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Health

    Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report. >> Read more trending news Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment. To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency. Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water. After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent.  Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent. “The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement.  As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein.  But they say the overall benefits would still be positive.  “Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”
  • Do you like to indulge in an occasional soda every once in a while? Be careful, because two sugar-laden drinks a week could up your risk for diabetes and strokes, according to researchers. Researchers from universities in South Africa recently conducted an experiment, published in Journal of Endocrine Society, to determine the link between sugary drinks, including sodas and juices, and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the chance of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To do so, they reviewed 36 studies from the last decade that examined people who drank more than five sugary drinks a week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. With the data, they were able to assess the possibility of disease. They found that consuming two sugar-sweetened drinks a week could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 42 percent. And just one sugar-sweetened drink can significantly elevate blood pressure. “Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is steadily rising among all age groups worldwide,” lead author M. Faadiel Essop said in a statement. “Our analysis revealed that most epidemiological studies strongly show that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.” They believe their findings prove there should be more education about the harmful effects of such drinks, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. That’s why they hope to conduct more studies to confirm their results. “Our understanding of this topic would benefit from additional research to further clarify how sugar-sweetened beverages affect our health,” Essop said. “We do see some limitations in the current research on this topic, including a need for longer-term studies and standardized research methods.” »RELATED: You can avoid strokes and heart attacks with these two household fruits, study says
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women under 60 years old are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women in the same age group. In fact, data from 2015 showed black women had a 39 percent higher breast cancer death rate. >> Read more trending news New research from Emory University, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute points to differences in health insurance as the culprit. The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included data from the National Cancer Data Base on 563,497 black and white women between the ages of 18 and 64 who had been diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer between 2004 and 2013. The researchers examined five factors for the study: Demographics (age, stage, state, year of diagnosis, etc.) Comorbidities (other health conditions) Insurance (lack of insurance, private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.) Tumor characteristics (size, type, stage, etc.) Treatment (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, etc.) The findings They found that insurance explained one-third of the additional risk of death among the black women compared to white women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Additionally, almost three times as many black women (22.7 percent) were either uninsured or had Medicaid insurance compared to white women (8.4 percent). “Lack of insurance is a barrier to receipt of timely and high-quality treatment and screening services,” study authors wrote. Other major factors that explained the differences: tumor characteristics (23.2 percent), comorbidities (11.3 percent) and treatment (4.8 percent). Nearly 80 percent of the women in the study had the most common type of breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive breast cancer) and according to the researchers, when matched for factors such as insurance, comorbidity and others, those factors accounted for a combined 76.3 percent of the total excess risk of death in black patients. The authors noted that when it came to treatment differences, black and white women contrasted most for hormone therapy, which, according to ACS, is typically used after surgery to help reduce the chance of recurrence. “Several studies reported that black women are less likely to complete chemotherapy and hormone therapy,” study author Ahmedin Jemal told the ACS. “This could be for many reasons, including problems with transportation or the inability to pay for medicine.” Additionally, previous research has shown that black women get lower quality mammograms and are less likely to have a follow-up appointment after receiving abnormal mammograms. And insurance is vital for both high-quality cancer care and for early detection. “We know so much about cancer prevention and control,” Jemal, who is also vice president of the ACS surveillance and health services research program, said. “But we’re not applying it to the whole population equally. We have to make the standard of care available to everyone, including people with low income. And blacks are disproportionately represented in that group.” Read the full study at ascopubs.org Learn more about the study and more about how women can protect themselves from breast cancer at cancer.org
  • When a 7-year-old boy fell asleep following a late-night wedding party, his mother expected him to be tired, but she could never fathom what would unfold. >> Watch the news report here The boy, Wyatt Shaw, was admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, during the first week of October after his mother tried and tried and tried to wake up him following the exciting Sunday night wedding festivities. “Monday I tried to wake him up, and he fell back to sleep,” the boy’s mother, Amy Shaw, told WDRB. “[I’d say], ‘Wyatt, Wyatt, Wyatt!’ And he fell back to sleep again.” Wyatt slept for 11 consecutive days. According to WTVR, medication usually used to treat seizures finally woke the boy up, but doctors are mystified by what happened. Every test performed on Wyatt came back clear. >> On Rare.us: 'Nothing brings me more joy': Artist brings smiles to sick children with beautiful tattoos “[The doctors] said, ‘We’ll probably never know, but we’re just going to treat him now with rehab to get him better,’” Amy Shaw said. >> On Rare.us: Anthony Rizzo breaks down in tears at Chicago hospital Wyatt is having some trouble talking and walking, but he’s improving and is well aware of his story, WDRB reported. The only thing he doesn’t understand is the same thing the doctors don’t — what happened to him. >> Read more trending news  His mom hopes he’s back to showing off the energy he’s always exhibited, especially that night cutting up the dance floor at the wedding. A benefit concert is being held for Wyatt and his family from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at Northside Hall in Radcliff, Kentucky.
  • A 13-year-old girl from England who died from a brain aneurysm has left a lasting legacy. Since Jemima Layzell’s death in 2012, her heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, small bowel and liver have been donated to a record number of eight people. Five of the recipients were children.          'In the UK, no one else has ever enabled eight or more solid organ transplants into eight different recipients,' said corporate communications manager Stephen Bailey with NHS Blood and Transplant in the U.K. » Family of organ recipient attends funeral of donor who saved his life Data compiled for USA Today by the United Network for Organ Sharing shows 604 American deceased donors between 1988 and 2016 have each donated hearts, lungs, kidneys, pancreata, livers and intestines. Livers can be split and counted as two organs. This data doesn't reflect how many people were given the organs. A report released by the organization in January showed U.S. organ transplants increased by 8.5 percent since 2012. » Organ donation recipients celebrate with family of donor Jemima decided to donate her organs a week before she died, according to the Jemima Layzell Trust. The trust was founded in 2013 by Jemima's family to raise funds to support children suffering from brain injury or trauma. » U.S. teen's donated organs, tissues have helped 194 people 'Every parent's instinct is to say no, as we are programmed to protect our child. It's only with prior knowledge of Jemima's agreement that we were able to say yes,' Jemima's mom, Sophy Layzell, told the  BCC. 'Jemima was lovely — clever, funny, compassionate and creative — and we feel sure she would be very proud of her legacy,' Sophy Layzell said.          More information on organ donation can be found at organdonor.gov.         
  • A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report finds all fifty states had more than one in five adults with obesity. The number on the scale varied depending on where you live. The South has the highest prevalence of obesity followed by the Midwest, Northeast and then the West.   Five state now have more than thirty-five percent of adults with obesity. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia.   Georgia's obesity rate is now at 31.4 percent. That is up slightly from last year when it was at 30.7 percent of Georgians with obesity.   Education seems to matter when it comes to being overweight. Obesity rates are about 30 percent higher among adults without a college education or who have incomes below $15,000, the report found. RELATED: CDC: Over 100 Million Americans Have Diabetes or Prediabetes
  • This story has been updated with the most recent suicide statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There has been a startling rise in the suicide rate in America. Recent studies from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that from 1999 to 2014, the overall U.S. suicide rate increased by 24 percent. » RELATED: Veteran Lithia Springs High teacher shoots self at school; classes canceled And according to the CDC, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Georgia and among people ages 25-34 and ages 15-17, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the state. In 2017, 20 kids and teens have taken their own lives in Georgia — 14 since early April alone, AJC’s Rhonda Cook reported. » RELATED: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame? And, according to CDC data, almost twice as many people die by suicide than homicide in the state.  Local suicide prevention organizations know this urgency and are stepping in to help. Critical suicide prevention care includes crisis lines where individuals with suicidal ideation can speak with trained counselors or get a referral to crisis centers that provide short term stabilization. For acute long term care, access lines can connect people with local resources, such as inpatient hospitalization for a residential stay at a mental health facility. To ensure recovery, outpatient treatment offers day mental health services. Supportive housing can allow individuals to regain independence while having a structured treatment program. Other services include therapy, mental health education, and peer support groups where people with lived experience can share practical lessons. » RELATED: Answers elusive as youth suicides in Georgia rise sharply 
  • The American opioid epidemic claimed another victim Monday.  >> Watch the news report here The mother of 22-year-old Elaina Towery shared a gut-wrenching photograph of her clutching her daughter just moments before she was taken off life support at a Detroit hospital. >> See the photo here Elaina reportedly died due to an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. She fell into a coma on Thursday. Cheryl Towery, 49, told WJBK that her daughter had been battling addiction for seven years. “She’s my only daughter, my best friend,” Cheryl said. “She was supposed to start her new job today; now she’s on life support.” >> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight She told WJBK that her daughter and a friend had stopped at a Detroit Burger King last week. Elaina went inside to use the restroom. After about 20 to 25 minutes, her friend thought it was odd that she had not returned. Shortly afterward, a Burger King employee found Elaina unconscious on the bathroom floor. Only moments earlier, Cheryl said, she had received a text message saying her daughter would be home soon. “By 6 p.m., 6:30, 7, I finally got a message on Facebook,” Cheryl said. >> How heroin changes our brains and more things to know about the drug She said her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest. Elaina had survived five previous overdoses and visits to five different treatment centers, Cheryl said. “I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room,” Cheryl said. “Because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her.” She said her daughter’s addiction began in 2010, when she started to abuse prescription drugs to deal with an abusive boyfriend. That boyfriend, who was convicted of domestic abuse and other crimes, is also the father of Elaina’s 5-year-old son, Christopher. She gave up her son due to her addiction, Cheryl said. Cheryl believes Elaina giving up her baby contributed to her addiction problems. She was also working as a prostitute, Cheryl told WJBK. “[She was] beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin,” Cheryl said. >> Read more trending news Cheryl said she made the decision remove Elaina from life support on Monday after it became clear that her daughter's vital organs were failing and that there was no brain activity. “I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people need to be locked up,” she said. Read more here.
  • A bodybuilding competitor and mom of two reportedly died June 22 from a protein overdose, according to Perth Now. Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old from Mandurah, Australia, was discovered to have a urea cycle disorder, which blocks the body from correctly breaking down protein. Hefford was preparing for a bodybuilding competition in September and consuming various protein supplements, her mother, Michelle White, tells Perth Now. Hefford had told her mom in June that she was feeling tired and “weird.” “I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down,” White said. Hefford was found unconscious in her apartment on June 19 and rushed to the hospital, where it took doctors two days to diagnose her with urea cycle disorder. By that point, the buildup of ammonia in her blood and fluid in her brain was too much, and she was declared brain dead the next day. Coroners listed “intake of bodybuilding supplements” as one of Hefford’s causes of death, along with the disorder. Her family is now calling for tighter restrictions on protein supplements. “I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White said. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.” Hefford was studying paramedicine while working part-time at a hospital. She leaves behind her two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.
  • The toilet bowl holds quite a bit of muck, but according to a recent report, there’s another item in your home that’s even filthier: your kitchen sponge. Researchers in Germany conducted a study to determine the different types of bacteria found on a sponge. To do so, they sequenced the DNA of 28 samples of bacteria collected from 14 sponges.   >> Dirtier than the toilet? These 5 items are among the filthiest in your home They found 118 genera of bacteria. That’s more than what’s found on toilets.  'Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets. This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges, which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house,' the study said. >> On AJC.com: Toothbrushes can be more germ-ridden than a toilet seat However, the scientists noted that most of the genera of bacteria discovered was not harmful. The pathogens that were found were most concerning, because those can cause infections among humans.  >> On AJC.com: How well are you cleaning the 10 filthiest places in your kitchen? 'Kitchen sponges are likely to collect, incubate and spread bacteria from and back onto kitchen surfaces, from where they might eventually find their way into the human body,' the study said. “Direct contact of a sponge with food and/or the human hands might transfer bacteria in and onto the human body, where they might cause infections, depending on their pathogenic potential.” Although many boil or microwave sponges to rid of toxins, analysts found that the latter method only kills 60 percent of bacteria. Plus, the bacteria could increase after cleaning, because the microbes re-colonize.  >> Read more trending news To minimize the spread of germs, researchers suggests that people replace their sponges at least once a week.