Study: Annual HIV Infection Rate Dropped by 33 Percent in a Decade

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study indicates that the annual number of HIV diagnoses dropped by 33 percent between 2002 and 2011.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed data from the National HIV Surveillance System and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2002, the study found that the rate of HIV diagnosis in the U.S. was 24.1 cases per 100,000 population. That figure fell to 16.1 cases per 100,000 population by 2011.

It was not clear what caused the decrease in HIV diagnoses. The figures only correlate to newly-diagnosed HIV cases each year, not to the overall HIV population.

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Researchers Say Better Schools May Be Remedy for Kids in Poverty

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that higher quality schooling has a significant impact on the ability of children in poverty to improve their academic performance and avoid risky behaviors.

According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at UCLA selected 900 economically disadvantaged students, 500 from a charter high school and 400 from a public school, to compare their academic achievement through graduation. They determined that 91 percent of students who attended charter school graduated, compared to just 76 percent in public school.

The students who were given the opportunity to attend charter school were less likely to skip classes, and performed better in standardized testing in both math and English. Researchers also noted that while students at the charter school or the public school both engaged in risky behaviors -- including drugs, alcohol and risky sex -- the students in the charter school were less likely to engage in multiple of those behaviors simultaneously.

The data suggests that given the opportunity to attend better schools, disadvantaged students may be able to improve their school performance, researchers say.

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Meditation May Reduce Stress in Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities

amana images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mothers of children with developmental disabilities may be able to reduce their increased stress, anxiety and depression by learning to meditate.

According a study published in the journal Pediatrics, mothers of children with autism or other neuro-developmental conditions who received "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction," a program that included breathing, meditation and movement techniques, saw greater improvement in depression, anxiety, sleep and life satisfaction.

Researchers selected 243 mothers of children with developmental disabilities and assigned half of them to receive the stress reduction regimen, and the other half to receive "Positive Adult Development." The latter plan involved training with peer mentors to develop coping strategies.

While both programs were linked to reduced stress, researchers say the program that included breathing and meditation lessons was more effective. The study highlights the effectiveness of "mindfulness" in coping with stress, but also notes that peer mentoring can improve the lives of parents as well.

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Eyes Up Here for Love, Elsewhere for Lust

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Where the eyes wander is the best way of knowing whether a person feels love or lust.

That's the upshot of a study out of the University of Geneva, although its conclusion doesn’t seem all that startling.

Lead author Stephanie Cacioppo and her husband, John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago, examined how male and female students looked at one another, and their finding was that when the eyes focus on the face, it's more indicative of romantic love.

However, if the eyes target other parts of the human anatomy, it's a surer sign that they're more interested in sex.

So why is this important? As Stephanie Cacioppo explains, "By identifying eye patterns that are specific to love-related stimuli, the study may contribute to the development of a biomarker that differentiates feelings of romantic love versus sexual desire."

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Study Claims Lean Beef Can Reduce Hypertension

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Red meat to lower your blood pressure? That's what Penn State researchers say, provided that it's lean beef you're eating.

The other important factor is that this protein source is part of the larger DASH-diet plan, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Researcher Penny M. Kris-Etherton says DASH features plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and with the inclusion of lean beef, it becomes the BOLD+diet (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet Plus additional protein).

In order to maintain a heart-healthy diet to lower blood pressure, Kris-Etherton recommends the BOLD+diet, which includes 5.4 ounces of lean beef daily. This proved most effective compared to other diets that had a smaller daily portion of meat.

A good rule of thumb to find lean or extra lean beef is shopping for meat that has round, chuck or loin in its name.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Georgia Education Officials Say Baked Goods Should be Sold in School

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Education officials in Georgia want to give schools more opportunities to sell baked goods and other foods that don't meet national guidelines championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Georgia state Board of Education, which calls new federal nutrition standards an "overreach," wants to give schools 30 days per school year to sell sweets or fast food during fundraisers.

Even though schools have begun serving lunches with more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, some Georgia school officials are saying they depend on selling items like candy bars and baked goods to raise money for clubs, sports, and other programs.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Busiest Emergency Rooms Have Lowest Death Rates, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New research suggests that the busier the emergency room, the better your chances of survival.

While it may seem like chaos at a large, busy hospital would increase the risk of error, a University of Michigan study found that practice makes perfect, and that death rates at the nation's busiest emergency rooms are 10% lower than in the calmest.

And the numbers aren't just lower for gunshot and stab wounds-- researchers say death rates were 26% lower for sepsis patients and 22% lower for lung failure patients.

Overall, the study finds that if all emergency room patients were treated at the busiest hospitals, 24,000 fewer people would die every year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


B Robert's Foods Recalls 200 Pounds of Grilled Chicken 

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina company is recalling about 200 pounds of grilled chicken entrees because they were not properly labeled.

B Robert's Foods, based in Charlotte, says the packages contain milk, but that was not declared on the label.

The top label of the 10-ounce packages reads "All Natural Grilled Chicken Strips," and the bottom label says "Grilled Chicken Breast with Lemon Spaghettini."

The product was distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


FDA Urges Consumers to Keep Away from Powdered Caffeine Products

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to avoid powdered pure caffeine products which they say can cause accidental overdose.

The FDA says it is aware of "at least one death of a teenager who used these products." The products are nearly 100 percent caffeine, a single teaspoon of which is about the same amount in 25 cups of coffee.

Some of the side effects of caffeine overdose include erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. The FDA also urges parents to be aware that young people may be interested in these products without realizing the danger of ingesting them.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


AIDS Conference to Continue Out of Respect for Researchers Lost on MH 17

BananaStock/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- The day after Malaysia Flight MH 17 was shot down in Ukraine, members of the tight knit HIV/AIDS community are mourning the loss of roughly 100 HIV/AIDS researchers, who were killed en route to the International Aids Society conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Despite the immense toll, IAS conference officials said in a statement the conference would continue, “in recognition of our colleagues' dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Although the IAS did not confirm the number of attendees on the plane, President Obama told reporters Friday that nearly 100 AIDS/HIV researchers and scientists were on board MH 17 when it was shot down.

While the conference will continue, attendees will have “opportunities to reflect and remember those we have lost,” officials said.

Nobel laureate Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus and president of the International AIDS Society, told reporters the conference would continue out of respect for those who were killed.

“We know that it's really what they would like us to do,” Barre-Sinoussi told reporters.

Among the passengers aboard MH 17 was Dr. Joep Lange, a former president of the IAS from the Netherlands, who has been a leading expert in the field of HIV/AIDS since the 1980s.

Chris Beyrer, IAS president-elect, told reporters Thursday if Lange perished on the flight “then the HIV/AIDS movement has truly lost a giant.”

“In this incredible sad and sensitive time, the IAS stands with its international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost in this tragedy,” Beyrer told reporters in Melbourne, Australia.

Lange’s partner, HIV/AIDS researcher Jacqueline van Tongeren, was also on board the downed plane.

Lange’s longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Merson, said the Dutch scientist was one of the first to use antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and became an expert in the treatment.

“He really was very special and if you were to come up with the leaders in AIDS [since] the pandemic began in 1981,” said Merson, who is the director of the Duke Global Health Institute. “You’d put him among the top five leaders.”

Merson said in the 22 years he knew Lange, the scientist had started numerous initiatives to combat the HIV/AIDS in Europe and Africa. After drugs to control HIV started to gain traction in the mid 1990s, Lange focused his efforts on global health initiatives to get the medication to anyone who needed it.

"His second home was Africa, he worked in east Africa and Asia and Latin America," said Merson. "He would stay it like it is. He was an outstanding scientists and fierce advocate."

Merson said he has no doubt that Lange’s work will continue.

“There’s no questions there will be loss and there will be some things that slow down,” said Merson. “But he has great colleagues and dedicated scientists and researchers that are in his institute in Amsterdam. He knows that they want him to continue.”

World Health Organization spokesperson Glenn Thomas was also en route to the conference on MH 17.

“His twin sister says he died doing what he loved,” WHO said in a statement. “Glenn will be remembered for his ready laugh and his passion for public health.”

Not all of the researchers on board have been named, but the tight-knit HIV/AIDS research community around the world is mourning the loss. The Thomas Street Health Center in Houston, Texas, observed a moment of silence for the fallen researchers. And Peter Staley, a long time AIDS/HIV activist, wrote on twitter that the missile had “ripped a hole through the heart of the international AIDS community.”

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