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Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women under 60 years old are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the same age group. In fact, data from 2015 showed black women had a 39 percent higher breast cancer death rate.

>> Read more trending news

New research from Emory University, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute points to differences in health insurance as the culprit.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included data from the National Cancer Data Base on 563,497 black and white women between the ages of 18 and 64 who had been diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer between 2004 and 2013.

The researchers examined five factors for the study:

  • Demographics (age, stage, state, year of diagnosis, etc.)
  • Comorbidities (other health conditions)
  • Insurance (lack of insurance, private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.)
  • Tumor characteristics (size, type, stage, etc.)
  • Treatment (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, etc.)

The findings

They found that insurance explained one-third of the additional risk of death among the black women compared to white women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

Additionally, almost three times as many black women (22.7 percent) were either uninsured or had Medicaid insurance compared to white women (8.4 percent).

“Lack of insurance is a barrier to receipt of timely and high-quality treatment and screening services,” study authors wrote.

Other major factors that explained the differences: tumor characteristics (23.2 percent), comorbidities (11.3 percent) and treatment (4.8 percent).

Nearly 80 percent of the women in the study had the most common type of breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive breast cancer) and according to the researchers, when matched for factors such as insurance, comorbidity and others, those factors accounted for a combined 76.3 percent of the total excess risk of death in black patients.

The authors noted that when it came to treatment differences, black and white women contrasted most for hormone therapy, which, according to ACS, is typically used after surgery to help reduce the chance of recurrence.

“Several studies reported that black women are less likely to complete chemotherapy and hormone therapy,” study author Ahmedin Jemal told the ACS. “This could be for many reasons, including problems with transportation or the inability to pay for medicine.”

Additionally, previous research has shown that black women get lower quality mammograms and are less likely to have a follow-up appointment after receiving abnormal mammograms.

And insurance is vital for both high-quality cancer care and for early detection.

“We know so much about cancer prevention and control,” Jemal, who is also vice president of the ACS surveillance and health services research program, said. “But we’re not applying it to the whole population equally. We have to make the standard of care available to everyone, including people with low income. And blacks are disproportionately represented in that group.”

Read the full study at ascopubs.org

Learn more about the study and more about how women can protect themselves from breast cancer at cancer.org

Trip to pumpkin patch leaves woman with painful infection from tick bite

A California woman is recovering after she got a bad bacterial infection when she was bitten by a tick during a trip to a pumpkin patch.

Jennifer Velasquez said she was wearing flip-flops and shorts to a pumpkin patch when she was bitten by a tick two years ago, The Sacramento Bee reported. The tick was infected by Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

>> Read more trending news 

She posted a photo of the rash to her Facebook page last week, saying that, “I couldn’t walk, my whole body was in pain, my hair fell out, and I almost died.”

And while the bite and the infection that followed happened two years ago, she posted the photo this month after seeing photos of families going to fall activities to remind them to cover up during outings and do a tick check after the trip, The Bee reported.

So what should people look for when it comes to Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

The Mayo Clinic says symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle aches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion or other neurological changes
  • Distinctive rash

And while Velasquez said to be careful and don’t repeat the mistake she made by wearing flip flops to a pumpkin patch, she said not to avoid going just to prevent a tick bite, The Bee reported.

Woman made up story about doctors leaving camera inside her after surgery, hospital says

Earlier this year, a patient at an Atlanta hospital filed a lawsuit claiming that a surgeon left a camera in her body during transplant surgery, a camera that was discovered six months later.

Lacrystal Lockett’s lawyers have now dropped the complaint.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Doctors left camera in woman's body after surgery, lawsuit claims

Emory Hospital attorney Anna Fretwell pointed out an apparent problem with the story: No cameras are used in such surgeries.

“No evidence to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims — medical records, photographs, the alleged camera itself, eyewitness testimony, or any other evidence — ever was produced,” Fretwell said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Instead, the plaintiff and her lawyers admitted that Emory never left a camera in her body or had to remove one and then dropped the lawsuit.”

>> Read more trending news

Caleb Avraham, who worked with fellow attorney Michael Jo’el Smith for Lockett, didn’t go so far as to say the claim was false.

“I am not Ms. Lockett, so I can’t get into the mind of Ms. Lockett,” he told the AJC. “I know she believes her story. That’s as much as I can say.” 

Attempts to reach Lockett have been unsuccessful.

>> On AJC.com: Doctor, friend die from cocaine laced with fentanyl

Lockett went into surgery on Dec. 17, 2014, for a kidney and pancreatic transplant, according to the suit. Dr. Paul Lu Tso, assisted by doctors Ronald Parsons and Denise J. Lo, performed the procedure.

Lockett’s suit claimed a camera turned up in her torso the following June during an exam at the hospital and required another surgery to remove it.

>> On AJC.com: NFL player protests during anthem and gives critics a tip

Avraham said by the time Lockett came to him and Smith, the statute of limitations was almost up. They had what they believed to be “credible information” — he declined to elaborate — that Lockett’s story was true.

He said they decided to file suit and get more information from the discovery process, as lawyers do in the “pursuit of the truth.”

>> On AJC.com: Many questions after man dies and no one notices

Through discovery and their own investigation, the lawyers decided they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue the case, Avraham said.

Lockett had been asking for a jury to decide what she was owed for the alleged negligence.

Boy sleeps for 11 straight days, baffling doctors

When a 7-year-old boy fell asleep following a late-night wedding party, his mother expected him to be tired, but she could never fathom what would unfold.

>> Watch the news report here

The boy, Wyatt Shaw, was admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, during the first week of October after his mother tried and tried and tried to wake up him following the exciting Sunday night wedding festivities.

“Monday I tried to wake him up, and he fell back to sleep,” the boy’s mother, Amy Shaw, told WDRB. “[I’d say], ‘Wyatt, Wyatt, Wyatt!’ And he fell back to sleep again.”

Wyatt slept for 11 consecutive daysAccording to WTVR, medication usually used to treat seizures finally woke the boy up, but doctors are mystified by what happened. Every test performed on Wyatt came back clear.

>> On Rare.us: 'Nothing brings me more joy': Artist brings smiles to sick children with beautiful tattoos

“[The doctors] said, ‘We’ll probably never know, but we’re just going to treat him now with rehab to get him better,’” Amy Shaw said.

>> On Rare.us: Anthony Rizzo breaks down in tears at Chicago hospital

Wyatt is having some trouble talking and walking, but he’s improving and is well aware of his story, WDRB reported. The only thing he doesn’t understand is the same thing the doctors don’t — what happened to him.

>> Read more trending news 

His mom hopes he’s back to showing off the energy he’s always exhibited, especially that night cutting up the dance floor at the wedding.

A benefit concert is being held for Wyatt and his family from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at Northside Hall in Radcliff, Kentucky.

VIDEO: Doctor kicks patient out of Florida clinic after she complains of long wait

A video being widely shared on Facebook shows a Florida doctor yelling at a woman to get out of a Gainesville clinic after she complained of a long wait.

>> Watch the video here

Jessica Stipe said in a post on Facebook that she had an appointment for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Gainesville After Hours Clinic. She said the clinic had taken a urine sample, but by 7:45 p.m., she was still waiting to be seen.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Stipe said in the post that she was trying to get her co-pay back so she could go home, go to bed and be seen by another doctor the next day. She said at that point, she was in "severe pain and throwing up in the trash can."

“If you go to CareSpot, you’re waiting for three hours. Go to the ER and wait for nine hours,” the doctor said in the video. “Get the [expletive] out of my office.”

The Gainesville Sun reports that the Gainesville Police Department said the doctor in the video, Peter Gallogly, is now under criminal investigation.

>> Read more trending news

Stipe said her daughter recorded the incident and that the doctor shoved her daughter and took her phone.

WGFL in Gainesville reported that a representative at Gainesville After Hours said she had no comment on the matter but would forward calls to a manager.

5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

A common perception of someone suffering from depression is a person who's sad and/or crying. Although you certainly may feel this way if you're depressed, the illness may also present itself in more subtle ways that you might not expect.

>> Read more trending news 

Depression is a very common illness, with about 16 million adults in the U.S. having at least one major episode of depression in the past year. Despite there being many different types of treatment available, about two-thirds of people with major depression never seek treatment

Sometimes they think they'll "snap out of it" on their own or they may be too embarrassed to address the condition. But delaying treatment could have devastating effects in every area of your life, and at its worst, could result in suicide.

RELATED: Woman breaks for mental health days; boss' reply goes viral

The following five signs are solid indicators that it could be time to talk to your doctor about depression. 

Your mind seems foggy

If you have trouble concentrating or making decisions on an almost-daily basis, Health's website says, this could be a sign of depression. It can cause fuzzy, unfocused thinking that can affect your memory and ability to make good decisions. This could make you forget work deadlines as well as tasks you need to complete at home. At its most extreme, it could even lead you to engage in unhealthy, risky behavior.

You tend to get angry

Although most people probably associate depression with sadness, it can also cause you to feel irritated or angry over things that you would normally shrug off. If you find yourself raging at little things at work and home, you may actually be depressed. This can be especially true of men, Reader's Digest says, who may find it more socially acceptable to express anger rather than sadness when they go through something such as divorce.

You have unexplained pain

The Mayo Clinic says that unexplained pain such as back pain or headaches can sometimes be the first or only sign of depression. In fact, pain and depression can create a vicious cycle. If your depression is causing pain, this can make you further depressed, which increases your pain. In addition, depression-related pain that continues over time can create additional problems such as stress, low self-esteem and difficulty sleeping. Some forms of treatment can help with both pain and depression, while others treat only one condition, so you and your doctor can talk about what's best in your particular case.

Your eating habits have changed

Depression can affect many aspects of your life, including your eating habits. Health says you may experience a loss of appetite as well as a decreased interest in food and cooking. It can also have the opposite effect, making you more likely to try to soothe yourself by binge eating on unhealthy food. In addition, if you normally eat a healthy diet, but find yourself suddenly turning to junk food, you may want to talk to your doctor about depression.

You sleep too much -- or too little

Crawling into bed and escaping into sleep is behavior that may be associated with depression, according to Health. You may find yourself wanting to stay in bed and also escaping into naps when you can during the day. Depression can also cause you to stay awake late at night as you toss, turn and worry. And like many symptoms of depression, sleeping too much or too little can create a vicious cycle. You can feel tired and sluggish from too much sleep, so you may feel even worse, which can make you likely to sleep more or have more trouble getting to sleep at night.

RELATED: Here’s what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep

Getting help

The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends the following tips for getting help:

  • Call 911, go to your local emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you're feeling suicidal.
  • If you think your condition is mild to moderate, make an appointment with your primary care physician.
  • If you think your condition is moderate to severe, make an appointment with a specialized doctor such as a psychiatrist.
  • Seek out community support groups, which can serve as valuable tools for help and to know you're not alone in suffering from depression. NAMI can help you find support in your area.

How a teal pumpkin can save a child's life

When you have a child with allergies, the fun and excitement of Halloween can become overshadowed by the haunting worry about hidden ingredients and undisclosed allergens in the candy your little one collects.

Some children with ADHD or autism also have certain dietary restrictions that prohibit eating candy, especially in the quantity involved around Halloween.

For these children, Halloween is a time of frustration instead of celebration.

 >> Read more trending stories  

FARE (Food, Allergy, Research & Education) and the Teal Pumpkin Project understand the challenges parents and children face during this candy-filled holiday, and have continued a nationwide movement to offer an alternative for children who cannot partake in the usual fare.

By encouraging families to offer non-food options this Halloween, like scented pencils, stickers, small toys and erasers, the Teal Pumpkin Project hopes to transform this holiday into something every child can enjoy and participate in.

Want to take part? Here's how you can have a safe and fun Halloween this year!

 

  • Join more than 100,000 families by pledging your support for the Teal Pumpkin Project.
  • Paint and display a teal pumpkin, which shows that you support allergy awareness and a food-free Halloween. Make sure to print out a free sign from FARE to place next to your pumpkin.
  • Offer only non-food items at your door for trick-or-treaters this year.

If you really want to help take charge of Halloween, you can spread awareness of Halloween-related food allergies by holding your own fundraiser. The Teal Pumpkin Project suggests a few easy ways to raise money, including hosting your own pumpkin walk, a teal pumpkin painting party, a teal-painted pumpkin sale, neighborhood collections, and having a food and candy-free Halloween party.

 

For more information, contact FARE and Teal Pumpkin Project at 1-800-929-4040.

 

FDA approves first blood sugar monitor without finger pricks

Diabetics who don’t like pricking their fingers to monitor blood sugar may have an alternative method to check their levels.

>> Read more trending news

Federal regulators have approved the first continuous device that will bypass the finger prick tests, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Current models require users to test a drop of blood twice a day.

Abbott's new FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, approved Wednesday by the FDA, uses a small sensor attached to the upper arm. Patients wave a reader device over it to see the current blood sugar level and changes over the past eight hours.

“The FDA is always interested in new technologies that can help make the care of people living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, easier and more manageable,” said Donald St. Pierre, acting director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health and deputy director of new product evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “This system allows people with diabetes to avoid the additional step of fingerstick calibration, which can sometimes be painful, but still provides necessary information for treating their diabetes — with a wave of the mobile reader.”

Most of the 30 million Americans with diabetes use standard glucose meters, which require multiple finger pricks each day and only show current sugar level. More-accurate continuous glucose monitoring devices are used by about 345,000 Americans.

Abbott's device was approved for adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and should be available in pharmacies within months, according to The Associated Press. The company, based near Chicago, did not disclose the price of the reader or the sensors.

Woman who got tattoo on eyeball could lose eyesight, warns others

WARNING: Graphic photos below

A Canadian woman who got a tattoo on her eyeball may end up partially blind from the procedure, and now, she has a warning to others considering the idea.

>> Read more trending news 

On Sept. 5, Catt Gallinger, 24, got a scleral tattoo -- which means that she had ink injected into the white section of her eyeball. 

Gallinger, who has a number of tattoos and a forked tongue, said the person who tattooed her was unqualified but convinced her to get the eyeball tattoo, which quickly became infected.

“I have a lot of friends who have had it done and it worked for them,” she told Global News. “I’m not jumping on the bandwagon or anything, but body modification is part of my life. I had been thinking about doing it for a while.”

On the day she got the tattoo, the purple ink ran out of her eye down the side of her face, and the next day, her eye was swollen shut, WGN reported.

“During the first two weeks, he kept telling me it was fine, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t normal,” Gallinger told Global News. “Everyone I know who had this done healed within a week. I reached out to other artists around the world and they agreed on what he had done wrong, and made me aware of how high-risk my situation was.”

Gallinger took to Facebook to warn others of the procedure, saying, “Please be cautious who you get your (modifications) from and do your research.” 

According to Gallinger, who claimed her aftercare was “good,” the infection was caused by ink that was not diluted with saline, use of too much ink, use of a needle that was too big and the needle going too deep into her eye.

Gallinger has been to the hospital three times in hopes of getting the infection cleared up.

After rushing to the hospital, she was prescribed antibiotic eye drops for about a week, but things worsened and her eye had swollen completely shut. Apparently, the medicine spread the infection, causing a clump around her cornea, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Now she has to get surgery, and the tattoo certainly won’t end up like she hoped. She told CTV that the ink will either go away completely or “stay a blurry mess.” Doctors say if the ink reaches the retina, it will cause nerve damage, which may prompt them to remove her eye.

Ophthalmologists have warned against the procedure, with some saying the only way to completely stop the pain is to remove the eyeball. Gallinger may be able to keep her eye, but the experience has left her shaken.

“I took my eyesight for granted and trusted someone I shouldn’t have,” she said in a video posted Monday. “And even if this heals, my eyesight is not going to be back.”

Gallinger plans to press charges of criminal negligence.

Read more at Global News and CTV.

WARNING: Graphic photos below

Scroll down for images.

Study: Skin patch that melts love handles in mice could work on humans 

Scientific researchers have developed a medicated skin patch that dissolves fat in targeted areas of lab mice, and future testing could reveal that the patches can treat obesity and diabetes.

>> Read more trending news 

The patch uses nanotechnology to increase the body’s metabolism and transform energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat, according to the report released Friday by ACS Nano, a publication of the American Chemical Society. During the four weeks of the study, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the University of North Carolina, the mice saw 20 percent reduction in body fat where the patch was applied.

“Many people will no doubt be excited to learn that we may be able to offer a noninvasive alternative to liposuction for reducing love handles,” said study co-author Li Qiang, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

According to Science Daily, to apply the treatment, the drugs are encased in nanoparticles, which are approximately 250 nanometers (nm) in diameter -- too small to be seen by the naked eye. The nanoparticles are then packed into a centimeter-square skin patch containing dozens of microscopic needles. When applied to skin, the needles painlessly pierce the skin and gradually release the drug from nanoparticles into underlying tissue.

"The nanoparticles were designed to effectively hold the drug and then gradually collapse, releasing it into nearby tissue in a sustained way instead of spreading the drug throughout the body quickly," said Zhen Gu, PhD, patch designer, study co-leader associate professor of joint biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

The new treatment approach was tested in obese mice by loading the nanoparticles with one of two compounds -- rosiglitazone (Avandia) or beta-adrenergic receptor agonist -- known to promote browning in mice but not in humans. Each mouse was given two patches -- one loaded with drug-containing nanoparticles and another without it -- that were placed on either side of the lower abdomen. New patches were applied every three days for a total of four weeks. Control mice were also given two empty patches.

Mice treated with either of the two drugs had a 20 percent reduction in fat on the treated side compared to the untreated side. They also had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels than untreated mice. Even in lean mice, the treatment with either of the two drugs increased the animals' oxygen consumption (a measure of overall metabolic activity) by about 20 percent compared to untreated controls.

Genetic analyses revealed that the treated side contained more genes associated with brown fat than on the untreated side, suggesting that the observed metabolic changes and fat reduction were due to an increase in browning in the treated mice.

The patch has not been tested in humans. The researchers are currently studying which drugs, or combination of drugs, work best to promote localized browning and increase overall metabolism.

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