<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Health News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usFri, 06 May 2016 16:47:33 -0400Fri, 06 May 2016 16:47:33 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[State Officials Urge Residents to Avoid Travel to Zika-Affected Areas]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 12:01:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/185*120/TLMD-ZIKA-PERU.jpg

Four Connecticut residents have contracted Zika virus while traveling in Zika-affected areas overseas and state officials are urging residents, particularly those who are pregnant or might become pregnant, not to travel to infected areas.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino, and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Director Dr. Ted Andreadis held a news conference on Friday to discuss preparedness.

Malloy said Zika is a "national emergency" and he criticized Republicans in Congress for not acting to authorize $2 billion in funds to fight Zika.

Should Congress authorize the funding, Andreadis has put in an application for some of that money, Malloy said. He said it could also go to local organizations for informational efforts and to step up efforts if needed.

In the absence of a vaccine for Zika virus, Andreadis said community involvement is necessary, including eliminating standing water from your property.

"We're not likely to see a vaccine for two years, and that's coming right from the NIH," he said. "So, in the absence of that, it really comes down to local community development to prevent yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes and we're strongly encouraging folks to clean up any artificial containers, get rid of standing water."

Andreadis said the lab in New Haven is conducting research and has Zika virus isolations from mosquitoes and humans from Mexico and Puerto Rico in a containment facility.

"We're doing some work with those viruses right now to see if our local mosquito populations are susceptible," he said. "There's no risk to the public."

Malloy said people who need to travel to affected areas should take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus. 

"If you're expecting to conceive a child, if that's your desire, this is the time to avoid possible infection," he said.

<![CDATA[Conversation on Child Mental Health]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 20:48:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/20150505+ReidEwing.jpg

Caring for children's mental health takes a team approach: Family members, health care professionals and educators.

When that happens, a young person's life can blossom.

That's the goal behind National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, culminating in a town-hall event Thursday hosted at George Washington University and streamed live across the country.

Parents can tune in to the conversation that started at 7 p.m. -- and use social media to ask their own questions of the panel. (Tweet questions with the hashtag #HeroesOfHope.)

The event, organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is called “Finding Help, Finding Hope.” It's aimed at families of young people who experience mental or substance use disorders.

The panel kicked off with a funny, honest reflection from Reid Ewing, the actor who plays Dylan on "Modern Family." He was recognized by the group for sharing his stories of battling body dismorphic disorder and other challenges.

"I didn't have many friends, and I didn't really have the ability to make friends," Ewing said. "When you are depressed it doesn't really work that way."

But, he said, support of family, therapy and medication helped him learn "how live as a happy person."

Others on the panel include youth, family leaders, educators, law enforcement officials and behavioral health professionals. Among them will be SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto, Center for Mental Health Services Director Paolo del Vecchio and National Council of Behavioral Health President and CEO Linda Rosenberg.

News4’s Aaron Gilchrist is moderating the event.

Meanwhile, communities around the nation are assembling watch parties and other events for Thursday night's event. Click here to find a watch party near you.

And don't worry if you miss the livestream -- the discussion will be available on demand, too.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[New Robot Surgeon Works on Its Own]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 21:50:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/160504-robot-surgery-mn-1506_64766b4b95b687114fdd1811d9967469.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

A new type of robot can perform tricky surgery as well as — and in some cases better than — human surgeons, NBC News reported. 

Researchers with Children’s National Medical Center in Washington said the new robot — called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR — could be operated with minimal human supervision. That means it frees up surgeons for work that requires more thought. 

The team, led by Dr. Peter Kim of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, compared the robot to some existing systems and to human surgeons. It was reported to be slow, but accurate, and managed to sew together two ends of a tiny pig intestine.

Photo Credit: Carla Schaffer / AAAS]]>
<![CDATA[Infected Mosquitoes Can't Transmit Zika Virus: Study]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:22:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Zika-GettyImages-506977656%281%29.jpg

Infecting mosquitoes with a strain of bacteria reduced their ability to transmit the Zika virus, according to Brazilian researchers, NBC News reported.

Mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria have been released in several countries including Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam to help control dengue — and new findings are showing success with Zika. This raises hopes that it might block transmission of the virus.

The new study, by researchers at Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and published in Cell Host & Microbe, takes advantage of the naturally occurring strain of Wolbachia, which live in insect cells and are found in 60 percent of common insects. The method involves inserting the bacteria into mosquito eggs, which pass the bacteria along to their offspring. 

After two weeks in the Zika study, mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia had fewer particles of the virus in their bodies and saliva - making them less able to infect humans with the virus. 

Researchers caution this strategy isn’t 100 percent effective and will not eliminate the virus. But it can be used as part of a control strategy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Errors No. 3 Cause of Death in US: Experts]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 18:16:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SurgicalInstruments-GettyImages-511163598.jpg

Two medical experts said Wednesday that medical mistakes — from surgical disasters to accidental drug overdoses — are the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S., NBC News reported.

Dr. Martin Makary and Michael Daniel from Johns Hopkins University said a count of all preventable deaths reveals that between 200,000 and 400,000 people a year die from these mistakes. 

Many health policy experts have been trying to call attention to the problem of medical errors for more than a decade. One problem is that mistakes are not usually put on death certificates. 

Cancer and heart disease are neck and neck as the top cause of death in the United States. In 2012, 24 percent of all deaths were from heart disease — 599,711 to be precise. And 582,623 deaths, or 23 percent, were from cancer.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Not Ready for Zika Virus: Experts ]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 22:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_71939457309-zika.png

Zika virus is going to start spreading in the United States and the country's not ready for it, experts said Tuesday.

It probably won't spread much — most areas in the U.S. don't have the right conditions for widespread transmission of the virus — but even a little is too much, the officials said, according to NBC News.

"We have nothing at the national level other than advice from the CDC and most states do not even coordinate their programs at the county level very well," said Scott Weaver, of the University of Texas Medical Branch, at a news conference at the end of a meeting of Zika experts in Atlanta.

Once mosquito season starts, the U.S. could have small, local outbreaks.

"Very likely we will," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a separate briefing at the Pan American Health Organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CRF Frozen Foods Recalls 358 Fruit, Veggie Products]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:07:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-518961258.jpg

CRF Frozen Foods said Monday it's expanding its voluntary recall of frozen organic and traditional fruits and vegetables after several people have become sick with listeria infections.

Eight people have been sickened by the strain of listeria since September 13, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday afternoon. Two of those people died, though listeria infection was not listed as the cause of death in either case. 

The initial recall issued on April 23 included 15 frozen vegetable items, but the expanded recall covers 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands, including Trader Joe's, Emerald Farms, Safeway Kitchens and Parade. 

It includes all frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods' Pasco, Washington, facility since May 1, 2014, the company said in a recall notice. 

The CDC said seven people from three states became ill and were hospitalized due to listeria and some of these illnesses have been linked to consuming CRF products, CRF said in the recall announcement. That information was later updated.

"CDC also informed us that, sadly, two of these individuals later died, but that listeria was not the cause of death in either person," the company said. 

The CDC said Tuesday that six cases originated in California, and the two people found to have listeria infections who died were in Maryland and Washington State.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

All CRF products affected by the recall have the best by dates or sell by dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018. The products include organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries. For a full list of affected products, click here. 

The products being recalled may have been purchased in all fifty states and the following Canadian Provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan. CRF had suspended operations at its Pasco facility on April 25, 2016, following the initial voluntary recall. The company also said all retailers who received the products have been contacted.

People who bought CRF products are advised to throw them away. They may also return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund. Consumers with questions may call the company's consumer hotline at 844-483-3866, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA['Biggest Loser' Study Shows How Your Body Fights Against Weight Loss]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 17:17:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DannyCahill-138373183.jpg

Your body doesn't want you to lose all that weight. 

A study that followed 14 of the 16 contestants from Season 8 of "The Biggest Loser" six years after the season ended has detailed just how the body fights against efforts to keep off the pounds. 

"The key point is that you can be on TV, you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can't get away from a basic biological reality," Michael Schwartz, an obesity and diabetes researcher, explained to The New York Times. "As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try and get you back."

The study, published by the medical research journal "Obesity," focused on resting metabolic rate (RMR), which slows with weight loss, and whether or not slowing of RMR persisted over long periods of time.

The study hypothesized that the degree of that metabolic adaptation would be correlated with weight gain. Virtually all of the contestants put significant weight back on in the last six years, but the troubling part for the researchers was that their RMR remained quite low, not returning to their pre-"Biggest Loser" levels.

Danny Cahill, who won Season 8, dropped from 430 pounds down to 191 pounds during the show. He is now back up to 295. But his metabolism now burns 800 fewer calories per day than would be typical for a man of his size, making it more difficult to maintain or reduce weight.

Dina Mercado had a similar experience. She was 248 pounds before "The Biggest Loser" and 173.5 pounds at the finale. She is now back up to 205, but is, like Cahill, burning calories at a reduced rate relative to her size. She should be able to metabolize an additional 437.9 per day.

The study concluded that "long term weight loss requires vigilant combat against persistent metabolic adaptation that acts to proportionally counter ongoing efforts to reduce body weight."

Photo Credit: NBC via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Birth Defects May Be 'Tip of the Iceberg': Experts]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 07:20:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg

The explosion of cases of birth defects caused by Zika virus may be the "tip of the iceberg," experts said Sunday.

Many cases have probably been missed because babies looked normal when they were born, NBC News reported. But hidden birth defects are almost certain to turn up as the babies grow.

"The microcephaly and other birth defects we have been seeing could be the tip of the iceberg," Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the CDC said at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore. Brazil has confirmed 2,844 cases of Zika in pregnant women.

But there is some good news coming out of the early observations of the yearlong epidemic in Brazil: Children are rarely infected with Zika.

Photo Credit: AP, file]]>
<![CDATA[A Look at How the Zika Virus Can Kill You]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 20:34:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/virus+zika+puerto+rico.jpg

The Zika virus is not usually thought of as a life-threatening virus, but it did kill a man in Puerto Rico. The man, in his 70s, is the first reported U.S. death from the virus, which is spreading across the Americas, according to NBC News. 

Zika can lead to complications like immune thrombocytopenic purpura, as in the case of the man in Puerto Rico. In cases like these, patients can suffer internal bleeding. 

The virus can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, severe birth defects and other dangerous nerve conditions in adults. 

There is no specific treatment for Zika infection, and there’s no known way to reverse damage done to a developing baby. A vaccine is in the works, but would be years away from the market.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Approves First Commercial Zika Virus Test]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:38:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ZikaBloodTest-GettyImages-508017592.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first commercial U.S. test Thursday to diagnose the Zika virus, NBC News reported.

Quest Diagnostics will use the same method that government labs use to look for Zika virus in a patient's blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing pregnant women with Zika symptoms, those who have traveled to areas where Zika is spreading while they are pregnant and women who have had sex with someone who has Zika.

Doctors can now order the test through Quest, which says it can get results in three to five days. Until now, patients who wanted the test had to go through their state or local health departments.  

A spokeswoman for Quest said most patients with a health plan may receive some coverage benefits. Uninsured patients can expect to pay $120 for the test, she said. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Birth Rates Drop Among Blacks, Hispanics: CDC]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:55:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TeenPregnancyGettyImages-459016410.jpg

Birth rates among black and Hispanic teenagers have fallen dramatically over the past decade, but they’re still more likely to have babies compared to their white peers, according to a new report, NBC News reports. 

The birth rate among teens aged 15 to 19 dropped 61 percent, from 61.8 to 24.2 births per 1,000, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

The national teen birth rate declined 41 percent between 2006 to 2014 — and dropped by 51 percent among Hispanics, 44 percent among blacks and 35 percent among whites. But the rate remained about twice as high for Hispanic or black teens, when compared to white teens. The CDC said high unemployment rates, parents who have less education and high poverty levels are the reasons for the gap.

The CDC says most teens do not use effective methods of birth control. Many other researchers have shown that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cheaper & Designer Sunglasses Give Full UV Protection]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:07:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sunglasses-GettyImages-106750577.jpg

Cheap sunglasses and expensive designer eyewear deliver the same amount of UV protection, according to an investigation conducted by the “Today” show.

University of California, Berkeley optometrist Dr. Dennis Fong examined an assortment of cheaper and expensive sunglasses. His sensor found that both sets delivered full UV protection. 

"Bottom line is, at any price point you can get 100 percent UV protection," Fong said. 

The takeaway: Your eyes will be fully protected no matter what the price tag on your sunglasses says. Just look for the sticker that says “100 percent UV protection” or “UV 400.”

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Zika Was in Haiti Before Brazil: Study ]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:45:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

A new study shows the Zika virus was circulating in Haiti in 2014, long before it became obvious that it was spreading in Brazil, NBC News reported. 

The team checked out three mysterious infections in Haiti caused by the Zika virus. Their study raises questions about when and how Zika arrived in the Americas.

"We know that the virus was present in Haiti in December of 2014," said Dr. Glenn Morris, a professor of medicine and the director of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute. "And, based on molecular studies, it may have been present in Haiti even before that date." 

Earlier this year, international experts used a "genetic clock" to show the Zika virus has changed. And it very closely matches a strain that circulated in French Polynesia in 2013. What's not clear is why it's now being seen to cause disease. Tests show it has mutated, but it's not yet clear if the mutations somehow make it more virulent.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[US Health Care Costs All Over the Map: Study]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:23:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-health-1200-01.jpg

Health care prices vary in different parts of the U.S., according to a new study that digs into the pattern of costs around the country, NBC News reported.

The report from the Health Care Cost Institute finds prices for the same procedures vary even within the same state. 

Some differences make sense: Prices in Alaska are high because medical costs there are 2.6 times the national average. But other differences are hard to explain — a knee surgery in New Jersey costs $24,000, while the same procedure in Oregon can cost $43,000.

Unlike others, this report looked at the price people paid with private health insurance. Most Americans — more than 60 percent — are covered by private health insurance, usually through their employer, while 32 percent have government health insurance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[More Kids Harmed by Ingesting Laundry Pods: Study]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 08:30:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-453144893.jpg

Despite warnings about the dangers laundry detergent pods pose to children, calls to poison control centers continue to rise, NBC's "Today" show reported, citing a new study published Monday.

The study in Pediatrics shows a 20 percent increase in reports of children younger than 6 putting the brightly colored packets into their mouths, with serious and sometimes even fatal consequences.

Researchers analyzed data from 62,254 calls made in 2013 and 2014 to U.S. poison control centers. Calls increased for all types of detergent exposure, but the greatest jump was in the number of incidents involving highly concentrated laundry pods, followed by dishwasher detergent packets.

Study coauthor Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and his colleagues strongly recommend that parents not use laundry detergent packets if there are young children at home.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Marijuana Users Protest CBD-Only Laws ]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 05:41:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MedicalMarijuana-AP_613601499642.jpg

Many people who would benefit from the legalization of medical marijuana are beginning to rise up to protest the new laws, NBC News reports. 

They say “CBD-only” laws allow residents with specified conditions to legally use products derived from marijuana that contain cannabidiol (CBD), with low traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces marijuana's "high." 

The law allows patients to orally ingest an oil derived from marijuana or hemp. But for patients who require whole-plant medical marijuana say they’re being forced to commit criminal acts to get relief for themselves or their loved ones. 

Seventeen Midwestern and Southern states started passing the laws two years ago. But some say they only help a small group of patients, and that the laws force residents to commit criminal acts to get relief for themselves or their loved ones.

"We're not lawbreakers and this shouldn't even be an issue," said Jennifer Conforti of Fayetteville, Georgia, who gives her 5-year-old autistic daughter, Abby, marijuana-derived oil with higher-than-allowed levels of THC to control dangerous biting episodes. "It should be a medicine that doctors go to when they need it."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Irregular Periods May Raise Ovarian Cancer Risk: Study]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 12:59:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ovarian+Cancer1.jpg

Women who had irregular periods in their 20s were more likely to develop ovarian cancer decades later, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

Researchers reported in the International Journal of Cancer that women who had irregular periods at age 26 had double the risk of ovarian cancer by age 70 and triple the risk by age 77.

But researchers point out that it doesn't mean that every woman who has irregular periods is doomed to develop ovarian cancer. Of the 15,000 who participated in the study, over the next 50 years, only 116 developed ovarian cancer.

What the findings can do is offer new avenues for research into what causes ovarian cancer, a highly deadly form of cancer because most women don't even know they have it until it's spread.

Photo Credit: Ohio State University / MediaSource]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers Use 3D Printer to Make Heart]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:59:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_heartvalve0419_1920x1080.jpg Researchers use a 3D printer to make an exact model of a patient's heart prior to a complicated surgery. KARE's Janel Klein reports.]]> <![CDATA[Doctors Hail 'Revolutionary' Stroke Treatment]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 19:26:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_strokes0419_1920x1080.jpg A new study finds more than 90 percent of patients who are able to undergo stent retrieval within two and a half hours of an acute ischemic stroke have minimal to no lasting disability.]]> <![CDATA[Theranos CEO 'Devastated' About Blood Test Issues]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:55:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_241410476392.jpg

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of blood-testing company Theranos, said she was "devastated" after an inspection found "critical violations" at her California lab, raising questions about an accuracy of the tests. 

The Silicon Valley company, valued at $9 billion, partners with Walgreens to provide quick, in-store blood tests at a fraction of regular prices. In November, a federal inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the company failed to hire and train qualified staff to work the testing machines, and let unlicensed workers review test results. 

"I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster," Holmes said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Monday.

Holmes said the lab stopped testing and that she is rebuilding the "entire laboratory from scratch," but a letter from regulators in March called her fixes insufficient and threatened to shut down the lab and ban Holmes from the business of blood testing for at least two years.

Holmes said she has hired a new lab director and an expert medical board to prevent any future violations. She is awaiting response from CMS.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Zika Virus Mutation May Explain Spread, Birth Defects: Study]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:39:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

Researchers hope genetic mutations they found in the Zika virus may explain why it seems to be causing birth defects, according to NBC News. 

The current virus strain comes from one that circulated in Asia, the team at University of California, Los Angeles, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College said, proving earlier findings the strain isn’t the same as the one first seen in Africa. 

"By tracing its genetic mutations, we aimed to understand how the virus is transmitted from person to person and how it causes different types of disease," one of the researchers said. 

The researchers said they believe the mutations could help the virus replicate more easily and invade new tissues in the body and even the immune system.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Parasites May Help Stomach & Bowel Diseases]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 21:31:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/160414-worm-story-mdl_c8f63d898d16fe763f375098bad69621.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Researchers believe they’ve figured out that worm-like parasites may help stomach and bowel diseases, NBC News reports.

"Our findings are among the first to link parasites and bacteria to the origin of inflammatory bowel diseases, supporting the hygiene hypothesis," said P'ng Loke, of New York University's Langone medical center, who helped lead the research.

Taking too many antibiotics can cause the germs living in the intestines to die back, and be replaced by bad actors. 

But the research showed people in less developed areas and who are loaded with germs and worms are far less likely to have allergies, asthma and unpleasant bowel diseases such as Crohn's.

Photo Credit: NYU Langone Medical Center]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Sees Same-Sex Zika Transmission]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 23:28:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509588626.jpg

A Dallas man who contracted Zika in Venezuela transferred it to a male sexual partner after returning home in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Thursday.

The case was identified by a local health care provider earlier this year and investigated by Dallas County Health and Human Services before being referred to the CDC.

"At this time, there had been one prior case report of sexual transmission of Zika virus. The present case report indicates Zika virus can be transmitted through anal sex, as well as vaginal sex," the CDC said in a statement Thursday.

Two days after the man returned to Dallas from a one-week trip abroad, he began to show symptoms consistent with Zika infection — subjective fever, pruritic rash on his upper body and face, and conjunctivitis lasting three days, the CDC said.

During the investigation into the infection, officials learned the man had unprotected anal sex one day before and one day after the onset of symptoms. Seven days after first showing symptoms, the man's partner began to show symptoms of Zika infection as well.

"On Day 7, patient B developed a subjective fever, myalgia, headache, lethargy, and malaise; a few days later, he developed a slightly pruritic rash on his torso and arms, small joint arthritis of his hands and feet, and conjunctivitis," the CDC said.

After a week, all of the symptoms had subsided.

The man who traveled to Venezuela said multiple people living in the area he visited were experiencing symptoms of Zika infections. The man's monogamous partner in Dallas had never traveled to Venezuela and has not traveled to any area with known cases of Zika.

Dallas County health officials sent specimen samples to the CDC for analysis, and it later confirmed the man who traveled to Venezuela had contracted both Zika and dengue, while his partner had only contracted Zika.

The department's director called the developments a game changer.

"Surveillance is going to be on two fronts - one in terms of individuals who travel...and get a mosquito bite and those who travel and engage in sexual activity," said Dallas County health director Zach Thompson.

Thompson said confirmation that Zika can be sexually transmitted should put pressure on federal lawmakers to approve emergency funding for accine research.

"We need a vaccine," Thompson said. "The funding that's being held up in congress is going to hold up whether or not you can do the research. Right now, unless congress kind of moves on giving President Obama what he asks for, there may be some delay in seeing Zika funding."

Further information about the patients is not yet known and is not expected to be released, citing privacy concerns.

Zika virus infection has been linked to increased risk for Guillain-Barré syndrome and adverse fetal outcomes, including congenital microcephaly.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[De Niro Defends Support for Anti-Vaccine Film]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:28:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Robert+De+Niro+on+Today+.png

Actor Robert De Niro defended Wednesday the controversial anti-vaccine documentary "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe" that he pulled from this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Speaking on NBC's "Today" show he noted that he is not anti-vaccine, "but I want safe vaccines."

"I think the movie is something that people should see," the Oscar winner said. "There's a lot of things that are not said. I, as a parent of a child who has autism, am concerned. And I want to know the truth."

"Vaxxed" was originally set to screen Sunday, April 24 at the 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival, but was pulled after other filmmakers threatened to leave the festival. 

Scientists have repeatedly debunked many of the assertions De Niro makes in the interview. Decades of study have also shown no link at all to vaccines and autism, leaving scientists increasingly impatient with the refusal to accept their findings, NBC News reported. 

Photo Credit: "Today"
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<![CDATA[Woman Diagnosed with Rare Form of Breast Cancer at 23]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:35:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/katie+poole+cancer.jpg

Just months ago, Katie Poole was celebrating life as a newlywed.

“We planned to go on our honeymoon which we were going to take in January,” she said. “We had to cancel it.”

 One little lump changed everything.

“We found the lump on a Friday night, and I found out it was cancer the next Thursday. So it was less than a week.”

With no family history of breast cancer, Katie was blindsided when she was diagnosed with stage 2a mucinous carcinoma.

“It typically occurs in two to three percent of breast cancers,” she explained, “and it usually occurs in 60 to 70-year-old women.”

The good news: It’s treatable. The confusing part: Katie’s just 23 years old.

“We certainly see a number of younger women with breast cancer, someone to be her age is quite rare,” said Dr. Wylie Hosmer of the Hartford Cancer Institute.

According to the CDC about eleven percent of new breast cancer cases are found in women under 45.

“Part of it probably has to do with better methods of detection, more intensive screening,” said Hosmer.

Katie wants to tell her story to help potentially save lives.

“I’m young, I didn’t do self exams,” she said. “It’s easy to do a self exam, just feel around every once in a while, once a month, make sure that everything feels normal and you don’t have to worry about anything.”

She’ll be one of several survivors at the Race In The Park 5K run and walk on May 7 in New Britain to benefit the CT Breast Health Initiative. The CBHI funds breast cancer research locally. To learn more or to register, click here.

Photo Credit: Ann Baldwin]]>
<![CDATA[Teens With Sleep Issues Take Dangerous Risks: CDC]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 21:26:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CDCLogo-AP_134942423520.jpg

High school students who get too little sleep — or too much — are also more likely to drive drunk or take other risks.

That's the finding of a government survey of more than 50,000 high school students.

Researchers said they don't know if sleep issues cause teens to take dangerous risks, or whether both are a reflection of depression or other problems.

Students who get only five or six hours a night were twice as likely to say they'd driven while drinking in the previous month, compared to kids who regularly got a full night's sleep. That was also true of kids who got 10 or more hours per night, compared to regular sleepers, researchers found.

The CDC released the study Thursday. 

Photo Credit: PR NEWSWIRE]]>
<![CDATA[Emerald Cashews Recalled Over Glass Shards]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:55:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Emerald_Recall.jpg

Emerald cashews are being recalled nationwide over concerns some packages could contain glass pieces, U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Snyder's-Lance, Inc., makers of Emerald brand nuts, is issuing a voluntary recall of a limited number of Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Roasted and Salted Cashew Halves & Pieces product.

The product is being recalled because of the possible presence of small pieces of glass that could potentially cause harm, according to the FDA. No injuries have been reported.

The affected products include:

  • Product: Emerald 100 Calorie Packs Roasted & Salted Cashew Halves & Pieces
  • Retail Carton UPC Code: 0 10300 33324 1
  • Retail Carton "Best Before" Dates: 12 DEC 16, 13 DEC 16, 18 DEC 16, 21 DEC 16
  • Inner Package UPC Code: 0 10300 33399 9
  • Inner Package Production Codes: 15346D346S, 15347D346S, 15352D346S, 15355D346S

The company issued a statement addressing the recall: "The quality and safety of our products are the top priority for our company. We apologize to our retail customers and consumers and sincerely regret an inconvenience created by this recall. We are working and cooperating fully with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on this voluntary recall." 

Customers are urged to contact consumer affairs for a full refund at 503-364-0399 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, or online.

Photo Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Snyder-Lance Inc.
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<![CDATA[Baby Deadline Test Lets Women Beat Biological Clocks]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 19:54:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/PregnancyTest-GettyImages-566438193%281%29.jpg

A test that has been a staple in fertility clinics is now being used to help women predict their fertility, NBC News reported.

The test, now being called the “baby deadline test,” is a simple blood analysis that measures the amount of Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in a woman’s bloodstream. The hormone is released by follicles in the ovaries, indicating the possible number of eggs a woman has left. A higher result means more eggs, while a lower result means fewer eggs.

Women are born with a finite amount of eggs, starting out with roughly one to two million in their ovaries. At puberty, the number drops down to about 300,000 — and by age 30, that number drops by 90 percent.

"There are some young, healthy women who are living their lives in shape and taking very good care of themselves who might not know that their reserve strength of their ovaries is lower than it should be." said Dr. Joshua Hurwitz with Reproductive Medical Associates of Connecticut. "It's a question of having the knowledge and awareness of keeping your options open."

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Virus Causes Brain Damage to Fetus: Study]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:20:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

The Zika virus can cause brain damage to a fetus, despite normal ultrasound results early in pregnancy, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

There were no telltale signs of birth defects when researchers conducted an ultrasound of a Zika-infected pregnant mother at 13, 16 and 17 weeks. But later ultrasounds revealed other brain abnormalities.

"While this is a single case, it poses troubling questions that could inform future research," said the study's co-senior author, Dr. Adre du Plessis, director of the Fetal Medicine Institute and chief of the Fetal and Transitional Medicine Division at Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C.

The study also revealed that Zika can cause invisible damage to a fetus that could show up later, and that it made its way into developing muscle, liver, lung and the spleen.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Zika Guidelines for Couples Before Pregnancy]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:17:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/PregnancyTest-GettyImages-566438193%281%29.jpg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning couples who have been exposed to the Zika virus they may need to wait up to six months before trying to conceive, NBC News reported.

According to the new guidelines, women with Zika should wait at least two months before trying to become pregnant. For men, the guidelines recommend no sex or condom use for at least six months. The waiting period for men is longer because it can take up to two months to detect the virus in semen.

Previous guidelines have focused on protecting women who were already pregnant.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus and has been linked to serious birth defects. The virus is spreading in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is expected to rise this summer.  

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>