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Type 2 Diabetes May Be Bad for Brain Health

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Previous research has linked type 2 diabetes and memory loss. Now, new research may be closing in on some of the reasons why. The study found that people with type 2 diabetes -- particularly those who are overweight or obese -- have thinner gray matter in several areas of the brain. These brain regions are related to memory, executive function, movement generation and visual information processing, said the study's senior author, Dr. In Kyoon Lyoo. He's director of...

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Money Pressures Mount When a Spouse Gets Cancer

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Family income can take a big hit when a wife or husband cares for a spouse with cancer, researchers report. Based on data from working-age couples in Canada, average household income declined between 5 percent and 9 percent, the researchers found. "The average annual household income for the working-age couples we studied was about $100,000, so the loss of income per family is about $5,000 to $9,000, which is a pretty substantial decline," study co-author Vincent...

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Opioid Use by Iraq, Afghanistan War Vets Mirrors Rest of U.S.: Study

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars use opioid painkillers at rates similar to that of the general population, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed pharmacy claims data from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. They found that 23 percent of these combat veterans were prescribed an opioid in a given year. About two-thirds took them for a short time; the rest took them for longer periods. "We found that use of opioids among veterans was characterized...

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Repeat Teen Births Still a Problem in United States: CDC

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- After having one baby and tending to the infant's dirty diapers and middle-of-the night wails, you'd think that most teens would want to wait awhile before having a second baby. But, a new U.S. government report finds that's not always the case. Instead, tens of thousands of American teens are getting pregnant for a second time. Most teens do seem to be trying not to have another child. Still, about 17 percent of teen moms aren't using any form of birth control,...

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Drugs Now Involved in More Fatal U.S. Crashes Than Alcohol Alone

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- In vehicle crashes that claim American lives, illicit drugs are now more likely to have played a role than the use of alcohol on its own, a new report says. The trend comes as more states legalize marijuana and the nation faces a troubling rise in opioid abuse and drug overdose deaths, the researchers noted. In 2015, drugs were detected in 43 percent of drivers who suffered fatal injuries, a higher percentage than cases involving alcohol alone, the report found. The...

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Stivarga Approved for Liver Cancer

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the anti-cancer drug Stivarga (regorafenib) has been expanded to include liver cancer, the agency said Thursday in a news release. Stivarga, among a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors, is designed to block enzymes that foster cancer growth. It's the first drug approved to treat liver cancer in nearly a decade, the FDA said. "Limited treatment options are available for patients with liver cancer," said Dr. Richard...

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'Brain Age' May Help Predict When You'll Die

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- When the brain ages faster than normal, people are at heightened risk for brain disease and impairment, as well as early death, a new British study suggests. The study authors said the finding may introduce a way to use imaging of the brain as a biomarker -- a way to measure a biological condition or process. "Such biomarkers could potentially identify those at risk of age-associated health problems years before symptoms appear, and be used as outcome measures in...

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Docs May Miss Major Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- It's the leading cause of permanent vision loss for Americans, but a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be going undiagnosed too often, new research suggests. The new study involved 644 people aged 60 and older who were found to have normal eye health in their most recent examination by either a primary eye care ophthalmologist or optometrist. However, when re-examined by a research team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, about 25...

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No Excuses: Exercise Can Overcome the 'Obesity Gene'

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Even if obesity is "in your genes," regular exercise can help keep extra pounds at bay, a new study suggests. Researchers found that when people carried a particular gene variant that raises obesity risk, regular exercise seemed to reduce the effects of their DNA -- by about one-third. The gene in question is known as FTO. Studies show that people with a particular variant of the gene have a heightened risk of obesity. But the gene's effects are not huge, or...

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Could Smoking in Pregnancy Affect a Grandkid's Autism Risk?

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- When a woman chooses to stop smoking during her pregnancy, the potential effects to her baby are probably on her mind. But a new British study hints that smoking in pregnancy could even affect the health of a woman's grandchildren -- specifically, their risk for autism. "We already know that protecting a baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things a woman can do to give her child a healthy start in life," said study co-author Jean Golding of the University of...

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Could Germs in the Gut Give Rise to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Scientists have found differences in the gut bacteria of people with chronic fatigue syndrome versus their healthy peers. The finding is among the first to link abnormalities in the makeup of gut bacteria -- the "microbiome" -- and chronic fatigue, a mysterious and debilitating malady. Whether these differences are merely a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome or an underlying cause isn't clear, said study lead author Dr. W. Ian Lipkin. But they could be tied to...

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Science Uncovers a True Meeting of the Minds

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Students' brainwaves sync up and show similar patterns when they pay attention in class, according to a new study. Researchers used portable devices to simultaneously record brain activity of a class of high school students as they did regular classroom activities. The study spanned a full semester. "We found that students' brainwaves were more in sync with each other when they were more engaged during class," said co-lead author Suzanne Dikker, a research...

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Health Highlights: April 27, 2017

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Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay: Single-Payer Health System Proposal Moves Forward in California A proposal to replace private insurance with government-funded health care for all moved forward in California Wednesday as Democrats on the Senate Health Committee voted to advance the measure. The single-payer approach is backed by two Democratic Senators Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins and the state's powerful nursing union,...

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April 29 Is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- You can safely dispose of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs on Saturday, April 29. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local agencies are holding Take Back Day events across the country. Drop off your pills or patches between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, but take note: Needles, sharps and liquids will not be accepted. Last fall, more than 730,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in at...

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Crossroads for Obamacare

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THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, is still the law of the land. But its fate may be sealed by Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration in the coming days, weeks and months, health policy analysts say. In March, Republican leaders brought a repeal-and-replacement bill to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ultimately, the measure failed to garner sufficient support across GOP factions and was abruptly pulled before House...

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Is Your Child Using Drugs?

Posted today in Daily MedNews

THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 -- Mood swings and sudden changes in behavior can be a normal part of growing up, often starting in the tween years. But they can also signal substance abuse. They're among the signs that parents should look for if they're concerned that their child might be using drugs. Other signs include sudden changes in his or her relationships with family and friends. The child might stop caring about how he or she looks. Parents might notice changes in personal habits, like...

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Health Tip: Better Sleep, a Better Life

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-- Sleep quality affects the quality of your life, both physically and emotionally. The National Sleep Foundation says getting enough quality sleep helps you: Improve your ability to learn and focus. Feel happier and less cranky. Improve productivity. Feel less hungry. Improve your risk of infection and chronic illness.

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Health Tip: Coping With the 'Dawn Phenomenon'

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-- The "dawn phenomenon" is a natural surge in hormones in the morning that affects everyone. For people with diabetes, a corresponding rise in blood glucose could be dangerous. The American Diabetes Association suggests: Eat your dinner earlier in the evening. After dinner, go for a walk or engage in another physical activity. If your fasting glucose is still high after taking these steps, see your doctor.

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Are Kids' Vaccines a Victim of Their Own Success?

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

WEDNESDAY, April 26, 2017 -- Vaccines prevent serious infections so effectively that many parents mistakenly believe the diseases are no longer a threat in the United States, a pediatrician warns. "Many children have died from diseases that vaccines now prevent," said Dr. Lauren Snabb. "These include whooping cough, measles and polio. Germs that lead to these deadly conditions still exist today, but because most babies are routinely protected by vaccines, we don't see these diseases nearly as...

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After Wisdom Tooth Removal, Watch Out for 'Dry Socket'

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

WEDNESDAY, April 26, 2017 -- When you have a wisdom tooth removed, the pain should quickly recede from memory. But some people develop a painful complication known as dry socket. Allowing the wound to heal undisturbed can help prevent dry socket, said Dr. Michael Ellis, an associate professor with Texas A&M College of Dentistry. When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms and fills the empty space for a few days. This helps protect the tooth socket as it heals, Ellis said. If this clot is...

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