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Health

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, affecting millions of American children annually, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. >> On AJC.com: Does my child have ADHD? Things to know about the condition While the causes and risk factors of the disorder are unknown, researchers are studying how brain injury, exposure to lead and other environmental factors during pregnancy, alcohol/tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery and low birth weight may be linked to ADHD. But new research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests frequent technology use among teens may also lead to common ADHD symptoms. >> On AJC.com: Number of young women using ADHD medicine up by 700 percent, CDC says The new study out of the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California features data on 2,587 15- and 16-year-olds in 10 Los Angeles County high schools. Researchers assessed the students’ self-reported high-frequency use of 14 different digital media activities, such as social media, texting, video streaming or online chatrooms during a 24-month follow-up. Approximately 9.5 percent of the children who reported frequent use of half of the platforms and 10.5 percent who reported using all 14 platforms frequently showed new signs and symptoms of ADHD. >> Read more trending news  Compared to others, students who reported using multiple types of digital media multiple times a day were about twice as likely to report new ADHD symptoms over the 24-month follow-up. Still, about 4.6 percent of the students who were not frequent users of any digital activity also showed symptoms. “Among adolescents followed up over 2 years, there was a statistically significant but modest association between higher frequency of digital media use and subsequent symptoms of ADHD,” researchers concluded.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean digital media use causes ADHD. “Further research is needed to determine whether this association is causal,” study authors wrote. Read the full study at jamanetwork.com.
  • A man died from a Vibrio vulnificus bacterial infection after eating raw oysters at a Florida restaurant, health officials say. >> Texas woman dies after contracting flesh-eating disease from raw oysters The 71-year-old man reportedly died two days after eating the raw oysters in a Sarasota restaurant. Health officials have not said which restaurant. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Restaurants are swapping out seafood — and it could make you sick  'We have an individual that consumed some raw oysters and to the best of our knowledge had no exposure to salt water, became severely ill and passed away,' said Michael Drennon, disease intervention services program manager at the Sarasota County Health Department. Vibrio vulnificus bacteria is found in salt water and raw or undercooked shell fish. Health officials warn against eating raw or undercooked shell fish or getting into salt water with open wounds.  The Florida Department of Health's website says symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or fever. >> Read more trending news  The health department's website also reports 16 confirmed cases of Vibro vulnificus this year, three of them fatal.  According to WTVT, the health department is working with the restaurant to gather information during their investigation into this death.  Read more here.
  • The list of health benefits of drinking coffee continues to grow longer. >> On AJC.com: It's official: Coffee is good for you, according to new research A new study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. To understand whether heavy coffee consumption is linked to an increased risk of mortality, researchers from Maryland and Illinois assessed demographic, lifestyle and genetic data on 9.2 million individuals from across the United Kingdom, part of the population-based study known as the UK Biobank. >> On AJC.com: What is Death Wish Coffee? ‘World’s strongest coffee’ soaring into space Of the 502,641 participants who consented with baseline data, 498,134 (aged 38-73) with complete data on coffee intake and smoking status (and those who weren’t pregnant) were included in the study. Over 10 years of follow up between 2006-2016, researchers found the risk of death from any cause declined as participant coffee consumption increased. >> Read more trending news  In fact, those drinking two to three cups per day, decaffeinated or not, had a 12 percent lower risk of death compared to non-drinkers, National Cancer Institute research fellow Erikka Loftfield told NPR. Folks drinking eight or more cups had a 14 percent lower risk of death. >> On AJC.com: 8 things you never knew about coffee  These associations were similar for both ground and instant coffee as well and there was no significant difference in risk for people with genetic variants for slower or faster caffeine metabolism. Researchers noted that coffee beans — not caffeine — may be behind this longevity boost. 'My guess is that they're working together to have some of these benefits,' Harvard researcher Walter Willett, who authored a similar study that found a link between coffee consumption and lower risk of early death, told NPR in 2015. “The coffee bean itself is loaded with many different nutrients and phyto-chemicals,” many of which aid in insulin resistance and inflammation reduction. >> On AJC.com: This is how much coffee can keep your heart healthy, study says But that doesn’t mean we should all start drinking more coffee. “At this point, the study provides reassurance to coffee drinkers, not guidance,” Loftfield told the New York Times. “The results don’t indicate that people should begin drinking coffee for its health benefits.” >> Read the full study at jamanetwork.com
  • Drugmaker Allergan has issued a recall for a popular birth control pill over a packaging error that could lead to unintended pregnancy. According to a news release Tuesday, Allergan is recalling one lot of Taytulla birth control pills because capsules were placed in the wrong order. The recalled products are from lot No. 5620706 and have a May 2019 expiration date. 'Allergan recently identified, through a physician report, that four placebo capsules were placed out of order in a sample pack of Taytulla,' the release said. 'Specifically, the first four days of therapy had four non-hormonal placebo capsules instead of active capsules.' >> Read more trending news  When correctly packaged, the four placebo pills appear after the 24 active pills. 'As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive capsules that are taken out of sequence may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy,' the release said. 'The reversing of the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the capsules out of order.' If you have a package of the recalled pills, which were distributed to health care providers, you should your their doctor and return the item, the news release said. If you have questions, please contact your doctor or call Allergan at 1-800-678-1605 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Read more here.
  • If you suffer from chronic migraines, relief is here. According to The Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration last week approved Aimovig, a monthly shot that aims to reduce migraines. The drug, developed by Amgen Inc. and Novartis AG, is 'injected monthly just under the skin using a pen-like device,' the AP reported. Its price tag: $6,900 annually before insurance. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: New drug could reduce migraines But how does Aimovig work? The FDA said it blocks 'the activity of calcitonin gene-related peptide, a molecule that is involved in migraine attacks.' Amgen researchers said participants in one study saw their migraines reduced by half and experienced 'minor side effects' like colds, the AP reported. >> Read more trending news  If Aimovig doesn't sound right for you, you're still in luck: Three similar shots and various pills to combat migraines are in the works. Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A groundbreaking study is being done at Boston Children's Hospital that researchers say could potentially predict whether a child as young as 3 months old is at-risk for developing autism. >> Watch the news report here Right now, most children can't receive a reliable diagnosis until they are at least 1 year old.  Chase Minicucci and his mother, Hillary Steele Minicucci, regularly go to Boston Children’s to track his development. Chase seems to be a typically developing toddler, and he’s learning to point and use words to express his needs. >> Could blood and urine test be used to diagnose autism? However, Chase has been identified as at risk because his older brother, who is 7, has autism. “We did the testing, and one day after his 4th birthday … the doctor said, ‘so your son has autism,’” said Hillary Steele Minicucci.  Hillary and her husband also have a 6-year-old daughter who does not have autism, but autism is more prevalent in boys.  Research shows one in five children whose siblings have autism will also be on the spectrum. Hillary spent the first year of Chase's life watching his behavior closely and worrying. “I was literally making myself crazy over it,” she said.  Hillary was able to find a spot for Chase in a study at Boston Children's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, involving 99 siblings of children with autism. Infants as young as 3 months old and toddlers up to 36 months old spend only a few minutes wearing a cap with more than 100 sensors. While wearing it, they watch a T.V. showing cartoons, which is also an eye tracker. Boston Children's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab Director Dr. Charles Nelson said by studying their EEG signals, the electrical activity in the brain, they can predict which infants are likely to develop autism. “What we've seen is at 3 months of age, we've seen patterns of brain activity that basically predict who, three years later, will develop autism,” said Nelson.  >> Read more trending news  One of the big unknowns is when does autism develop, and Nelson said the study is shining light on whether it happens before or after birth.  “It's very unlikely that brain development was perfectly normal until birth and then something happened. The fact that we see it so early, just at 3 months, makes me think that it started before birth. But what derailed brain development, we don't know,” he said.  Dr. Nelson stressed the medical community is not at the point yet where a 3-month-old could receive a diagnosis, but the child could be flagged. The next step is developing early intervention strategies for that age group. As for Chase, his mother said that right now, he doesn't seem to be exhibiting some of the warning signs, which has given her some much-needed reassurance. “I can start to enjoy my baby now,” she said.  The study is ongoing and open to three groups of children:  Babies with older siblings with ASD Babies with no family history of autism who failed an autism screening Typically developing babies Because the EEG caps are relatively inexpensive, Nelson hopes someday soon every local pediatrician's office could have one and all infants could be identified within a critical window of time.
  • Over the past five years, diagnoses of major depression in the United States have risen by at least 33 percent. >> On AJC.com: People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves That’s according to a new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, for which analysts assessed the BCBS Health Index built from billions of claims for more than 41 million commercially insured Americans annually. >> Read more trending news  The index, which quantifies how more than 200 diseases and conditions affect quality of life, showed that major depression is the second most significant condition on overall health in America. The first is hypertension, or high blood pressure. According to the report, those diagnosed with major depression are nearly 30 percent less healthy on average than those without the condition. Such a decrease in overall health may mean a loss of nearly 10 years of healthy life for both men and women. >> On AJC.com: Why are Americans so lonely? Massive study finds nearly half of US feels alone, young adults most of all More than 9 million commercially insured Americans in the index are affected by major depression. The rate of diagnosis in the country is 4.4 percent. But while diagnoses are up 33 percent since 2013 overall, the rate is even higher among teens and young adults − 47 percent. For teen girls, specifically, the rate has risen by 65 percent. 'The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come,' Trent Haywood, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSA, said in a statement. 'Further education and research is needed to identify methods for both physicians and patients to effectively treat major depression and begin a path to recovery and better overall health.'  Analysts also found that overall, women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with major depression (6 percent compared to 2.8 percent, respectively). >> On AJC.com: Depressed? Reduce your symptoms with this type of exercise Geographically, 49 of the 50 states saw rising diagnosis rates between 2013 and 2016. Hawaii was the only state that experienced a slight decline (a rate of less than 2 percent). Communities in New England, the Pacific Northwest and areas throughout the South and Midwest had higher rates of major depression compared to the rest of the country. Rhode Island had the highest diagnosis rate with 6 percent. However, the authors noted that differences in efforts to screen for major depression can result in varying diagnoses rates across states. “While major depression is the second most impactful health condition for the nation, it is complicated by an increased likelihood of overlapping diagnoses of other chronic, behavioral health and pain-related conditions,” authors of the report wrote. In fact, of the 9 million Americans diagnosed with major depression in 2016, only 15 percent were diagnosed with depression alone. Eighty-five percent, according to the analysis, were diagnosed with an additional health condition. >> On AJC.com: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression In addition to a lower quality of life, those diagnosed with major depression are more likely to use more healthcare services, resulting in more than twice the spending. It’s important to note that the report’s findings, based on people with BCBS commercial health insurance, are likely an underestimate. Most Americans are covered by a commercial health plan, but many who report symptoms of depression say they have not been diagnosed or received treatment for the condition. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide. >> On AJC.com: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame?  Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year; that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. And, according to recent data released from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high. Read the full Blue Cross Blue Shield report at bcbs.com.
  • Look away, allergy sufferers: This viral video from New Jersey might bring you to tears. On Monday, Facebook user Jennifer Henderson shared a clip of a backhoe tapping a tree in Millville – and the enormous pollen cloud that followed. >> See the video here >> Read more trending news  'When my husband said the pollen's bad, I probably should've taken his word for it. Crazy!' Henderson wrote.  As of Wednesday morning, the post had been viewed nearly 3 million times with 93,000 shares.
  • More people have fallen ill after eating lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 14 more people have gotten sick bringing the total to nearly 100 (98) people in 22 states. The additional states reporting cases are Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin.    The bacteria strain behind the outbreak tends to cause more serious illnesses. More than half of the people who've gotten sick have ended up in the hospital, including 10 with a type of kidney failure.  There has been one case here in Georgia. The Georgia Department of health says a teenager was hospitalized with E.coli after eating romaine lettuce. The teen was not identified in the news release and has been released from the hospital.  This is the worst E.coli food related outbreak since 2006 when nearly two hundred people were sickened and three people died after eating spinach grown in California . The outbreak occurred in September 2006 and its probable origin was an Angus cattle ranch that had leased land to spinach grower.    The CDC urges consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce unless they know it is not from the Yuma area. That includes all kinds of lettuce, whether chopped, whole head or in a salad mix.
  • Grieving the death of a loved one can affect an entire family, including babies. In fact, losing a relative during pregnancy may affect the mental health of a child later in life, according to a new report. >> On AJC.com: Smoking while pregnant study: 1 in 14 women still smoke while pregnant Researchers from Stanford University recently conducted a study, published in the American Economic Review, to determine the effect a family member’s death may have on children. To do so, they examined Swedish infants born between 1973 and 2011 whose mother lost a close relative, such as a sibling, parent, maternal grandparent, the child’s father or her own older child, during her pregnancy. >> Breast cancer patients may help boost survival chances by building muscle, study says They followed those children through adulthood, comparing their health outcomes to kids whose maternal relatives died in the year after their birth. They gathered the data from their medical records and Sweden’s novel prescription drug registry, which contains all prescription drug purchases. Lastly, they considered the impact the death may have had on the fetus, including fetal exposure to maternal stress from bereavement and even changes to family resources or household composition. >> On AJC.com: Is light drinking while pregnant really dangerous? After analyzing their results, they found that “that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood,” the researchers wrote in a statement. Furthermore, they discovered the death of a relative up to three generations apart during pregnancy can also create consequences.  “Our study offers complementary evidence linking early-life circumstance to adult mental health, but breaks new ground by focusing on stress,” the authors wrote, “which may be more pertinent than malnutrition in modern developed countries such as the United States and Sweden, and by tracing health outcomes throughout the time period between the fetal shock and adulthood.” >> Read more trending news  To combat the issue, the researchers recommend that governments implement policies to help reduce stress during pregnancy. They believe such policies should especially target poor families as they are more likely to experience stress than more advantaged ones.  Although their findings are concerning, they hope they can better help expecting mothers have healthier pregnancies and birth healthier children.  “Of course, you cannot prevent family members from dying, and we certainly do not want our findings to constitute yet another source of stress for expecting mothers,” the scientists said. “But our findings potentially point to the importance of generally reducing stress during pregnancy, for example through prenatal paid maternity leave and programs that provide resources and social support to poor, pregnant women.” >> On AJC.com: Why pregnant women should be careful around cats