• Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- A second Canadian city is moving towards creating safe spaces for users of opioids, often heroin and fentanyl, to inject drugs while having access to healthcare.
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  • Michael Nedelman, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Even though patient Garrett Lambert is in an “isolation” room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, meaning visitors must don masks and gowns to enter, music therapist Holly Mentzer’s harp makes the enclosed room feel like a serene, welcoming space as she and Lambert harmonize.Lambert says “Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” written by Warren Zevon, is one of his favorite melodies to sing and strum in the hospital.“Don’t let us get sick, don’t let us get old / Don’t let us get stupid alright. Just make us be brave, make us play nice / Let us be together tonight.”For almost 25 years, Lambert has been a part of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) -- a group of about 260 singers of various ages, backgrounds and experiences who perform widely and “champion love, equality and acceptance,” according to its website. Recently, the members of NYCGMC raised their voices in honor of the victims of the tragic shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.Ever since Lambert became hospitalized, he has continued to rely deeply on music for strength and support. The music therapists with MSK’s Integrative Medicine Service offer individualized and group sessions -- as well as art and movement therapy -- which aim to ease pain, nourish social connections, and bring peace and familiarity to patients in the hospital.“There have been times when Holly knocks on the door and asks if I’m up for a session and I sort of feel like I’m not, like I don’t feel well,” Lambert said. “But I usually say yes, and I’m always glad I did in the end, because I’m definitely lifted up by it. I’m taken to another place.”Music and MedicineMSK is not the only hospital offering music therapy. Music has been used therapeutically with special needs children since the 1940s in the U.S., but in recent years it has "expanded to treat the medically ill, including neonatal care, hospitalized children and adults and palliative care and hospice," according to Barbara Hesser, director of the Music Therapy program at New York University.The field is not necessarily captured by a single description or intervention, but music therapists rely on “clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions” to accomplish “individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship,” according to the American Music Therapy Association’s (AMTA) website. These therapists must be accredited in through programs that include 1,200 hours of clinical training.Sometimes, music therapy involves playing a song at a rhythm that matches the human heartbeat to help lull a patient to sleep, or help regulate breathing to reduce pain.“There’s a notion in music called ‘entrainment,’” said MSK’s Lead Music Therapist Karen Popkin. “When we offer a regular pattern, we are able to kind of establish a river of sound, or a gentle babbling brook, something that the listener can travel with.”Sometimes, it’s about improving someone’s mood, or distracting them from the daily realities of being ill.“Being able to take something familiar like a piece of music and adapt it in the moment to what the conditions of the patient are in terms of their mood, their pain level, their need for sleep,” is what music therapy is about for Todd O’Connor. O’Connor is the Senior Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor at the Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.“It’s about how we tailor the music to hold the environment and support the patient in that moment,” he said.Communication and CollaborationFor other patients, the goal is to encourage communication or collaboration -- like encouraging children being treated for psychiatric disorders to play music together and express the
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  • iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical ContributorObesity rates are tipping the scales for one gender in the U.S.From 2005 to 2014, the rate has increased in American women while it's remained unchanged in men. Women with higher education levels also had significantly lower obesity rates compared to women with less education, according to a new study.The reasons for these trends were not assessed. The authors of the study point out that more research should be done regarding risk factors.As an OB/GYN with a new degree in nutrition, women's health is my specialty and I consider the rising obesity rates among them a true crisis.My advice: Commit to watching your weight just as you do your blood pressure and other vital signs. Focus on the trifecta of health -- good sleep, good food and an active lifestyle.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Whether you are jogging, walking, or just trying to look good in your kicks, running shoes can be expensive. According to marketing firm Statista, the average cost of running shoes increased 21 percent from 2007 to 2014. A trip to the sporting goods store can set you back $85, $110 or $260, but there are less expensive options. I shopped department stores, superstores and online shoe outlets to find four options under $50. The question: Can you comfortably run in shoes that cost less than $50?The shoes:$49 Skechers GOrun 4$44 Reebok Twistform Blaze$34 Champion C9 Legend$14 Athletech running shoes.I shipped three pairs of each to the Portland, Oregon, lab of biomechanist Dr. Martyn Shorten.Dr. Shorten has created a series of tests to evaluate running shoes for manufacturers and runners' guides. He first puts the shoes on a device that measures cushioning. Then he uses another machine to quantify flexibility. He cuts the shoes in half to inspect the internal construction, and finally uses a test runner in a motion capture suit to analyze how each pair affects gait and body movement.We decided to have Dr. Shorten analyze each pair and then I ran in the sneakers to evaluate how they feel for me personally. Before we get into each brand, here are the five things I learned from Dr. Shorten about buying inexpensive running shoes.1) The best investment you can make in your running is to have your gait analyzed. Go to a running store and have them look at how you run. Do you pronate? Do you run on your front foot? Mid-foot? Are you a heel/toe runner? Dr. Shorten says that once you know if you have any specific issues (pronation is the most common), you can buy shoes specific that address that need. But if you have a standard gait, he says any shoe that’s comfortable should work. What makes a shoe comfortable? Dr. Shorten breaks it down.“Make sure you have some wiggle room for your toes, run around it in, and don’t just walk around in it in the store," he explained. "It should feel really good, no chafing, no rubbing. It shouldn’t be like a weight on the end of your foot. If you can’t feel it, if you don’t notice it’s there, then it’s probably a good fit for you.”2) Running shoes don’t have a shelf life. Use them until they start to fall apart or they lose their cushioning/comfort.3) Buying last year’s model on sale is fine. Running shoes don’t expire based on how old they are, they only need to be replaced after prolonged use.4) If your child doesn’t have any noticeable gait issues, the same rules apply; if less expensive shoes are comfy, Dr. Shorten says they won’t be harmed wearing them.5) In his research, Dr. Shorten asked thousands of people who identify as runners how many miles a week they run. The median amount was 8 miles. If you want to buy top of the line engineered running shoes for those 8 miles, awesome, but don’t let cost be a barrier to entry. Many of the guides and write-ups of the high-end shoes are for people who log much more than 8 miles a week and have more technical needs from their shoes.Breakdown of the shoes:$49 Skechers GoRun This shoe scores highest on all of the quantitative tests for cushioning, stability and support. Dr. Shorten adds that the shoe “is quite light, flexible, it’s well cushioned.” Skechers has had some real success with its running shoes. A different shoe in the Skechers GOrun line made it into Runner’s World Best of 2016 guide. This $49 shoe felt great. It was incredibly light and had a ton of arch support.$44 Reebok TwistForm Blaze I love the look of these shoes and they are crazy comfortable for walking; they came in second to the Skechers in the cushioning tests. Dr. Shorten, however, pointed out some negatives.“I’m a little concerned that it has this very thick soft in-sole memory foam and not much other cushioning,” he s
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A new study indicates that butter, long vilified as being a fattening food and one of the causes of diabetes and heart disease, among other things, was only weakly associated with total mortality, not associated with heart disease, and slightly inversely associated with diabetes.The study was led by Tufts scientists including Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, and senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the school.The study analyzed the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality.Based on a systematic review and search of multiple online academic and medical databases, the researchers identified nine eligible research studies and combined them into a meta-analysis of relative risk.Butter consumption was standardized across all nine studies to 14 grams/day, or roughly one tablespoon. Overall, the average butter consumption across the nine studies ranged from roughly one-third of a serving per day to 3.2 servings per day. The study found mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes."Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall," said Pimpin, now a data analyst in public health modelling for the UK Health Forum. "This suggests that butter may be a 'middle-of-the-road' food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch but a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils.""Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized nor considered 'back' as a route to good health," said Mozaffarian.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Between the sizzling barbecues, flowing beers, and cacophony of fireworks exploding, it's not hard to understand why the July Fourth holiday can be a wild ride for emergency room doctors and nurses.With patients rushed in due to boating accidents, fireworks gone awry, and a litany of other injuries that you almost have to see to believe, the holiday has earned a reputation as the most dangerous holiday in the U.S.Fireworks cause more than 8,500 injuries every year, with more than 40 percent occurring in children under age 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The injuries skyrocket around this time of year -– CPSC estimates about 230 people per day go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries in the month around July Fourth.Dr. Jennifer Stankus, an emergency medicine physician at Madigan Army Medical Center, used to be an ER doc in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She remembers an episode where a man strolled into the emergency room through the ambulance door, walking in calmly with his bike. The emergency room at that hospital was always packed, and the doctors told the man he had to go back to the front door and sign in with everyone else -– but then the man said he had been shot."He said that he was riding his bike on the sidewalk, immediately across from the [emergency department] when he felt something strike him in the back, and he figured he was shot," Stankus said. "Well, we looked, and sure enough, he was."Apparently in Albuquerque, it is a tradition to shoot off real guns into the air, along with fireworks, as part of the celebratory noisemaking."Well, what goes up must come down," Stankus said. "And a stray bullet just happened to come down and hit this guy in the back, right across from the ED ... crazy."The man on the bike recovered just fine from his injuries, but if it wasn't clear from this story, Stankus firmly advises against firing real bullets into the sky to make festive fireworks noises, as the bullets do ultimately come back to Earth and can endanger innocent bystanders.Dr. Lorrie Metzler, who has practiced emergency medicine in both Louisiana and Mississippi, says she sees a lot of water sports injuries around July Fourth."There are so many bayous here, bordering the Gulf of Mexico," she said. "The population can be very fun-loving and sometimes throw care to the wind and get reckless with jet skis and boats and things like that."She has really seen it all –- from a man on a jet ski who hit a pier and became a human projectile, to motor blade injuries and boat collisions.She urges everyone to keep their wits about them this July 4 –- follow boating safety rules, never drink alcohol and drive a boat, and abide by safety lanes marked in different areas."Always wear life preservers, keep a safe distance from other boats, don't get caught up in the wake of very large ships," she said. "It's a real problem getting people to wear life vests -– they save lives," especially if someone gets knocked unconscious and falls into the water, she added.In terms of fireworks hazards, ER doctors have seen it all: Burns, lacerations, and eye injuries are extremely common, they say. Fireworks can also be deadly.Dr. Brad Uren, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan, says he understands that people putting on fireworks shows feel pressure to "act like they're a star" and impress crowds. But he says he has seen so many injuries from people trying to handle large, commercial-grade fireworks that he advises people to play it safe -- especially if a firework seems to be a dud."I understand the temptation is to creep up and take a look down that tube -– the show must go on," he said. "But there's not a backyard fireworks show that's worth your eye, your vision, or your life."Even with seemingly harmless sparklers, parents should use great caution and think twice before handing them to children –- they can
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