<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 28 May 2015 17:19:41 -0700 Thu, 28 May 2015 17:19:41 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Docs Give Baby Thumb With Surgery]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 17:12:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/toddler+thumb+photo.jpg

A 1-year-old baby born without a thumb will soon be able to grab things with his right hand for the first time thanks to a procedure Long Island doctors say was no small feat. 

A tiny cast was taken off of Brandon Torres' newly created thumb on Tuesday, nearly a month after doctors at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park performed a surgical procedure to create the crucial appendage. 

Torres, of Queens, was born without a right thumb due to a rare disorder known as Duane-radial ray syndrome, which the National Institutes for Health says affects the eyes and causes abnormalities to the bones in a person's arms and hands. Only a few families worldwide carry the genetic mutation that causes the syndrome.

In order to give Torres a thumb, doctors say they performed a procedure known as pollicization. Nick Bastidas, the pediatric plastic surgeon who performed the procedure, said he shortened Torres' index finger, then rotated it to the position of a thumb.

While he was doing that, he and other surgeons also lengthened Torres' blood vessels and transferred muscles to create a functional hand.

The April 27 procedure took about 2 1/2 hours to complete.

Bastidas said that the thumb is the most important finger on the hand because it allows humans to grasp and pinch.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Deepak Chopra at Corporate Wellness Symposium]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 08:12:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Deepak-Chopra-Getty.jpg

Deepak Chopra, the well-known alternative medicine practitioner, is launching the 2015 Corporate Wellness Symposium, a day-long seminar for HR executives and wellness practitioners in Carlsbad on May 27 at the LaCosta Resort and Spa. In its fourth year, the event is hosted by San Diego-based Intercare Insurance Solutions and HUB International.

Chopra will address the group on "The Future of Wellbeing," a roadmap for health based on the latest findings in both mainstream and alternative medicine. He is founder of The Chopra Foundation, and co-founder and board chairman of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

“The symposium, now in its fourth year, is designed for HR executives, chief financial officers and finance VPs, benefit managers and wellness committee members,” said Maggie Osburn, Intercare’s general manager. “Whether your company is launching its first wellness initiative, or your program has been in place for a decade, this day is full of cutting-edge solutions matched with practical application — so everyone will leave with a few ideas they can put into place right away.”

The full-day, multisession symposium features wellness experts and local employers whose wellness programs and initiatives have met with significant success. Registration and breakfast begin at 7 a.m., with Chopra’s keynote address at 8 a.m. The day concludes with a 4:45-5:30 "Healthy Hour."

The day-long schedule features diverse topics such as financial wellness, brain fuel (nutrition and lifestyle strategies) and how to measure well-being in the workplace. In addition, experts will discuss the mechanics of wellness initiatives and programs — from legal updates and communication solutions to outcomes-based wellness programs — and wellness solutions inside a private exchange.

The group will also hear from several companies whose wellness programs are continuing to meet with resounding success, including L.L. Bean; local employers GreatCall and CUSO Financial Services on Building a Culture of Wellness – Taking a Culture-First Mentality in Workplace Wellness; plus a local employers’ panel on "The Engagement Equation."

Additional information and registration can be found at http://intercaresolutions.com/cws/.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for UNICEF
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<![CDATA[Ecstasy Used to Treat Patients]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 07:45:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ecstasy+pills.jpg

The Federal Drug Administration is allowing a team of Bay Area psychotherapists to experiment with ecstasy to treat patients.

Dr. Phil Wolfson, who has offices in San Francisco and Marin County, is in charge of the 15-month experiment approved the FDA and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Wolfson said he knows firsthand that ecstasy, or MDMA, is effective in easing extreme anxiety because he used it to get through the worst time of his life when his son way dying from leukemia.

"It tends to bring on a mood change," Wolfson said. "It gives you a feeling of loving and caring. You're more accepting of your own failure and difficulties and being able to own them better."

Ecstasy, also known as Molly, is a drug commonly used at raves. The drug is currently considered by the federal government to have no therapeutic value.

Wolfson, however, received the government's blessing to conduct a clinical trial of 18 patients using the drug in conjunction with a number of intense therapeutic sessions.

"If a drug works for a disabling condition and can be labeled to be used in a safe way in that population, then we think we have an obligation to evaluate the data and do what the data support, such as allow a trial to proceed," an FDA spokeswoman said.

If the current trial goes as Wolfson believes it will, MDMA will then be used to treat large numbers of people over a two-year period.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Alzheimer's Simulator Helps Caretakers Understand the Disease]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:02:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/178541982_Dementia-ALzheimers-Generic.jpg

Alzheimer's can be difficult to understand for those who do not suffer from the disease.

A senior living center in Kentucky is trying to help caretakers of those diagnosed with the condition better understand it with a tour, according to NBC affiliate WAVE.

The "virtual dementia tour" clouds a person's vision and hearing with goggles and background noise. It also impairs functions like use of your fingers to simulate arthritis.

For the simulation, people are told to wear gloves with some of the fingers taped together to simulate arthritis. They also told to wear headphones with headphones that provide noises that make it difficult to hear to simulate impaired hearing.

They are then asked to complete simple tasks in a dark room, like run a belt through the loops of a pair of pants. As seen in the video above, it is challenging for people who would otherwise find the task easy.

Brenda Loy, of Louisville, began crying after the experience, telling WAVE that it helped her understand the disease’s toll on her husband, James. The couple has been married for 53 years.

"(The simulation) opened my eyes in a good way for me to see, but in a bad way to know my husband deals with that every day and there's not a thing you can do about it,” Brenda Loy said. "You just have to let it run its course."

Watch the simulation in the video above.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RM]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch With 5 Workout Tips]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 14:39:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg

Five years after launching her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama released a short video on Twitter with five workout tips.

In the video, Michelle starts with jumping rope and ends with hitting a punching bag and staying hydrated. 

FLOTUS’ video was posted in response to the president’s own five tips for the #GimmeFive Twitter campaign that is part of Let’s Move. President Barack Obama’s tips all include him wearing a suit, such as taking the stairs and having walking meetings instead of sit-down ones.

No offense to the president, but his wife's tips are a bit more fierce.

<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 13:48:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a video of herself working out on Tuesday to help promote her #GimmeFive fitness campaign. In the thirty second clip, Obama jumps rope, kick-boxes and bench presses 35-pound dumbbells.]]> <![CDATA[New Diabetes Pump on the Market]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 08:46:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tandem-Diabetes-Pump.jpg

Tandem Diabetes Care Inc., a medical device company in San Diego, announced that its t:flex Insulin Pump is on the market, with shipments planned in June.

The 480-unit t:flex Pump, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2015, is the largest capacity insulin pump currently offered in the United States.

The t:flex Pump is designed for people who require more than 80 units of U-100 insulin per day, such as teenagers with type 1 diabetes and many people with type 2 diabetes. For people with greater insulin needs, the pump offers the benefits of pump therapy without the frequent reservoir changes required by 200 and 300-unit pumps.

Photo Credit: Tandem Diabetes
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<![CDATA[San Diego No. 3 Fittest U.S. City]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 09:45:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Running_app_generic.jpg

America’s Finest City also happens to be one of the fittest, according to the American Fitness Index by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

The newly-released index shows the 50 fittest cities across the United States and San Diego snagged the No. 3 spot, just behind St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

The ACSM’s index looks at a variety of health indicators, including a city’s smoking percentages, physical activity and eating habits. The index also takes into consideration a city’s parklands, access to dog parks, recreational facilities and policy for school physical education classes.

The report says San Diego’s “areas of excellence” include a higher percent of residents meeting aerobic and strength activity guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). San Diegans also consume more than two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day.

There are also more farmers’ markets per capita in San Diego. A higher percentage of the population bikes or walks to work and is within a 10-minute walk to the park, the index says.

Areas to improve upon include the percentage of people using public transportation to work and the number of golf courses and swimming pools per capita, according to the index.

Other U.S. cities that made the top 10 fittest on the ACSM’s American Fitness Index include, in order: San Francisco; Sacramento; Denver; Portland; Seattle; Boston; and San Jose, Calif.

Indianapolis ranked last on the list, with higher rates of chronic health issues among residents including obesity, asthma and diabetes. For the full index, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Youth Dance Classes Not Active Enough: Study]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 17:08:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/ballet_pic_for_dec_8_story.jpg

Children attending dance classes may not be getting enough physical activity, according to one UC San Diego School of Medicine study.

A study published Monday examined the activity levels of girls aged five to 18 that attended a variety of dance classes and found that in most of these youth dance classes, children participated in a limited amount of physical activity.

Only a little more than a third of class time in youth dance classes was spent doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. For the rest of the class time, children were standing, listening or stretching, researchers found.

“This is a very commonly used opportunity for young people, especially girls, to be physically active and we find that they are inactive most of the time during dance classes,” said senior author James Sallis, PhD, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, in a statement. “We see this as a missed opportunity to get kids healthier.”

Half of American youth do not meet physical activity guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which state that children and teens should be participate in moderate-to-vigorous activity for at least 60 minutes a day.

On average, the children were more likely to be active than their teenage counterparts.

Not all types of dance measured out to be the same for the girls. The study looked at ballet, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, salsa/ballet folklorico, tap and partnered dance, such as ballroom or swing.

“We found that not all dance types are created equal,” said Kelli Cain, the study’s first author. “For example, hip-hop came out among the top in activity level for both children and adolescents while flamenco was the least active for both groups.”

Study participants said on average they spent an average of 17 minutes in each averaged 49 minute class doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Only 8 percent of kids and 6 percent of adults met the CDC’s recommended physical activity level during dance.

The study gathered data from 264 girls across San Diego County in 66 dance classes. Those girls wore accelerometer devices around their waist that recorded their movement.

In addition to Cain, the study was also co-authored by Kavita Gavand and Patricia Rincon from UCSD; Terry Conway, Edith Bonilla, and Nicole Bracy from UCSD and San Diego State University; and Emma Peck from San Diego State University.

Photo Credit: The Stamford Ballet School ]]>
<![CDATA[Scripps, Sharp to Join Health Information Exchange ]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 07:26:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-02.jpg

Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare are joining San Diego Health Connect, a substantial boost for the region’s health information exchange that soon will give clinicians access to medical data covering 2.7 million county residents.

San Diego Health Connect, funded with $15.3 million in federal dollars in April 2010, started as San Diego Beacon Community, one of 17 such communities across the nation charged with accelerating use of health information technologies.

The network already included 19 other hospital organizations in the county, including Kaiser Permanente, UC San Diego Health System and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Now added to that network is Scripps Health, which has four hospitals, 19 outpatient facilities and 2,600 affiliated physicians. Sharp Healthcare includes four acute care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, two medical groups and a health plan.

Scripps and Sharp expect to be live on San Diego Health Connect this summer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[PTSD Linked to Faster Aging]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 06:51:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2015_05_07_human_chromosomes_with_telomeres_nih.jpg

Post-traumatic stress disorder may cause people to age faster, according to a newly released study by UC San Diego.

Researchers at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego teamed up to look at the physical effects of PTSD, not just the known psychological ones.

“This is the first study of its type to link PTSD, a psychological disorder with no established genetic basis, which is caused by external, traumatic stress, with long-term, systemic effects on a basic biological process such as aging,” said the senior author of the study, Dilip V. Jeste, MD, in a statement.

Previous studies linked PTSD to psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, so Jeste and his colleagues gathered those studies — dating back to 2000 — to see if there was evidence that a patient’s body was affected as well.

They identified biological markers that typically show early or accelerated senescence — or aging. Those markers were discovered in some suffering from PTSD.

The researchers say a number of studies showed a mild-to-moderate association between PTSD and earlier mortality, consistent with an early onset of aging.

“These findings do not speak to whether accelerated aging is specific to PTSD, but they do argue the need to re-conceptualize PTSD as something more than a mental illness,” said first author James B. Lohr, MD, professor of psychiatry, in a statement.

Lohr said the findings warrant a deeper look at the connection between PTSD and aging, which may lead to a change in how PTSD is treated

Another co-author, Barton Palmer, Ph.D., said more studies are needed to prove the link.

Funding for the study, in part, came from the U.S. Department of Defense, VA San Diego, National Institutes of Health and UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging and Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging.

For more on the science behind the findings, click here.

Photo Credit: National Institutes of Health]]>
<![CDATA[Tri-City Medical Center to Offer New CT Scan]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 10:04:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Tri-City-Medical-Center-060.jpg

The Tri-City Healthcare District Board of Directors has approved the purchase and installation of the most advanced computed tomography (CT) scanner on the market, enabling its radiologists to make quick and accurate diagnoses for patients.

The GE Healthcare Revolution CT scanner is expected to be operational as early as December 2015, making Tri-City Medical Center the first provider to offer this medical imaging technology in San Diego County. It can create a full, three-dimensional image of an organ in one pass and will provide more options for the hospital’s radiology program.

“This device can take a full cardiac image in a heartbeat — literally,” said Dr. Donald Ponec, medical director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Radiology Services at Tri-City Medical Center. “It will be of tremendous value to cardiac patients as well as many other patients being cared for on an inpatient, outpatient or emergency basis.”

Tri-City’s emergency room is the third busiest in San Diego County. The ER sees 70,000 people per year of which about 14,000 require CT procedures, according to a recent news release.

“This machine will achieve a significant improvement in turnaround times for patients waiting for CT scan results as well as immediately rule out cardiac disease in those arriving with chest pain,” Ponec said.

The $3 million device was paid for in part by contributions raised by the Tri-City Hospital Foundation and Tri-City Hospital Auxiliary.

A CT scan is a noninvasive and expedient way to look inside the body at organs, soft tissues, vascular structures and bones using X-rays to generate high-resolution images of the body. It does this by rotating an X-ray source and detector around the patient as the patient is moved through the device.

The GE Revolution CT will allow Tri-City Medical Center physicians to scan entire organs such as the brain, heart, liver and pancreas in a single, 0.28-second rotation, reducing breath-hold times and radiation doses for patients.

“The Revolution CT will help our physicians with its advanced medical imaging capability while creating a more comfortable experience for our patients,” said Tri-City Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Tim Moran. “This investment will produce immediate benefits operationally for the medical center and in quality of care for our community.”

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego
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<![CDATA[What Can You do to Prevent Skin Cancer?]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 08:07:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/NC_sunsafety0504001.jpg Summer is coming! To get ready for more time in the sun, dermatologists offer advice on skin cancer prevention.]]> <![CDATA[Nutrient Boosting Snacks]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:07:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Healhty-Snacks-0430.jpg San Diego-based registered dietician Katie Ferraro speaks with NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick about foods that are considered nutrient boosters. As we near the end of Cancer Control Month, Ferraro shares some snacks that can help you create a healthier diet, including whole grains and avocados.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Love Your Lines: Stretch Marks Go Viral]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:12:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/love-your-lines-stretch-mar.jpg

Karly Vedan was 9 when she first noticed stretch marks popping on her legs.

"I grew pretty tall really fast," she said. "They looked really creepy, like something scratched my knees."

Well, fast forward more than a decade and her lines have lots of company. Before giving birth a year ago to an adorable son, at 35 weeks into her pregnancy, lines had taken over her tummy.

"At first I was just kind of scared," said the 21-year-old Canadian student in Edmonton, Alberta. "It looked so weird, like I had a bunch of spider veins all over my stomach.... I asked my doctor about it and they said those are just stretch marks, don't worry about it."

She heeded that advice and was overjoyed a few months back when she stumbled on an Instagram campaign urging other women to do the same.

The effort that has resonated with Vedan and hundreds of other women was started about seven months ago by moms Alex Elle, a writer, and Erika Layne Salazar, a photographer. Aptly dubbed Love Your Lines, they put up an Instagram account of that name and spread the word for one and all to email them photos of their stretch marks and how they feel about them, especially in relation to today's idealized standards of skinny, unmarred perfection.

Swamped with images, they're still going strong, giving birth to the popular hashtag LoveYourLines used by posters showing off their own marks on Instagram, Tumblr and elsewhere across social media.

Setting the effort apart from other woman power and esteem-boosting campaigns is the fact that Elle and Salazar transform each image into high-art black and white as a way to avoid distraction from the marks themselves and the stories behind them.

"For me, Love Your Lines was a way to make women feel safe about their bodies," said Elle, in Rockville, Maryland. "We wanted a platform where women could be themselves. Initially it was just going to be a fine art photography collection where I would be interviewing the women and Erika would be taking the photos. Then it just kind of went crazy."

With the promise of anonymity to all who want it, women from around the world are pouring out their seemingly sincerest joys, anxieties and despair over their marks, loose postpartum bellies and battle wounds from valiant fights against cancer.

Some, like Vedan, have allowed themselves to be identified by the posting of their traceable Instagram handles. Others, like a recent nameless submission, have spoken of suicide.

"No man will love me or choose me when there are so many beautiful & lovely women out there," wrote one who submitted a close up of her belly and identified herself as a childless 24-year-old. "I will never be at peace with my lines. My body issues consume me at every waking moment."

Nearly 300 people, at the urging of Elle and Salazar in an accompanying comment, have offered her comments of love and encouragement.

"Women are absolutely beautiful the way that they are and they don't have to be airbrushed to be beautiful," Elle said in a recent phone interview with Salazar. "I feel like we're coming into a time where women are starting to accept that they're beautiful, flaws and all. We're so much more alike than we think."

Some of the participants are pictured with their little ones. Others show off the splendor of their pregnant bellies. Most of the photos are in extreme close-up.

"Mother of 2 at the age of 28 and each day I become more in touch with my new body," said a poster celebrating her lines and saggy tummy skin. "Even though it took me years to accept them, I can now say I wear them with pride."

Salazar, who lives near Elle in Silver Spring, Maryland, considers support an important part of the project.

"We're all opening the door for each other," she said.

But it's also more personal for her. Salazar's 4-year-old daughter required open heart surgery at birth. "She has a huge scar down her chest. I never want her to think twice about whether she's beautiful or not."

Arianne Klarisse is an aspiring 17-year-old model in London. She submitted a photo of the stretch marks she has on her bum. She said by phone that her lines began at puberty and she also has them on the backs of her legs, on her hips and on her thighs.

"I've tried a lot of creams, moisturizers, oils," she said. "There's nothing I can do. I just have to live with it."

Rachel Hollis, a mother of three boys in Los Angeles, had not heard of Love Your Lines when she posted a photo of herself on Instagram rocking a bikini on vacation in Cancun, Mexico -- stomach pooch and all.

"I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini," she wrote in part under the March photo on her feed, (at)msrachelhollis. "I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy ... (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it."

Her on-the-beach declaration earned her viral status across her social streams, and an outpouring from people of all shapes motivated to share their lined, marked bodies and stories, too.

In an interview, the 32-year-old Hollis said it had been a decade since she had worn a bikini before taking off with her hubby without the kids, ages 8, 6 and 2. She really liked her orange bathing suit top that day and asked him to snap a picture.

"It's crazy. Almost immediately women started posting their own photos in the comment section," said Hollis, who runs a lifestyle blog called Thechicsite.com. "Women just lifting up their shirts and posting their stretch marks. It wasn't just women and it wasn't just moms. It was men who had lost weight. It was veterans who had lost limbs. People who had scars from burns or chemotherapy."

She's even more proud now of her body knowing she has inspired others.

"They took the torch and they ran with it and I'm so humbled," Hollis said. "It's awesome that it was my photo but it makes me think that it's something people want to see: the reality instead of constantly looking at perfection."

Photo Credit: LoveYourLines Instagram photo]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Cream Company Recalls All Treats, Closes Shops ]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:21:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ice-cream-stock-79772399.jpg

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is recalling treats and freezing sales across the country due to a possible listeria contamination. 

The Ohio-based company announced the voluntary recall on its website on Thursday, saying it is "ceasing all sales and closing all scoop shops until all products are ensured to be 100% safe." The recall covers all products bearing the "Jeni's" brand, including  ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches. 

The company said in a statement that it decided to issue a recall after a random sample test by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture came back positive for the bacteria, which can cause illness and even death in individuals with compromised immune systems. Jeni's said it is not aware of any sicknesses connected to its products to date. 

"Our top priority is guaranteeing the safety of all consumers by taking every possible precaution," John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, said in a statement. "We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100% confident every item we sell is safe." 

Jeni's urges cutomers to throw out or return any products affected by the recall. More information is available at jennis.com/recall. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Overnight Fasting May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:24:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/breast_cancer_P1.jpg

Woman who fast for longer hours at night may reduce their risk of breast cancer, according to a new study by University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

The report, published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found that woman who did not eat overnight had better control over their blood glucose concentrations.

"The dietary advice for cancer prevention usually focuses on limiting consumption of red meat, alcohol and refined grains while increasing plant-based foods," said co-author Ruth Patterson, PhD, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center associate director for population sciences and program leader of the cancer prevention program, in a statement. "New evidence suggests that when and how often people eat can also play a role in cancer risk."

Researchers found that a decrease in the total amount of time spent eating and an increase in the amount of time spent fasting overnight reduces a woman’s glucose levels. Every additional three hours women spent fasting at night was associated with four percent lower postprandial glucose levels, regardless of how much they ate during the day.

Participants in the study reported eating five times a day with a mean fasting time of 12 hours each night. The women that ate less at night also reported eating fewer calories per day and fewer calories after 10 p.m.

Researchers said they recommended large-scale clinical trials to confirm their findings.

The study was co-authored by Loki Natarajan, Dorothy Sears and Sheri Hartman of UC San Diego and Linda Gallo and Elva Arredondo of San Diego State University.

<![CDATA[Whole Foods Market Recalls Macadamia Nuts]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:39:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/537738815%281%29.jpg

Whole Foods Market is recalling packaged raw macadamia nuts due to possible Salmonella contamination.

The product, recalled after routine FDA testing detected the presence of the bacteria, is labeled as “Whole Foods Market Raw Macadamia Nuts” and packaged in 11 oz. plastic tubs. The recalled product, which has a best-by date of Feb. 4, 2016 and UPC code is 7695862059-1, was sold in stores in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

The company said the bacteria causes serious and sometimes fatal infections in especially young children and the elderly, including others who have weak immune systems. Some symptoms healthy persons may experience are fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, the company said in a press release.

The Center for Disease Control estimated that there are one million Salmonella related illnesses in the United States every year, with 19,000 are hospitalizations and 380 deaths.

While no illnesses have been reported, officials are urging those who have purchased the nuts discard the container. They can also bring in their receipt for a full refund.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Tick-Borne Virus in Conn.]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:03:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-tick-01.jpg

A rare but potentially deadly virus has made its way to Connecticut and could soon be transferred from ticks to humans, according to state officials. Human cases of the virus have been reported in other states in the northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, said researchers identified ticks carrying the Powassan virus as part of a study published in 2012.

According to Andreadis, 2 to 3 percent of ticks surveyed in North Branford and Bridgeport tested positive for the virus. By comparison, some 30-40 percent of ticks in Connecticut carry Lyme disease.

Although there are no known cases of the virus in Connecticut, Andreadis said he expects the state could be seeing human cases soon.

"It’s an emerging tick-borne disease that we’re going to be looking at more closely. Right now, we know it’s in the state," he explained. "We don’t know how widespread it is but we’re going to be doing more work to find out, and with reported cases in surrounding states, it’s quite likely we’re getting some human exposure here in Connecticut."

Although the Powassan virus is "relatively rare," it "has the potential to cause very serious disease" and can produce encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, Andreadis said.

The virus was first identified in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, when a child contracted the disease and died, according to Andreadis.

Andreadis said the CEAS is expanding its survey to determine the prevalence of the virus in Connecticut.

Residents should be diligent about checking for ticks when hiking or camping the woods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends using tick repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants when spending time in wooded or bushy areas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Record West Nile Deaths Due to Drought?]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:44:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WNVDallas021113.jpg

California saw a record number of deaths from West Nile virus last year, and health officials say the state's drought may have contributed to the spike.

The state Department of Public Health said Wednesday that 31 infected people died in 2014, the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003.

Among them was a 78-year-old La Mesa man who was hospitalized on Oct. 6 and died several days later. His was the first death from the illness in San Diego County since 2007.

Officials also said there were 801 Californians who tested positive for the virus -- coming close to the record of 880 cases a decade ago.

In July 2014, a Santee man was the first to test positive for West Nile virus in San Diego County since 2012.

Department head Dr. Karen Smith said it's possible the drought had a role in the increased virus activity by creating more limited sources of water for birds and mosquitoes. Smith said the dry spell could have caused some sources of water to stagnate.

"As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas," Smith said. "The lack of water could have caused some sources of water to stagnate, making the water sources more attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs."

Just last week, a dead hawk in Spring Valley tested positive for the West Nile virus, marking the first time officials have found the disease in San Diego since the start of the year.

California is in its fourth-consecutive dry year after a dismal wet season that saw below-normal rainfall and diminishing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In 2015, there have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus in California. Cases involving birds have been reported in Los Angeles, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Diego counties.

Officials can't predict West Nile virus activity in 2015, but said it will be influenced by climate, the number and types of birds and moquitoes in a given area and the birds' level of immunity.

The virus is transmitted to humans and animals through an infected mosquito's bite. The risk of serious illness is low for most people, health officials said. People 50 and above and individuals with diabetes and/or high blood pressure are at greatest risk to develop complications.

State health officials recommend that individuals prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the "Three Ds:"

1. DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.

2. Dawn and Dusk: Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear protective clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tightfitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.

3. Drain: Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, and buckets. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.

California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on West Nile virus activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Blue Bell Expands Recall]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 04:33:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Blue+Bell+Ice+Cream+facility.jpg

Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall to include banana pudding-flavored ice cream made at the company's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, facility after the product tested positive for listeria monocytogenes on Tuesday.

The company asked retailers on Monday to remove all products produced at the Oklahoma facility between Feb. 12 and March 27.

Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for the letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S” and “T” following the "code date" printed on the bottom of the product package, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blue Bell is also recalling seven other products made at the Oklahoma plant, including individually-wrapped Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Almond Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices and No Sugar Added Mooo Bars.

On Friday, the company said it was temporarily closing the Oklahoma facility, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates.

In March, the illnesses prompted the Brenham, Texas-based creamery to issue the first recall in its 108-year history. The company and health officials said a 3-ounce cup of ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was traced to the plant in Oklahoma.

Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, according to the CDC. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

In addition to the Broken Arrow plant, the company has two plants in Brenham and one in Sylacauga, Alabama. Those plants will continue to operate and supply products to retail stores.

The recalled ice cream had been shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

For more information, contact Blue Bell at 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

Along with the banana pudding pints, Blue Bell said the recall now includes the following products made at its Oklahoma plant:

Ice Cream Pints: UPC # 0 71899-05101 5 / Code Date:

  • Ice Cream Banana Pudding pint / 021217S
  • Ice Cream Butter Crunch pint  /  021917S
  • Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip pint / 022017S
  • Ice Cream Cookies 'n Cream pint / 030317S, 030617S
  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla pint / 030417S
  • Ice Cream Dutch Chocolate pint / 032317S
  • Ice Cream Moo-llennium Crunch pint  / 032417S, 032517S

Sherbet Pint: UPC # 0 71899-19990 8

  • Rainbow Sherbet pint / 021717S, 021817S, 022317S, 030217S

Sherbet Quarts: UPC # 0 71899-18992 3

  • Orange Sherbet quart / 032617S
  • Mixed Berry Sherbet quart / 032717S

3 ounce Tab Lid Cup: Product # 136
*institutional/ food service cup only

  • Rainbow Sherbet / 022417S, 022617S, 022717S 

Gold Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-03720 0

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla half gallon / 030917T, 031017T, 031117T, 031217T, 031617T, 031717T, 031817T

Brown Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-83548 6

  • Ice Cream Pistachio Almond half gallon / 031317T 

Light Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-73501 4

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla Light half gallon  / 031917T

Consumers who purchased these items should return them. For more information or questions, call 979-836-7977 or go to bluebell.com.

For More Information

Blue Bell News Release

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Jenny Craig Named One of Best Longterm Diets: Study]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:29:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/weight-scale-generic.jpg

Carlsbad-based Jenny Craig is one of the top weight loss programs for dieters to shed fat and keep it off, according to a new study.

The study by Annals of Internal Medicine showed people using Jenny Craig saw 4.9 percent greater weight loss after a year than those relying on dieting education and behavior counseling.

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers were the two diet programs recommended in the study for doctors to refer patients to use.

Similarly, those who used Weight Watchers in clinical trials lost 2.6 percent more weight than people relying on just education.

Jenny Craig combines pre-planned meals and counseling with a professional consultant in a long-term weight loss plan.

The study looked at 141 different weight loss programs, but, according to published reports, only 11 of the programs had been tested in clinical trials lasting at least three months.

The research showed diets such as Medifast and Optifast showed marked weight loss after four or five months, but a lack of sustained results after nine months.

Nutrisystem also showed promising weight-loss results, but the study suggested further research on longterm benefits were needed.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Young Bride Killed by Brain-Eating Amoeba]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:21:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Koral-Reef-knsd.jpg

Twenty-year-old Koral Reef's life was just beginning. She said yes to the dress and married her high school sweetheart. But Reef never got the chance to enjoy her happily ever after when she contracted a rare, brain-eating amoeba that took her life.

Reef’s mother, Cybil Meister, believes a family trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona was the catalyst for the infection that killed her daughter.

“She started with the headaches, the stiff neck, the sensitivity to light and heat was bad,” Meister told NBC 7.

Around Thanksgiving of 2013, Reef's family noticed something was wrong. By January, things went downhill. In June 2014, she went to the emergency room.

Doctors were never truly able to pinpoint a cause behind Reef’s health issues.

“They said, ‘Oh, she’s having withdrawal from her birth control; It’s a migraine.’ They gave her medicine and sent her home and then she progressively got worse,” recalled her mother.

In September 2014, Reef started losing her vision.

"She went to Temecula Valley and they did an MRI. They showed us the MRI and the amoeba, which they didn't know was an amoeba, but there was a mass covering the entire right side of her brain and partial of her left,” explained Meister.

In October 2014, Reef died.

Doctors say she had a rare but extremely deadly amoeba called Balamuthia. Meister believes her daughter contracted the parasite on that trip to Lake Havasu.

“Balamuthia's mortality rate is very, very high. Only 13 percent of patients survive without any type of treatment,” explained Dr. Navaz Karanjia.

Dr. Karanjia is the Director of Neurocritical Care and the Neuro-ICU at UC San Diego's Health System. She also diagnosed Reef with the amoeba.

She said Balamuthia is inhaled and the parasite has been found in soil and dust. The symptoms of the infection are general – such as headache, fatigue, and a stiff neck – which make it hard to diagnose.

"Usually the initial tests come back negative for the usual bacteria and viruses so medical providers need to know if those test come back negative a parasitic infection could be present,” said Dr. Karanjia.

Reef’s mother is now devoted to raising awareness about the deadly, brain-eating amoeba in her daughter’s name. She has started #TeamKoralReef through Amoeba Awareness.

She's hoping to keep others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

"We're reaching out to people trying to raise awareness because I don't think people understand how serious it can be. It's deadly,” she added.

Dr. Karanjia said a drug has been approved for treatment of another parasite, leishmaniasis, and that drug is being tried for amoebas as well. She said it has shown some promise in treating amoebas like the one that caused Reef's untimely death.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Cigarette Smoke Makes MRSA More Aggressive: Study]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 18:46:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

Cigarette smoke has long been known to have harmful health effects and new research shows it also makes superbugs more aggressive.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that when Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, was exposed to cigarette smoke, it became even more resistant to killing by the immune system.

MRSA can cause potentially deadly skin and bloodstream and surgical site infections or pneumonia in patients at hospitals, nursing homes or dialysis centers.

“We already know that smoking cigarettes harms human respiratory and immune cells, and now we’ve shown that, on the flipside, smoke can also stress out invasive bacteria and make them more aggressive,” said senior author Dr. Laura E. Crotty Alexander, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

Crotty Alexander’s team infected macrophages, immune cells that attack infections, with MRSA. They grew some of the bacteria with cigarette smoke extract. The macrophages attacked both bacterial populations, but they had a harder time killing the MRSA that had been exposed to cigarette smoke extract, researchers found.

The study, published this week in the journal Infection and Immunity, also found that cigarette smoke strengthens MRSA bacteria by altering their cell walls so that they are better able to resist antimicrobial peptides and other charged particles.

“Cigarette smokers are known to be more susceptible to infectious diseases. Now we have evidence that cigarette smoke-induced resistance in MRSA may be an additional contributing factor,” Crotty Alexander said.

The research was funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Another recent study on MRSA found that an ancient concoction for eye infections, which contains garlic, onions and cow bile, kills MRSA, according to researchers at Britain's University of Nottingham.

They sent their findings to an expert at Texas Tech University who found the potion was more effective in battling MRSA than the currently-used antibiotic vancomycin.

Now researchers are trying to figure out what's in the salve that kills germs so effectively.

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Gives Birth in LA Courthouse ]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:16:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/196*120/4-2-15-baby+born+downtown+la+courthouse.JPG

A woman who stopped inside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse to pay a bill left with a little bit more than a receipt: a newborn baby boy.

When the pregnant mom-to-be walked down the hall of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse just before noon Thursday, she suddenly felt labor pain. Onlookers watched and sprung into action.

"She goes down on the floor, she's leaning on the chair, she's like, 'No, the baby's coming right now!" LA County Sheriff's Deputy M. Oliver told NBC4. "And I'm like, 'No wait,' and she's like, 'I can't wait, the baby is coming right now."

About a dozen people scrambled to help the woman as Oliver went to get some towels and gloves.

"When we laid on the floor, on her back, she pulled her trousers down, and then I look and I see ... that's the baby's head!" Oliver said. "So I go down on my knees, cradle the baby's head, and the baby slides right into my hand, a healthy baby boy."

The sheriff's department tweeted a photo right after the birth and said "Mom & baby fine!"

Witnesses said the woman barely had to push and it took her just five minutes.

"I'm still surprised and shocked," the mother told NBC4 from the hospital as she held her newborn son, Malachi. "And it's actually hilarious ... When he was born everybody cheered."

Photo Credit: LASD Special Enforcement Bureau]]>