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Yoga May Give Lung Cancer Patients, Caregivers a Boost

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For advanced lung cancer patients, yoga appears to help improve their overall physical function, stamina and mental health. And it appears to give their caregivers a boost, as well. The findings stem from a small study of 26 patients and caregivers. The study participants, most of whom were in their 60s, took part in an average of 12 yoga sessions. The focus was on breathing exercises, physical postures and meditation. "It is never too late to engage in exercise, and we know from earlier studies that people can exercise while being treated with chemotherapy or radiation," said study lead author Kathrin Milbury. "Caregivers sometimes have more anxiety and sleeping problems than patients. Therefore, we thought that having the patient and caregiver go through yoga instruction together would be beneficial for both partners," she explained. Milbury is an assistant professor in palliative care and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The researchers chose yoga because it is a low-impact form of exercise that allows partners to participate. It's also easily modified to meet individual patients' needs. The poses studied included ones known as chest openers, which stretch the chest area and emphasize deep breathing. That was important because people with lung cancer often have trouble breathing. Compared to a control group of patients who did not practice yoga, those who did had higher scores on a six-minute walking test and more stamina. Their caregivers also reported less fatigue and better stamina while working. Milbury and her colleagues presented their findings at the recent Palliative and Supportive Care Oncology Symposium in San Diego. The study authors said they're not claiming that yoga is better for advanced lung cancer patients than other exercise, including swimming or hiking. "We tried to look at one way to boost patient and caregiver well-being, both physically and mentally, as a means to enhance supportive care," Milbury said in a symposium news release. She said the researchers were "thrilled" that many participants said they would continue to practice yoga on their own. The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information Learn more about yoga from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Divers May Be Plunging Into Trouble

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — A well-executed dive may look graceful and effortless, but competitive diving can take a toll on the body, a doctor warns. "Even when a dive is perfectly executed, injuries can occur, whether traumatic or from overuse," said Dr. Nathaniel Jones, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill. Jones noted that a springboard diver strikes the water at up to 19 miles per hour and a 10-meter platform diver at up to 37 mph. After hitting the water, their speed drops by more than 50 percent in a fraction of a second. "These incredible velocities and impact forces are thought to be large contributors to competitive diving injuries," Jones reported in a recent issue of the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports. "With such forces, injuries can occur not only in the setting of a dive gone wrong, but also more commonly secondary to an accumulation of exposures to repetitive forces," he added. Training is a major factor in competitive divers' high risk of shoulder, back, elbow, wrist and other types of injuries. Divers train an average of 40 hours a week. Springboard divers average 100 to 150 dives per day. Platform divers average 50 to 100 dives per day. This puts them at risk "for multiple individual injury opportunities and at times may lead to overuse injuries," Jones wrote. Competitive divers also can be injured during dry-land training, such as gymnastics, strength and conditioning, trampolining and dance, he explained. Back and shoulder injuries are common among competitive divers. Less common problems include holes in an eardrum, eye injuries, concussions, and anxiety and mental stress. More information The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on sports injuries. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Even Light Drinking May Raise Your Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Maybe you should skip that glass of wine tonight, because even light drinking increases your risk of cancer, warns a new statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). "People typically don't associate drinking beer, wine and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes," said ASCO President Dr. Bruce Johnson. "However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer," he said in a society news release. Alcohol is directly responsible for 5 to 6 percent of new cancers and cancer deaths worldwide, according to the statement. The paper cites evidence tying light, moderate or heavy drinking to higher risk of common malignancies such as breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck cancers. However, a recent ASCO survey found that 7 out of 10 Americans are unaware of a link between alcohol and cancer. To reduce the risks, the statement includes several recommendations. They include tighter restrictions on the days and hours of alcohol sales; higher taxes on alcohol; limiting alcohol advertising to youth; and providing alcohol screening and treatment at medical visits. The organization also wants to end the "pinkwashing" of alcoholic beverages. Since there's evidence linking breast cancer to drinking, companies shouldn't be "exploiting the color pink" or using pink ribbons to show their support of breast cancer research, the authors said. "ASCO joins a growing number of cancer care and public health organizations in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer," said statement author Dr. Noelle LoConte. She's an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin. "Therefore, limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer," she added. "The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer." More information The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on alcohol and cancer. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Waiting Even a Month to Remove Melanoma Can Be Deadly

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — The sooner the deadly skin cancer melanoma is treated, the more likely a patient is to survive. Researchers analyzed data from more than 153,000 American adults diagnosed with stage 1 to 3 melanoma between 2004 and 2012. No matter what stage their cancer was, those who waited more than 90 days for surgical treatment were more likely to die. And postponing surgery for more than 29 days led to lower survival rates for patients with stage 1 melanoma, though not for those with stage 2 or 3. Compared to patients who were treated within 30 days, patients with stage 1 melanoma were 5 percent more likely to die when treated between 30 and 59 days. Their risk of death rose 16 percent when treated between 60 and 89 days; 29 percent when treated between 91 and 120 days; and 41 percent when treated after 120 days. Patients who put off their treatment tended to be older men who also had other health problems. The Cleveland Clinic study was published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. "The ideal timing for melanoma treatment, predominantly surgery, had yet to be determined — until now," said primary investigator Dr. Brian Gastman. He is director of melanoma surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "We saw significantly worse prognoses and outcomes for those surgically treated after 30 days of stage I melanoma diagnosis. Knowing for certain that a more expedient time to surgery to remove an early melanoma improves the chances of survival is a game-changer in treating this life-threatening skin cancer," Gastman said in a clinic news release. Melanoma is on the rise in the United States. Nearly 162,000 new cases are expected to be diagnosed this year. The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to regularly check their skin for any new, changing or suspicious spots, especially if they are itchy or bleeding. Moles that are asymetrical, bigger than a pencil eraser or that are changing in size, shape or color should be examined by a doctor. More information The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on melanoma. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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IUD May Lower Cervical Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — IUD contraceptive devices may reduce a woman's risk of cervical cancer by about a third, a new review concludes. Researchers think IUDs might promote an immune response that kills off human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. "The data say the presence of the IUD in the uterus stimulates an immune response, and that immune response very, very substantially destroys sperm and keeps sperm from reaching the egg," explained lead researcher Victoria Cortessis. "It stands to reason the IUD might influence other immune phenomenon." These results could be potentially lifesaving for young adult women who are too old to benefit from the HPV vaccine, said Cortessis. She is an associate professor of clinical preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. "The vaccines don't work unless the woman is vaccinated before she's ever exposed to the virus," Cortessis said. "That's why we want 11- and 12-year-olds to be vaccinated, so they have time to be fully vaccinated and have a robust immune response before" first exposure. Unfortunately, HPV is so widespread that many contract the virus as soon as they initiate sexual activity, Cortessis continued. "Women in their 20s and 30s and 40s who haven't been vaccinated are not going to be protected," Cortessis said. "That means for decades to come this epidemic of cervical cancer is with us." However, the study only showed an association between IUDs and a lower risk of cervical cancer. And more research is needed before gynecologists can begin recommending IUDs for protection against cervical cancer, Cortessis and other medical experts agreed. "It raises the need for further research to be done to see if that is in fact the case," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped object placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It comes in two types — one is made of copper, while the other is plastic and emits a small amount of the female hormone progestin. Cortessis and her colleagues suspected that the IUD might influence risk of cervical cancer because it prevents pregnancy through manipulation of the female immune system. To explore the theory, the team scoured medical literature for research that measured IUD use and cases of cervical cancer. The investigators found 16 high-quality studies that could be combined to provide an expanded picture of the risk of cervical cancer for women using an IUD. The data included nearly 5,000 women who developed cervical cancer and just over 7,500 women who did not. The analysis is "fascinating," and the potential explanation for why an IUD might reduce cervical cancer risk "really does make sense," said women's health specialist Dr. Jill Rabin. "This is just one more reason potentially to help us recommend a great contraceptive method to women," said Rabin, co-chief of the division of ambulatory care with Women's Health Programs-PCAP Services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y. But Lichtenfeld was concerned that some of the larger studies included in the analysis dated back to the 1980s and 1990s, when IUDs were being prescribed in the United States to a more select group of women. Back then, IUDs were not recommended for use in women with two major risk factors for cervical cancer — multiple sexual partners and a history of sexually transmitted infections, Lichtenfeld explained. "That becomes a significant factor to consider in evaluating results of this type of study," Lichtenfeld said. "We need more contemporary data and more contemporary study to really answer the question, given those considerations." But Cortessis said her team took into account individual cervical cancer risk factors such as prior pregnancy, HPV status and number of sexual partners, and found that each of these factors did not affect their bottom-line findings. Finally, Lichtenfeld said he's concerned that people might use these results as an excuse to forgo regular Pap testing or not get their children vaccinated against HPV. "That's the risk of folks becoming complacent when they see this type of study," Lichtenfeld said. The report was published online Nov. 7 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. More information Visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute for more on cervical cancer. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Early Humans Grew Taller Long Before Bulking Up

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — As humans evolved, height and weight developed at different rates. That's the conclusion of researchers who analyzed 311 fossil specimens of modern-day human's hominin ancestors, dating from 4.4 million years ago to humans who lived after the last ice age. Hominin evolution was a "long and winding road with many branches and dead ends" that included bursts of growth followed by long periods of little change, according to the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. For a long time, hominin height and weight evolved roughly in concert. But about 1.5 million years ago, hominins gained about 10 centimeters (about 4 inches) in height but did not consistently boost their weight for another million years, with an average increase of 10 to 15 kilograms (about 22 to 33 pounds) occurring about 500,000 years ago. "An increase solely in stature would have created a leaner physique, with long legs and narrow hips and shoulders," the study's lead author, Manuel Will, from the archaeology department at the University of Cambridge, in England, said in a university news release. "This may have been an adaptation to new environments and endurance hunting, as early Homo species left the forests and moved on to more arid African savannah," he added. "The higher surface-to-volume ratio of a tall, slender body would be an advantage when stalking animals for hours in the dry heat, as a larger skin area increases the capacity for the evaporation of sweat," Will explained. "The later addition of body mass coincides with ever-increasing migrations into higher latitudes, where a bulkier body would be better suited for thermoregulation in colder Eurasian climates," he said. Increases in human body size may continue, according to study co-author Jay Stock, also from the university's archaeology department. "Many human groups have continued to get taller over just the past century," Stock said in the news release. "With improved nutrition and health care, average statures will likely continue to rise in the near future." However, he noted, "there is certainly a ceiling set by our genes, which define our maximum potential for growth." More information The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has more on human evolution. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Cooling Down Sibling Rivalries When They Heat Up

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Sibling rivalry — the jealousy and competition between your children — can start even before baby number two is born, according to experts at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital of Michigan Medicine. How siblings relate to each other and to parents can change as they go through the stages of childhood. Toddlers starting to assert themselves may squawk when a sibling grabs one of their toys. Elementary school kids who have learned about sharing may act out if they think a younger sibling — such as a newborn — is getting a greater share of attention than they are. Teens longing for independence may resent having to babysit for a sibling and show displeasure by snubbing the child or mom and dad. To tamp down the misbehaviors of sibling rivalry, give each child one-on-one attention that's meaningful to him or her. That could be playing a board game with one and curling up to watch a movie with another. It's also important to have quality family time, like eating dinner together and getting out for some exercise. Explain that there are times when one child needs more attention, like when sick or working on a big school project. If conflicts get out of hand, call a family meeting and allow everyone to express themselves. This gives even the littlest voice a chance to be heard and be part of the solution. Tips to create a family meeting agenda include: Set ground rules such as no yelling or interruptions. Offer each family member the chance to share feelings and suggest solutions. When one person talks, the others must listen. Give each child a role in implementing the solution. These talks can help stop fights and teach kids valuable life skills for resolving conflicts as adults. More information The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital has more guidelines for diffusing sibling rivalry, including suggested readings for kids and parents alike. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Does All That Social Media Time Harm Young Minds?

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texting: Sometimes it seems today's young adults are online more often than not. But new research suggests that the amount of time young adults spend on social media doesn't seem to affect their risk for mental health problems. The finding came from a study of 467 young adults who were asked about how much time each day they used social media, the importance of it in their lives and the way they used it. They also were asked about mental health issues such as social anxiety, loneliness, decreased empathy and suicidal thoughts. The researchers found little association between the amount of time spent on social media and mental health problems. The results were published online Nov. 1 in the journal Psychiatric Quarterly. The only area of concern was what the researchers called "vaguebooking," which refers to social media posts that contain little actual and clear information but are worded in a way meant to trigger attention and concern in those who read the posts. Young people who tended to write such posts were lonelier and had more suicidal thoughts than others, according to the study. That finding suggests that "some forms of social media use may function as a 'cry for help' among individuals with pre-existing mental health problems," lead author Chloe Berryman, of the University of Central Florida, said in a journal news release. "Overall, results from this study suggest that, with the exception of vaguebooking, concerns regarding social media use may be misplaced," she said. "Our results are generally consistent with other studies which suggest that how people use social media is more critical than the actual time they spend online with regards to their mental health," Berryman concluded. More information The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on mental health. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Higher Prices Are Driving Rise in Health Care Spending

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Rising prices, along with increased variety and complexity of services, are major reasons why health care spending in the United States has increased by nearly $1 trillion in the past 20 years, a new study finds. "Part of the reason we spend more on health care each year is the nation's growing and aging population," said study author Joseph Dieleman. He's an assistant professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. "But factors relating to the health system — such as increased price, intensity and utilization — are driving most of the spending increase," he added. "When we added up all the health conditions, increasing population size led to a 23 percent increase in health care spending," Dieleman said in a university news release. "People getting older led to a 12 percent increase in spending, and increases in price and service intensity — that is the variety and complexity of services — led to a 50 percent increase in spending," Dieleman noted. Health care spending on outpatient care rose 85 percent between 1996 and 2013, largely due to increasing use of services, the study found. Spending on inpatient care grew 59 percent because of increases in price and service intensity. The study was published Nov. 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "This research confirms several trends that we've long suspected," Jay Want, executive director of the Peterson Center on Healthcare, which funded the study. "Increased health care spending is driven more by how care is priced and delivered to patients than by the population's size or age. "Americans deserve high-quality care at a reasonable cost, and if done well, we can reverse these trends and have a healthier population," Want said. More information The Kaiser Family Foundation has more on health costs. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Helping Children Cope When a Mass Tragedy Strikes

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Mass slayings, like the church shooting in Texas Sunday that left at least 26 dead, are hard enough for adults to comprehend. For children, these tragedies can make the world seem like a terrifying place. In the wake of such bloodshed, a New Jersey family physician offers guidance to parents trying to help children manage their fears. Start by shielding your kids from the news reports, suggested Dr. Jennifer Caudle, an associate professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford. "Children may become upset by news coverage," Caudle said. So monitor and limit what they see, hear or read. This may reduce their anxiety and help them deal with these unsettling events, she explained. The Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre was just the latest in a series of recent mass killings in the United States. In New York City on Halloween, a terrorist using a rented van killed eight people on a bike path. And on Oct. 1, a gunman in Las Vegas opened fire on hundreds of concert-goers, killing 58 and wounding nearly 550 more victims. Parents who want to help their children cope with such carnage should be mindful of their own reactions, Caudle said. Kids may look to you to help them understand what has happened, and they'll pick up on your emotional cues, she noted. Here are some of her suggestions: Ask children what they have already heard about the event. Provide the facts but try not to make judgments about the situation. Avoid upsetting details, and reassure children that people are working hard to make things better for everyone. Don't pressure kids to talk about the events, but encourage them to share their feelings by talking, drawing or writing. Let children know they can come to you for information and that they are free to ask questions. Remind children that their home is a safe place. Let children know that people may react differently to hard-to-understand events. Youngsters who aren't coping well with a tragedy may need extra help, Caudle said. "Problems with sleeping, changes in appetite or behavior, mood changes and new physical complaints, such as stomach aches and headaches, could — in some children — be a sign that they are having a difficult time coping," she said. "If this is the case, make sure your child sees a health care professional." More information The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on how to help young people cope with traumatic events. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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