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Limiting TV ads for foods high in sugar, salt, fat may reduce child obesity

Limiting TV ads for sugary, salty and high-fat foods and drinks might help reduce childhood obesity, British researchers suggest.

They looked at advertising of these products between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. If all such ads were withdrawn during those hours, the number of obese kids in Britain between the ages of 5 and 17 would drop by 5% and the number of overweight kids would fall 4%, the study found.

That’s equivalent to 40,000 fewer kids in Britain who would be obese and 120,000 fewer who would be overweight, the researchers said.

The findings were published online this week in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Oliver Mytton, an academic clinical lecturer at the Center for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge, led the study.

“Measures which have the potential to reduce exposure to less-healthy food advertising on television could make a meaningful contribution to reducing childhood obesity,” the authors said in a journal news release.

But they also pointed out that they could not fully account for all factors that would affect the impact of the policy, if implemented.

They added: “Children now consume media from a range of sources, and increasingly from online and on-demand services, so in order to give all children the opportunity to grow up healthy it is important to ensure that this advertising doesn’t just move to the 9-10 pm slot and to online services.”

More information

For more on childhood obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Study: Less restrictive reproductive rights reduce birth complications risk by 7%

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are 7% less likely have low birth weight babies than those living in states with more stringent laws, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The risk was 8% lower for Black women living in less-restrictive states, the data showed.

“Our study provides evidence that reproductive rights policies play a critical role in advancing maternal and child health equity,” study co-author May Sudhinaraset, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion, states have had “substantial discretion” in creating policies governing whether Medicaid covers the costs of contraception or reproductive health care.

Some states have taken steps that effectively limit access to abortion services and other reproductive care, Sudhinaraset and her colleagues said.

Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than any other race group, experience more maternal health complications than White women and generally have lower quality maternity care, they said.

In addition, women of color are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes.

Compared to infants of normal weight, low-birth-weight babies face many potential health complications, including infections early in life and long-term problems, such as delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities.

Sudhinaraset and her colleagues analyzed birth record data for the nearly 4 million births that occurred in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016, comparing reproductive rights policies and adverse birth outcomes in each state.

They also evaluated if the associations were different for women of color and immigrants.

The findings indicate that expanding reproductive rights may reduce the risk of low-birth weight, particularly for U.S.-born Black women, the researchers said.

“Important policy levers can and should be implemented to improve women’s reproductive health overall, including increasing abortion access and mandatory sex education in schools,” Sudhinaraset said.

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Acupuncture before surgery may reduce pain, opioid use

A new pilot study concludes that using acupuncture before surgery can reduce a person’s need for opioids following surgery. The Detroit-based researchers believe that acupuncture is a low-cost, safe method that reduces pain and anxiety in some people.

In the United States, the opioid crisis claimed the lives of 47,000 people in 2018, and almost a third of those deaths involved prescription opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, two-thirds of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid. A 2018 report from Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that 10.3 million people in the U.S. aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin and the prescription drug fentanyl. Other prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine.

According to a 2017 paper, over 80% of people receive a prescription for opioids after low-risk surgery. Almost 87% of these prescriptions include oxycodone or hydrocodone, which are the most common culprits in drug overdose deaths.

Doctors often use these opioids in inpatient settings and prescribe them to people when they leave the hospital.

In 2020, researchers found that opioid-related overdoses are 28% higher than reported because of incomplete death records.

Veterans are twice as likely to die from an accidental overdose compared with the general U.S. population. One study showed that the number of veterans’ who died due to an opioid overdose increased by 65% from 2010 to 2016.

In light of this opioid epidemic, there is an urgent need to decrease opioid use before or during surgeries.

In a recent pilot study, a team of researchers evaluated the efficacy of two different acupuncture techniques before a group of veterans underwent surgeries: battlefield acupuncture and traditional acupuncture.

They presented their findings at the Anesthesiology 2020 annual meeting in Chicago, IL, on October 5.

The researchers conducted two experiments. In the first, they divided participants into two groups of 21 veterans due to undergo hip replacement surgery.

The first group received traditional acupuncture before their surgery, and the second group received sham acupuncture. Sham acupuncture, or placebo acupuncture, mimics acupuncture.

People in the control group needed an average of 56 of morphine milligram equivalent (MME) in the first 24 hours after surgery. MME is a method of calculating a patient’s cumulative intake of any opioid drugs over 24 hours.

In comparison, those who had traditional acupuncture received an average of only 20.4 MME. Almost two-hirds less than the control group.

The veterans who underwent traditional acupuncture also reported higher satisfaction with their pain management 24 hours post-surgery.

After rating their treatment satisfaction on a scale of 1–10, those who had acupuncture reported less pain. They also experienced 15% less anxiety than the control group, although this was not statistically significant.

In the second experiment, 28 veterans scheduled for general surgery procedures received battlefield acupuncture. In the control group, 36 participants received sham acupuncture.

Battlefield acupuncture involves putting needles on ear acupoints.

Does working from home increase or reduce your risk of imposter syndrome?

Frustrated Black businesswoman using laptop
A recent survey found 90% of women in the UK suffer from imposter syndrome. Photo: Getty

Thanks to the pandemic, working from home is now the norm. Instead of heading to work on cramped trains and crawling along in traffic, we’re commuting from our bedrooms to our kitchens.

For some people, working from home is a welcome change. For others, though, the transition to remote working has been a challenge. Our routines have been upended, it’s hard to switch off and the days seem to blur into one, long Zoom call.

It’s normal for this kind of sudden transformation to impact the way we feel about work. In particular, it may lead to feelings of inadequacy — otherwise known as imposter syndrome — as we grapple with this new way of life.

Imposter syndrome, the fear of being outed as a fraud at any minute despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise, is a common problem. Although your colleagues may consider you to be successful, you may live with a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

READ MORE: Why a ‘virtual commute’ isn’t such a bad idea for remote workers

One recent survey found 90% of women in the UK suffer from this, yet only 25% are actually aware of it. Last year, Totaljobs discovered that seven in 10 UK workers have experienced ‘imposter’ feelings that can sabotage our careers and harm our mental health.

However, a new survey of 2,000 people taken during the pandemic reveals something unusual. It suggests a 57% decrease in rates of “imposter feelings” among workers compared with 2019, meaning three in 10 UK workers say they are now experiencing imposter syndrome. It’s a significant drop, despite the stress and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. But why?

According to TotalJobs, who carried out the new survey, the general anxiety triggered by the pandemic may mean we have less time to worry about what other people think of our abilities.

WATCH: How to negotiate a pay rise

It’s also possible that the very real threat to our health and livelihoods has distracted us from feelings of imposter syndrome, or that working from home has given people more autonomy. While remote working poses certain challenges, particularly during a lockdown, people may feel more comfortable working in their own homes too.

“It’s fascinating to see how the COVID-19 pandemic is having such a marked impact across all aspects of our lives and even in how we see ourselves,” says Dr Terri Simpkin, a visiting fellow at the University of Nottingham.

“To see such a rapid decrease in the number of workers who say they’re experiencing imposter phenomenon should be cause for optimism. This is very likely linked to the nationwide shift towards remote working practices.”

READ MORE: Why being ‘too grateful’ at work can impact women’s careers

However, the survey also shows there are significant numbers of people in the UK who are experiencing imposter phenomenon and either precarious employment or no employment at all.

Seven in

Toilet Etiquette to Reduce Coronavirus Spread

With COVID-19, you want to place barriers between you and the coronavirus at every possible source. That includes masks, physical distance … and toilet lids? It’s clear that respiratory droplets containing COVID-19 particles can transmit through coughing, sneezing and even talking or singing. It’s possible that gastric secretions – from stool or diarrhea – containing active virus can spread COVID-19, as well.

(Getty Images)

Fecal-oral spread means coronavirus-infected stool or diarrhea coming into contact with a person’s mouth. It’s being evaluated as a potential risk by researchers. Toilet plumes containing aerosolized coronavirus, released by flushing and lingering in the air or possibly landing on surfaces, may pose another concern.

Coronavirus-Toilet Connections

Scientists are currently investigating these areas for their potential to spread COVID-19 from virus in stool:

  • Gastrointestinal shedding or release of active coronavirus through feces.
  • Fecal-oral transmission through inadequate hand-washing.
  • Aerosolized virus released into the air by toilet plumes.
  • Exposure risk from infected stool in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
  • Ventilation systems that might spread aerosolized virus in hospitals, high-rises and building complexes.
  • Air hand-dryers propelling virus in public restrooms.

Here’s what experts are learning about coronavirus risk from infected stool.

It’s possible that COVID-19 could also spread by fecal-oral contact or toilet plumes. “We in the GI community have been expressing concern about this for months, since the beginning of the pandemic, but didn’t have objective evidence yet that infectious virus could pass in stool,” says Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “But now we do have a few lines of evidence that are concerning.”

Active or “live” coronavirus has been identified in stool of patients with severe COVID-19. Diarrhea is a gastric symptom of COVID-19. Among new concerns is a report from China, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in which investigators recovered evidence of live virus in stool. “Not just genetic material, but infectious virus,” says Spiegel, who is also the co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology and a professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Fecal-oral transmission is known to spread viral infections like hepatitis A. “COVID is a new illness from a new virus,” says Dr. Carmen McDermott, an internal medicine physician, hospitalist and a faculty member in the residency program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. She is also a clinical instructor at University of Washington School of Medicine and co-author of a recent evidence review on potential hospital exposure. “But, extrapolating from other experience with closely related viruses, it was worth exploring the question and we proposed that it needed further research to clarify whether it was a concern.”

Flushing the toilet can release a plume of virus-containing aerosols. “If infectious virus can come out of the stool, how can that spread to another person?” Spiegel asks. “One worry is fecal-oral, where, let’s say, a restaurant worker didn’t clean his or her hands and passes it into the food.” However, he says, “It’s

Early school sports reduce ADHD symptoms for girls in later years

Girls who played after-school sports in elementary school seem to have fewer symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder once they reach middle school, a new study suggests.

The research included both boys and girls, but the effect of sports on attention and behavior symptoms was only significant in girls.

“Girls, in particular, benefit from participation in sport when it comes to ADHD symptoms,” said lead author Linda Pagani. She’s a professor at the University of Montreal School of Psychoeducation in Quebec, Canada.

ADHD is a condition that includes ongoing patterns of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity — issues that interfere with a person’s functioning or development, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

ADHD signs and symptoms include: Making careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work or during other activities; having difficulty paying attention in tasks like a lecture or lengthy reading assignment or during play; seeming not to listen when spoken to directly; interrupting others; fidgeting; leaving one’s seat when staying seated is expected; running around in inappropriate situations or feeling restless, in teens and adults.

The current study included nearly 1,500 children born in Quebec in 1997 and 1998. The group included 758 girls and 733 boys with complete data from age 6.

Parents were asked if kids participated in an extra-curricular physical activity with a coach or instructor between the ages of 6 and 10.

When kids were 12, teachers were asked to compare their ADHD symptoms and behaviors to their peers’. Teachers only looked for symptoms suggestive of ADHD, not a formal diagnosis, Pagani said.

Girls who consistently participated in organized sports were less likely to have ADHD symptoms than girls who didn’t, the study found. The researchers didn’t find a similar link for boys.

Pagani said organized sports likely help reduce ADHD symptoms in several ways: During an organized physical activity, kids have to listen and focus on what their coach is saying. It’s different from an unstructured after-school program where kids can do whatever they want.

Sports also help inhibit distraction and promote planning behavior, Pagani explained. Plus, sports get kids away from their screens and switching from one app to the next, and give them a chance to shake off some energy.

So, why wouldn’t sports make a difference for boys, too?

They probably do, Pagani said, but the upside wasn’t strong enough to be statistically significant.

“Boys are over-identified when it comes to any kind of ADHD symptoms,” she said. “For every three boys with ADHD, only one girl will get identified. Girls may not be getting pharmacology [medications] and psychotherapy that boys often do. In this particular domain, because girls are under-identified and under-treated, they tend to benefit a lot from sports.”

All kids — both girls and boys — can benefit from taking part in organized sports, Pagani said.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., reviewed the findings.

“Although the researchers found an association in girls between organized sports

Bill Gates Says Antibody Drugs Could Sharply Reduce Covid-19 Death Rate

Antibody drugs that are in testing and were administered to President Trump could significantly reduce the death rate from Covid-19 once they are approved by regulators and more widely available, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday.

The drugs, in a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies, have shown promise in early-stage patients with Covid-19. “That’s actually pretty exciting,” Mr. Gates told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “The reduction in death rate there could be pretty high, and those will be out in volume by the end of the year, at least in the rich countries.”

The drugs, developed by

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.,

Eli Lilly

and others, are designed in laboratories to mimic antibodies that the immune system produces to fight off viruses and other pathogens. They are injected intravenously and have the potential to work soon after a person is infected and only mildly ill. Scientists believe they also hold promise as a preventive tool, blocking infection temporarily.

President Trump received Regeneron’s antibody drug cocktail late last week under a compassionate use program.

Mr. Gates also expressed optimism about vaccines in development. An effective vaccine could help return life to “pretty close to normal” by late next year in the developed world, he said. Eliminating or stopping virus transmission completely would take two to three years, he said.

Progress on both drugs and vaccines will take longer in the developing world, he said, emphasizing a divide that his foundation and other global players are seeking to close.

Some public health experts are concerned that misinformation, along with any rush by governments to approve vaccines before testing is complete, will make people hesitant to receive one. If only a small percentage of populations are vaccinated, the new coronavirus will continue to spread.

Covid-19 has put a spotlight on how misinformation on social media can be harmful. Bill Gates discusses why and how to best control it, at the WSJ CEO Council Summit. Photo: Qin Lang/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Mr. Gates said U.S. political and business leaders should speak out and help explain the value and safety of the vaccines to their constituents and employees, to lead by example and ease concerns. For example, he said, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked with religious leaders in northern Nigeria to persuade parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio.

“Here in the U.S., we should already be thinking about which voices will help reduce the hesitancy,” he said.

“The CDC that normally speaks out on these things hasn’t yet had that much visibility,” he added, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the data on the safety and efficacy of vaccines are clear, he said, “I think enough people will be interested and then you’ll build up that confidence as more and more people are taking the vaccine and getting good results.”

The Microsoft co-founder acknowledged that misinformation amplifies quickly on digital platforms, and said he doesn’t yet see a solution.

Covid-19 Medical

Coffee may reduce risk for Parkinson’s disease, study says

Caffeine may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease in people who have a gene mutation associated with the movement disorder, researchers report.

“These results are promising and encourage future research exploring caffeine and caffeine-related therapies to lessen the chance that people with this gene develop Parkinson’s,” said study author Dr. Grace Crotty, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

“It’s also possible that caffeine levels in the blood could be used as a biomarker to help identify which people with this gene will develop the disease, assuming caffeine levels remain relatively stable,” Crotty added in a news release from the journal Neurology.

The study was published online in the journal.

Previous studies have shown that caffeine may protect against Parkinson’s in people with no genetic risk factors. This new study focused on a mutation in the LRRK2 gene that increases the risk of Parkinson’s.

Not all people with this gene mutation develop Parkinson’s disease, so scientists are trying to pinpoint other contributing genetic or environmental factors.

Could coffee — or its lack — be one of them?

This study compared 188 people with Parkinson’s disease to 180 people without the disease. Both groups had people with and without the LRRK2 gene mutation.

Among people with the gene mutation, those with Parkinson’s had a 76% lower concentration of caffeine in their blood than those without Parkinson’s. Among people without the mutation, those who had Parkinson’s had a 31% lower concentration of caffeine in their blood than those without Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s who had the gene mutation consumed 41% less caffeine a day than the people with and without the gene mutation who didn’t have Parkinson’s.

The study assessed people at one point in time, so it doesn’t help researchers understand any long-term effect caffeine may have on Parkinson’s risk or how it may affect the disease’s progression, Crotty noted.

Also, the study doesn’t prove that caffeine consumption directly reduces the risk of Parkinson’s it only shows an association.

More information

The Parkinson’s Foundation has more on Parkinson’s disease.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Changing how you inhale and exhale could help reduce coronavirus anxiety

Intentional deep breathing exercises are known to reduce feelings of stress. Experts interviewed by ABC News identify box breathing as a type of breath hold specifically used to overcome the type of anxiety people are experiencing during these distressing times.

Box breathing describes the pattern of inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. You inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and then repeat in four seconds — making a square pattern. Practiced regularly, it has been shown to calm the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system — our “rest and digest” responses — which produces feelings of relaxation.

“If you go around that box for a few minutes, you can really get yourself into a much more focused and centered state,” said Dr. John Sharp, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School. “We know that when people are stressed, this can work — and like anything, the more you practice it, the more it can work.”

Well-known to the military, box breathing is used in training by Navy SEAL teams to develop emotional discipline. Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL commander and the New York Times best-selling author of “Unbeatable Mind,” says he has been teaching this method of breathing to Navy SEAL trainees since 2007.

“The best, most effective warriors practice some form of controlled breathing, especially during combat,” said Divine, who explained that box breathing clarifies the mind, which is critical to making good decisions under pressure.

“Not only do you feel calm, but really the quantity of thoughts you have will be lessened,” he said.

And there’s science to back up this technique. One study found participants who performed regular deliberate deep breathing exercises had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone in your body released in response to stress.

“We do it before every meeting in my company,” Divine said. “We do five minutes together as a team. I do it before and after every workout, I do it in my car, I do it anytime that I feel any kind of extra stress or tension. I believe it’s just the single most important thing that everyone can do to take control of their lives internally.”

And now the medical field has adapted box breathing for similar benefits. Dr. Stephen Miller, an emergency medicine physician and