• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK CITY) -- Chewing gum isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of weight loss. But with more than 70 percent of adults in the United States overweight or obese, you take good news where you can get it.Exercise and a balanced diet have been shown to be the most effective way to achieve a healthy weight. A small study from Japan, presented at a medical conference in Europe, showed that chewing gum while walking may actually help you burn more energy and potentially help with weight loss.Researchers studied 46 men and women (ages from 21 to 69) with a body mass index (BMI) between 22 and 30. All were habitual gum chewers, chewing gum more than once per week.The people studied were divided into two groups. Group 1 chewed two pieces of gum for 15 minutes while walking. Group 2 drank the same ingredients (minus the actual gum base) mixed in water -- to ensure that there wasn’t some special effect of the gum ingredients -- waited an hour, then walked their 15 minutes. Heart monitors measured heart rate, while a stride sensor measured walking speed; both numbers were used to calculate energy expenditure. Walking, of course, burns calories. But men over the age of 40 were found to burn almost two additional calories per minute when walking while chewing gum. Women in this study, younger and older, did not have significant changes in their energy expenditure.But don’t run to the store for packs of gum just yet. More research will need to be done with a larger group to evaluate whether gum chewing would actually make enough of a difference to shift the weight. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As pools and parks open and people flood the nation's beaches this Memorial Day weekend, many are cheering the unofficial start of summer. But doctors caution that with the start of summer, extra skin care is necessary.Skin cancer is on the rise and most skin aging is caused by the sun. A staggering one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70 and there are more skin cancer diagnoses than all other cancers combined, the Skin Cancer Foundation said. About 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.Today is "Don’t Fry Day," named to remind Americans about the dangers of too much sun exposure and how to prevent sunburns, skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage with everyday routines.Sunscreen. For a product to be called sunscreen, it must have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, but many dermatologists suggest using SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen should protect against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays; a whopping 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 86 percent of melanomas are associated with UV radiation, the Skin Cancer Foundation said.During outdoor activity, cover any exposed skin with the sunscreen 20 minutes before going out and reapply after two hours, or after swimming or sweating it off. Don't be fooled by cloudy days —- the rays of the sun get through even when it’s overcast.Regular daily use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by 50 percent and squamous cell carcinoma by 40 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It can also decrease the rate at which skin wrinkles and spots.Accessories. Hats and sunglasses are a must! Wide brimmed hats and large framed sunglasses are not only a fashion trend, but do wonders in protecting you from the sun, and cover areas of your body that sunscreen cannot: your scalp and your eyes. The sun is strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so find shade during those hours.Staying out of the sun The National Weather Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issue the UV Index every day, which is meant to help people decide how much to be in the sun. The number represents the strength of the sun's harmful rays; the higher the number, the stronger the rays are that day.Sun damage is irreversible, so finding shade in some way, either under an umbrella or a structure is helpful to avoid it.After a burn When the skin burns, it loses a lot of fluid. So it's important to drink a lot of water. When it comes to bathing and showering, skin that's overheated after a burn benefits from keeping the water cool. Hot water can make it worse and even cause painful blisters. Use nondrying and unscented soaps and do not spend too much time in the shower to prevent excess skin drying.Also wear loose clothing; a sunburn can cause the skin to become inflamed, so wearing tight clothing will not give it room to heal.Self-Monitoring. Anyone who notices a new growth on the skin, a spot that is different from another spot, a sore that isn’t healing, something that doesn’t look right, or anything that itches, bleeds or changes shape, should see a doctor. Those situations could be a first sign of something that needs further attention. Many skin cancers are first detected by people themselves.Most of this advice, including the use of sunscreen, applies to every day of the year. Avoid tanning beds, seek shade whenever possible, cover up with clothing. Also, see a doctor every year for a full and professional skin exam; they will look at moles and skin changes to nip potential skin cancer in the bud.Go out and enjoy, just don't fry.This article was written by Dr. Eric M. Ascher, DO, a third-year family medicine resident from New York working in the ABC News Medical Unit.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Metro Nashville Police(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- It happened again this week, a 1-year-old girl was accidentally left in a car seat in the back of her parents’ pickup truck in their Nashville, Tennessee, driveway. The young girl died later that day.It takes about an hour for a child left in a hot car to suffer from heat stroke.A new study tested different types of cars in the sun and in the shade to see just how quickly temperatures inside the vehicle can reach a level that's lethal for inside occupants. Researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine did their tests in Tempe, Arizona, using a 60-minute span as their basic measure, looking at what temperatures would do to a typical 2-year-old.“We are hoping that our study can invoke awareness, send a new message with a human health-centered focus, support technological adoption from car manufacturers and other device manufacturers, and advance new policies that give people legal immunity if they need to save children and pets trapped in hot vehicles," Jennifer Vanos, lead study author and assistant professor of climate and human health at University of California, San Diego, told ABC News. "Those types of actions can decrease risk."Over the last 20 years, about 750 children in the United States have become heatstroke victims after being left unattended in a car by a parent or a caregiver. Even more, 37 children die each year from pediatric vehicular hyperthermia (PVH) -- a process in which the body warms up to above 104 degrees and cannot cool down. More than half of those deaths are from children under 2 years old being left accidentally -- more than a fourth of the children were left “playing” in the car.Heatstroke and hyperthermia effects happen along a spectrum. Even below 104 degrees Fahrenheit, heatstroke can lead to brain and organ damage.This study, published in the science journal "Temperature" shows, on average 80 minutes in a sunny car is enough to kill a child. In a shaded vehicle, it takes a little under two hours for a 2-year-old’s body to reach a core temperature of greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit."Our study not only quantifies temperature differences inside vehicles parked in the shade and the sun, but it also makes clear that even parking a vehicle in the shade can be lethal to a small child, if left long enough in the car," said Nancy Selover, an Arizona State climatologist and research professor in ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.Six vehicles -- two silver mid-size sedans, two silver minivans and two silver economy cars -- were moved from the shade to sunlight multiple times, as they measured interior air and surface temperatures. For cars parked in the sun for an hour, the average surface temperature for the dashboards was 157 degrees Fahrenheit, the steering wheels were 127 degrees Fahrenheit and the seats were 123 degrees Fahrenheit.Vehicles parked in the shade were cooler, with average surface temperatures of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, steering wheels 107 degrees, and seats 106 degrees. The various vehicles warmed up at different rates, with the economy car warming up faster than the mid-size sedan and minivan."These tests replicated what might happen during a shopping trip," Selover said. "We wanted to know what the interior of each vehicle would be like after one hour, about the amount of time it would take to get groceries. I knew the temperatures would be hot, but I was surprised by the surface temperatures."The average estimated core temperature for a 2-year-old after 60 minutes in shaded vehicles was up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. In sun-exposed vehicles, it was up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, with higher final core temperatures in sun-exposed vehicles.Of course, in the real world, different children would reach hyperthermia earlier or later, based on the climate, and a child’s size, clothing, ethnicity, and age."I don’t think
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The crying echoes through your house – your teething baby is miserable, and all you are wishing for is some peace for the both of you.Here’s what a new FDA warning says a parent should NOT do.Don’t run to the nearest drug store and buy all of the products made for the relief of sore gums – these products could be a problem, according to the new warning.Many over the counter products designed for teething pain contain benzocaine, a chemical that may pose serious health risks for infants and children. The FDA says these products should no longer be used on children under 2.Benzocaine is associated with a dangerous health condition called methemoglobinemia, which causes the amount of oxygen carried through the blood to be greatly reduced. It can be fatal.FDA officials are requesting that these products no longer be marketed or sold – or, at the least, that companies add warnings with up to date drug safety information to all oral health products containing benzocaine.If companies do not comply, FDA officials warn that they could take regulatory action to remove these products from the market.Here’s what parents should do.Check your teething relief product labels to see if benzocaine is an active ingredient. If products with this chemical are on your shelves, toss them.If you use a teething remedy and your child becomes pale, or looks gray or blue in their lips and nail beds, has shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate, they need immediate medical attention.These new directives may have parents wondering - what are they supposed to do with a teething baby?The traditional recommendation of a gentle massage with your fingers on your child’s gums is the go-to treatment.This article was written by Eric M. Ascher, DO, a third-year family medicine resident from New York working in the ABC News Medical Unit.
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  • norberthedog/Instagram(NEW YORK) -- Nine years ago, Julie Steines was looking on Petfinder for her first dog and stumbled upon a little white ball of fluff that was just 4 months old."I never had a dog before and just saw him and said, 'Oh my gosh, that's him!'" Steines told Good Morning America.This adorable pup named Norbert would grow up to be a social media sensation. But the tiny, high-fiving therapy dog didn't get to where he is today overnight.The award-winning author said she knew it was meant to be and "he was just my buddy from the start and I took him everywhere. He was just used to being around lots of people."It was this level of comfort that made the little guy perfect as a therapy puppy. And that's where his fame began.Norbert started volunteering at a local retirement home, and Steines' brother said she should start a Facebook page."He slowly started to get a following, mostly just friends and family at first," she said. "Then I had this dream to publish a children's book with my mother. We thought Norbert's story of finding his purpose in life as a therapy dog would translate beautifully to a picture book. I was the author, and my mother was the illustrator. It did remarkable well."Norbert's social media grew from there, and the family added an Instagram page as well. With more than 1 million followers on Facebook and 600,000 on Instagram, Norbert has quite the fan base."Now he has four books, and we just made a plush toy," she said. "It wasn't this overnight success-type thing at all. It's been quite a journey, something I never anticipated."Norbert and Steines are about much more than social media; they are about making people smile. In addition to his travels to retirement homes and children's hospitals, Norbert made a special trip to see a very special boy.Steines said she got an email one day from someone in California."Their son had cancer, and they asked if Norbert could make him smile," she said. "I just had this feeling I was supposed to do more."She went ahead and asked her husband if they could fly to the boy's home and surprise him for Christmas."We went to their house, hung out for an hour and gave him high fives," she said. "It was one of the most memorable things Norbert and I have done. Sadly, the boy passed away, but we are still connected to the family on social media. They are just such wonderful people, and it breaks our hearts that anyone would have to go through something like that."While Norbert has a huge platform, the foundation for everything the duo does is "giving back," she said.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- If running is good for you, is running 100 miles better?ABC News' latest digital documentary, Ice Runner, focuses on Alicja Barahona, a 64-year-old resident of Greenburgh, Westchester, just outside Manhattan. She's been running ultramarathons for the past 20 years. This year, she tackled the Baikal Ice Marathon, a standard 26.2 miles across a nonstandard terrain: the frozen surface of the deepest lake in the world, Russia’s Lake Baikal in southeast Siberia.More than 2 million Americans participate in long-distance races -- marathons or more -- each year, and this number is on the rise. Why? Increased public awareness of health benefits of exercise, social media and maybe even the "Oprah effect." (Oprah Winfrey famously ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 1994.)In general, exercise is your body’s greatest ally. But along with millions tackling 2 miles around the track, a 5K or even a 26.2-mile marathon, some take running to an extreme with the ultramarathon.What is an ultramarathon?There are two types of ultramarathon events: those that cover a specific distance, and those that are time-driven -- that is, whoever covers the most distance in a certain amount of time takes home the laurel wreath. The most common distances are 31, 50, 62 and 100 miles, but there are even races that cover more than 1,000 miles.What are the effects of running long distances on the heart?It can be positive for the heart. With intense athletic training, there are some normal changes to the heart, depending on the type of exercise. Triathlon competitors have small increases in size to the heart chambers (ventricles) and small increases in thickness of the heart muscle. These changes are considered adaptive, meaning they are changes that allow the heart an increased ability to pump oxygen and blood to the exercising tissues.Is there a downside?Yes, occasionally. As several studies show, those who participate in endurance sports are at increased risk of atrial fibrillation (an irregular and rapid heart rate) and atrial flutter (abnormal heart rhythm) compared to those who do not participate in endurance sports. Doctors don’t yet know how to prevent this.“Much of the data points toward atrial fibrillation with long-term running -- it's unclear if it’s related to a single marathon,” said Dr. Matthew Martinez, associate chief of cardiology at Lehigh Valley Health.Dr. Micah Eimer, co-director of the sports cardiology program at Northwestern Medicine, advises runners to take it slow.“Patients who engage in low and moderate intensity exercise can decrease their risk of atrial fibrillation. However, patients who exercise at the extreme levels of exertion appear to have a significantly increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation,” Eimer said.Runners can feel it and sometimes notice it if they are wearing a heart rate sensor. “Usually they will return the device assuming that it is malfunctioning,” Eimer said. “After they get the same result on a new monitor, they come to the office, where we diagnose them with atrial fibrillation.”If running is good for us, more running is better, right? Or is 100 miles too much?Doctors say it’s a matter of running “dosage.”“Low-level exercise will reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, and up to a point, the more you exercise, the lower your risk. But above a certain level -- which is about three times per week -- the benefit is attenuated,” Eimer said, pointing to research on very long-distance runners. “In one study, those patients had a risk level that was the same as patients who did not exercise at all. My recommendation to patients is that moderate exercise strikes the right balance between long-term risk and benefit."What about runners and sudden death?Running-related cardiac arrests are rare events, according to several studies. One study of 10.9 million half-marathon/marathon runner
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