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Super Foods for Runners

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Runners are aware that the food they consume before, during, and after a run has a huge effect not just on their running performance, but also on their health. As a matter of fact, most runners create a nutrition plan months before their run to help them prepare before the run, and recover after the run. Aside from having quality running shoes, a well-equipped nutrition plan is also part of a runner’s training arsenal. Without proper nutrition, there’s a high possibility that the runner will experience injury and poor running performance.

A runner’s diet should include nutrient-dense foods that contain quality carbohydrates that serve as your fuel during runs. Foods that contain proteins, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are also important to help you perform well.

Let’s play a game: pretend that you’re only allowed to have eleven foods in your kitchen. As a runner who knows what should and should not be eaten, what foods will you pick? Just in case you don’t know yet, we came up with a list to help you out:

  1. Walnuts

Need a quick energy boost? Munch on some walnuts. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid ALA whose anti-inflammatory properties protect the bones and arteries from breaking down. Do not be afraid of walnuts’ high fat content because those are mono-and polyunsaturated fats that’s actually good for your heart. Studies show that walnuts can actually bring down the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels which is highly essential in keeping your heart healthy. Walnuts also contain vitamin B, vitamin E, and fiber.

  1. Watercress

According to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, watercress is the number one nutrient-dense food that’s perfect for runners. It is loaded with vitamin K, antioxidants, and calories so you can load up on these leafy greens without having to watch your weight.

  1. Wild Salmon

Wild samon is an excellent protein source for runners. As a matter of fact, a four-ounce serving of the king of fish contains a whopping thirty grams of protein, which is exactly what you need when you’re preparing for a marathon. It also contains selenium, an antioxidant, that helps keep your heart healthy. Wild salmon has high levels of Omega-3 which is important in helping you recover after a run because it reduces inflammation. Omega-3 also boosts cardiovascular health since it stimulates the functions of your nervous system and it improves the elasticity of your blood cells.

Aside from improving your running performance, wild salmon can also improve heat stroke volume and cardiac output according to the European Journal of Applied Psychology.

  1. Spinach

More popular for its consistent appearance in the cartoon series as Popeye’s favorite vegetable, spinach also improves running performance because it has nitrates that boost the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the body. Research shows spinach has high levels of vitamin K which helps keep bones healthy, and peptides which help lower blood pressure. Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and calcium can also be sourced from spinach.

  1. Kale

Running causes muscle damage which eventually leads to low-grade inflammation. This is a major concern for runners. You can avoid this by adding kale to your diet since it lessens the risk of inflammation. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of vitamin K which is essential in keeping your bones and muscles healthy. A serving of kale contains 700% of the daily recommended intake.

Kale also contains vitamin C which boosts your immune system, prevents colds, and speeds up the recovery process of your muscles after a long distance run. Kale also contains calcium, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin A.

  1. Sweet Potato

Beta carotene, an antioxidant found in sweet potatoes, is essential for all athletes. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin A that boosts our immune system, keeps our eyes healthy, and protects the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. It’s an excellent pre-run meal that has 55 grams of carbohydrates, just enough to give you the energy that you need while running. You can also eat it as a mid-long-run meal but be sure that you drink water after. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C that helps you combat free radicals and oxidative stress.

  1. Blueberries

In a study conducted by Cornell University back in 2008, it was discovered that blueberries are packed with antioxidant capabilities. Delicious and tasty blueberries contain high levels of manganese, which is a mineral that magically converts fats, proteins, and carbs into energy. Suffice to say, these berries help improve your running performance.

  1. Eggs

Eggs, an excellent breakfast companion, contain protein which helps speed up your body’s recovery process after a long run. It also helps fix the damaged muscles. An egg contains about 10% of the protein and 30% of the vitamin K that your body needs, depending on how fit you are and how rigorous your training is. Eggs also contain the brain nutrient, choline, which boosts brain functions.

Don’t worry about the cholesterol. Research has shown that people who eat eggs have lesser chances of suffering from heart-related problems compared to those who have blood sugar and keep it from spiking which often causes hunger and cravings. Eating eggs can help you control your weight and get rid of those extra pounds. More than the awesome health benefits, eggs are affordable and easy to prepare.

  1. Avocados

Choline, vitamin B, and vitamin E are just some of the nutrients that you can get from avocados. They are also packed with copper, zinc, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which are essential while you’re recovering after a run. While studies have shown that avocados are high on fat, it can actually lower bad cholesterol and boost the levels of good cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats that manage hunger, aid in weight loss, and boost cardiovascular functions are also found in avocados. Runners need potassium since it controls muscle and heart contractions – something that runners need. One avocado contains 20 grams of monounsaturated fats and 220 calories.

  1. Lentils

With high levels of starch and the ability to stimulate digestive thermogenesis, lentils are indeed essential in improving your metabolism. Runners need iron which is one of the many nutrients that you can source from lentils. Not having enough iron in the body will weaken your immune system, make you nauseous, pale, plus you easily get exhausted.

Lentils also contain Potassium, vitamin B, and zero cholesterol or saturated fat. This green leafy vegetable is easy tasty and easy to prepare.

  1. Beans

Beans contain fiber that’s essential in controlling hunger and protein that tones your muscles and helps your body recover after running. Eating one cup of beans is equivalent to drinking two cups or one glass of milk.

Beans are also a good source of energy. In fact, a cup of cooked is loaded with about thirty to forty grams of slow release carbohydrates which is an important source of energy for runners. You need to have this in your kitchen if you want to have strong muscles and an energy tank that doesn’t run out of fuel.

EpiPen Price Hikes: What to Know

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EpiPen Price Hikes: What to Know

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By Matt Smith

WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD

Aug. 22, 2016 — The rising cost of a life-saving allergy drug dispenser is raising eyebrows at the pharmacy counter and on Capitol Hill.

The price of the EpiPen, which treats severe allergic reactions, has gone up sixfold in recent years. It can cost as much as $700 for a pack of two auto-injectors before insurance. Parents of children with food allergies in particular are up in arms, and the increase has drawn the ire of some federal lawmakers.

WebMD asked experts to explain the price increases and what those who need EpiPens can do.

What’s an EpiPen, and how is it used?

EpiPen is the trade name for the most common type of epinephrine auto-injector. It’s a spring-loaded, pre-filled syringe that delivers a single dose of epinephrine. The drug, a man-made version of adrenaline, a hormone made by our bodies, is used to counter a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. It’s designed to be jabbed into the outside of your thigh, which triggers the spring and sends the needle into your leg.

Auto-injectors like the EpiPen are much faster and simpler than drawing a dose of epinephrine out of a vial into a syringe and injecting it into a vein. Their speed and convenience has made them popular among people with life-threatening allergies.

“That’s been proven to be a much more dependable source of treatment, especially for children,” says Bob Lanier, MD, the executive medical director of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.

How expensive is it?

Epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline, is cheap. The dose in an auto-injector can cost as little as $1, Lanier says. It’s the mechanism that’s expensive, largely because it has to meet tough government standards for reliability. Like a parachute, “It has to work every time,” he says.

But the price of the EpiPen has gone up sharply in the past several years. In 2008, pharmacists’ cost for a two-pack of EpiPens was less than $100. As of May, it was running just over $600, according to the Elsevier Gold Standard Drug Database, which tracks U.S. wholesale drug prices. Retail prices can top $700 or more before discounts or insurance reimbursements, according to DrugRx.com, a website that compiles consumer prices.

That’s steep enough for one set. But many people find themselves having to buy several sets of auto-injectors a year to keep at schools or at relatives’ or caregivers’ homes. And the EpiPen has a 1-year expiration date, which means that becomes an annual cost.

That’s where the real issues come in,” Lanier says. “You’re taking about thousands of dollars a year on an indefinite basis.”

Why did they get so expensive?

The pharmaceutical company Mylan, which bought the EpiPen from Merck in 2007, says more people are buying higher-deductible health plans, meaning they’re paying more for drugs that may have been covered before.

“With changes in the healthcare insurance landscape, an increasing number of people and families are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, and deductible amounts continue to rise,” Mylan says in a statement to WebMD. “This shift, along with other insurance landscape changes, has presented new challenges for consumers, and they are bearing more of the cost.”

There’s something to that, Lanier says. The Affordable Care Act has resulted in many new high-deductible insurance policies being sold on the Exchanges the landmark health-insurance law set up.

Nicole Smith, whose son’s experience with food allergies has led her to become an advocate for children with similar issues, says that doesn’t account for the drastic increases. She says Mylan has turned the EpiPen into a “cash cow,” jacking up prices while it enjoys a near-monopoly position, and is calling for a federal probe of the company’s price increases.

“I would like to see them publicly brought to task for this,” Smith says.

Mylan told CBS News last week the EpiPen’s price “has changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides,” saying “we’ve made a significant investment to support the device over the past years.”

The advocacy group Food Allergy Research & Education points out that Medicaid, the federal health-insurance program for the poor, covers epinephrine in all 50 states. But with no serious competition, people with those high-deductible insurance plans end up paying retail price, says James Baker, MD, FARE’s chief medical officer and CEO. The drug’s manufacturer, insurers, and others should justify the increased cost, he says.

Can I buy an alternative to the EpiPen?

While EpiPen is the biggest player in the market, there’s a version called Adrenaclick, which delivers the same drug with a different injector. A two-pack sells for between $140 and about $375, according to GoodRx.

Another auto-injection device, known as Auvi-Q, was pulled off the market in October 2015 after regulators found problems with it delivering an inaccurate dose of epinephrine — or failing to inject the drug entirely. Auvi-Q’s manufacturer is expected to resubmit the device for approval, Lanier says.

Then there’s the old-fashioned way: A syringe filled with the proper dose of epinephrine. It’s not as simple as the EpiPen, but it still does the job and remains the typical method in other countries.

“It’s not a difference between a life-saving drug and nothing,” Lanier says. “They have the difference between an auto-injector and an epinephrine syringe.”

I’d rather stick with the EpiPen. Can I get a break on the price?

Mylan promotes what it calls a “$0 Copay” card, which provides a discount of up to $100 on a two-pack of EpiPens at the pharmacy. The company says more than 80% of the people who got EpiPens through their insurance company paid nothing in 2015.

The company also offers a program to help low-income, uninsured patients get EpiPens. And since 2012, Mylan says it has distributed more than 650,000 auto-injectors to U.S. schools, many of which are now required to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand.

Will this change anytime soon?

FARE says it’s trying to get additional manufacturers to jump in and bring the price down, Baker says. But he says, “None of these efforts will provide immediate relief.”

Lanier says it typically takes three competing products in a market to start bringing prices down. Short of that additional competition, there are two other things that might help curb the costs. Regulators could approve new epinephrine products like an oral dose, or add epinephrine to the list of preventive medicines that insurance plans have to cover under the ACA.

But whether that would require them to cover the auto-injection mechanism? “That’s the $64,000 question,” he says.

SOURCES: Bob Lanier, MD, executive medical director, American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. Mylan, press statement. News release, Food Allergy Research & Education. James Baker, MD, chief medical officer and CEO, Food Allergy Research & Education. Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database. DrugRx.com. CBS News. Nicole Smith, parent.

©2016 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Climate Change May Prolong Smog Season in Southeast U.S.

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Climate Change May Prolong Smog Season in Southeast U.S.

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TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The southeastern United States may have high levels of ozone air pollution for a longer time each year due to climate change, a new study suggests.

July and August have traditionally been peak months for the health-threatening pollutant. But those peaks could extend well into fall as weather becomes warmer and drier, the Georgia Institute of Technology researchers said.

That’s because extreme weather associated with climate change may cause drought-stressed trees to release more of the precursor compound that helps form ozone, the investigators explained.

“This study shows that our air quality, particularly ozone in the fall, is becoming more sensitive to the effects of climate change,” study author Yuhang Wang said in an institute news release.

“The direction of climate change is such that we are likely going to see hotter and drier fall seasons, which may create larger ozone extremes in the Southeast. We are likely to have record ozone days in the fall, and we need to prepare for that,” he added.

Wang, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said getting the word out is a must.

“We will need the organizations that are involved in public awareness and public warning to know what’s coming and be prepared for these extreme conditions,” he said. “This could have a significant effect on people living in the Southeast United States.”

Ozone can cause breathing problems and can also affect the growth of agricultural crops, the study authors noted. During the summer, people across the Southeast are often asked to take steps such as refueling vehicles in the morning or evening to reduce ozone formation, they added. Sensitive people are urged to stay indoors when ozone levels are high.

Those steps may need to be in place longer if ozone peaks continue into the fall season, Wang said.

The study was published online Aug. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is believed to be the first study to link changes in ground-level ozone levels to drought stress on trees, according to the news release.

— Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Georgia Institute of Technology, news release, Aug. 22, 2016

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‘Bagpipe’ Lung Infection Kills Piper

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TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A British bagpipe player died after contracting a lethal fungal infection from his instrument, researchers say.

As the experts explained, the moist interiors of wind instruments can promote the growth of fungi and molds that, when breathed in regularly, can cause chronic inflammatory lung condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

The disease is also often linked with regular exposure to birds, particularly pigeons.

The new report involves a 61-year-old man who was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in 2009. He was admitted to hospital in 2014 after his condition worsened to the point that he had trouble breathing and walking.

While doctors knew the patient had hypersensitivity pneumonitis, they didn’t know the cause. He didn’t handle pigeons. He didn’t smoke. And, his house had no signs of mold or water damage.

However, he did play bagpipes daily as a hobby. Samples were collected from several areas inside his instrument, and those tests revealed a number of different types of fungi.

Despite treatment, the man died. An autopsy revealed significant lung damage, the study reported.

There have been other reported cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in trombone and saxophone players, but this is the first case linked with bagpipes, said the study authors, led by Dr. Jenny King, of the University Hospital South Manchester in the United Kingdom.

The researchers said any type of wind instrument could be contaminated with fungi and molds and put players at risk of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, but cleaning instruments immediately after use and allowing them to drip dry could reduce the odds.

The study was published Aug. 22 in the journal Thorax.

— Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Thorax, news release, Aug. 22, 2016

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Young Football Players Tackle Greatest Concussion Risk at Practice

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News Picture: Young Football Players Tackle Greatest Concussion Risk at PracticeBy Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

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TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Children under the age of 14 who play football are at risk of concussions, and a small study suggests that high-magnitude head impacts are more likely to occur in practices than in games in this age group.

The study also found that one specific type of tackling drill posed the highest risk of head-rattling collisions in these young players.

“High-magnitude head impacts are more likely to result in concussion,” said study co-author Steven Rowson, an assistant professor with Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics.

It’s estimated that up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year, the study authors said. And, football has been linked to the highest risk of brain injuries in team sports, according to the study.

While most research has focused on high school, college and professional football players, kids 14 and under are estimated to make up 70 percent of all football players in the United States.

And, those youngsters may be more at risk than older players, one expert noted.

“We know that kids in general — particularly adolescents — take longer on average than adults to recover from concussion,” said Anthony Kontos. He’s the research director with the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

“We don’t yet know the effects of concussions on the maturation and developmental processes in the brains of children and adolescents,” he explained.

Rowson noted that research such as this study can help develop better prevention approaches. “And by reducing players’ exposure to these impacts, concussions in youth football can be reduced.”

The new study hoped to understand when football players aged 6 to 14 suffer the most head impacts.

To find the answer, researchers outfitted 34 players on two teams in Blacksburg, Va., with helmet devices that measure the movement of the head in impacts. The average age of the kids was 10.

The researchers tracked almost 7,000 impacts. Of those, 408 (6 percent) had the highest accelerations. Tackling and blocking drills accounted for 86 percent of all these high-level impacts, even though they made up just 22 percent of practice time.

“We found that impact rates between practices and games were largely consistent,” said study author Eamon Campolettano. He’s a graduate student at Virginia Tech.

“However, teams practice significantly more than they play games. This means that players are exposed to a greater number of head impacts in practice than in games,” Campolettano said.

A drill called “King of the Circle” produced the most head impacts (25 to 68 per hour).

“In King of the Circle, all players but one stand in a large circle,” Campolettano said. “The remaining player is in the middle of the circle and rushes at a player on the perimeter. Each player gets three opportunities to be the rusher in this drill.”

Should this particular drill be eliminated? The rate of high magnitude impacts,”are very different than what players experience during games, suggesting it may not be necessary to practice this drill,” Rowson added.

What about eliminating other kinds of drills that cause head impacts? Kontos cautioned that concussions can occur at lower magnitudes than the highest level in the study.

“And, there are times when very high magnitudes do not result in concussion,” Kontos said. Indeed, none of the players suffered a concussion during the time of the study.

Instead of eliminating tackling drills, he said, “teams and coaches can use progressive approaches to teach proper tackling technique as advocated by USA Football and other programs.”

“Importantly, we want to teach kids safe tackling technique with limited exposure to impacts to the brain. But it should be in a way that allows kids to then tackle properly when they play games, which are faster and involve a more dynamic environment,” Kontos said.

Another option is to eliminate youth football entirely or encourage parents to take their kids out of the game. But Kontos disagrees with this approach.

“We need to balance concerns about concussion risk in sports with the benefits from playing youth sports including improved cardiovascular health, maintaining a healthy weight, and psychosocial benefits such as teamwork and self-confidence,” Kontos said.

The study appears online Aug. 23 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Steven Rowson, Ph.D., assistant professor, Center for Injury Biomechanics; Eamon Campolettano, graduate student, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg; Anthony Kontos, Ph.D., research director, Sports Medicine Concussion Program, and associate professor, department of orthopedic surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Aug. 23, 2016, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, online

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Banned PCB Chemicals Still Tied to Autism in U.S. Kids

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News Picture: Banned PCB Chemicals Still Tied to Autism in U.S. KidsBy Amy Norton

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TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Children exposed to relatively high levels of PCBs in the womb may have an increased risk of developing autism, a new study suggests.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are man-made chemicals once used in a wide range of products, from electrical appliances to fluorescent lighting.

Use of these chemicals was banned in the 1970s because of concerns about their health effects. But since they do not easily break down, PCBs still linger in the environment — and in people.

In the new study, researchers found that when pregnant women had relatively high levels of certain PCBs in their blood, their children were about 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism versus other kids.

Those children also had a roughly twofold higher risk of intellectual disabilities unrelated to autism, the researchers said.

The findings don’t prove that PCBs directly raise those risks, however.

“Autism is a complex condition with many different causes, and those causes vary among individuals,” said Kristen Lyall, lead researcher on the study.

Experts believe that for children to develop autism, they have to have a genetic susceptibility and be exposed to certain environmental factors during critical periods of early brain development.

Researchers are still trying to figure out what those environmental factors are. But some suspects include prenatal exposure to poor nutrition, certain infections, heavy air pollution and pesticides, according to the non-profit Autism Speaks.

The new findings suggest that PCBs could be another one of the “puzzle pieces,” said Lyall, an assistant professor at Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, in Philadelphia.

The study, published Aug. 23 in Environmental Health Perspectives, included more than 1,100 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003.

Overall, 545 kids had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; another 181 had an intellectual disability, but not autism. The rest — 418 in all — had neither diagnosis.

The children’s mothers had all been enrolled in a prenatal screening program, enabling the researchers to analyze blood samples taken during each woman’s second trimester.

It turned out that a mother’s levels of two particular PCBs — ones used as lubricants, coolants and insulators — were linked to her child’s risk of developing autism, the study authors said.

Women whose PCB levels were in the top 25 percent were roughly 80 percent more likely to have a child with autism, versus women in the bottom 25 percent, the researchers reported.

Lyall’s team tried to dig for other explanations. They factored in the mothers’ ages, races and weights, for instance. But PCB levels were still linked to autism risk, the investigators found.

It is, however, difficult to point the finger at any one chemical, Lyall said.

In daily life, people aren’t exposed to chemicals in isolation, she noted. Her team plans to study whether mixtures of different chemicals are related to autism risk, as well.

What’s clear, though, is that many studies have tied PCBs to ill health effects.

“We’ve known that these chemicals can have effects on the immune system and the endocrine [hormonal] system,” said Dr. Daniel Coury, medical director of Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network.

“What’s concerning,” he said, “is that they are pretty ubiquitous.”

Decades after they were banned, PCBs persist in the air, soil and water. People are still exposed through food — particularly fish, meat and dairy products — and breathing PCB-contaminated air, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Old electrical appliances and fluorescent lighting can be sources, too.

Coury stressed that although the new study was “well done,” it does not prove that PCBs contribute to autism.

“We’d like to see if the findings can be replicated in other groups,” he said. “Do you see this same association in Nebraska? Or in France?”

It’s also important to keep the findings in perspective, Coury and Lyall said.

An 80 percent increase sounds scary. But that’s the relative increase comparing children with the highest prenatal PCB exposure against those with the lowest, Lyall pointed out.

The CDC estimates that about 1.5 percent of U.S. children have an autism spectrum disorder, Coury noted. “It’s a low risk to begin with,” he said. “So even with an 80 percent increase, it’s still low.”

Plus, the CDC says, recent studies have shown that Americans’ PCB levels are declining.

For now, Lyall said, pregnant women can take steps to reduce their PCB exposure. Trimming the fat from meat, avoiding fish from PCB-contaminated waters, and getting rid of old appliances are a few ways.

Many U.S. states have advisory systems that warn people about PCB-contaminated fish and wildlife, according to the CDC.

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Kristen Lyall, Sc.D., assistant professor, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, Philadelphia; Daniel Coury, M.D., medical director, Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks, New York City; Aug. 23, 2016, Environmental Health Perspectives, online

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Health Tip: Shop for the Freshest Fish

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Psoriasis Medical Images

Red, itchy, and scaly skin? Discover common skin conditions like psoriasis, rashes, and more in the collection of medical photos.

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Psoriasis Medical Images

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Head Injury Screening Tests Approved

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Head Injury Screening Tests Approved

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MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — New computer software to assess the brain’s function after a traumatic head injury have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test and a similar test for children are meant to be used by doctors to assess signs and symptoms of head injuries that could be concussions, the agency said Monday in a news release. The software runs on laptop or desktop computers.

Traumatic brain injuries account for more than 2 million trips to the emergency room in the United States each year, the FDA said. These injuries contribute to the deaths of some 50,000 people in the U.S. annually.

The adult test is approved for people ages 12 to 59, and the pediatric test for children ages 5 to 11, the agency said.

The tests’ Pittsburgh manufacturer, ImPACT Applications, submitted more than 250 peer-reviewed articles in support of their approval, the FDA said.

— Scott Roberts

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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No More Than 6 Teaspoons of Added Sugars a Day for Kids

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MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Children and teens should consume less than six teaspoons of added sugars a day, a new American Heart Association statement advises.

“Our target recommendation is the same for all children between the ages of 2 and 18, to keep it simple for parents and public health advocates,” statement lead author Dr. Miriam Vos said in a heart association news release.

Added sugars are any sugars, including table sugar, fructose and honey, used in processing and preparing foods or beverages, added to foods at the table, or eaten separately.

“For most children, eating no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day is a healthy and achievable target,” Vos explained. She is a nutrition scientist and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The statement also said children younger than 2 years should not consume foods or beverages with added sugars at all. In addition, children and teens aged 2 to 18 should consume no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks a week.

The statement, published Aug. 22 in the journal Circulation, is based on a review of available scientific research on how sugar affects children’s health.

Regular consumption of foods and drinks high in added sugars can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, which increase the risk of heart disease.

“Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are good for their heart health,” Vos noted.

“There has been a lack of clarity and consensus regarding how much added sugar is considered safe for children, so sugars remain a commonly added ingredient in foods and drinks, and overall consumption by children remains high — the typical American child consumes about triple the recommended amount of added sugars,” she said.

Starting in July 2018, food products sold in the United States will have to list the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

“Until then, the best way to avoid added sugars in your child’s diet is to serve mostly foods that are high in nutrition, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry and fish, and to limit foods with little nutritional value,” Vos said.

— Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Aug. 22, 2016

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Unhappy at Work in Your 20s, Unhealthy in Your 40s?

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MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Millennials, take heed: Job dissatisfaction in your 20s or 30s can undermine your health by mid-life, new research suggests.

But really rewarding work may pay health dividends.

“Those who are, on average, very satisfied versus satisfied tend to have better health in their 40s,” said study lead author Jonathan Dirlam. He is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at Ohio State University.

By their 40s, disenchanted workers had worse mental health. They were more likely to suffer from routine sleep trouble and anxiety compared with satisfied or increasingly satisfied participants, the study found.

Seth Kaplan, an associate professor in industrial/organizational psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., said, “We know that there are some major job-related factors that contribute to poor psychological health.”

According to Kaplan, who wasn’t involved in the study, “Having an abusive supervisor, not having control over one’s work, and having to worry about losing one’s job — and the corresponding financial repercussions — are among the big ones.”

Kaplan added, “If at all possible, try to avoid jobs with those characteristics.”

For the study, Dirlam’s team analyzed survey responses from more than 6,400 men and women participating in a long-running study that began in 1979. Between the ages of 25 and 39, these adults were asked annually whether they liked or disliked their jobs.

Answers were correlated with mental and physical health outcomes when participants entered their 40s.

Roughly 45 percent consistently expressed “low” job satisfaction. On average, Dirlam said, this reflected relative dissatisfaction, rather than outright dislike for their work.

By contrast, 15 percent of respondents consistently noted they were “happy” with their jobs.

In addition, nearly one-quarter indicated that their satisfaction with work got worse over time, while 17 percent said they became more satisfied, the findings showed.

Once the participants reached their 40s, mental health status was gauged in terms of depression, sleep trouble and anxiety.

Overall physical health was also ranked, along with incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, chronic lung disease, back and leg trouble, stomach and liver complications, and anemia.

The researchers found that physical health appeared to suffer among those who consistently expressed low satisfaction with work or whose satisfaction fell over time.

These people reported more difficulty with certain issues, such as back pain and cold frequency. However, the researchers saw no impact on their overall ability to function physically, or in their risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes or cancer.

Nor was consistently low job satisfaction or falling satisfaction linked with a greater likelihood for developing depression.

However, these dissatisfied workers were more likely to be in poorer mental health overall, the findings showed.

The research team theorized that mental health difficulties could actually trigger more physical health complications as participants’ age.

But no negative impact on physical or mental well-being was seen among those who reported greater satisfaction with work over time, the study authors said.

Still, the investigators did not examine health status after age 49. They also acknowledged that the relationship is complex and said it’s not possible to establish cause and effect.

For example, “[early] health problems may lead to lower levels of job satisfaction rather than the reverse,” the authors said.

Dirlan noted that “those in manual labor jobs may have lower job satisfaction and increased physical health problems as a result of their jobs in later life. We are unable to rule out this possibility.”

For those desiring more satisfaction from their work, Kaplan highlighted the concept of “job crafting.” This embraces the notion “that we can, to some extent, objectively and subjectively change our jobs to make them more meaningful.”

Dirlam and his colleagues were scheduled to present their findings Monday in Seattle at a meeting of the American Sociological Association. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Jonathan Dirlam, doctoral candidate, department of sociology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Seth Kaplan, Ph.D., associate professor, industrial/organizational psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.; Aug. 22, 2016, American Sociological Association meeting, Seattle

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Truth or Fib? When Kids Say They’re Too Sick for School

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MONDAY, Aug. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — It’s only a matter of time after school begins before parents have to deal with a child who doesn’t feel well enough to go.

If your child complains of a headache, he or she probably isn’t faking, said Dr. Jennifer Caudle. She is an assistant professor of family medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, N.J.

Stress, lack of sleep or changes in diet can all contribute to headaches in children at the start of a new school year, she said in a university news release.

Most headaches can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Parents should seek medical attention if their child has a headache related to injury.

Medical attention is also needed if a child complaining of headache has a fever and stiff neck, or if vision is affected, the headache doesn’t go away or if it causes the child to miss school or other activities, she added.

When dealing with any type of illness, “parents need to be able to quickly assess whether their child is well enough for school, should stay home or needs to see a physician,” Caudle said.

When children have a cold, it’s generally best for them to rest, she suggested. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sinus pressure, mild sore throat and body aches not only make it hard to concentrate in the classroom, but a child may also spread the cold virus to others.

Kids who have a fever should definitely stay home, Caudle said. She advises parents to give child-strength OTC medications and to call a doctor if symptoms worsen or fail to improve. It’s also time to call a doctor when an already high fever rises or continues for more than 24 hours.

If you suspect your child has pink eye (conjunctivitis), which is easily spread, keep him or her home. Call your doctor for treatment, typically antibiotic eye drops. The doctor will let you know when your child can return to school.

Children who vomit or have diarrhea should not go to school. They can become dehydrated quickly, so discuss symptoms with your doctor. Gradually introduce clear liquids and bland foods. It’s especially important to contact your doctor if vomiting or diarrhea persists for 24 hours, if the child has a fever, or there is blood in the vomit or stool, Caudle said.

“When in doubt about the seriousness of your child’s illness, or if your child has underlying illnesses that make them particularly susceptible to the conditions above, always err on the side of caution and contact your child’s physician for advice,” Caudle said.

— Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Rowan University, news release, Aug. 8, 2016

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