Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fla Panhandle county reports West Nile death - Sacramento Bee

A Florida Panhandle county says one person has died after becoming infected with West Nile virus.

Dr. John Lanza of the Escambia County Health Department tells the Pensacola News Journal ( that the patient was a county resident.

There have been 10 cases of West Nile in Escambia this year.

Neighboring Santa Rosa County on Tuesday confirmed its second case of West Nile.

Health officials are warning residents to reduce their exposure to mosquitos, which can infect humans with the virus.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

• Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.

20 Minutes of Exercise Cuts Kids' Diabetes... - ABC News

Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can protect kids from diabetes, according to a new study.

This clinical trial, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, randomly assigned 222 overweight, inactive kids to one of three activity groups for 13 weeks.

The first two groups underwent 20 or 40 minutes of daily aerobic exercise in an after-school program. The third group went about their usual routines.

The researchers found that 20 minutes of exercise for just a few months was helpful compared to no exercise at all, said the lead author of the study, Catherine L. Davis, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia.

Those kids who were active for just 20 minutes a day were more fit, had less body fat, and had better markers for diabetes risk when compared to kids who weren't active.

The authors also found that health effects of exercise were the same for boys and girls and for different races.

Predictably enough, the study also found that more exercise is better. Kids who exercised longer had even less body fat and better values for markers of diabetes risk.

What was surprising is that these benefits occurred even without changing what kids ate.

Boarding School for Overweight Kids
Boarding School for Overweight Kids
Extreme Weight-Loss Program: Brain Surgery Watch Video
Bod4God: Get In Shape to Honor God? Watch Video
Gastric Bypass Hypnosis: Thinking Thin Watch Video

"This study helps to isolate the benefit of exercise in cutting down on diabetes risk and obesity in kids," said study co-author, Dr. B. Adam Dennis, an endocrinology fellow at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, Ga.

More research is needed to see if these results last, caution the researchers.

Dr. David L. Katz, editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, said the study shows "even a little bit of physical activity might be the difference between a child developing diabetes or not." Katz was not involved with the study.

These findings could help policymakers when it comes to redesigning physical activity opportunities at the local, national, and global level.

"I hope these findings will provide an impetus for changes in communities around the U.S. and the rest of the world that will focus attention on children's health," Davis said. "This can be done by providing welcoming, safe physical activity programs for children of all skill levels."

This school-based study suggests that the "physical" may need to be put back into "education." Davis suggested that schools are a natural focus for exercise programs. While the creation of after-school exercise programs might be necessary to ensure 40 minutes of daily exercise, she said, 20 minutes a day of exercise can be achieved during regular school activities, like recess and gym class. She added that exercise is not just useful in cutting back diabetes risk and obesity, but it is also good for kids' brains. She cited a related study that showed that exercise improved cognition and math skills in kids.

Short exercise breaks in the classroom can easily be included during the school day, said Katz, who is also the co-creator of an in-class exercise program that offers online, free resources for educators.

This study had an unusually low drop-out rate -- perhaps because the activities were simple, fun, and appealing to kids of all athletic abilities, Davis said. The researchers also used low-cost prizes to reward kids for effort rather than performance.

Dummies can stunt children's emotional development -

However, a baby with a pacifier in their mouth is less able to mirror those expressions and the emotions they represent.

The effect is similar to that seen in studies of patients receiving injections of Botox to paralyse facial muscles and reduce wrinkles.

Botox users experience a narrower range of emotions and often have trouble identifying the emotions behind expressions on other faces. Professor Paula Niedenthal, who led the study, said: "By reflecting what another person is doing, you create some part of the feeling yourself.

"That's one of the ways we understand what someone is feeling - especially if they seem angry, but they're saying they're not; or they're smiling, but the context isn't right for happiness. "We can talk to infants, but at least initially they aren't going to understand what the words mean.

"So the way we communicate with infants at first is by using the tone of our voice and our facial expressions. That work got us thinking about critical periods of emotional development, like infancy.

"What if you always had something in your mouth that prevented you from mimicking and resonating with the facial expression of somebody?"

The researchers found six and seven-year-old boys who spent more time with pacifiers in their mouths as young children were less likely to mimic the emotional expressions of faces peering out from a video.

College-aged men who recollected more pacifier use as kids scored lower than their peers on common tests measuring emotional intelligence.

"What's impressive about this is the incredible consistency across those three studies in the pattern of data," Prof Niedenthal said.

"There's no effect of pacifier use on these outcomes for girls, and there's a detriment for boys with length of pacifier use even outside of any anxiety or attachment issues that may affect emotional development."

Girls develop earlier in many ways, according to Prof Niedenthal, and it is possible that they make sufficient progress in emotional development before or despite pacifier use.

It may be that boys are simply more vulnerable than girls, and disrupting their use of facial mimicry is just more detrimental for them.

"It could be that parents are inadvertently compensating for girls using the pacifier, because they want their girls to be emotionally sophisticated. Because that's a girly thing," Niedenthal continued.

"Since girls are not expected to be unemotional, they're stimulated in other ways. But because boys are desired to be unemotional, when you plug them up with a pacifier, you don't do anything to compensate and help them learn about emotions."

Suggesting such a simple and common act has lasting and serious consequences is far from popular. "Parents hate to have this discussion," Prof Niedenthal said.

"They take the results very personally. Now, these are suggestive results, and they should be taken seriously. But more work needs to be done."

Sussing out just why girls seem to be immune is an important next step, said the study team. Prof Niedenthal said: "Probably not all pacifier use is bad at all times. We already know from this work that night time pacifier use doesn't make a difference, presumably because that isn't a time when babies are observing and mimicking our facial expressions anyway. It's not learning time."

Health Buzz: Childhood Obesity Linked to BPA, Study Suggests - U.S. News & World Report

Study: Children With Higher Levels of BPA Twice as Likely to be Obese

The BPA food packaging chemical may be tied to childhood obesity, suggests a study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a plastics chemical that's been used in food packaging, metal can linings, and medical goods since the 1960s, reports the Associated Press, and traces of the chemical can be found in most Americans. Although government officials have deemed BPA to be safe in low levels, the latest study revealed that children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to be obese than those with the lowest levels. While the study raises provocative questions about the link between environmental chemicals and obesity, its researchers clarify that their findings don't prove that BPA causes weight gain in children. There are many other reasons why children become obese, says study author Leonardo Trasande, associate professor in pediatrics, environmental medicine, and health policy at New York University. "Clearly unhealthy diet and poor physical activity are the leading factors contributing to obesity in the United States, especially in children," he told the AP.

The importance of healthy dieting and an active lifestyle is especially evident this week, as another study released Tuesday projects that half of American adults will be obese by 2030. In every state, obesity would reach at least 44 percent by 2030, and over 60 percent in 13 states, predicts the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hidden Risks of Chronic Stress

According to a recent American Psychological Association poll, nearly a quarter of Americans confessed to currently feeling under "extreme stress." Respondents especially blamed money, work, and the economyâ€"a feeling 50-year-old Sue Wasserman knows all too well. In February, the public relations manager left Atlanta after her job was eliminated by a corporate restructuring and took a new post in Asheville, N.C. When that proved a bad fit, she struck out on her own as a freelance writer and publicist. Though Wasserman is thrilled some days to be living near the Blue Ridge Mountains, the uncertainty of her income overwhelms her. "There's a sense of forebodingâ€"of 'What did I just do?' " she says.

Short periods of tension can actually be beneficial to people, sharpening thinking and heightening physical response in situations where performance counts, such as business meetings or athletic competitions. But experts are clear that when individuals are routinely under assaultâ€"over money, health woes, a daily freeway commute, whateverâ€"a biological system that was designed to occasionally fight or flee a predator gets markedly out of balance. "The body's delicate feedback system starts to malfunction," says David Spiegel, director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford University.

Stress has been found to play a role in so many diseases of modern lifeâ€"from asthma, depression, and migraine flares to heart attacks, cancer, and diabetesâ€"that it likely accounts for more than half of the country's healthcare-related expenses, says George Chrousos, a distinguished visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health. In March, Chrousos spearheaded a conference on "The Profound Impact of Stress" in Washington, D.C., to educate policymakers and the public. [Read more: Hidden Risks of Chronic Stress]

What Your Poo Says About You

As I get older, I've noticed that my friends are talking more about subjects we once considered taboo, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. Maybe it's the Facebook effect, or perhaps the loss of bodily shame associated with going through childbirth. Maybe it's a function of having young kids at home, so the subject of bodily functions becomes as common as the weather. Whatever it is, I'm finding that the topic of poo comes up in conversation. A lot.

The truth is, this doesn't bother me a bit. It's not a coincidence that I wound up working as a dietitian in a gastroenterologist's office. I've long been fascinated by the digestive process in general, and the intestines in particular. My favorite diagram of the gutâ€"a veritable road map of the windy, twisty turns through the small intestine into the colon that marks the site of each nutrient's absorption along the wayâ€"is faded and dog-eared from my frequent and intense study. Some consult tea leaves to read clues into the universe. I consult poo.

To be clear, only a medical doctor can diagnose diseases, and I have no such credential. If your poos are of concern, you should always consult your doctor. However, I've discussed enough poos in the context of their owners' diets to become pretty good at helping my patients hone in on what dietary factors may be behind their bathroom woes. And if you're not too squeamish to continue, I thought I'd share some of my bestâ€"ahemâ€"nuggets.

1. Strangely-colored poos: Green or yellow poos generally hint at rapid transit, or poos passing abnormally fast through your intestines. Poo gets its typical brown color from bile, a greenish emulsifier that's secreted by your liver and gallbladder to aid in the digestion of fats. [Read more: What Your Poo Says About You]

Follow U.S. News Health on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

Extreme heat, cold trigger fatal heart attacks - Times of India


Extreme heat, cold trigger fatal heart attacks

Extreme heat, cold can trigger fatal heart attacks (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

Extremes of temperatures during heat waves or cold spells could trigger premature deaths from heart attacks, according to a new study by Australian researchers.

The findings are important because of how the body responds to temperate extremes, the growing obesity trend and the Earth's climate changes, said Cunrui Huang, who led the study as doctoral scholar at the School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane.

Exposure to extreme temperatures can trigger changes in blood pressure, blood thickness, cholesterol and heart rate, according to previous research, the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reports.

The study is the first in which researchers examined the link between daily average temperature and "years of life lost" due to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Years of life lost measures premature death by estimating years of life lost according to average life expectancy, according to a QUT statement.

"With increasing rates of obesity and related conditions, including diabetes, more people will be vulnerable to extreme temperatures and that could increase the future disease burden of extreme temperatures," Huang said.

Researchers collected data on daily temperatures in Brisbane, Australia, between 1996 and 2004 and compared them to documented cardiovascular-related deaths for the same period.

Brisbane has hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters.

The average daily mean temperature was 68.9 degrees Fahrenheit (20.5 degrees Celsius), with the coldest one percent of days (11.7 degree Celsius) characterised as cold spells and the hottest one percent (29.2 degree Celsius) heat waves.

Per one million people, 72 years of life were lost per day due to CVD, researchers said. Risk of premature CVD death rose more when extreme heat was sustained for two or more days, researchers found.

"This might be because people become exhausted due to the sustained strain on their cardiovascular systems without relief, or health systems become overstretched and ambulances take longer to reach emergency cases," said Adrian G. Barnett, study co-author and associate professor of biostatistics at QUT.

"We suspect that people take better protective actions during prolonged cold weather, which might be why we did not find as great a risk of CVD during cold spells."

Spending a few hours daily in a temperate environment can help reduce heat- and cold-related illnesses and deaths, Barnett said.

Obesity report predicts staggering weight gain, higher costs for health care - Chicago Tribune

September 18, 2012|By Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune reporter

  • Johnathan McCamey has lost 70 pounds since the beginning of the year by changing his diet and working out regularly.

Johnathan McCamey has lost 70 pounds since the beginning of the year by changing his diet and working out regularly. (Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune)

Over the last year, residents of Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood have been working on the community's obesity problem. For starters they conducted a "walk-ability" study and realized that the community would be more walk-able if the lines on several area crosswalks were repainted and a viaduct cleaned out.

They even held a 5K walk/run to raise money to renovate the neighborhood's Kelly Park so families could exercise more.

"We feel like we're all in this together," said Sara Reschly, president of the Kelly Park Advisory Council. "If we have any shot at reducing obesity it will take a combined effort of everybody pulling together."

That's one of the main points of a new report released Tuesday that offers sobering projections for an adult obesity rate in the United States that's expected to increase dramatically in Illinois and around the country by 2030.

The report, by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, estimates that by 2030, all 50 states could have obesity rates above 44 percent. In Illinois, the rate could nearly double from 27.1 percent now to 53.7 percent. Obesity-related health care costs in Illinois could jump more than 16.1 percent.

This is the ninth year that "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012" has given an annual state-by-state analysis of the country's ever-expanding waistline. But this is the first time the report addresses adult obesity two decades from now.

Along with staggering increases in obesity, the report predicts jumps in related diseases and health care costs.

Nationally, about two-thirds of adults and a third of children are currently overweight. About 35 percent of adults are obese or have a body mass index, or BMI, over 30.

Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, said the only way to change the country's obesity trajectory is for government, residents, faith-based organizations and the private sector to pull together.

He said that if the projections sound alarmist, consider this: "Since just 1991, most states have gone from being between 10 and 15 percent (for adult obesity) to where we are now, with many above 30 percent."

Levi said that while the trust is keeping an eye on experiments throughout the country aimed at reducing obesity, such as New York's ban last week on large sugary drinks, the organization is stopping short of calling for mandates. Rather, it's looking at what local and state governments can do to remove obstacles so residents can make healthier choices.

"We do know that for kids, one less sugar-sweetened beverage a day can make a big difference in their health," Levi said. "But if you look at the tobacco experience in getting people to quit smoking, the industry was taxed and regulations were used but ultimately the culture had to change."

The reports say that if states decrease average BMI by only 5 percent, every state could spare millions of residents serious health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, obesity-related cancers and arthritis.

The report estimates that Illinois could save more than $28 billion in 20 years.

But Elissa Bassler, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Illinois Public Health Institute, said it's important to understand that the 5 percent decrease in BMI would only reduce future obesity rates in the state to about 47 percent.

"We would save money and lives, but that in no way eliminates the problem," Bassler said. "We still have very bad health outcomes and health care costs."

This month, the institute launched the "Rethink Your Drink: Healthy Beverage Toolkit for Healthcare." It's a blueprint that hospitals can use to eliminate sugary beverages.

"It's not enough to wag your finger and say eat less and exercise more," Bassler said. "This is such a tremendous problem that it's going to take us changing the social condition rather than telling individuals they don't have the willpower to lose weight."

The report predicts that over the next two decades, 13 states could have rates above 60 percent and 39 states could have rates above 50 percent. Mississippi is on pace to have the highest obesity rate at 66.7 percent, and Colorado would have the lowest at 44.8 percent.

In Illinois, according to the report, obesity could contribute to more than 1.5 million new cases of Type 2 diabetes; more than 3 million new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke; more than 3 million new cases of hypertension; and nearly 500,000 new cases of obesity-related cancer.

The report estimates that across the United States, the cost of treating preventable obesity-related illnesses will increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year by 2030. Researchers place current costs at $147 billion to nearly $210 billion annually.

Color, size and smoking affect tattoo removal - Fox News

As growing numbers of people rue the tattoos they got in their youth, a new study has found that tattoo removal is less likely to succeed if the person is a smoker, the design contains colors such as blue or yellow and is larger than 12 inches.

The study is believed to be the first research that looked at several factorsâ€"which included tattoo size and location on the bodyâ€"involved with successful tattoo removal, according to the researchers.

The standard procedure for removing tattoos currently is treatment with a laser called a Q-switched laser, or QSL, applied over a number of sessions. But the technique can lose its effectiveness depending on certain variables, according to the study, published online on Monday in the American Medical Association's Archives of Dermatology.

Smoking, for instance, can reduce by 70 percent the chance of successfully removing a tattoo after 10 treatment sessions.

Dermatologists have long known certain colors are easier to remove than others, but the findings on the impact of smoking on tattoo removal are new.

The research was conducted at a laser-surgery center in Milan, Italy, from 1995 through 2010. There were 352 people in the study, of which 201 were men, with a median age of 30 years old.

As many as 22 percent of U.S. college students have at least one tattoo, according to background information in the study, and about half of people who get tattoos later try to have them removed.

In order to remove tattoos, patients must undergo about 10 laser treatments several weeks apart. The light from the laser targets pigments in the ink of the tattoo and helps the ink break down. Over time the ink is removed through the body's lymphatic system. Each treatment costs about $200 and isn't covered by insurance.

Overall, the study found about 47 percent of people had their tattoos successfully removed after 10 laser treatments and it took 15 treatments to remove tattoos from 75 percent of patients.

Black and red pigments in tattoos were most easily removed. All-black tattoos had a 58 percent successful-removal rate, while tattoos with black and red pigments had a 51 percent success rate after 10 treatments. The presence of other colors such as greens, yellows or blues reduced the chances of effective removal of a tattoo by as much as 80 percent, the study found. Other factors that reduced the procedure's success included a design larger than 12 inches or one located on the feet or legs.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.