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Popular in high school? You may be miserable as an adult, study says

Were you the cool kid in high school? Adolescent popularity may take a toll on your mental health later on, according to a new study

» RELATED: Study: White teachers less likely to see black students as gifted

A group of researchers from the University of Virginia recently conducted a study, which was published in Child Development, to determine how teenage relationships can affect adulthood over time. 

To do so, they examined 169 racially and socioeconomically diverse individuals over a 10-year period starting at age 15. They assessed their mental health by surveying them annually on their friendships, anxiety, social acceptance and symptoms of depression. They also checked in with participants’ close friends and peers to measure quality of popularity and friendship. 

>> Read more trending news

They defined popularity as the number of peers in the teen’s grade who ranked them as someone they'd hang out with. And high-quality friendships were defined as close friendships that had a degree of attachment and intimate exchanges.

After analyzing the results, scientists found that those who had close-knit relationships at age 15 had a better overall well-being at age 25. Those individuals reported lower social anxiety, increased self-worth and fewer symptoms of depression.

On the other hand, those who were popular in school reported higher levels of social anxiety at age 25.

»RELATED: Study: Instagram spots depression better than general

"Our study affirms that forming strong close friendships is likely one of the most critical pieces of the teenage social experience," Joseph Allen, lead researcher, said in a statement. "Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later.” 

»RELATED: Are you depressed or just sad? New Google test helps find answer

While scientists noted that their study was relatively small and did not factor in an individual’s personal characteristics, they believe their findings reveal important information about the significance of fostering relationships.

» RELATED: Woman breaks for mental health days; boss' reply goes viral

“As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority,” Allen said.

Are you depressed or just sad? New Google test helps find answer

Mobile users in the U.S. searching for “depression” in Google may notice a new test option that tells them whether or not they’re really experiencing clinical depression.

>> Read more trending news

The new “check if you’re clinically depressed” feature, Google announced in a news release Wednesday, is a private clinically validated screening questionnaire called PHQ-9.

» RELATED: Woman breaks for mental health days; boss' reply goes viral

The test aims to help determine a person’s depression and his or her need for an in-person medical evaluation.

While the PHQ-9 is not meant to be a singular tool for diagnosis, it can be someone’s first step, Mary Giliberti, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrote in the news release.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression.

» RELATED: Study: Vegetarians twice as likely to suffer depression

And it affects more than 15 million American adults (approximately 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population) each year.

» RELATED: Feeling depressed? Hot yoga could help

People experiencing symptoms of clinical depression usually delay treatment for 6 to 8 years after the onset of symptoms.

» RELATED: Is it safe to take ketamine for severe depression?

“We hope that by making this information available on Google, more people will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life,” Giliberti wrote.

Users can find the feature inside the Knowledge Panel, a section that pops up at the top of Google search results and includes key facts, photos and more for any given subject.

Read the full news release from Google.

Work the night shift? You may be at higher risk for breast cancer, study says

Do you work at night? It may be healthier to work while the sun is up, because a new study has found a link between night shifts and breast cancer.

»RELATED: Hair dyes and chemical relaxers linked to breast cancer 

A group of researchers from Harvard University conducted an experiment, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, to determine how levels of light can impact the disease. 

To do so, they examined 110,000 women and data from nighttime satellite images of each participant’s residential address. They also factored in night shift work.

>> Read more trending news

Scientists found that women exposed to the highest levels of outdoor light at night had an estimated 14 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to those exposed to lower levels. 

They also saw a stronger link among women who work at night. 

“In our modern industrialized society, artificial lighting is nearly ubiquitous. Our results suggest that this widespread exposure to outdoor lights during nighttime hours could represent a novel risk factor for breast cancer,” lead author Peter James said in a statement.

»RELATED: Study: Daily glass of wine or beer can increase breast cancer risk 

Why is that?

Light affects melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles and plays a role in reducing tumor growth. However, exposure to artificial light lowers melatonin levels, preventing it from operating at its full ability. 

Researchers noted that the association between outdoor light at night and breast cancer was only prevalent among premenopausal women and current or past smokers.

They also acknowledged that more research needs to be done to clarify their results and methods. 

»RELATED: Study: Cancer partly caused by bad luck

New treatment could be the end of peanut allergy, study says

Allergic to peanuts? There could be new treatment that would eliminate that allergy for up to four years, according to recent research.

»RELATED: Giving peanut-based foods to babies early prevents allergies 

Scientists from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, conducted a study, which was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, to determine how probiotics could keep peanut allergies at bay in the long term.

To do so, they combined a bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is known to calm the immune system and reduce allergic reactions, with a peanut protein in increasing amounts for a process known as peanut oral immunotherapy. The mix was designed to alter the way the immune system reacts to peanuts. 

>> Read more trending news

They then tested it on a group of children, giving some the probiotic and others a placebo once daily for 18 months. 

After analyzing the results, they found that 80 percent of those given the probiotic saw no signs of the allergy after four years, and 70 percent passed an exam that determined that their peanut tolerance was long-term. 

“It would seem that children who have benefited from the probiotic peanut therapy are able to change the way that they live and not have to really worry about peanuts anymore,” Mimi Prang, lead researcher, told the journal. “That’s what’s exciting.” 

Researchers did note, however, that their experiment was limited as it only included a small group. Therefore, more experiments should be done on larger groups. 

Scientists also want to test whether the probiotic could help with other food allergies. 

“Theoretically, it should work for any other allergen that’s also presented with this probiotic,” Prang said. "I think a really important study to do next would be to see if it works in the setting of other food allergies to induce a long-lasting tolerance.”

»RELATED: Allergic college student 'hazed' with peanut butter

Need relief from chronic pain? Marijuana may not help after all, studies say

When it comes to treating chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder, an increasing number of people are turning to marijuana for relief. However, those efforts may be in vain, because new research has found little evidence to support its effectiveness.

>> Read more trending news

A group of scientists from the Veterans Health Administration recently completed two meta studies, which were both published in Annals of Internal Medicine, to determine the usefulness of the drug. To do so, they reviewed data that linked the use of cannabis with chronic pain and PTSD alleviation. 

First, they reviewed 27 pain trials that examined the use of the plant as a remedy. They concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove its effectiveness for symptoms related to illnesses, including cancer and multiple sclerosis. They did, however, see some improvement for those with neuropathic pain. 

“We found low-strength evidence that cannabis preparations with precisely defined THC–cannabidiol content may alleviate neuropathic pain, but insufficient evidence in populations with other types of pain. Most studies are small, many have methodological flaws, and the long-term effects are unclear given the brief follow-up of most studies,” the report said. 

In fact, they had sufficient evidence linking marijuana use with an increased risk of car accidents, psychotic symptoms and short-term cognitive impairment. 

The researchers next took a look at five studies and reviews that assessed cannabis use for treating PTSD. They found that the evidence here was also lacking. One portion of a study even showed that symptoms worsened for veterans who used the drug during the assessment. 

»RELATED: Veteran allowed to keep ducks that help with PTSD

“Overall, we found insufficient evidence regarding the benefits and harms of plant-based cannabis preparations for patients with PTSD. The body of literature currently available is limited by small sample sizes, lack of adjustment for important potential confounders, cross-sectional study designs, and a paucity of studies with non–cannabis-using control groups,” the study said. 

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and Washington D.C., and up to 80 percent of people who request it say they use it for pain management. However, the latest research suggests there isn’t enough proof that it works. 

“The current studies highlight the real and urgent need for high-quality clinical trials in both of these areas,” Dr. Sachin Patel, a psychiatry researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Reuters

“If cannabis is being considered for medical use,” she continued, "it should certainly be after all well-established treatments have failed.” 

»RELATED: Here’s what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep 

Report: Aetna in talks with Apple to provide Apple watches to millions of customers

A partnership between Apple and Aetna could bring Apple watches to the insurance company’s more than 20 million customers, according to a report. 

>> Read more trending news 

The two companies held private meetings Thursday and Friday in southern California to discuss options for such a move, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.Aetna already offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program and to individuals with Aetna plans under “select large employers.”

According to CNBC, Aetna is negotiating with Apple to try to provide a plan in which its 23 million members could receive an Apple watch for free or at a discounted price.

The perk would benefit both Aetna, which has increased efforts to get its members more health-conscious, and Apple, which has begun to promote health and fitness-tracking as a primary use for the Apple watch.

Apple, which reportedly surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling wearable fitness tracker, may have plans to develop its watch to better cater to wearers with chronic diseases, making the gadget even more desirable and multifunctioning, CNBC reported.

An unnamed source told CNBC that Aetna is pushing to have the plan developed by early next year.

Read more at CNBC.

Suicide rate for teen girls hits 40-year record high -- is social media to blame?

According to new data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

» RELATED: Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in boyfriend's suicide, accused of convincing him to commit suicide via text messages 

That means for every 100,000 American girls in 2015, 5 died by suicide.

Additionally, the suicide rate among teen boys in the same age group and year range rose by more than 30 percent.

>> Read more trending news

The analysis mirrors a rising national trend in suicide rates across all age groups, CDC suicide expert Thomas Simon told CNN.

» RELATED: Read the full CDC report

So, what’s going on?

Experts such as Simon and Carl Tishler, adjunct associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Ohio State University, said there are a lot of possible factors.

» RELATED: How to keep your kids safe on social media 

Some factors include substance abuse, relationship conflicts, lack of emotional support, the stigma associated with mental health, exposure to violence and economic instability.

Tishler specifically cited the rise of the opioid epidemic as a possible factor.

“Some of the opiate or heroin overdoses in adolescents may be interpreted by emergency departments as suicides. There may be more internet suicides,” Tishler told CNN.

» RELATED: The more social media you use, the lonelier you feel, study says

What about social media?

While some public health studies have shown negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health and well-being, Simon said social media isn’t always negative.

“Social media can help increase connections between people, and it's an opportunity to correct myths about suicide and to allow people to access prevention resources and materials,” he told CNN.

» RELATED: This social media platform is the worst for cyberbullying 

Still, he acknowledges that cyberbullying can greatly impact vulnerable youth.

Additionally, cyberbullying in social media may negatively influence teenage girls more than boys, according to Emory University School of Medicine professor Dorian Lamis.

» RELATED: Should kids be watching new Netflix series on teen suicide? 

“Some research has suggested that the timing of puberty in girls is a contributing factor for the increased suicide rate,” Lamis told CNN.

Lamis said the hormonal, mental and physical changes associated with puberty may leave teen girls “vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders earlier on in life.”

“The message for parents, teachers, coaches and religious leaders is to not be afraid to talk to a young person when they are concerned,” Simon said.

Read more from CNN.

If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you are concerned for someone else, here are some helpful resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours)

Call 1-800-273-8255

Online chat

Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families

Suicide prevention resources for teens

Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss

More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Feeling depressed? Hot yoga could help

If you want to help put an end to your depression, a new report from the American Psychological Association suggests giving hot yoga a try. 

>> Read more trending news

“Yoga has become increasingly popular in the West, and many new yoga practitioners cite stress-reduction and other mental health concerns as their primary reason for practicing,” Lindsey Hopkins, one of the analysts, said in a statement. “But the empirical research on yoga lags behind its popularity as a first-line approach to mental health.” 

That’s why the scientists from the APA conducted a study to determine how the practice could combat symptoms of depression including anxiety, stress, rumination and worry.

To do so, they led several different studies. In the first one, they rounded up 23 male veterans to participate in twice-weekly yoga classes for eight weeks. The subjects gave the exercise an average enjoyment ranking of 9.4 out of 10, and those with elevated depression scores had a significant decrease in depression symptoms.

» RELATED: Need to relieve stress? Try talking to yourself

For the second one, scientists gathered 52 women ages 25 to 45 and asked more than half of them to attend twice-weekly hot yoga classes for eight weeks. The others were placed on a wait list. At the end of the experiment, those who tried yoga saw a reduction in their depression symptoms compared to those in the control group. 

And in another, they examined 74 mildly depressed university students, giving them a 15-minute instructional video to follow at home for two months. They found that their symptoms had also subsided significantly.

Researchers noted that the practice isn’t a cure-all but should be a complimentary practice to traditional forms of therapy. 

“However,” Hopkins said, “based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential.”

CDC: Over 100 people sickened in deadly salmonella outbreak involving Maradol papayas

In an update from officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday, the number of people sickened in the salmonella outbreak involving Maradol papayas has grown.

A total of 109 people from 16 states have been infected in the salmonella outbreak as of Aug. 3, the CDC said in a news release.The states involved are CT, DE, IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, TX, VA, and WI.

>> Read more trending news

One death has been reported, and 35 people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.

An additional strain of salmonella tied to Maradol papayas imported from Mexico has also been discovered, the CDC reported.

The FDA has found salmonella strains in other papayas from Carica de Campeche farm, which expands the original recall notice that urged consumers to avoid Caribeña brand Maradol papayas, distributed by Grande Produce.

The CDC and FDA are continuing their investigation to determine where in the supply chain the papayas became contaminated.

'Narcan parties:' Drug users overdosing to be brought back to life

North Carolina emergency workers in Rowan County expressed frustration Thursday over "Narcan parties," which they said are increasing in the area.

>> Read more trending news

Emergency workers said they've noticed the spike over the past six months, WSOC-TV reported.

"With Narcan readily available and over the counter now, they are having group gatherings called Narcan parties,” said Chris Richardson, Emergency Management Services battalion chief for Rowan County. “They will have numerous people around.” 

He said party-goers get high in houses or cars in public places, then an emergency responder with Narcan will try to revive them, giving the drug user a rush. 

He said a few weeks ago that a couple overdosed on heroin at a shopping center, knowing an ambulance with Narcan was just a call away.

"(They) picked up the drug, didn't want to wait to get to their residence, both wanted to use, they did it in a public place so they would be found," Richardson said. 

The numbers of overdoses are staggering. 

There were 292 calls in 2016 in Rowan County when Narcan was administered. 

This year, through June, they've already had 284 calls for a 94 percent increase. 

The opioid epidemic is staggering in parts of Ohio, too, where officials are saying citizens are taking advantage of emergency services. 

>> Related: Stop sending EMS to respond to overdose calls, Ohio councilman says

>> Related: Ohio factory owner: I need sober workers

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