• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The term “wasping” may not sound familiar, but first responders are learning about the emerging trend.The concerning new drug practice is an abuse of the active components in insect killer, most commonly wasp killer spray, to achieve a high. Abused in combination with methamphetamines or used as a meth substitute, it has been reported by users to generate a “rush,” feelings of déjà vu and a hallucinatory sense of smell. Users either spray the liquid onto the methamphetamine or crystallize the liquid using hot metal sheets, allowing the finished product to be inhaled or injected.Extreme physical responses to wasping have been reported in some cases. But because this practice is relatively new, it remains to be seen how toxic or deadly it will be on a large scale.How can an insect killer get someone high? The active ingredient in pesticides is a class of molecules known as pyrethroids, which penetrate the insect’s nervous system. In insects, pyrethroids stun and then kill. In humans, they block normal nerve signaling, causing abnormal sensation and, in the worst cases, seizures or even paralysis.The substance also causes over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response, which can lead to excitability, heart racing and difficulty breathing.Pyrethroids are toxins that can be deadly, either through respiratory failure or paralysis. Other side effects that have been described are headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, facial flushing and swelling and burning and itching sensations.The concern over people preparing and intentionally inhaling the drug is also tied to its known warnings -- the drug is most dangerous when inhaled. Working with the insect killer can lead to severe illness in approximately 4 to 14 percent of cases. On rare occasion, it can lead to death, which has been reported to occur in people with pre-existing lung conditions such as asthma.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(STOCKHOLM) -- Weight-loss surgery can be life changing -- it can dramatically affect weight and overall health. But, until recently, little was known about how the surgery might change relationships. What researchers found might be surprising.Bariatric surgery is only recommended for people with severe or morbid obesity and it has been shown to lead to very substantial weight loss, which allows people to restart their lives.To understand what other effects the surgery might have had on their personal lives, researchers in this study looked at adults from Sweden in two major studies.The first study included nearly 2,000 adults, 71 percent of whom were women, who had bariatric surgery and compared them to a control group of obese people who did not have the surgery. The second study included nearly 30,000 adults, 76 percent of whom were women, who had gastric bypass surgery and compared them to 300,000 adults in the general population.For those who were single, having bariatric surgery was associated with an increased rate of marriage and new relationships. But for those who were already in a relationship, bariatric surgery was associated with an increased rate of divorce and separation.Those who lost the most weight were most likely to have a change in their love lives, according to the study.However, the research was limited in some ways, including the fact that the study looked at people in Sweden and the results might not apply to people in other places. Additionally, the authors were unable to tell who initiated the relationship changes, the person who lost the weight or their partners.But the study highlights the fact that changes in weight can affect more than just physical size. As a person's self-confidence and other lifestyle behaviors change with pronounced weight loss and improved health, other aspects of their personal lives can change, as well.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's no secret that most Americans don't gather 'round the table for a home-cooked meal the way we used to, and now a new survey proves it.
    Read more...
  • Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at Harvard Medical School have published a study that, they suggest, shows it might be possible to reverse one sign of aging in mice.The potential to reverse aging is a bold claim to make, one that conjures the fabled Fountain of Youth and inspires a significant amount of medical research today. The researchers in this study focused on something that happens in the circulatory system: the changes that take place in blood vessels.As we grow older we become less able to grow new blood vessels in our muscles. This reduces our ability to undergo endurance exercise and is associated with frailty (the weakness and fragility some elderly people suffer). Similar changes also occur in other mammals, such as mice.Scientists think changes to our blood vessels might underlie many of the health conditions associated with aging. They suggest that as these blood vessels reduce in number, sufficient amounts of blood are unable to reach vital organs, potentially giving rise to health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and dementia.The researchers in this study identified a gene in mice that is associated with the growth of new blood vessels. By manipulating the activity of the mice’s DNA, they were able to either block or increase the effects of this gene.They found that mice whose gene activity had been blocked were less likely to grow new blood vessels in their muscles compared to normal mice, the same finding that occurs as we become older.Previous research had shown that increasing this gene's activity could prolong mice’s lifespan. But a crucial point: This prior research was limited in its significance. It is not possible to edit the DNA of humans in the same way as is done for mice in a research setting.However, in this study, the researchers identified a chemical compound that could indirectly stimulate the gene. The chemical was given to a group of 18-month-old mice -- the approximate equivalent of a 70-year-old human -- in their drinking water for a period of two months.During this period, the researchers measured how far the mice could run on a treadmill before becoming exhausted. The drug increased the mice’s endurance by over 56 percent after two months and increased their muscle blood vessel growth to a level seen in younger mice.The chemical had no effect on younger sedentary mice, however, suggesting that its effect is unique to the process of aging, rather than boosting health generally.Reports have suggested that this might someday lead to a new drug for human use. One of the authors of the study, David Sinclair, commented that the research “sets the stage for therapies in humans to address the spectrum of diseases that arise from vascular aging.”However, this is still years off. Although mouse studies are commonly used to understand how our bodies work, there is no guarantee that the chemical will have a similar effect in humans. There is also no guarantee that this chemical would even be safe in humans. The time taken to develop a drug for clinical use after an animal study such as this one is typically over 10 years, so don’t expect a prescription from your doctor anytime soon.The research was published in the journal Cell.
    Read more...
  • University Hospitals(CLEVELAND) -- University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, said Monday that it miscalculated its initial estimates of eggs and embryos affected by a rare storage tank malfunction.In a letter to patients, University Hospitals CEO Tom Zenty said that the "catastrophic failure" that occurred between during the weekend of March 3 to March 4 affected more than twice the amount first estimated.He wrote in the letter, "We have determined that the total number of affected eggs and embryos for these patients is more than 4,000, not the estimate of 2,000 previously used.""We are heartbroken to tell you that it's unlikely any are viable," he added.The CEO also made a plea in a recorded statement posted on Tuesday that apologized for the lapse, saying, "We know we made mistakes.""We had a terrible situation at our fertility clinic where eggs and embryos were jeopardized by a temperature fluctuation in one of our cryostorage tanks," he said. "My thoughts and heart immediately went out to our patients. This was overwhelming news for them, women and men who counted on us."Coincidentally, ABC News was first to report that on the very same day University Hospitals suffered a storage tank failure, Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco experienced similar temperature fluctuations with its own inventory of egg and embryo assets.At the time, Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, told ABC News that in his 35 years of cryopreservation it is an "an unusual event" where two clinics and two liquid nitrogen storage tanks where the tissues are stored "failed."Both the Cleveland and San Francisco clinics have each been hit with separate class-action lawsuits, ABC News reported.“You put so much faith into the physicians and the medical team and, like I said, to have this taken away -- your hopes and dreams destroyed. It’s a tremendous loss,” Amber Ash, one woman who, along with her husband, Elliott, is suing University Hospitals Fertility Center, told ABC affiliate WEWS.Zenty explained in the letter that several issues led to the storage tank failure.He noted that the remote alarm system on the tank that is meant to keep tabs of any kind of "temperature swings" was off."We don't know when the remote alarm was turned off, but it remained off through that weekend, so an alert wasn't sent to our employee as the tank temperature began to rise on Saturday night, when the lab wasn't staffed," he wrote.Zenty admitted that it's unclear who turned the alert system off and that "we are still seeking those answers."Also, Zenty wrote in the letter that the failed tank "needed preventative maintenance" because the function that automatically adds liquid nitrogen to the tank to keep the specimens frozen had been experiencing difficulties for several weeks prior to the tank's failure.Employees were manually filling the tank because of the issues with the autofill function, but the levels of nitrogen that "were monitored and appeared to be appropriate on Friday and Saturday" likely were insufficient, Zenty said.The investigation is continuing, Zenty said.The clinic, Zenty said in the recorded statement, has been working with outside experts, as well as cooperating with the Ohio Department of Health and also the College of American Pathologists to "assess and investigate the situation."He wrote that he hopes these efforts will help regain the public's confidence in the clinic going forward."We know many families want and need the fertility services we provide," he said. "And we're committed to making the changes that will allow them to turn to us again with confidence."
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Elvis once said, “Rhythm is something you either have or don't have." But where does it come from?A new study suggests that Elvis and everyone with rhythm may have gotten it from their moms.The experience of singing to a baby is universal, across languages, cultures and time -- especially well-loved lullabies. Canadian researchers took a look at the relationship between mothers and babies during lullabies.“We know lullabies work with babies,” Lauren Cirelli, the primary author, said. But she wanted to know, “how our parents shape that experience.”In this cross sectional study, 30 mothers were asked to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to their children in two moods: “playful” and “soothing.”For the study, moms sang to their babies up to 10 times. Baby brain arousal was measured via devices placed on the skin that are similar to a polygraph and measure sweat gland activity.Cirelli explained that sweat is an indicator of mood because “when we are excited, levels increase” and “when we are calm, they decrease.”Increased stress leads to increased sweat gland activity and higher skin conductance levels. Calm states mean decreased sweat gland activity and decreased skin conductance.The authors also monitored baby behavior during the singing.During soothing versions of the song, moms sang more slowly and at a lower pitch, the researchers found. This was less arousing for both moms and babies and that decrease was “correlated," meaning that mom's and baby's response were synced.During playful versions, moms sang more quickly and with a higher pitch; arousal levels for both were stable. Both infant attention to mom and babies’ overall happiness ratings -- determined by facial expression, such as smiling -- increased.“Infant brains must be able to track auditory events to make sense of music,” the author said.She suggests that early exposure to music may help babies develop rhythm perception which may facilitate engagement in both social and emotional settings. Cirelli says, “music is a tool that we can use to bring people together, and this starts in infancy.”She suggested a playlist based on rhythmic qualities, saying that "lullabies may be used to soothe” and “play songs for entertainment and getting attention.”Lullabies“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”“You Are My Sunshine”“Rock-a-bye-baby”“Hush Little Baby”“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”Playful“Itsy Bitsy Spider”“The Wheels On the Bus”“If You’re Happy and You Know It”“Old MacDonald”“Zoom Zoom Zoom”The study is limited in some ways. The research was reported this week as part of a meeting presentation and hasn't been published at this time in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Additionally, this is a small study including only 30 pairs of moms and babies. The author plans to open a baby lab and continue researching this field.Dr. Joseph Cafone is a fourth-year internal medicine and pediatrics resident working in the ABC News Medical Unit.
    Read more...