• iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical ContributorAre you considering a hysterectomy? The surgery is the second most common amongst women. There is growing evidence that premenopausal removal of the ovaries is associated with worse long-term health outcomes. Yet, in a significant percentage of cases, ovaries were removed at the time of hysterectomy for no apparent reason.Here's my GYN advice:
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  • Desiree Navarro/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Actress Stephanie March, best known for playing an assistant district attorney on Law & Order: SVU, has opened up about a dangerous reaction she experienced after undergoing breast augmentation.March, 41, described the episode in a candid essay she wrote for Refinery29. The actress said she decided to have the surgery during a painful time in her life -- her split from her then-husband, chef Bobby Flay.“The other thing that was happening was that my marriage of nearly 10 years (and 14 together) was falling apart. And nothing, nothing was helping me cope,” March wrote. “I decided to try one last thing. And what I did next was exactly what you are not supposed to do when it comes to plastic surgery. I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life.”March wrote that just two months after the surgery she experienced complications and learned her right implant was infected and the seams of her scar on her right side had burst. Her surgeon removed the implant and sent her to an infectious disease doctor.“I a hole in my breast for six weeks while I blasted my body with antibiotics. I had the implant put back in. I had another infection and rupture on Christmas Eve. I had it taken out again. I had more cultures and tests and conversations with doctors than I care to recall,” March wrote.March said she came to the conclusion that her complication was not something anyone could have prevented but that, “I am allergic to implants. Plain and simple. My body did. Not. Want. Them. I kept trying to 'fix' my body, and it kept telling me to leave it alone.”The actress, whose divorce from Flay was finalized in July 2015, ultimately had her implants removed.“I have accepted this episode as a part of my larger story. And I refuse to be ashamed of it. I am taking back my body, my story, and myself in a bathing suit,” March wrote. “All that I had, all that I was, from the beginning, was all I needed to be. And now, I anticipate summer of 2016 with great joy.”March told ABC News in a statement she is “overwhelmed” and “very moved” by the “positive reaction” to her article.Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief women's health correspondent, said Thursday on  ABC's Good Morning America that even common plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation are "not without complications.""You need to know about these possible complications and they do differ based on the type of implant used, the approach used, the incision and generally the skill and the expertise of the surgeon, although these can happen with the best surgical technique,” Ashton said, adding that March noted in her Refinery29 article she did not blame her own surgeon.Ashton recommends that patients ask their doctor the following three questions before undergoing plastic surgery: Are you board-certified in plastic surgery? How many of these operations you do per year? What is your complication rate?"If you think that having cosmetic surgery is going to change your life, it’s not," Ashton added. "And there’s no such thing as minor surgery. You get a complication, it becomes major real fast."Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The deafening crack of thunder or the startling burst of M-80s is enough to turn some dogs into scaredy-cats.The New York Times reports that, according to some estimates, 40 percent of dogs experience noise anxiety. Animal shelters say that July 5 is the busiest day for taking in runaway dogs.Dr. Melissa Bain, an associate professor of clinical animal behavior at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine says that noise anxiety for dogs is very serious: “It’s a true panic disorder with a complete flight response.”The Food and Drug Administration approved a drug to combat canine noise aversion that became available this month. The drug is called Sileo and inhibits norepinephrine, a brain chemical associated with anxiety and fear response.Sileo is a flavorless gel that is squeezed between a dog’s cheek and gum using a syringe and absorbed in 30 minutes. It's a micro-amount of a drug already approved for minor vet procedures.Orion, a Finnish company, developed Sileo and tested it on several hundred afflicted dogs during two years of New Year’s fireworks. Three-fourths of the owners rated the dogs’ response as good to excellent. The drug lasts for several hours. A syringe costs about $30 and doses are designated by the weight of the dog. Side effects?  In some dogs, vomiting.“I’m not naïve enough to think this is the miracle cure,” said Dr. Emily Levine, a veterinary behaviorist in Fairfield, N.J. Yet she thinks it might be a worthy option.However, most vets say the ideal solution is catching the response early and gently desensitizing the dog with recordings of the offending noises, plus positive conditioning. Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The first big holiday weekend of the summer is almost here, meaning lots of us will be headed for the local swimming pool, lake or the beach for some fun.  The American Red Cross is offering these important swimming safety tips for kids and adults:
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Americans overwhelmingly support plans to spend nearly $2 billion to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, but don't feel the issue is urgent. One in three is worried about contracting the virus, one in four is taking steps to avoid exposure –- and most are confident that the federal government can respond effectively to an outbreak.Seventy-three percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll favor the spending level proposed by the Obama administration, but many fewer, 46 percent, say Congress should approve it immediately; an additional 24 percent think approval should be contingent on budget offsets to be agreed by the Obama administration and Republicans in Congress. Two in 10 surveyed in the poll, produced by Langer Research Associates, oppose the spending.See PDF with full results here.A third of Americans are worried that they or someone in their immediate family will contract Zika, which is spread primarily by mosquitoes and can cause serious illness and birth defects. This concern has some influence on funding preferences: Among those who were more worried, 51 percent want immediate funding approval vs. 40 percent among those who were not worried at all.Views on the Zika VirusThe level of concern about being infected with Zika is somewhat lower than it was for other epidemics tested in previous ABC/Post polls. Worries about Ebola, the H1N1 swine flu, bird flu and the SARS virus peaked at 43, 52, 41 and 38 percent, respectively.Concern might increase if more Americans become infected, as occurred with swine flu. At the same time, those experiences –- in which feared epidemics did not occur -– may contribute both to diminished worry and to confidence in the government’s response.As things stand, about one in four adults –- 27 percent -– report taking steps to try to limit their exposure to Zika (rising to 37 percent of those who are personally concerned about infection). Among those taking action, using bug spray is the top volunteered response to what they’re doing, mentioned by half. Just fewer than a quarter say they’re staying indoors or draining standing water, and slightly more than one in 10 are trying to avoid areas with mosquitoes or are making sure that clothing covers their skin.As percentages of the full population, these are small numbers –- from a high of 13 percent using bug spray to the single digits for all other mentions.The public’s wait-and-see approach is consistent with confidence in the federal government’s capacity to prevent an outbreak; similar to past infectious disease threats, two-thirds are at least somewhat confident of an effective response, though only two in 10 are highly confident. Just one in 10 are not at all confident in the federal’s government’s ability to contain the disease. Sensibly, those who are not confident in the government are substantially more likely to be taking their own steps to avoid infection.This relatively high confidence also relates to support for the administration’s spending plan –- 12 points higher among those who are confident in the government. This group also is 8 points more likely to support immediate approval of the funding request.GroupsConfidence in the government’s response varies predictably along political lines, but consistently reaches majorities across key demographic groups. It peaks at more than seven in 10 among those 18-29, college graduates, those in higher-income households, urban residents and Democrats. It’s somewhat lower among others, strong conservatives and rural residents in particular (52 and 56 percent confident, respectively).Consonant with the possible path of the disease, concern peaks at four in 10 among Gulf Coast state residents, compared with 36 percent of those in Atlantic coast states from South Carolina to New York and 29 percent of those living elsewhere. Gulf Coast residents also are
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Owen Suskind’s world came to a halt in 1993. The toddler stopped talking, showing affection and engaging in the world around him.His parents Ron and Cornelia Suskind took him to a doctor and heard a shattering diagnosis: regressive autism.“We just froze,” Ron Suskind told Nightline. “The doctor started to explain, ‘OK, this is going to change your life. He may never get his speech back. Many of the kids don’t.’”Ron Suskind, an award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter, said that around this time his son “started to vanish.”“He couldn’t look at you,” Ron said. “He walked around like someone with their eyes closed.”At age 4, Owen’s language became gibberish and his frustration grew, but he found comfort in animated movies. Then one day, there was a breakthrough. Ron said Owen had been watching “The Little Mermaid” and started saying what sounded like, “Jucervus, Jucervus.”“Cornelia thought he wanted more juice,” Ron Suskind said. “So she gives him the juice. He knocks the cup over."That's when Ron said they realized he was referring to the movie. "He rewinds it the second time. Then the third time, and Cornelia [says], ‘It’s not juice.’”Owen was fixated on a pivotal scene in the movie when Ursula the sea witch says to Ariel, “Just your voice.”“I grab Owen and say, ‘Just your voice!’ and he looks at me for the first time in a year and says, ‘Jucervus,’” Ron said. “Pandemonium broke out in the bedroom.’”The family discovered Owen had memorized every line from every Disney movie and eventually realized that by speaking dialogue in those characters’ voices, they could communicate with their son. Ron first started talking to his son with an Iago puppet, the parrot from the movie, “Aladdin.”The Suskinds spent the next several years immersing themselves in Owen’s world. Now 20 years later, Owen and his family are sharing their hard-won journey in a new documentary, “Life, Animated,” the same title of Ron Suskind’s 2014 book about their experience. "Life, Animated" is opening in theaters on Friday.“We were living a kind of double life,” Ron said. “I'm interviewing presidents, and at night, we're animated characters.”For Owen, watching those movies made him feel like he was in a better, safe place.“The world was so noisy coming at him, overwhelming him,” Ron added. “The movies were the one thing that didn’t change.”Dr. Rebecca Landa has spent 20 years working with children who have autism and said it’s important to pay close attention to what the child is trying to express. She said one of the things that can happen with these animated movies is that children will learn parts of the script.“They can't put together the words from scratch to express their idea," she said. "So they’re borrowing from the movie."Beyond the storylines, Owen, now 25 years old, said he feels a kinship with certain animated characters.“The sidekicks,” he said. “They're so fun-loving and entertaining and also help the heroes fulfill their destiny.”In fact, Owen compares people in his life to sidekicks from Disney movies. He said he sees his father as Merlin from “The Sword and the Stone” and his mother as Mrs. Potts from “The Beauty and the Beast.” The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.Owen is just one of many with autism who are drawn to animated stories. Colleen Sottilare said her 22-year-old son Jonathan finds great comfort in these movies, especially “Toy Story.”“His mood changes if it comes on, he’ll just stop and watch it, and calm down,” Sottilare said. “So I think it really has just a really calm
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