columbia, South Carolina, newlyweds began dating three weeks before Laurin underwent a double mastectomy in April 2015. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer seven months before. Along with her surgery, Laurin was treated with chemotherapy and radiation before doctors said they found no evidence of cancer in her body.

"I was going through a divorce at the time," Michael, 34, recalled. "Neither of us were looking for anything serious. Our entire relationship has been focused on enjoying life and having fun and that’s exactly what we're doing."

They were having so much fun, in fact, that Michael proposed to his now-wife at Niagara Falls in June 2017.

"He he got down on knee and asked if we can keep this party going? And I said, 'Yes!'" Laurin said.

But the couple would be hit with hard news two months later.

Laurin's cancer had returned, and it had spread throughout her body.

"We were in shock," Laurin said. "Because I had done so well ... it was kind of a shock to us."

But for Laurin, it wasn't the first time she had heard those two words in her lifetime: stage 4. Both of her parents died from stage 4 cancer. When Laurin was 17 years old, her mom passed away from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and her father died when she was 22 years old from stage 4 colon cancer.

"Unfortunately there's a long family history of it," she said, referencing her family's history of cancer. "In a sense, I wasn’t completely blindsided."

Doctors urged the couple in September 2017 to move up their wedding date. They urged them, again, at another doctors' visit in December.

"They just weren't sure if I would ... be able to walk down the aisle without assistance or be able to walk around without oxygen because all of the signs were not good at that point," Laurin explained. "But Mike and I decided that we would keep the wedding date. It’s booked, and our friends and families had their flights booked. We said, 'We're not changing anything.'"

Mike said he also wanted to keep their wedding date to give Laurin "something to keep looking forward to," adding, "I knew her biggest dream was for us to be married."

And on March 24, the couple's third anniversary, the two wed in front of approximately 225 guests.

They received help planning their "beautiful" day from In the Middle, a non-profit organization that helps grant wishes for those battling breast cancer. Laurin's brother, David, walked her down the aisle.

The two are now making honeymoon plans. They're hoping that Laurin, who's part of a clinical trial to treat her cancer, would complete her treatments by then and be cleared to fly.

"We're hoping that by my 30th birthday in September that we'll be in Italy," Laurin said.

"Amalfi Coast," her husband added, "is her big bucket list item."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr122018

People who go to bed later may be at higher risk of poor health

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People who describe themselves as an “evening person” may be at higher risk of poor health compared to morning types.

The new study followed over 430,000 adults in the United Kingdom between the ages 38 to 73 for six and a half years. At the end of this period, the researchers compared the mortality rates of the morning and evening types of people.

Night owls were 10 percent more likely to die during the six years compared to morning larks. The researchers also looked at whether various medical conditions were more common in either group. Again, the evening types fared worse. Diabetes, psychological, neurological and gastrointestinal disorders were all more common for people who preferred evenings to mornings.

The data was taken from the U.K. Biobank -- a large pool of data designed to identify risk factors of major diseases -- and published in the Chronobiology International journal.

The researchers think the association between sleeping late and ill health may be related to our internal body clock being misaligned to social activities such as working and eating, or the effects of “social jet lag” -- forcing yourself to have a different sleeping pattern on weekends compared to workdays.

But at this stage it is worth remembering that the finding is only an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. The study took into account a number of factors which might have affected the results, such as age, gender, smoking and obesity. But there's a chance another factor is at play which the researchers might’ve missed.

For instance, stress, diet, isolation and drug and alcohol use are all known to contribute to ill-health and may be responsible for the different medical outcomes for morning and evening types.

Although, we don’t know for certain that being an evening person increases your risk of ill health. However, the researchers think this study is an early indication that it might. Previous research has linked body-clock disruption to diabetes and hypertension, as well as mental health problems such as depression.

It is thought that chronotype -- the medical term used to describe our preferences for morning or evening -- are around 20-50 percent determined by our genes. This means that we could have some control over our preferences.

They’re investigating whether bright light therapy in the morning, or melatonin in the evening, might be able to shift our chronotype, possibly improving health outcomes.

The authors of the study also suggest that more thought should be given to how our working patterns are designed.

“These findings suggest the need for researching interventions aimed at allowing evening types greater working flexibility,” the researchers said.

They also suggest that daylight saving time -- the practice of advancing clocks during summer months -- may harm the health of people who prefer evenings.

“The switch to daylight saving time is perceived as more uncomfortable by evening types than morning types,” the study said, “placing a further burden on individuals who are already struggling with when to start the working day."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr122018

States where you’re more likely to have heart disease: See where your state ranks

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Live in New Mexico? You are more likely to be affected by heart disease.

New Mexico and the Southeastern part of the United States rose to the top of the list of states that have more people living with heart disease than any other part of the country, according to the Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease Collaboration and the American Medical Association.

The overall news is good since, over the past 25 years, the United States has seen a decline in the number of people with heart disease. But in certain parts of the country, there is a rise, and researchers believe that the dominating factor in this rise is what we eat.

This study, which was just published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked back at heart disease in all 50 states from 1990 to 2016.

For the study, heart disease included anyone with a heart attack, any type of stroke, and the most common form of unusual heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation. The relationship between geography and heart disease sometimes makes sense -- it's not a surprise that Mississippi, famous for its fried catfish and mudpies, infamous for its poverty and few medical resources, had the most heart disease in the country. Not far behind are other states from the Gulf Coast to West Virginia -- as well as two outlier states, New Mexico and Alaska.

Which states had the least heart disease?

Minnesota had the least heart disease -- in addition to many states in the Northeast and Northwest.

Ischemic heart attacks -- caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart -- are the most common type of heart disease in every state, and overall in the United States, which has not changed in 25 years.

But other things have changed -- obesity has risen from 11 percent to 29 percent, which contributes to the problem. The number of people smoking has been cut by 50 percent -- from 30 percent to 15 percent -- largely due to government implemented programs encouraging people to quit.

Geographically, we’re left with questions: What is causing a concentration of sicker people in certain parts of the country? Is it migration to warmer weather? Is it a cost of living differences? Is it access to certain types of foods or better medical care?

We aren’t sure. But heart disease remains a massive burden to these areas and for those who are living with it, it is a major cause of declining quality of life.

Our challenge now is to focus on educating these states on a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and other ways to prevent heart disease in order to bring them up to par with the rest of the country.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr122018

'Roseanne' star Emma Kenney enters treatment for 'doing things I should not be doing'

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- "Roseanne" star Emma Kenney has entered treatment to treat anxiety and depression, among other undisclosed substance use.

In a statement from her rep, the actress who portrays Roseanne Conner's granddaughter on the hit "Roseanne" reboot, said, "I was running with a really fast crowd. I was being naive and very immature, and I was doing things I should not be doing because it was illegal and I’m not 21. It wasn’t healthy, and it was making me feel even worse — anxious and depressed. It was just a slippery slope that I did not want to go down. And I knew that I needed to stop it."

The actress, who's also well known for portraying Debbie Gallagher in Showtime's "Shameless," said she hopes treatment will help her re-focus and get her life back on track.

"I want to be the healthiest, best Emma that I can be, and I know that by going to treatment that’s what’s going to happen, and I’m going to continue on that positive road," she said, before addressing her fans directly.

"I just want to send a message to my fans saying that it’s OK to admit that you need help, and it doesn't make you weak," she said. "I’m going to come out on the other side, the True Emma that I’ve always been."

News of the actress entering treatment comes days after she announced on Twitter that she was taking a social media break.

"Hello & goodbye (for a bit)," she began in a tweet Monday. "I've decided to take a break from social media and LA for a minute. This sounds so cliche but this town/industry can really get to you. Going to re-find my peace happiness."

Kenney has been busy promoting "Roseanne" in recent months. In fact, she stopped by "Good Morning America" last week to discuss the show and her role as Harris Conner Healy.

"It's kind of an interesting experience because literally, the show ended in 1997 and I was born in '99, so it's kind of funny," she said. "My character was technically born two years before I was even born but she's supposed to be 16, two years younger than me."

To prepare for the role, the actress admitted that that she binge-watched the original "Roseanne" after auditioning.

"It's been really cool to be able to join an iconic, 90s family cast," she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr122018

Could post-surgery healing process trigger cancer spread in breast cancer?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If a new study in mice ends up holding true for humans, there may be a new explanation for why breast cancer can spread after surgery. The wound-healing process may make the immune system too busy to catch cancer cells that travel around the body.

The same study proposed, however, that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), however, could help mitigate the possible cancer spread after surgery.

Doctors have known for years that after lumpectomy or mastectomy, breast cancer can appear elsewhere in the body after a year or two.

This new study on mice proposes a reason: that in some, the immune system is so overtaxed by healing the surgical wound that it allows some cancer cells to travel and lie dormant in other parts of the body.

The study, published Wednesday in the medical journal Science Translational Medicine, also proposes a possible solution: something as simple as ibuprofen.

The researchers gave NSAIDs to the mice after surgery to decrease inflammation around the wound, allowing the immune system to better police the spread of cancer, while not affecting the wound-healing process.

“This represents the first causative evidence of surgery having this kind of systemic response,” Jordan Krall, the first author of the study and a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's White Head Institute for Biomedical Research, said in a statement announcing the study's publication.

“Surgery is essential for treating a lot of tumors, especially breast cancer," Krall added. "But there are some side effects of surgery, just as there are side effects to any treatment. We’re starting to understand what appears to be one of those potential side effects, and this could lead to supportive treatment alongside of surgery that could mitigate some of those effects.”

Scientists have established a link between surgery and cancer spread, or metastatic relapse, in previous human studies. In the paper published Wednesday, researchers noted that breast cancer patients who undergo surgery have a higher risk for metastatic relapse 12 to 18 months after surgery.

The reason for the high risk of metastatic relapse in breast cancer patients following surgery has sparked debate in the medical community, but researchers in the new study stated in its abstract that their mouse study could "describe an experimental model system that definitely links surgery and the subsequent wound-healing response to the outgrowth of tumor cells at distant anatomical sites."

Using anti-inflammatory treatments after surgery "markedly reduces tumor outgrowth in this model," they added.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, said that the theory that cancer cells are partly attracted to inflammation has been out there for a while, and noted that with surgical wound-healing comes inflammation.

Ashton emphasized that one cancer specialist she spoke to said that inflammation, however, has a subtle impact on cancer spread, and the significance of the study may be overstated and more research is still needed.

Ashton added that for women who are facing surgery, while this study raises some interesting questions about what may be going on in a post-surgical body, it in no way should change a woman's plan to surgically remove a tumor.

She added that NSAIDs, the drug that researchers suggest may help quell the spread of cancer, are already routinely used after surgery for pain relief.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr122018

Allergy 'vaccine' suppresses the allergic response to peanuts in mice

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There may be hope on the horizon for food allergy sufferers in the United States -- at least, those that are mice. Scientists reported on Wednesday that they successfully tested a new allergy "vaccine" in mice with peanut allergies. They hope human trials are in the future.

A potential new therapy for those with allergies, developed at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan, "tricks" the immune system into responding to exposure to an allergen, like peanuts, with a different immune system pathway than the body’s typical allergic response -- and this pathway can actually prevent the activation of cells that would cause allergic reactions.

What happened when it was tested in mice?

For three months, mice with peanut allergies were given tiny amounts of peanut linked to a substance which triggers the "safe" pathway, essentially training the immune system to change its response to peanuts. After receiving all of the vaccine doses, the mice were again exposed to peanuts.

Mice not given the vaccine responded with allergy symptoms similar to humans -- from scratching and puffiness of the face to difficulty breathing and passing out -- but the mice who received the vaccine treatment had mild or no symptoms.

Current approach to food allergies

An allergic response is an overreaction of the person’s own immune system against a food or other substance. It gets wrongly recognized by the body's immune system as a dangerous invader, even though it’s harmless. This sort of reaction typically happens when a person's body reacts incorrectly to things like pollen, dust, pet dander, and peanuts. The substances triggering an allergic reaction are known as allergens.

This causes a chain reaction involving antibodies made by white blood cells and substances, like histamine and cytokines, which tell the body that something is wrong. As a result, the body will exhibit symptoms like rash, itching, watery eyes, and nausea. The most severe version of this response is anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction which involves difficulty breathing and low blood pressure.

Currently, people with food allergies can try immunotherapy, called “desensitization therapy,” receiving small doses of the allergen weekly or monthly. The therapy may be given for several years, hoping that the body will “get used to” the allergen and understand it’s not a threat. It isn’t always successful, and people at high risk for dangerous allergic reactions generally aren’t advised to try it.

What’s next

"We're changing the way the immune cells respond upon exposure to allergens," Jessica O’Konek, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Importantly, we can do this after allergy is established, which provides for potential therapy of allergies in humans."

The next step is to evaluate just how long the protection from allergic responses lasts after this therapy is given. The researchers will also do more studies in mice to better understand the mechanisms of various responses to allergens and the consequences of re-routing this response. Afterward, they hope to perform trials of the “allergy vaccine” in humans. But that’s some time away.

"This research is also teaching us more about how food allergies develop," Dr. James Baker Jr., senior author of the study, said in a press release, "and the science behind what needs to change in the immune system to treat them."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr112018

YouTube stars who battled acne say they cleared skin through a low-fat diet

iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Nina and Randa Nelson are 24-year-old twins who live their lives in the public eye, with more than 600,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel.

The willingness to be in the public spotlight is a turn for the sisters who say they had acne so severe at the age of 20 that it paralyzed their lives and their acting ambitions.

“I remember vividly the day so well when my acne was at like its peak and I had an audition,” Randa Nelson told ABC News. “I just remember standing in the audition and I didn’t even want to look in the casting director’s eyes."

She continued, “I could not help but have this negative voice in my head. I became depressed. I wasn’t even myself because I didn’t want anyone to see me looking like that.”

The Nelsons, who live in Chatsworth, California, described the acne as both physically and emotionally painful.

Both depression and anxiety are common problems among acne-sufferers, experts say.

“If we did go out we’d have these big, floppy hats on, or just go out in the dark,” said Nina Nelson. “Anybody who has experienced what it’s like can sympathize.”

The sisters said they endured a nearly one-year cycle of taking medication to clear the acne and then watching the acne return, often worse, when the medication ended.

The Nelsons’ acne was so severe they were sent to a specialist with a months-long waiting list for an appointment. When the doctor recommended a medication that came with a long list of possible side effects, Nina and Randa Nelson decided to try a new approach.

The sisters overhauled their diet, following a plan rich in vegetables and low in fat.

“I would say we ate pretty healthy before we changed our diet,” Nina Nelson said. “We’d have oatmeal with soy milk or peanut butter and toast in the morning, beans and rice with avocado on a burrito for lunch and pasta with an oil sauce for dinner.”

She continued, “It wasn’t super high fat but even just small amounts [of fat] made a huge difference in our skin.”

Their new low-fat, plant-based eating plan, which is detailed in the sisters’ book, “The Clear Skin Diet,” began to clear up their skin within days, according to the Nelsons.

“It was just diet,” said Nina Nelson, who noted she and sister were no longer taking medication at the time. “We didn’t even change up our [skincare] products.”

While following the diet plan, Nina and Randa Nelson said they used only cleansing gel and an oil-free moisturizer, supplemented by an occasional face mask. The skincare products they used -- and continue to use today -- were products available in drugstores, not prescription, the Nelsons said.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), which represents more than 20,000 dermatologists around the world, does not endorse dietary changes as a treatment for acne.

"Given the current data, no specific dietary changes are recommended in the management of acne," the AAD states on its website. "Emerging data suggests that high glycemic index (GI) diets may be associated with acne. Limited evidence suggests that some dairy, particularly skim milk, may influence acne."

The sisters, whose experience is their own and not based on medical research, say they remain acne-free four years later and still eat a low-fat, plant-based diet, focusing on foods like oatmeal, potatoes, vegetables, beans and fruit.

Diet and acne

The diet plan in "Clear Skin Diet," according to the Nelsons, is largely inspired by the work of Dr. John McDougall, a physician who is a high-profile advocate of a plant-based diet.

"When we were babies our mom had a rare autoimmune disease and went vegan [on Dr. McDougall's plan] and two months later she went into remission," recalled Nina Nelson. "Our dad was like, 'Why don't you look up to see if Dr. McDougall has something on acne?' and he did."

McDougall, who wrote the foreword to "The Clear Skin Diet," writes on his website that a "high-fat diet increases the amounts of fats in and on the skin," which causes acne in susceptible people. According to McDougall, dairy products, meat and poultry are known to increase insulin-like growth hormone-1, elevated levels of which are "associated with more acne."

Dr. Steven Lawenda, who lost more than 70 pounds following a plant-based diet, is a primary care physician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Los Angeles. He consulted Nina and Randa Nelson for their book and admits research is still in the early stages when it comes to the role diet may play in solving acne.

"There were a number of years that it was dismissed that diet had anything to do with acne, but now it's getting more attention," he said, citing studies that have found dairy and high-glycemic foods to cause acne in many people.

The association between diet and acne remains contentious in the medical field, as the AAD statement makes clear.

Nina and Randa Nelson relied on a team of 15 chefs, medical doctors, dietitians and nutrition experts to inform their book. There is no research included in the book on the sisters' specific claims and the foods on the diet.

Lawenda said he is intrigued by research showing that when certain hormones in the body, including insulin-like growth hormone-1, are elevated, acne worsens, as do some chronic diseases.

"The diet that is healthy for acne seems to be the diet that is helpful for keeping weight down, preventing or reversing diabetes and heart disease and likely preventing many cancers," he said. "There appear to be common pathways that likely explain the links between these diseases."

'I can fix this. It's going to be okay.'

Nina and Randa Nelson decided to write a book after getting an overwhelming amount of feedback when they shared their story on YouTube.

"We realized this could help a lot of people," said Nina Nelson. "It's truly life-changing."

While writing their book, the Nelsons conducted study groups with students at a local college. They recruited students by holding up signs featuring Nina Nelson's before and after photos.

In their first study group, the sisters recruited around 15 people who attended weekly meetings, followed a low-fat, plant-based diet and were evaluated medically by Lawenda.

In the second study group, in 2016, the sisters had 130 participants.

"I noticed, over the course of a month, that they had significant improvements in their acne and felt better," said Lawenda, who monitored both study groups. "I was able to witness the before and afters firsthand."

The key to success, according to the Nelsons and Lawenda, is to strictly follow the low-fat, plant-based diet plan for at least six weeks.

"We suggest that people try the diet long enough to clear their skin and then if they want to add [other foods] back in, that's fine," said Randa Nelson. "And some people, they can successfully add fats in and their skin is fine, but other people breakout, so it just depends [on the individual]."

The Nelsons' six-week plan may not be easy to follow for many. It calls for getting just 10 percent of calories from fat, while the typical American diet gets around 35 percent of calories from fat, according to their book.

Foods ranging from avocados to vegetable oil, peanut butter, yogurt, ice cream, soy, olives, hummus, coconut and nuts and seeds are not allowed on the Nelsons' plan. Fruits, vegetables, and starches -- from whole grain sources -- are encouraged at whatever quantity it takes to feel satisfied.

"When you feel hungry, eat," the sisters write in "Clear Skin Diet," which is on sale now. "Don't worry about whether you ate two hours ago, or what time you may want to eat. Hungry at midnight? Eat at midnight."

The benefit of pursuing a remedy for acne via diet, according to Nina Nelson, is that it gives the person suffering from acne a sense of control.

"It's nice to know you can take control," she said. "If you're dealing with a breakout, you can be like, 'I can fix this. It's going to be OK.'"

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr112018

Mariah Carey opens up about her bipolar disorder in 'hope of helping others'

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Mariah Carey has revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, saying she is speaking out about her mental health now because she is "hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone."

The 48-year-old pop music icon, who has sold more than 200 million records throughout her decades-long career, said she was first diagnosed with bipolar II disorder when she was hospitalized in 2001.

"I didn't believe it," Carey told People magazine of her diagnosis. "I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career."

"I was so terrified of losing everything, I convinced myself the only way to deal with this was to not deal with this," Carey added.

She said she only recently started receiving treatment for it, but before that, "lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me."

The five-time Grammy Award-winner told the magazine that she is "in a really good place right now" and "comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder."

Carey added that she hopes to break the stigma that quells conversations about mental illness.

"It can be incredibly isolating," she added. "It does not have to define you, and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

Carey said she is now taking medication to treat the disorder but is also "exercising, getting acupuncture, eating healthy, spending quality time with my kids and doing what I love, which is writing songs and making music."

She told the magazine that she hopes fans can read her story "and not be like, 'Oh my god. what's wrong with Mariah?'"

"Hopefully they'll just understand I'm doing this with the hope of helping others, and also because it's going to be a freeing experience for me," she said.

What to know about bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a "brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks," according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Bipolar II disorder includes a "pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes," but not the longer manic episodes that last at least seven days, which is seen in people with bipolar I disorder, according to the NIMH.

Manic episodes are associated with an increased activity level, while depressive episodes are the opposite, characterized by a low energy level, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent.

"The key is that cycling," she said. "If someone has a manic episode, the theory is in some period of time they will eventually fall down to have a depressive episode, and it’s the closeness of that cycling that really determines those swings."

Treatment for bipolar disorder is not "one size fits all," Ashton said.

Treatment options include medication -- the mainstay treatment option -- cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, lectroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and sleep therapies, Ashton noted.

Carey's not immediately seeking treatment after her diagnosis is not uncommon, according to Ashton.

"We have to remember with mental illness, and bipolar disorder in particular, there is no shame in this game," she said. "Mariah did not come forward really to seek good treatment for herself, and that is not uncommon."

She continued, "And if you think someone [who is a] celebrity, with all of her resources, can be stigmatized and held back, think what the average person goes through."

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Tuesday
Apr102018

Human error allegedly to blame for compromised eggs and embryos, tank supplier says

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- An Ohio fertility clinic that lost thousands of eggs and embryos due to what it said was a storage tank glitch may have been too quick to blame the machine, according to the tank supplier.

Custom Biogenic Systems (CBS), the company that supplied the storage tank to University Hospitals of Cleveland, said in a statement that an initial review it conducted has found that "our equipment did not malfunction" during the weekend of March 3 to March 4, when more than 4,000 eggs and embryo assets were compromised.

Rather CBS said that human error likely led to the temperature rise that led to the loss of the eggs and embryos.

"The early stages of our investigation into this unfortunate incident indicate it was the result of human error," the CBS statement reads, claiming that the fertility clinic at University Hospitals did not follow what it says were the company's detailed instructions.

Specifically, CBS states that its tanks should not be filled manually with liquid nitrogen as it says University Hospitals may have done.

In a letter to its patients that was sent out in conjunction with Zenty's apology to the clinic's clients posted on the hospital's social media accounts, Zenty said employees were manually filling the tank.

Zenty also said in the letter that the remote alarm system on the tank, which meant to keep tabs of any kind of "temperature swings," was mysteriously off.

"We don't know when the remote alarm was turned off, but it remained off through that weekend, so an alert wasn't sent to our employee as the tank temperature began to rise on Saturday night, when the lab wasn't staffed," he wrote.

Zenty admitted there was some potential that someone turned the alert system off, but said in the letter that "we are still seeking those answers."

Still, the letter suggested the tank "needed preventative maintenance" because the function that automatically adds liquid nitrogen to the tank to keep the specimens frozen had been experiencing difficulties for several weeks prior to the tank's failure.

As a result, Zenty states in the letter, University Hospitals employees were manually filling the tank because of the issues with the autofill function, but the levels of nitrogen that "were monitored and appeared to be appropriate on Friday and Saturday" likely were insufficient.

In its statement, CBS provided an instructional video to show how it says the tank was improperly handled.

In the video, a big thumbs-down icon appears to frown on using the tank to store specimens in liquid nitrogen. Three thumbs-up icons conversely pop up when, according to the company, the tank is used appropriately with a technique called isothermal, which stabilizes temperatures and limits any cross-contamination.

In response, University Hospitals said in a statement that it is still investigating "the ultimate cause of the failure.... But we still have not gotten to the ultimate cause."

"We intend to continue to work with the tank manufacturer to ensure this does not happen again," the statement reads. "We’ve been careful to not assign blame. But we’ve accepted responsibility. We will not comment any further due to pending litigation."

The Cleveland clinic has been hit with a class-action lawsuit, ABC News previously reported.

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