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People Deemed Better Looking, Better Off After a Nose Job

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Is a "nose job" worth it? And if so, how much? A new study suggests that casual observers may think patients who undergo such procedures are more attractive, more successful and healthier. "While we are not suggesting that [a nose job] is the only way to improve one's appearance, improving our attractiveness and health as compared to others conveys a competitive advantage," said study co-author and plastic surgeon Dr. Lisa Ishii. More than 220,000 "nose reshaping" procedures — known as rhinoplasty — were performed in the United States in 2016, up 2 percent from the previous year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The procedures are nearly as common as liposuction. The new study examines how "casual observers" perceive people after they've had a nose job, said Ishii, a plastic surgeon and associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Patients seeking rhinoplasty do so for two main reasons: to improve their self-perception and to improve how others perceive them," she said. "We wanted to measure the second one." The researchers recruited 473 people online to evaluate the appearance of 13 rhinoplasty patients. Observers ranged in age from 18 to 73. Most were female and white, and highly educated. The researchers deemed the patients' post-op results "optimal." They showed the observers photos taken before the nose reshaping and at least 6 months after. But they didn't reveal whether they were "before" or "after" images, and the observers never saw more than one picture of the same patient. The patients were mostly female, with an average age of 34. Most "had nose problems that were visible to the casual observer and they wanted to look better," Ishii said. She added that a prior study showed that the casual observer "actually picks up on even subtle nasal deformities." Her team asked the observers to rate patients in terms of attractiveness, success level and overall health based on their photos. On a scale of 1 to 100, the average patient's attractiveness rating improved by 14 points after remodeling, the researchers found. Ratings of success and health rose 9 and 10 points, respectively, after surgery. Ishii called the degree of improvement significant, and said this gives patients information about how nose jobs may affect them. "More attractive people are more successful," she said. "It's up to patients to decide whether that's worth it to them." Insurers don't usually cover nose jobs, however. The cost can range from $6,000 to $25,000 "depending on the complexity of the procedure and the reputation of the surgeon," said plastic surgeon Dr. Clinton Humphrey. He's an associate professor with the University of Kansas Health System. "It is important not to misinterpret these study results," cautioned Humphrey, co-author of a commentary accompanying the new research. "This study included only patients with what were judged by surgeons to be 'ideal' results. Rhinoplasty continues to be one of the most challenging cosmetic surgical procedures," he said. "While I always strive to achieve the best possible outcome in every one of my rhinoplasty patients, I do not achieve an 'ideal' result every time," Humphrey said. "It would be a mistake to read this study and conclude that every patient who undergoes rhinoplasty can expect to be perceived as more successful, healthier, and more attractive," he added. Still, he said, "patients should feel reassured that what we as rhinoplasty surgeons consider to be 'ideal' results are also viewed very favorably by the average person," Humphrey said. "As a surgeon, this study tells me that when I execute a successful rhinoplasty, I have an opportunity to positively impact my patient in a really significant way." The study appears Oct. 19 in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. More information For more about nose jobs, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Could Too Much Exercise Be Bad for Men’s Hearts?

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — When it comes to exercise, can you get too much of a good thing? Possibly, suggests a new study that found white men who exercise more than seven hours a week have an 86 percent higher risk of developing plaque build-up in their arteries. No such elevated risk was seen among either black men or women. Plaque build-up is a critical warning sign for possible future heart disease risk. "We were surprised by the finding, mainly because we essentially think of exercise as medicine. And we've never thought of exercise as perhaps having an upper limit in terms of its cardiovascular benefit," said study author Deepika Laddu. She's an assistant professor of physical therapy at the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But Laddu doesn't want any men to hang up their running shoes just yet, because there are many questions that remain to be answered. "What we saw is only an association, and we cannot say that high physical activity actually causes plaque build-up in white men," she noted. "And we certainly do not mean to say that exercise is bad for you. In fact, it could perhaps be that white men already face a higher than average risk for plaque build-up than other men, and that exercise actually prevents this plaque from rupturing, which is when things get bad. We just don't know," Laddu explained. "Much more research will be needed to understand what is really going on." At least one other expert agreed this doesn't mean people should stop exercising. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the findings do not instantly wash away the "balance of data [that] suggest that higher levels of leisure time and total physical activity are associated with lower risk cardiovascular events." "However, it should be recognized that exercise alone cannot overcome other cardiovascular risk factors," he added. "And it is vital to maintain health levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight, as well as not smoke, even if one is engaging in regular rigorous physical activity." To explore how exercise might impact heart health over time, the investigators recruited nearly 3,200 white and black men and women. All enrolled when they were between the ages of 18 and 30, and all resided in one of four cities: Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis or Oakland. The researchers followed the study volunteers from 1985 to 2011. During that time, participants self-reported their physical activity routines and showed up for at least three follow-up exams, which included CT scans to measure plaque build-up. Current U.S. physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. Participants were sorted into three groups, depending on average exercise levels. One group exercised below the guidelines level. Another group met the guidelines, and a final group exercised three times more than the guideline level. "We had 25 years of exercise patterns that we could look at, in individuals who started out as being young adults up through middle-age," Laddu said. In the end, the study team found that overall — when pooling race and gender — those who were among the most frequent exercisers were 27 percent more likely to develop plaque build-up by the time they had reached middle age. But after breaking the numbers down further, the authors determined that only high-exercising white men faced a greater risk for developing plaque build-up then their low-exercising peers. "But again, we can't say physical activity is causing plaque build-up," Laddu reiterated. She also acknowledged the study had limitations. For one, she noted that very few of the high exercisers were black, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. "And we really have no idea yet what may be biologically at play that might lead to differences in the way exercise affects [plaque build-up] in some people and not others," Laddu added. "But what I can say is that maybe this study indicates that doctors should not assume that their patients are healthy simply because they check off the exercise box," she said. "Maybe there are other things that they need to look at when considering a patient's overall medical profile." The study was published Oct. 16 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. More information There's more information on exercise and heart health at American Heart Association. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Gene Therapy Approved for B-Cell Lymphoma

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) –Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first form of gene therapy for a non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) form of cancer. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common form of this immune system cancer in adults, the agency said in a news release. Some 72,000 cases of NHL are diagnosed each year in the United States, and the Diffuse large-B cell form represents about a third of these cases, the FDA added. This is only the second form of gene therapy approved by the FDA. The technique uses cells from the patient's own immune system to create a custom treatment to help fight the cancer. In this case, the patient's white blood cells called T-cells are modified to include a new gene that targets and kills lymphoma cells, then re-infused back into the patient. "In just several decades, gene therapy has gone from being a promising concept to a practical solution to deadly and largely untreatable forms of cancer," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. "We remain committed to supporting the efficient development of safe and effective treatments that leverage these new scientific platforms." Yescarta is approved for adults for whom at least two other types of treatment have failed. The therapy was evaluated in clinical studies involving more than 100 adults. Slightly more than half of people given the therapy ended up in "complete remission," the FDA said. The therapy includes a boxed warning of a heightened risk of high fever, flu-like symptoms and life-threatening neurologic symptoms, the FDA said. Patients must be informed of these risks before receiving the therapy. Other potential side effects include serious infections, low blood-cell counts and a weakened immune system. Hospitals that provide the therapy will have to be specially certified, the FDA said. The therapy is produced by Los Angeles-based Kite Pharma Inc., which as a condition of approval must conduct studies of the therapy's long-term effects, the agency said. More information Visit the FDA to learn more. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article [contf] [contfnew] [hhm]Health[hhmc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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More Young Kids Spending Lots of Time on Phones, Tablets

Survey finds big jump over past 6 years in media availability, use for youngest Americans THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — In recent years, young American children have gone from spending 5 minutes a day on some sort of mobile device to spending 48 minutes a day doing so, new research shows. And while just 1 percent of kids aged 8 and under had their own tablet device six years ago, 42 percent of them now have one, according to the study from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media. "Over the last six years, we have seen massive growth in media use and tablet ownership, and we haven't even begun to experience the explosion of new technologies like virtual reality and voice-activated assistants in our homes," James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, said in a news release. The report is based on survey responses from a nationally representative sampling of nearly 1,500 U.S. parents of kids aged 8 or younger, questioned early in 2017. Among the survey's findings: Nearly all U.S. families (95 percent) have a smartphone, up from 41 percent in 2011, and 78 percent own at least one tablet, up from 8 percent in 2011. Even though pediatricians recommend against it, nearly half of young kids often or sometimes watch TV or play video games in the hour before their bedtime. About 10 percent of young kids has a "smart" toy that connects to the internet, while 9 percent have a voice-activated virtual assistant device in the home, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. Divisions in mobile technology use by family income are also fading. For example, because most lower-income families now own at least one smartphone, there's almost no difference in uptake of the technology between higher- and lower-income households, the survey found. In fact, kids in lower-income homes, or homes with less-educated parents, actually spend more time now viewing "screen media" than their more affluent or educated peers, the research showed. The rate at which poorer families in the United States have acquired mobile or tablet devices, and downloaded apps, has also risen sharply over the past six years. "It is promising to see many of the gaps closing when it comes to access to technology and devices among all segments of our population," Steyer said. "Technology is integral to success in our world, and every child deserves access to it. Over the last several years, we have seen the digital divide and app gap closing, which is a very positive development for our country." But he stressed that technologies can also have a downside. "If we want to ensure our kids develop well and are successful in life, we have to make sure they get the most out of tech while protecting them from potential risks — and that means paying close attention to the role media is playing in their lives," Steyer said. More information There's more on the role of media in kids' lives at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Does Your Dog ‘Talk’ to You?

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Some people swear their dogs can communicate with them. A new study adds some credence to that belief. Dogs use more facial expressions when people are looking at them — likely in an attempt to communicate with humans, researchers in the United Kingdom concluded. "The findings appear to support evidence dogs are sensitive to humans' attention and that expressions are potentially active attempts to communicate, not simple emotional displays," said study leader Juliane Kaminski. Kaminski, who's with the University of Portsmouth Dog Cognition Center, and her colleagues assessed 24 dogs of various breeds, ages 1 to 12 years. All were family pets. There was clear evidence that the dogs made facial expressions in response to human attention, the researchers said. The most commonly used expression? Brow raising — often called "puppy dog eyes" — which makes the eyes appear bigger. This often elicits an empathetic response from dog owners, the study authors noted. The dogs did not make more facial expressions when they saw food. This suggests they use facial expressions to communicate, not just because they are excited, said Kaminski. "We can now be confident that the production of facial expressions made by dogs are dependent on the attention state of their audience and are not just a result of dogs being excited," Kaminski said in a university news release. Domestic dogs have lived alongside humans for 30,000 years, she noted. "During that time, selection pressures seem to have acted on dogs' ability to communicate with us," she added. "We knew domestic dogs paid attention to how attentive a human is — in a previous study we found, for example, that dogs stole food more often when the human's eyes were closed or they had their back turned," Kaminski said. This new study builds on what's understood about how dogs think, she added. "We now know dogs make more facial expressions when the human is paying attention," she concluded. The study was published Oct. 19 in the journal Scientific Reports. More information The National Canine Research Council has more on the human-dog connection. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Most Americans Shouldn’t See Big Rise in Obamacare Premiums

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Most Americans who buy health insurance through an Affordable Care Act marketplace will not pay significantly more for their coverage in 2018, despite actions by President Donald Trump that have roiled the insurance markets. Eight out of 10 people buying insurance through ACA ("Obamacare") marketplaces qualify for tax credits that lower their premium costs, experts say, and they will not be affected by Trump's decision to halt cost-sharing reimbursements to insurance companies. Insurance companies also are required by law to keep providing cost-sharing subsidies to qualifying enrollees, even though the federal government may not pay the companies back for those expenses, the experts say. "There's a lot of confusion or lack of awareness out there among consumers in terms of how this will affect them," said Kelley Turek, executive director of exchange operations and policy for America's Health Insurance Plans. "It will somewhat vary by state but, in general, consumers need to know the marketplaces still exist. There are still plans available to them, and there are still subsidies available to them." But that still leaves two out of 10 people in ACA marketplaces who don't qualify for financial assistance. Those are the folks who would feel the full pain of premium increases prompted by Trump's announcement to do away with the cost-sharing reimbursements, said Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow with the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center. Households that earn more than 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level aren't eligible for Obamacare financial assistance. That's $30,150 for a single person, or $61,500 for a family of four. "If they are not eligible for financial assistance, if they're not eligible for the premium tax credits, they may see very large increases in their premiums because of all of the things the administration is doing," Blumberg said. "If you're not protected by premium tax credits, you may very well find a nasty surprise when you see the new rates." Further complicating matters, two leading senators — Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — offered on Tuesday a bipartisan proposal that would fund for two years the threatened subsidies for insurers participating in Affordable Care Act programs. However, there's no guarantee the proposal would pass a Congress that's sharply split along partisan lines. Conservative Republicans have said they view such a move as a bailout for insurance companies. Consumers urged to review plan options now Insurers across the country already are increasing their 2018 premiums in response to Trump's pledge to cut off the cost-sharing reimbursements, but premium tax credits also would increase to match the rising costs, Turek said. "Those consumers who are subsidized who are enrolling in those plans generally will be shielded from those rate increases," Turek said. Turek and Blumberg urge health insurance customers to visit their ACA marketplace as soon as possible during open enrollment for 2018, punch in their financial information and find out their eligibility for financial assistance. Open enrollment will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. "Every year we say it's really important for consumers to go back to the marketplace, update their eligibility application and shop for the plan that's right for them," Turek said. "That's going to be even more true this year. People need to update their household and income information and see what they're eligible for." Turek expects that insurance companies will not flee the ACA marketplaces, avoiding a scenario of some counties with no health insurance options for customers. Centene, a major insurer that has stepped in to sell coverage in so-called "bare" markets, told The New York Times that it expects things to be "business as usual" in 2018, and that it will work with state regulators to try and fill any bare counties that emerge in coming weeks. "At this point, consumers in every county have marketplace coverage available to them," America's Health Insurance Plans' Turek said. "There are obviously ongoing discussions with this last-minute decision, but I think our members are committed to participating in the marketplace." Blumberg is more concerned that insurers will flee the market later in 2018, due to an executive order Trump issued the same day he declared an end to cost-sharing reimbursements. Trump ordered federal officials to prepare regulations that would extend the length of short-term health insurance plans. The plans are intended as three-month stopgap coverage for people between jobs, but now could be extended out to a year in length, offering a cheap and bare-bones alternative to marketplace coverage. "These are policies that are not guaranteed issue, they're not guaranteed renewable. They will be medically underwritten, which means premiums will be set based on the expected health care needs of the people who apply. They won't cover essential health benefits," Blumberg said. "They're going to be much narrower kinds of benefit plans, and if somebody who buys one gets sick they're probably not going to be able to buy it the next year." If these short-term plans become available mid-year in 2018, people with marketplace plans might drop them in favor of the cheaper option, Blumberg said. "In the middle of a plan year, someone who's perfectly healthy could say 'Hey, I'll just buy that because it's really cheap and hope I don't get sick, and if I do get sick beginning next year I'll come back into the ACA-compliant policies,'" Blumberg said. That would leave Obamacare plans with an insurance pool increasingly made up of people in poorer health, which could cause premiums to rise even further in 2019, Blumberg said. More information For more on the 2018 ACA enrol..

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FDA Approves 2nd Gene Therapy

Yescarta fights a type of lymphoma; move is heralded as helping open 'new era' in medical care THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the second gene therapy for use in the United States. The new treatment, Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), is for a kind of blood cancer called large B-cell lymphoma. The treatment is known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, and is only the second such therapy sanctioned by the FDA. In August, the agency approved a similar CAR-T cell therapy to help battle a childhood leukemia. The FDA's move on Wednesday helps open a new phase in medical care, where genetics are used to help further treatment. "Today marks another milestone in the development of a whole new scientific paradigm for the treatment of serious diseases," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in the news release. "In just several decades, gene therapy has gone from being a promising concept to a practical solution to deadly and largely untreatable forms of cancer." One cancer specialist agreed. "This is the beginning of a new era of cancer therapy," oncologist Dr. Armin Ghobadi, of Washington University in St. Louis, said in a university news release. "With CAR-T cell therapy, "we can take patients' own cells and turn them into a powerful weapon to attack cancer. It's a highly personalized, innovative therapy and one we hope also will prove to be effective against many different types of cancer." Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in adults. "Each dose of Yescarta is a customized treatment created using a patient's own immune system to help fight the lymphoma," the FDA explained. "The patient's T-cells, a type of white blood cell, are collected and genetically modified to include a new gene that targets and kills the lymphoma cells. Once the cells are modified, they are infused back into the patient." The FDA approval is based on a multicenter clinical trial of more than 100 patients. The complete remission rate after treatment with Yescarta was 51 percent. Like all treatments, Yescarta comes with risk. According to the FDA, potentially serious side effects include cytokine release syndrome (CRS), which can cause high fever and flu-like symptoms, and neurologic toxicities. Both CRS and neurologic toxicities can be life-threatening or fatal. Other potential side effects include serious infections, low blood cell counts and a weakened immune system. And as part of the approval, Kite Pharma Inc. must conduct a study of patients who take Yescarta. Gottlieb added that the FDA "will soon release a comprehensive policy to address how we plan to support the development of cell-based regenerative medicine. That policy will also clarify how we will apply our expedited programs to breakthrough products that use CAR-T cells and other gene therapies," Gottlieb said. Last Thursday, an influential FDA panel also gave unanimous approval to a gene therapy aimed at correcting a rare but blinding disease in children. While the FDA is not obligated to follow the advice of its panels, it usually does. At the time, Stephen Rose, chief research officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, said the therapy "can restore some vision to people who have very limited vision or no vision due to the mutation in the RPE65 gene, and as such, it's a great breakthrough." More information The Lymphoma Research Organization has more on diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Self-Harm on the Rise Among Teen Girls

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Teen girls are much more likely to self-harm than boys, and the dangerous practice is on the rise. That's the conclusion of a new British study that also found a strong link between self-harm — practices such as cutting or burning oneself — and a higher risk of suicide. Researchers reviewed information from nearly 650 general practices in the United Kingdom. The records had data on almost 9,000 patients aged 10 to 19 who self-harmed between 2001 and 2014. The investigators compared those children to more than 170,000 kids who didn't self-harm, matched for age and gender. The rate of self-harm was about three times higher among girls than boys. The rate rose 68 percent among girls ages 13 to 16 from 2011 to 2014. Referrals to mental health services within 12 months of self-harming were 23 percent less likely for children in the poorest areas, even though the rates of self-harm were higher in these areas. The researchers also found that children and teens who self-harmed had a nine times increased risk of death from non-natural causes. The risk from suicide and alcohol/drug poisoning was especially pronounced. The high self-harm rate among teen girls may be due to common mental health problems in females at this age. Biological factors such as puberty and onset of sexual activity may also play a role in self-harm, according to lead researcher Cathy Morgan, from the University of Manchester, and colleagues. The researchers said there is some evidence that common mental health disorders are on the rise among teens. This may be because they "are living in more stressful times," Morgan's team said. The study findings "emphasize the urgent need for integrated care involving families, schools and health care provision to enhance safety among these distressed young people in the short term, and to help secure their future mental health and well-being," the study authors concluded. The study was published Oct. 18 in BMJ. More information The National Alliance on Mental Illness has more about self-harm. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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