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Daily MedNews

Breast Cancer Death Rates Vary Around the World

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Breast cancer death rates are falling in the United States and many other countries, but increasing in South Korea and some Latin American countries, researchers report. The investigators looked at data from 47 countries from 1987 to 2013. They found that breast cancer death rates declined in 39 of those nations due to advances in detection and treatment over the past few decades. The largest decrease was in England and Wales, with a 46 percent drop. In the United...

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Sleep Loss Tied to Changes in Gut Bacteria

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Getting too little sleep alters the balance of bacteria in the gut, a change that's linked to certain metabolic conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, new research shows. For the study, European researchers limited the sleep of nine healthy men who were a normal weight to examine how sleep loss affects the number of types of bacteria in the gut. For two days in a row, the men slept only four hours a night. The study showed the diversity of gut bacteria didn't...

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Zika-Linked Birth Defects Surge in Colombia: CDC

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- The tragedy of hundreds of babies born with devastating birth defects linked to the Zika virus is no longer confined to Brazil, a new report confirms. Colombia is now also experiencing a surge in these cases of infant microcephaly. It's a birth defect where newborns whose mothers contracted the mosquito-borne virus in pregnancy are born with too-small skulls and underdeveloped brains. A team led by Margaret Honein, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,...

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Strength Training May Prevent Side Effect of Breast Cancer Surgery

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Strength training might benefit breast cancer survivors who've undergone surgery, researchers suggest. In a small study, weightlifting appeared to help prevent swelling in the arms and chest, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment. The study included 27 breast cancer survivors who did supervised moderate-intensity strength workouts twice a week. Each woman's regimen was matched to her ability. The women were checked every two weeks. Three had reductions in...

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Babies' Marijuana Exposure Evident in Their Pee

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Babies exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke take in THC, the primary psychoactive chemical in pot, a new study shows. Researchers discovered traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in urine samples from babies and toddlers in Colorado whose parents smoked marijuana. The researchers also found that children exposed to marijuana smoke are more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke, which increases their risk for health problems. The study was published Dec. 2 in the...

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Drones a Safe Way to Transport Blood: Study

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Blood products don't seem to suffer damage when transported by drones, researchers report. The findings lend support to advocates who say that drones could offer a safe, effective and fast way to deliver blood products to accident sites, natural disasters or remote locations. "My vision is that, in the future, when a first responder arrives to the scene of an accident, he or she can test the victim's blood type right on the spot and send for a drone to bring the...

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Florida Now Zika-Free

Posted today in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Florida is now Zika-free, U.S. health officials reported Friday. One area in south Miami Beach had remained an active zone for local transmission of the virus, which can cause severe birth defects in babies born to women who are infected while pregnant. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that there have been no new cases of local Zika transmission in South Miami Beach for more than 45 days, so that neighborhood is no longer...

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Certain Breast Cancer Drugs Tied to Blood Vessel Damage

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Women on breast cancer drugs called aromatase inhibitors may show signs of early blood vessel damage that could lead to heart disease, a small study suggests. Researchers found that compared with healthy women their age, women on aromatase inhibitors were more likely to show signs of "endothelial dysfunction." That refers to problems in how the blood vessel lining responds to blood flow. The findings are based on just 36 women who were prescribed the drugs. And experts...

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'Cold Caps' May Halt Hair Loss in Breast Cancer Patients: Study

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Cooling the scalp with a specialized cap during chemotherapy sessions could help breast cancer patients avoid treatment-related hair loss, new research suggests. In a clinical trial involving women with early stage breast cancer, just over half who underwent scalp-cooling throughout at least four cycles of chemotherapy retained their hair, though some thinning may have occurred. "When you lose your hair, everyone knows you're sick and looks at you differently," said...

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Study Sees Link Between Insomnia, Asthma

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FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Insomnia is common in adults with asthma and tied to worse asthma control and other health problems, a new study finds. University of Pittsburgh researchers found that 37 percent of adults with asthma also had significant insomnia. Those with insomnia had worse lung function. They also weighed more. And they tended to have lower incomes than those without insomnia, the study found. Insomnia was also linked to a reduced asthma-specific quality of life. People with...

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Tamoxifen May Get Blamed for Unrelated Symptoms

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Some high-risk women who take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer may mistake naturally occurring nausea and vomiting for side effects of the drug and stop taking it, a new study finds. Previous research has shown that taking tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer by more than 30 percent in high-risk women, and the preventive effects last more than 20 years, the study authors said. But a study of women taking tamoxifen in the United Kingdom found that one-third...

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Could a Computer Someday Guide Breast Cancer Care?

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- An artificially intelligent computer system is making breast cancer treatment recommendations on a par with those of cancer doctors, a new study reports. The IBM computer system -- called Watson Oncology -- made treatment recommendations that jibed nine out of 10 times with those of a multidisciplinary board of doctors at a top cancer hospital in India, researchers say. In cases involving more complex cancers, however, the computer did not hit that 90 percent...

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For People With Mental Health Woes, Pets Can Be Invaluable

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 -- Cats, dogs, birds and other pets can help people manage their mental disorders, a new study says. Researchers from the United Kingdom asked more than 50 adults with long-term mental conditions about the role pets play in their social networks. Sixty percent placed pets in the central and most important circle -- above family, friends and hobbies. Another 20 percent placed pets in the second circle. Many said the constant presence and close proximity of their pets...

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Health Tip: Help Kids Develop Healthy Ambition

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

-- Raising an ambitious child helps him or her become a successful adult. Here's advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Love and accept your child unconditionally, and keep your expectations high. Don't expect perfection, but do look for empathy, integrity and generosity. Support your child's passions. Don't compare your child to anyone else, or discuss ways to be better at something. Talk about when a child has already done better and shown beneficial skills. Praise your...

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Health Highlights: Dec. 9, 2016

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay: John Glenn, Legendary Astronaut and Later Senator, Has Died John Glenn, a famed astronaut who was the first American to orbit the Earth, died Thursday. He was 95. Glenn, who went on to a distinguished career as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, had heart valve replacement surgery in 2014, CNN reported. Ohio State University President Michael Drake confirmed the death, releasing a statement...

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Health Tip: Using a Food Thermometer

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

-- Using a food thermometer takes the guesswork out of determining whether food is cooked completely and is safe to eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests the right way to use a food thermometer: Select the right type of thermometer for your needs, from pop-up to digital to manual. Make sure you follow product instructions. Use either ice water or freezing water to make sure the thermometer is accurate. Wait the recommended amount of time before you read your...

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Healthy Diet May Mean Longer Life for Kidney Patients

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 -- A healthy diet may help people with kidney disease live longer, researchers report. They analyzed seven studies that included more than 15,000 people with chronic kidney disease, to assess the effects of a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, cereals, whole grains and fiber. In six of the studies, a healthy diet was consistently associated with a 20 percent to 30 percent lower rate of early death, and with 46 fewer deaths per 1,000 people over five years....

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Turning to an Ancient Art to Help Ease PTSD in Veterans

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 -- The age-old practice of Tai Chi shows promise in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, new research shows. The study was small -- just 17 U.S. veterans -- and involved four introductory sessions of Tai Chi, the Chinese exercise regimen that involves slow, fluid movements. A team led by Barbara Niles, of Boston University School of Medicine, said the program helped ease the veterans' PTSD symptoms. Those symptoms included intrusive thoughts,...

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Could Regular Pot Smoking Harm Vision?

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 -- Smoking pot regularly may be linked to a limited degree of vision impairment, a new French study suggests. The finding stems from very preliminary research involving just 52 participants, 28 of whom were regular marijuana users. That meant they used marijuana at least seven times a week. The question posed in the study: Does marijuana affect the healthy functioning of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are situated on the surface of the retina? These cells receive...

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Teething Tips From Dental Specialists

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 -- You've fed your baby, changed your baby, but the baby is still cranky. It's possible he or she is uncomfortable because tiny teeth are trying to push through the gums. What can you do to ease the pain? One approach is to offer a plain, solid teething ring, which lets the baby apply pressure to ease the pain. While chilling the teething ring may provide added relief, don't freeze it because the extreme cold can be harmful rather than soothing, dental experts say. "Your...

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