Health
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TIPPING THE SCALE?

New study shows most parents underestimate how much their child weighs (and so do their doctors).

Why This Matters

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THE NEW STUDY

  • Researchers looked at data focusing on nearly 25,000 children between 0-19 years old.
  • RESULTS: 55% of parents underestimated how overweight their child was; more than 1/3 of children did the same.
  • Physicians *appeared* to have a “tendency” to also underestimate, according to researchers.
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“Identifying weight problems in childhood & adolescence is a unique window of opportunity to have a lifetime impact on health.”

Lead researcher Abrar Alshahrani, University of Nottingham, UK who says parents used words like "big boned" or "solid" to describe their children to avoid using a term like "overweight" or "obese."  Researchers say not having frank conversations about weight could lead to a lack of treatment.
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Why It Matters:

  • Overweight or obese children have increased worldwide.
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 children in the U.S. are obese. Obesity readings differ by age groups, but a higher percentage of children qualify as obese as they get older.
  • Impact of obesity isn’t just physical. New research shows a link between obesity in children to anxiety & depression.
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Does this study sound familiar? It did to us too. Turns out we covered a story about pet owners in America ignoring obesity in their pets! Researchers in both studies don't explain WHY we don't have accurate images.

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THE NEW MARIJUANA?

 

 

 

Why some cities (and states) want to make “magic mushrooms” easier for their citizens to consume.

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Word To Know:

“psilocybin”

  • hallucinogenic ingredient in some mushrooms.
  • federally banned “controlled substance” like peyote & heroin.
  • Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative – would decriminalize the use of “magic mushrooms.”
  • Iowa, California, & Oregon have or will consider similar laws.
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Why?

  • Supporters make similar arguments to those advocating for easier access to marijuana: potential health benefits, and saves police (& therefore, taxpayers) time & money arresting people for non-violent drug offenses.
  • Opponents say there’s too many unknowns, for the well-being of the individual and the community.
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“It’s really unprecedented in medical history to see effects for depression that are caused by a single medication.”

Matthew Johnson, Ph.D, who found a single dose of psilocybin can benefit someone suffering from depression or anxiety for months. However, he also believes medical supervision is necessary, saying "bad trips...can lead to dangerous behavior when out in the wild."
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Even if states or cities vote to decriminalize mushrooms, like marijuana, it remains a federal crime. Denver's initiative, which appears likely to fail, wouldn't technically make "shrooming" legal, but it would make crimes of use and possession a low priority for police.

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FEELING STRESSED?

Scientists discover a 20-minute treatment they say will significantly improve your well-being.

And it’s free.

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“NATURE PILL”

“Nature Pill” = a dose of nature.

  • Univ. of Michigan researchers started with this thought: We know nature can decrease stress levels, but how much nature do you need to make a difference?
  • Study: 36 people took *at least* a 10-min “nature pill” anytime they wanted 3x a week for 8 weeks.
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WAIT A SECOND…

  • How do you measure stress? Saliva samples allowed researchers to check cortisol (“stress hormone”) levels.
  • What determines “nature”? No hard fast rule. Anything that gave participants a “sense of nature.”
  • A Catch! Sitting on a park bench & texting didn’t count! No reading, social media, internet, phone calls or aerobic exercise (walking = ok).
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“Thirty minutes is the ideal time for the greatest stress reduction. But 20 minutes is sufficient. Start with five minutes and see where it takes you.”

Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, lead study author and associate professor at the University of Michigan, who said the study provides the first ever evidence of how nature can improve our stress levels during our regular routine.
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Researchers said they hope this study provides a catalyst for more research on how to prescribe "nature pills" based on age, gender, or even the season.

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“Forced” Vaccinations?

In a rare move, NYC requires vaccinations in one neighborhood plagued by measles, as the nation hits the second-highest number of cases in nearly 20 years.

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Important Context:

  • What is an “outbreak”? CDC defines it as 3 or more cases.
  • 7 active outbreaks – linked to outside travelers visiting areas with low vaccination rates.
  • As of Monday, there are 465 cases in 19 states.
  • 2019 = the second-highest number of measles cases in America since disease thought eradicated in 2000.
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“There’s no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, requiring vaccinations for those who live and/or work in a predominately Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where a measles outbreak started in October and has yet to be contained. Williamsburg has 228 confirmed cases of measles since October; 26 cases over the last week.
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“I don’t think it’s up to the city to mandate anything. We all have constitutional rights.”

A local Brooklyn mother in the area impacted giving only the name of "Gitty" to the New York Times for fear of retaliation. The NY Civil Liberties Union criticized the city's "forced vaccinations." While public officials are not physically forcing anyone to be vaccinated, those without vaccination records may face penalties/fine. There are no federal laws on vaccinations. States set vaccination requirements.
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Rockland County, NY recently declared a public health emergency outlawing those unvaccinated from visiting public places; A judge temporarily halted the order. Officials worry about further spread of measles as Jewish families gather next week to celebrate Passover.

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Does Your Gender Determine When Your Diagnosed?

 

 

A New Study Says Yes.

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THE STUDY

  • University of Copenhagen researchers examined medical records of nearly 7 million Danish adults over two decades.
  • Compared when males and females suffering from the same diseases were diagnosed.
  • Why It Matters: Earlier diagnosis leads to earlier treatment.
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THE RESULTS

  • For the 770 diseases examined, women were diagnosed on average 4 years later than men suffering from the disease.
  • Example: Women diagnosed with cancer on average 2.5 years later than men.
  • Exception: For osteoporosis, women generally diagnosed ahead of breaking a bone, but the opposite was true for men.
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‘It has been surprising to see that there is such a big difference between the diseases that affect men and women and between their patient care…”

Lead study author, David Westergaard. The study does not explain WHY the diagnosis discrepancy might be happening. Some suggest gender bias. Others say men tend to go to the doctor less frequently than women, making their symptoms more severe/obvious when they are seen.
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“Since this study was just of people hospitalized, it’s tough to know if the later diagnosis for women was due to later onset of disease, or actually taking longer to diagnose it, but it does raise some important questions and observations.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD, mom & author of the book "Mom Hacks."
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Although a 2001 CDC study found that women are more likely to go to the doctor than men, a more recent study found that overall Americans go to the doctor less than we used to. In 2010, the average American adult made approx. 4 doctor visits (vs. 5 in 2001).

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THE SECRET SAUCE?

A first of its kind study says your genes may hold the key to a happy marriage.

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YALE STUDY

  • Focus of the research: a genetic variation on the gene receptor for oxytocin.
  • Oxytocin = hormone often linked to “greater empathy, sociability, and emotional stability.”
  • Study found as long as one person (man or woman) had this genetic variation the couple overall had higher marital satisfaction.
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“This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.”

Lead author Joan Monin, Yale School of Public Health, who also noted the study found those WITH the genetic variation were less "anxiously attached" to their partner, one potenital factor in a happy marriage.
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Something To Consider:

What if we don’t have it? The study isn’t saying this genetic variation guarantees a happy marriage, but it does indicate that the correlation is interesting enough to study further.

Study Limitations: Only 178 married couples studied. Researchers say a larger study, with a greater diversity of couples is needed to look more closely at this association.

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Want to check your genetic compatibility? Companies Instant Chemisty & Gene Partner offer a dive into your relationship DNA. Do you think this is helpful or hurtful information for a couple?

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“BRAIN ATTACK”

Devastating & Deadly

Described as a heart attack for your brain, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and took the life of actor Luke Perry.

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What Exactly Is A Stroke?

  • What Happens: when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked (most common), or a blood vessel bursts (less common, but more deadly).
  • Causes: factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Drug use and family history can play a role as well for those with blood vessel or clotting problems.
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“For all types of stroke, time is brain. That means that seeking treatment immediately is crucial to reverse the damage and save brain cells and lives.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, former ER doc & author of "Mom Hacks" who says a common misconception is that strokes effect only older people. Dr. Darria says with more young people confronting obesity or high blood pressure, stroke becomes a possibility.
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Stroke Symptoms:

  • Stroke can be catastrophic, but also prevented.
  • Warning signs of stroke: “FAST”: Face drooping? Arms (one or the other) numb or immobile? Slurred speech? Time?
  • Sometimes symptoms come & go in 24 hrs, but serve as important pre-stroke warning signs.
  • Sudden severe headache, confusion, numbness, or vomiting.
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“I want to do something with my life. When my time here is up, I don’t want to look back and see that I didn’t do anything.”

Luke Perry in 1992 during the height of his fame playing Dylan McKay on "Beverly Hills, 90210" about why he left his small hometown for Hollywood. No further details about Perry's stroke surfaced after it was first reported last week. A representative said he passed away in the presence of his family, including his two children.
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Stroke may be one of leading causes of death in America, but it's also the LEADING cause of disabilities, such as paralysis or memory loss. A stroke happens every 40 seconds and two-thirds of survivors will confront some sort of disability.

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Can’t Get No Satisfaction

New sleep study says parents can kiss their “sleep satisfaction” goodbye up to 6 years after the birth of their first child – just as another study tells us how important sleep is for us to “clean our brains.”

No Sleep = No Sweep

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Sleep & Kiddos

  • German study observed 2,500+ women & 2,100+ men over 7 yrs.
  • Worst time for sleep deprivation: 3 months after birth of 1st child.
  • Moms impacted more than dads overall. In first 3 months, moms lost 1 hr of sleep, dads lost 13 min.
  • Take-Away: “neither mothers’ nor fathers’ sleep fully recovers to prepregnancy levels up to 6 years after the birth of their first child.”
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Deep Sleep Matters

  • Study by University of Rochester.
  • Note: We have toxic proteins in our brain associated with Alzheimer’s & dementia.
  • Study used mice & showed deep sleep allowed the “glymphatic” system to work – that system flushes the brain of toxins.
  • Researcher: “…this study shows that the deeper the sleep the better.”
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Something To Consider:

“More than ever, science is telling us that these (sleep) problems should not be allowed to fester.”

Dr. Chris Winter, author of "The Sleep Solution," who tells SmartHER News that whether it's parenthood, work changes, or our simple personal growth, sleep changes throughout our lives. Dr. Winter says these two studies show us we need to make sleep a priority. One quick tip? Try going to bed at the same time every night.
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Better sleep is a big business. A company "Nightfood" recently introduced a new ice cream they say has a mix of ingredients that will help you sleep. But others suggest eating before bed can actually disrupt your sleep. What works best for you?

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Who’s The Fittest Of Them All?

 

Forget cardio & weights.
The hottest, new workout equipment may be a
52″ mirror.

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Meet the “Mirror”

  • LCD video screen that looks like a full-length mirror when turned off.
  • Users can see themselves & an instructor when in use.
  • Controlled via a smartphone app to avoid fingerprints.
  • Speakers & cameras allow music, interactive coaching. (For privacy afterwards, there’s a lens cover.)
Click To See It
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“We’re looking to be the next screen in people’s lives. We desire to be an immersive platform, not just a piece of gym equipment.”

Brynn Putnam (35), Mirror's founder & CEO, and a former professional ballerina, on the future possibilities of its screen for fashion or beauty. She came up with the idea when she was too busy with her child to get to the gym - even though she created a chain of workout studios called Refine Method.
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Pricey Reflection

The Mirror costs $1,495 and requires a $39/month subscription to access live & on-demand classes.

Business model is similar to other in-home competitors like Peloton’s spin-bike or Tonal’s weight room.

Mirror says it’s different by offering various workouts like yoga, barre, or boxing – without bulky equipment.

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CDC says 3 out of 4 Americans don't get enough exercise. While there are less expensive exercise alternatives, Mirror hopes its unique approach and rave reviews from celebrities like Alicia Keys & Ellen DeGeneres will be enough for users to give it a second look.

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The Great Vaccine Debate

Should you have the right to *not* vaccinate your child?

A measles outbreak prompts lawmakers to consider reversing course on policies they may have helped put in place.

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What’s Going On:

  • Measles cases in 10 states, some tied to low vaccination rates.
  • 46 states: allow religious exemptions to vaccinations.
  • 17 states: allow for “philosophical” exemptions for personal beliefs.
  • In the wake of recent outbreaks, Washington & Oregon are looking to potentially tighten laws that allow for these personal exemptions.
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“I’m very worried that these measles epidemics are becoming a new normal…The enablers are state legislators in those states, that have allowed themselves to be played.”

Dr. Peter Hotez, Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who is against personal exemptions for vaccines.
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“I see that as medical fascism. I’m the one who is going to make medical decisions for my kids.”

Becky Johnson mother of 3, who is against vaccinations. She disagrees with a new California law passed in 2015 (after a measles outbreak at Disneyland) that reversed personal exemptions, requiring vaccinations.
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Who Decides Who Vaccinates & Where?

  • Federal gov’t makes recommendations, not laws or policies, re: vaccines.
  • Your state gov’t sets requirements for vaccinations at a local level, normally for attending school.
  • Why? Simply – the federal gov’t is responsible for our national security and your state, for your personal safety.
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Current measles vaccination rate in America is approx. 90%; Some states have lower. In general, a community needs to have 90-95% vaccination rates for "herd immunity" that prevents the spread of a contagious disease.

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OUTBREAK

Nearly 20 years after measles declared “eradicated” in the United States, several states report outbreaks.

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“Measles can be so contagious that you can be in a room, and if you’re susceptible, two hours after someone with measles left, and still get the disease.”

Dr. Alan Melnick, director of public health for Clark County, the site of the measles outbreak in Washington state. Most of the cases are children under 10. The vaccination rate for school age children is 78%, much lower than recommended 90-95% to create community or "herd" immunity.
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Measles: Defined

  • highly contagious virus spread like the common cold.
  • early symptoms mimic a cold: runny nose, cough.
  • unique symptoms: high fever, rash with distinct tiny red dots.
  • particularly dangerous for children, can cause ear infections that lead to hearing loss, brain swelling, or even death.
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The Vaccine In America

  • Public vaccine introduced 1968.
  • 1 dose given until an outbreak among vaccinated kids occurred in 1989, prompting doctors to recommend a 2nd dose.
  • Current recommendation: children get their first dose of the vaccine at 12-15 months & then between ages of 4-6 years old.
  • 1 dose = 93% effective.
  • 2nd dose = 97% effective.
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What’s Going On:

  • 10 states w/measles cases.
  • WA State: declared state emergency; reportedly an international traveler brought measles into a community with low vaccination rates.
  • NJ/NY: outbreak in Orthodox Jewish community linked to international travel.
  • Most recent state w/cases: Texas.
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Why Now?

“These resurgences (of measles) have been attributed to various causes, including refusal to vaccinate, incomplete vaccination series, waning immunity, and imported cases.

Medical researcher & author CL Ventola.
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Between 2010 - 2018, the CDC reported an average of 217 measles cases every year; some years as low as 55 cases or as high as 667. So far in 2019, 79 cases have been reported in January alone. The states with cases: CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, NJ, NY, OR, TX, & WA.

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IS YOUR PET OBESE?

Whether it’s due to eating too much or exercising too little, “man’s best friends” really are just like us.

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US vs. THEM

More than 1 in 3 U.S. adults are overweight (BMI 25- 29.9).

Nearly 40% of adult Americans are obese (BMI 30+).

56% of dogs & 60% of cats are overweight or obese.

Only 17% of owners acknowledge that their pets are overweight.

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“The number of pets with clinical obesity continues to increase… We’re continuing to see more pets diagnosed with obesity rather than overweight… Pets with obesity also have reduced quality of life and shorter life expectancy.”

Dr. Ernie Ward, Association for Pet Obesity Prevention founder & veterinarian
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WHY IT MATTERS:

Overweight pets are prone to

  • back, hip & joint problems
  • kidney, heart & lung diseases
  • diabetes & some types of cancer

In 2018, the U.S. pet industry was valued at $72B (a 50% jump in 15 years). Insiders say it’s due to increasing health care costs, many related to overweight ailments. 

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Found in more than 60% of U.S. households, dogs & cats are still the most popular American pets, but that pecking order could soon change. Poultry ownership has climbed 23% in recent years - no word yet on their weight problems.

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