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LED Blue Light Poses Eye, Sleep Risks: Report

May 17, 2019 — The blue light in LED lighting used in many consumer products may harm your sleep and pose a risk to your eyes, a new report warns.

Specifically, there is new evidence that this type of light can disturb biological and sleep rhythms and damage the eye‘s retina, according to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety.

Products with LEDs that produce blue light include the newest flashlights, car headlights and some toys, CNN reported.

The maximum limit on short-term exposure to blue light should be reduced, only low-risk LED devices should be available to consumers, and the luminosity of car headlights should be reduced, the French agency recommended.

It also said that eye protection provided by “anti-blue light” screens, filters and sunglasses varies, and there is no proof that those help preserve sleep rhythms, CNN reported.

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Hot Garden Hose Water Poses Scalding Risk

June 6, 2016 — Hot water in garden hoses that have been left in the sun can cause scalding, Las Vegas fire officials say.

In the warning issued Tuesday, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue cited a case that occurred two years ago. A 9-month old baby suffered second-degree burns on 30 percent of his body after being sprayed with scalding water from a hose heating by the sun, CBS News reported.

“Here in Las Vegas, a garden hose exposed to direct sunlight during summer can heat the water inside the hose (not flowing) to 130-140 degrees which can cause burns especially to children & animals,” the fire department warned.

It recommended letting water flow from a hose for a few minutes so that it can cool before it’s sprayed on people or animals, CBS News reported.

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Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Gestational Diabetes Poses Risks for Mom, Baby

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes that develops during pregnancy — known as gestational diabetes — carries health risks for both the mom-to-be and her baby, new research confirms.

A team of French researchers analyzed data from more than 700,000 births in France occurring after 28 weeks of pregnancy in 2012.

Compared to other pregnant women, those with gestational diabetes were 30 percent more likely to experience preterm birth, 40 percent more likely to require a C-section, and 70 percent more likely to have preeclampsia/eclampsia, a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

Risks weren’t confined to the mother, however. Babies born to women with gestational diabetes were 80 percent more likely to be of significantly larger-than-average size at birth; 10 percent more likely to suffer respiratory issues; 30 percent more likely to experience a traumatic birth, and 30 percent more likely to have heart defects, the study found.

Babies born after 37 weeks to women with gestational diabetes also had an increased risk of death, compared to babies born to women without the condition, the study authors said.

The study clearly shows that gestational diabetes “is a disease related to adverse pregnancy outcomes,” concluded a team led by Dr. Sophie Jacqueminet, of the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris.

Two experts in diabetes care weren’t surprised by the findings, and they noted that while a woman’s weight isn’t always a factor, the odds for gestational diabetes go up in the obese.

“Gestational diabetes is a dangerous entity, and the child is at risk,” said Dr. Robert Courgi, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital, in Bay Shore, N.Y.

“As obesity increases, so does [the risk of] diabetes,” he added. “We need to do a better job at diagnosing and treating gestational diabetes.”

The study also found that the risk of death was 30 percent higher among babies born to women whose gestational diabetes was treated with a special diet. There was no increased risk of death among babies born to women whose gestational diabetes was treated with insulin, however.

Continued

This difference in death risk could be because women with diet-treated gestational diabetes tend to give birth later than those who are insulin-treated, the research team said.

Outcomes were worse for mothers with gestational diabetes “who gave birth later because the baby was exposed to higher blood sugar levels for a longer period of time,” Courgi explained.

Dr. Gerald Bernstein coordinates the diabetes program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He stressed that gestational diabetes requires prompt and proper treatment.

“Once diagnosed, treatment is geared to maintain normal blood sugar but without the risk of hypoglycemia [low blood sugar],” Bernstein explained. “This may range from nutritional and other lifestyle changes to the addition of insulin. The goal is to give the baby a maximum opportunity for growth and development without an unusual early delivery, so that key organs are as mature as possible.

“Most patients are followed by an endocrinologist, a high-risk ob-gyn and diabetes educators in various disciplines,” Bernstein added. “To reduce birth complications, early diagnosis along with aggressive therapy with a full health care team is essential.”

The study was published Feb. 15 in the journal Diabetologia.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Robert Courgi, M.D., endocrinologist, Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital, Bay Shore, N.Y.; Gerald Bernstein, M.D., endocrinologist and coordinator, Friedman Diabetes Program, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dibatetologia, news release, Feb. 15, 2017

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Rare Breast Cancer Poses New Set of Challenges

FRIDAY Oct. 5, 2012 — No doubt the ubiquitous pink ribbons, along with walks and races and the designation of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, have focused the public eye on breast cancer and helped fund research for a cure.

But chances are good that most people still haven’t heard of a particularly aggressive type of the disease known as inflammatory breast cancer.

Though rare, involving 1 to 5 percent of breast cancer cases, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, inflammatory breast cancer poses significant hurdles. Mammograms often aren’t effective in detecting this type of cancer because there may be no discernible lump. Also, standard breast cancer treatments aren’t always effective for inflammatory breast cancer.

“This disease develops quickly over a few weeks,” explained Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli, a professor of medicine and director of translational medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “This cancer has the capacity to spread to the lymph nodes and distant sites quickly.”

The exact cause of inflammatory breast cancer is unknown, he said. According to the cancer institute, it usually develops in the cells that line the milk ducts and then spreads to other areas.

The primary symptoms are redness and noticeable swelling. Cristofanilli said that skin on the breast can resemble that of an orange peel. The disease is named inflammatory breast cancer because the breast looks inflamed. The swelling occurs because the lymph vessels in the skin become blocked and fluid doesn’t drain properly.

“Most women will present rapidly with an engorged breast. Their bra won’t fit anymore,” said Dr. Naoto Ueno, executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic, and a professor in the department of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“At this point, women often go to a primary care physician,” Ueno said. “They will usually diagnose mastitis, an infection of the breast. If you’ve had one to two weeks of antibiotics, and you’re not getting better, it could be inflammatory breast cancer, and you should have a biopsy.” A biopsy of breast tissue can confirm a diagnosis.

Cristofanilli said that “women need to remember that mammogram is not helpful for inflammatory breast cancer, so there’s usually no early diagnosis.” That factor combined with the aggressive nature of the disease means that the cancer often has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body, by the time a woman sees a cancer specialist.

“Making a diagnosis and getting a biopsy quickly are critical,” he said.

The average survival for women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer is about three years, Cristofanilli said. For someone whose cancer has spread beyond breast tissue but not to distant sites, considered a stage 3 cancer, the average survival time extends to about five years with the latest multi-disciplinary care.

Ueno confirmed that many of the currently available treatments don’t do a great job with inflammatory breast cancer. “With stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, the five-year survival is only 30 to 40 percent,” even with the best available treatment, he said. Stage 4 cancer has spread to distant sites, such as the lungs or brain.

Both experts said it’s important to seek care at a center with a lot of experience in treating inflammatory breast cancer. For a woman who doesn’t live close to such a center, Ueno suggested that she visit for an initial diagnosis and treatment plan and then arrange for the center’s specialists to work with her local cancer experts.

The first treatment for inflammatory breast cancer is chemotherapy, and possibly hormone therapy, according to Ueno and Cristofanilli. The goal is to eliminate any signs of the disease before doing a mastectomy. Because inflammatory breast cancer usually involves the whole breast, and doesn’t generally cause a lump, mastectomy is the only surgical option. Ueno said that surgery is usually followed by aggressive radiation.

If inflammatory breast cancer recurs after treatment, both experts suggested checking into clinical trials because researchers are constantly trying to find better ways to treat this type of cancer.

As with any cancer, the earlier it’s detected, the better.

“If you have any redness or swelling, see a breast specialist right away,” Cristofanilli urged. “Don’t delay.”

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on inflammatory breast cancer.

A companion article details a survivor’s story.

Posted: October 2012

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Aging Population Poses Long-Term Challenges to U.S. Economy

TUESDAY Sept. 25, 2012 — The well-noted aging of the American population will continue long after the Baby Boomer generation crests, posing continuing economic challenges for the country for decades to come, a new congressionally mandated report states.

Not least of all, a consistently older population over the age of 65 will put a severe strain on federal programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

But the United States does have options that don’t guarantee a grim future, according to the report by the National Research Council.

These options, however, will require considerable changes in American lifestyles and in how federal programs are structured, the report, Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population, stated.

According to the report, the ratio of adults aged 65 and over compared with people aged 20 to 64 will increase by 80 percent in the coming decades. This is partly because the average life expectancy has risen from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years today, and is projected to be 84.5 years by the year 2050.

Another reason for the growing rates of older Americans: Declining birth rates as couples choose to have smaller families. This not only means a smaller proportion of the population will be under 65, it also means there will be fewer workers contributing taxes to support seniors, who are less productive and consume more, the report said.

While some people have saved amply for retirement, the report estimates that between one-fifth and two-thirds of today’s seniors haven’t saved enough, leaving them to rely heavily on Medicare and Social Security — programs that, along with Medicaid, now account for about 40 percent of all federal spending.

These public-health expenditures are likely to increase in coming years, the report stated.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on “unsustainable paths,” according to the report, posing significant economic risks.

“Together, the cost of the three programs currently amounts to roughly 40 percent of all federal spending and 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product,” the authors of the report stated in a news release. “Because of overall longer life expectancy and lower birth rates, these programs will have more beneficiaries with relatively fewer workers contributing to support them in the coming decades. Combined with soaring health care costs, population aging will drive up public health care expenditures and demand an ever-larger fraction of national resources.”

But the report outlines several strategies that could ease the burden on both younger and older adults as well as government in coming years.

One option would be to push the retirement age beyond the currently accepted age of 65 years. And given the example of other nations, this would be unlikely to steal jobs from younger people, as some fear.

Another strategy would be for workers to increase their savings while damping down their spending so they’d have more resources when they do retire. This would require an improvement in “financial literacy,” meaning teaching and helping people to make better financial decisions earlier in life.

A third potential avenue would involve consuming less while still paying taxes so the federal government could set aside more money for federal assistance programs to help support people as they age.

The National Research Council describes itself as an independent group whose mission is to “improve government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health.”

The report was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Treasury with additional funding from the National Institute on Aging.

More information

To learn more about healthy aging visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted: September 2012

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Many Don’t Believe Their Obesity Poses Health Risks: Study

SATURDAY Oct. 15, 2011 — Many overweight and obese patients seen in hospital emergency departments don’t believe their weight poses a risk to their health, and many say doctors have never told them otherwise, a new study finds.

Researchers asked 450 randomly selected patients who were seen in the emergency department at Shands at the University of Florida two questions: Do you believe your present weight is damaging to your health, and has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that you are overweight?

Of those who reported that their weight was unhealthy, only 19 percent said they’d ever discussed it with a health care provider. And only 30 percent of those who reported being told by their health care provider that their weight was unhealthy agreed with that opinion, according to the study.

Researchers also measured their body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, indicators of body fat.

About 47 percent of obese and overweight men said they believed their weight was a problem, while 53 percent didn’t.

Women seemed more attuned to the health issues posed by obesity, said study author Dr. Matthew Ryan, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at University of Florida, Gainesville. About 62 percent of obese or overweight women said their weight was damaging their health.

Among only obese people, or those with a BMI of 30 or above, about 70 percent said their weight wasn’t good for their health. Still, that leaves three in 10 obese people who don’t see their weight as a health issue — which it clearly is, Ryan said.

“We see the manifestations of obesity in the emergency department. Obesity is directly linked to other diseases — hypertension, diabetes, cancers, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, heart disease, strokes, and metabolic syndrome,” Ryan said. “We see the acute exacerbations of chronic diseases.”

Despite the health risks, only 36 percent of overweight or obese men and 50 percent of overweight/obese women reported their doctors had ever discussed weight with them.

“That is disconcerting,” said Keri Gans, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “People need their physician to tell them straight out that if they don’t lose weight they are putting themselves at an increased risk of disease. If they are not being told by the doctors, they might think, ‘Oh, there is nothing to worry about.'”

The study was to be presented Saturday at the American College of Emergency Physicians meeting in San Francisco. Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Prior research has suggested a disconnect between Americans’ weight and their perceptions about their size. A Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults conducted in August 2010 found that 30 percent of those whose BMI put them in the overweight range (25 to 29.9) thought of themselves as normal size. About 70 percent of those who were obese thought they were merely overweight.

Among the morbidly obese, 39 percent thought of themselves as overweight, not obese, the survey found.

A second study Ryan is also slated to present at the conference found that the overweight and obese are being seen in disproportionate numbers in the emergency department.

About 39 percent of people seen in the Florida ER were obese, compared to an obesity rate of 26.6 percent for the general Florida adult population, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

Although researchers didn’t look at whether obesity-related problems had sent them to seek emergency care, it’s safe to assume some were, Ryan said, adding that he believes the numbers would be similar in other ERs.

His research found racial differences in attitudes toward weight. Among overweight and obese black Americans, 53 percent said their weight was bad for their health and 40 percent said doctors had discussed it with them. Among whites, 60 percent of the overweight and obese said their weight was bad for their health and 48 percent had it brought up by a doctor.

About 33 percent of study participants were black, 52 percent were white and the rest were other ethnicities.

Factors that could influence whether or not people discuss their weight with their doctors may include whether they have a primary care doctor or a regular source of care, something which researchers didn’t ask. It’s also possible that people are ashamed of having been told to lose weight and failing to do so, and so lied and said their doctor had never mentioned it, or simply that it “fell on deaf ears,” Gans said.

Ryan recommends that patients leave the ER with referrals to dieticians and other weight-loss specialists, and that primary care doctors make sure to take the time to broach the issue with patients.

Gans agreed. Though emergency room physicians are pressed for time, when patients are sick and worried about their health may be an opportune moment to encourage changes.

“Unfortunately nothing happens until a patient becomes fearful,” Gans said. “I see that all too often. I’ll ask them, ‘Do you need to wait until you have diabetes until you start to lose weight? Do you need to suffer a heart attack? And some people will actually say ‘Yes.'”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on overweight and obesity.

Posted: October 2011

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Pot Waste Poses Chemical Danger

At -30 C, the tailings pond of a local grow-op still did not freeze.  That’s because there were so many chemicals poured into the water that it was a toxic cocktail, unattended and unfenced.
Police in the Cariboo region are finding dozens of industrial-sized marijuana plantations like this one, each one with ponds and dump […]
Cannabis News – Medical Marijuana, Marijuana News, Hemp, Cannabis

Marijuana Law Poses Workplace Rights Problems

Arizona’s new medical marijuana law is going to create new problems for employers trying to promote a safe workplace while respecting the new rights of those who will be able to legally inhale the drug.
The law spells out that a worker who has one of those state-issued cards allowing them to possess […]
Cannabis News – Medical Marijuana, Marijuana News, Hemp, Cannabis