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Health Headlines - May 26

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:24pm
Texas Woman Has Identical Quadruplets

Shelley Breedlove used to tease her mother about not being able to tell her apart from an identical twin sister. Now, as a new mother, Breedlove has her own identity crisis: identical quadruplets.

Health Tip: Dealing with Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations of the legs, and an urge to move them for relief.

Individuals affected with the disorder describe the sensations as pulling, drawing, tingling, pins and needles, prickly, and sometimes painful feelings that are usually accompanied by an overwhelming urge to move the legs. Movement provides temporary relief from the discomfort.

Because RLS is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) suggests some methods for temporary relief:

* Massage and application of cold compresses
* Medications such as temazepam, levodopa/carbidopa, bromocriptine, pergolide mesylate, oxycodone, propoxyphene, and codeine
* Correction of iron deficiency may improve symptoms for some patients.

Because symptoms are intensified by inactivity and lying down, RLS patients often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, RLS causes exhaustion and fatigue, which can affect occupational performance, social activities and family life.

Health Tip: What to Watch Out For in Tanning Booths

Tanning booths may be contributing to the meteoric rise in skin cancers seen worldwide.

Especially troubling is the increasing incidence of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, say doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.

While tanning outdoors is distinctly unhealthy, tanning beds may be even worse because people have a false sense of security from the sun tan parlors. These establishments generally use the longer wavelength ultraviolet A, which doesn't show a visible burn until very high doses.

People think it is safer, but in fact, the longer wavelength penetrates much deeper, hitting the blood vessels, causing a decrease in immune function.

So, the next time you think about getting that "healthy glow" from a tanning bed, it may not be so healthy.

Many Heart Attack Patients Have Metabolic Syndrome

Nearly 50 percent of heart attack patients have a constellation of common risk factors known as "metabolic syndrome," putting them at increased risk for heart failure, French researchers report.

Study: Most Overactive Bladder Is Treatable

Urinary incontinence, which strikes one in every six adults and increases with age, is largely fixable, experts report.

Addiction Woes Haunt the Homeless

Psychological distress and functional impairments worsen the longer homeless addicts remain on the streets, a new study finds.

Shark Cartilage Fails as Cancer Therapy

America's interest in shark cartilage as a cancer therapy began in 1993 after a TV report on Cuban research that claimed patients with advanced cancer went into remission after treatment with the compound.

'Bad' Metabolism Could Damage Arteries

Inefficient metabolism within blood vessels may help drive atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a new study suggests.

International Adoptees At Lower Risk of Behavior Problems

Children adopted from other countries are well-adjusted and have fewer behavioral problems than domestically adopted children, according to a Dutch study.

Depressed Heart Surgery Patients Face Higher Mortality Rates

Heart patients suffering from depression seem to be at a higher risk of death within five years of their surgery than non-depressed patients, a new study suggests.

Statins May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Patients taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may also be protecting themselves from colorectal cancer, researchers report.

Immune Drug May Fight Crohn's Disease

A drug called immune factor GM-CSF stimulates a specific part of the immune system and could help improve Crohn's disease symptoms, according to researchers.

Bypass Beats Stents for Heart Surgery

A major long-term study of patients treated for coronary artery disease finds that those who undergo bypass surgeries do much better than those who have an artery-widening procedure involving a stent -- a wire-mesh tube used to prop open blocked vessels.

Food Fact:
Thrilla in vanilla

In low-fat desserts, high-quality vanilla can make you a champ. Vanilla imparts a warm, rounded flavor of its own and serves as a backdrop for other spices. Its quality is crucial in low-fat desserts, because without a lot of fat the other flavors stand out more. Avoid imitation extracts; they simply taste bad. Buy vanilla extract that is labeled "pure." Or better yet, make your own: Slit 4 whole vanilla beans lengthwise, place in a jar, cover with vodka or brandy, and let steep for at least 2 weeks.

Fitness Tip of the day:
Exercise? It's in the bag.

Road trips won't stop you from exercising -- if you know what to pack. Find a little room in your suitcase for exercise tubes, a great compact tool for weight training and resistance exercises when away from home or your gym. If you travel a lot, ask a fitness pro to design an on-the-go exercise program.

FAQ of the day:
Are walking shoes a waste of money?

To find the right shoe, start with knowledgeable salespeople. If someone suggests a shoe designed for another sport as a walking shoe, move on. Ask a salesperson to measure your feet every time you buy new walking shoes -- foot size and width can change over time. Try on shoes after you've exercised and your feet are at their largest. Put on the socks you normally wear when you're walking. Make sure the shoe fits in the heel -- many women mistakenly choose shoes that are too small just because they feel secure in the heel as they walk. Replace walking shoes every 500 miles, or about twice a year.
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