- Created on 04 October 2013
An estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 39,620 breast cancer deaths are expected to occur among U.S. women in 2013. And according to a report released this week by the American Cancer Society, an increasing number of them will be Black women.
Read here to see just how much breast cancer incidence rates are converging among white and African-American women, plus more notes on the black health chart this week.
- Created on 04 October 2013
Even as restaurants make changes to their menus to provide "healthier" options, the number of average calories and sodium in a meal remains the same, according to a new study.
Researchers from the RAND Corp. and the Institute for Population Health Improvement at UC Davis Health System found that in the spring of 2010, an entree from a U.S. chain restaurant had an average of 670 calories. But when they looked at the average calorie counts in a meal a year later in the spring of 2011, there had been no change.
Sodium levels weren't much better -- the average amount of sodium in a U.S. chain restaurant meal was 1,515 milligrams in spring 2010, and only went down to 1,500 milligrams a year later.
"Across the restaurant industry, we see a pattern of one step forward, one step back," study researcher Helen Wu, a policy and research analyst at the Institute for Population Health Improvement, said in a statement. "Restaurants make changes to their menus regularly, but they may make both healthy and unhealthy changes simultaneously. This study provides objective evidence that overall, we did not see a new wave of healthier entrees come in to replace less healthy ones."
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, involved analysis of 26,256 menu options from 213 restaurants, 109 of which had data on children's menus (with 1,794 children's menu items). Restaurants ranged from fast-food, to fast-casual, to family, to upscale, and cuisine ranged from American, to pizza, to sandwiches, to Italian, to Asian, to snacks (such as bakery items or ice cream) to seafood and steaks.
Researchers specifically chose the spring 2010 to 2011 time period for their analysis because they wanted to see how menu options changed a year after the federal menu-labeling law was passed, and also wanted to test the "validity of claims that restaurants are increasingly offering overall more healthful menu options." Indeed, 207 of the 213 restaurants in the study were subject to the menu labeling law.
Researchers found that slightly more restaurants made changes in a healthy direction between 2010 and 2011 -- 10 percent -- which is higher than the number of restaurants that made changes in an unhealthy direction -- 7 percent.
For instance, "the 26 restaurants that made healthy changes to sodium in added items did reduce it by 707 mg on average, whereas the 11 that made
unhealthy changes to sodium in added items increased it by less (547 mg)," the researchers wrote in the study.
They found no major differences in the healthfulness of children's entrees, except for a very slight decrease in average calories between 2010 and 2011.
"Across a large and diverse group of U.S. chain restaurant brands, results do not support the hypotheses that voluntary restaurant industry efforts, the impending implementation of a federal menu labeling law, or any changes in consumer preferences led to meaningful changes in the average energy or sodium content of entrees between 2010 and 2011," the researchers wrote in the study. "If healthy changes did occur, then a sufficient number of unhealthy changes to entrées also occurred that offset them, on average."
Earlier, the same researchers found in a Public Health Nutrition study that 96 percent of entrees from chain restaurants don't abide by USDA saturated fat and sodium recommendations.
Of course, we can't say we're totally surprised that "healthy" menu options may not really be that healthy. Take a look at what we found about egg-white breakfast sandwiches, for instance.
- Created on 03 October 2013
Cocaine may not only rewire the brain after one use, but could also increase users' susceptibility to HIV, a new study suggests.
- Created on 02 October 2013
Summer's over and you may find yourself falling into some serious allergy symptoms. Sneezing? Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as you have in spring and summer.
What Causes Fall Allergies?
Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall. Though the yellow-flowering weed usually starts releasing pollen in August, it can last into September and October. About three-quarters of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed.
Ragweed pollen loves to get around. Even if it doesn't grow where you live, it can still travel for hundreds of miles on the wind. For some people who are allergic to ragweed, foods like bananas, melon, zucchini, and certain other fruits and vegetables can also cause symptoms.
Mold is another fall trigger. You may think of mold growing in your basement or bathroom – damp areas in the house – but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.
Don't forget dust mites. While they are common during the humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. Dust mites can trigger sneezes, wheezes, and runny noses.
Going back to school can also trigger allergies in kids because mold and dust mites are common in schools.
What Are the Symptoms?
Itchy eyes and nose
Dark circles under the eyes
How Are Fall Allergies Diagnosed?
Your doctor or allergist can help find out exactly what's causing your watery, itchy eyes and runny nose. He'll talk to you about your medical history and symptoms, and may recommend a skin test.
With a skin test, the doctor places a tiny amount of the allergen on your skin — usually on your back or forearm — and then pricks or scratches the skin underneath. If you're allergic to it, you'll get a small, raised bump that itches like a mosquito bite.
Sometimes a blood test may be used to diagnose allergies.
How Can I Treat My Allergies?
There are many medications you can use:
Prescription nasal spray – reduce inflammation in your nose
Antihistamines – help stop sneezing, sniffling, and itching
Decongestants – help clear mucus out of your nose
Antihistamine eye drops
Allergy shots – take longer to work but also reduce symptoms for longer
You can buy some allergy medications without a prescription, but it's a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure you choose the right one. Decongestant nasal sprays, for example, should only be used for three days. If you use them longer, you may actually get more congested. And if you have high blood pressure, some allergy drugs may not be right for you.
Tips to Manage Symptoms
Stay indoors with the doors and windows closed when pollen is at its peak (usually in the mornings). Check pollen counts in your area.
Before you turn on your heat for the first time, clean your heating vents and change the filter. Bits of mold and other allergens can get trapped in the vents over the summer and will fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.
Use a HEPA filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air.
Use a humidifier if you need to, to keep your air at between 35% and 50% humidity.
Wear a mask when you rake leaves so you don't breathe in mold spores.