Man’s Persistent Hiccups Were Caused by Large Tumor

This MRI shows the extensive structure of the haemangioblastoma.

A man who suffered three bouts of persistent hiccups, lasting a few days each, over the span of one month finally learned the true reason for his health problems — a large tumor in the back of his neck, a new case report reveals.

The case was unusual because it’s fairly uncommon for the cause of such long-lasting hiccups to turn out to be a tumor, said Dr. Mark Goldin, an internal medicine hospitalist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, and a co-author of the case report, published online Jan. 28 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The reason the man had intractable hiccups — which are hiccups lasting longer than two days — was that his tumor was compressing his phrenic nerve, which is the neural pathway that goes to the diaphragm, the muscle just below the lungs that is involved in controlling breathing. The nerve was sending disturbed signals to the diaphragm, causing the muscle to contract involuntarily, leading to the hiccups, Goldin said.

Anything that can irritate the phrenic nerve, including certain infections and medications, might trigger a bout of

‘Love Hormone’ Could Predict Whether Mom and Dad Stay Together

A happy couple goes walking with their baby

A hormone known for its role in bonding and caregiving could predict whether new moms and dads stay together in the first years of their child’s life.

Researchers found a link between low oxytocin levels in the mother during pregnancy and shortly after the baby’s birth and the likelihood that new parents would break up by the time their child was 2 1/2 years old, according to the results, presented Jan. 29 at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego.

“What these data suggest is that lower maternal oxytocin levels are associated with the risk of relationship dissolution by the time the child is a toddler,” study researcher Jennifer Bartz, a psychologist at McGill University in Canada, told an audience at the meeting.

“Suggest” is a key word. The research has yet to be peer-reviewed and published in a journal, Bartz told Live Science, and the total number of breakups among the couples in the study was small.

Nevertheless, the research hints at how hormones might influence relationships, perhaps by altering how people cope with stress or handle caregiving, Bartz said.

“Ideally, the point of

New Diet Book ‘Always Hungry?’ Renews Debate Over Calories

food nutrition labels

A new book challenges the long-standing belief that when it comes to weight loss, calories are what count.

In Dr. David Ludwig’s book “Always Hungry?”(Grand Central Life & Style, 2016), he argues that the type of foods you eat — not just the number of calories in those foods — ultimately affects the number of calories you burn.

“Our mantra is ‘Forget calories. Focus on the quality of what you eat, and let your body do the rest,'” said Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. [The Great Calorie Debate]

Indeed, the shift toward quality and away from quantity is gaining ground among some experts who have studied how diet affects weight.

When it comes to weight loss, the question isn’t really about whether low-carbohydrate diets are better than high-carbohydrate diets, or low-fat diets versus higher-fat ones, but rather it’s overall low quality versus high quality, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

However, the majority of scientists are still focused on the total number calories, Mozaffarian told Live Science.

Dr. Louis Aronne, the director of the Comprehensive Weight

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End of Life Choices for Your Loved One

When your loved one is suffering from a fatal diagnosis, it’s devastating to watch them suffer. Instead of bouncing in and out of the hospital, it may be time for you to consider palliative and hospice care.

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Most people are not aware of the differences between palliative care and hospice care. We hear more about hospice care and most people believe that hospice is for very sick people who are on the verge of death. However, this really isn’t true. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, hospice care focuses on caring for, not curing, a patient. Anytime that a doctor has given a patient six months or less to live, hospice care can be called on.

Palliative care anticipates, prevents and treats suffering as a collaborative effort between the patient, their family and the care providers. Hospice care is a part of palliative care. The main difference between palliative care and hospice care is that palliative care can be sought out at any time during a patient’s illness, while hospice services are available for the last six months of the person’s life.

Requesting Hospice

Methoxetamine Buyers Guide

Methoxetamine is also known by its chemical name 2-(3-methoxyphenyl)-2-(ethylamino) cyclohezanone and is a new research substance that is not yet available in bulk because it has just gotten into the markets. This research substance is an analog of Ketamine, an already established drug. It is legal for the users of this drug to possess, supply and use it as per the terms and conditions stated by the supplier.

While planning to buy methoxetamine, the user can choose between the brick and mortar sellers or can opt to but the research drug online. While making a purchase through the internet is it very important that the users select the sites that are reputable and offer genuine methoxetamine. To find out if these drugs are genuine, they can check on the watermarked copies of the required scientific proof as provided by the suppliers. In case a site does not offer this, then the buyers should not make the purchase from the as the methoxetamine they will be offered would not be genuine. The information provided include the certificate of analysis, the 1H NMR spectrograph, as well as the HPLC, which is a proof of purity for the batch.

Of importance is to carry

How to Avoid Low Back Pain: Exercise and Education

Shoe inserts, back-support belts and other gadgets aimed at preventing low back pain may be a waste of money. Instead, exercise is the best way to ward off this common problem, a new review of studies suggests.

The researchers found evidence that an exercise program alone, or exercise along with education about how to prevent back pain, was effective in averting an episode of low back pain and reducing people’s use of sick time at work. Education may include receiving training in proper lifting techniques, learning about correct posture or attending back school, which is a comprehensive program on back health.

About 80 percent of U.S. adults will experience an episode of low back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [Lower Back Pain: Causes, Relief and Treatment]

To evaluate which preventive methods for low back pain are effective in easing its discomfort, the researchers analyzed data from 23 studies with a total of nearly 31,000 participants. The analysis found that exercise alone could reduce a person’s risk of low- back pain by 35 percent, and it could also cut the use of sick time by 78 percent over the course of a

C-Section or Vaginal? Baby’s Gut Bacteria Linked to Delivery Method

The gut bacteria of 6-week-old babies may be related to the way the infants were delivered and what they have been eating, a new study suggests.

The babies in the study who were delivered vaginally had a different composition of gut bacteria than the babies who were delivered by cesarean section, the researchers found.

Moreover, the babies who had been fed only breast milk since birth had a different composition of gut bacteria at 6 weeks old than the babies who were fed both breast milk and formula, and the babies who were fed only formula, the researchers found.

“We are actually seeing … that the gut microbiome of babies who receive formula supplementation to their breast milk really looks more like [the gut microbiome] of babies who have received only formula” than the gut microbiome of babies who are fed only breast milk, said study co-author Dr. Juliette C. Madan, a neonatologist at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, New Hampshire. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]

In the study, the researchers looked at 102 babies, including 70 who were delivered vaginally and 32 who were delivered by C-section. Of all the babies, 70 were given only breast milk for the first

Gulp. Sugary Drinks Linked to ‘Deep’ Fat

People who drink sugary beverages, such as soda or fruit juice, daily tend to gain a type of body fat associated with diabetes and heart disease, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at about 1,000 middle-age people over a six-year period and found that those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages tended to have more “deep,” or visceral, fat. This type of fat wraps around the internal organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines; affects hormone function; and may play a role in insulin resistance, the researchers said.

Previous research has linked sweet drinks with other health risks. “There is evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Caroline Fox, lead author of the new study and a former investigator with the Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, said in a statement. “Our message to consumers is to follow the current dietary guidelines and to be mindful of how much sugar-sweetened beverages they drink.” [8 Tips for Fighting Sugar Cravings]

In the new study, the researchers gave a dietary survey to 1,003 people, nearly half of them women, whose average age was 45. The participants answered a variety of questions, including how often they consumed drinks

Cases of Gastroschisis, a Birth Defect, on the Rise in the US

Cases of a rare birth defect called gastroschisis are increasing in the U.S., according to a recent government report. But what is gastroschisis, and what causes it?

Gastroschisis (GAS-tro-SKEE-sis) occurs when the muscles in the intestinal wall of a fetus do not develop properly, thus causing the intestines to poke through an opening in the skin, to the right of the umbilical cord.

In some cases, other organs, like the stomach, may also develop outside the baby’s body, said Dr. Holly Hedrick, an attending pediatric and fetal surgeon at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

“It’s typically diagnosed during the second trimester by ultrasound,” Hedrick told Live Science. During the first trimester, the fetus’s intestines aren’t in a fixed position inside the body — they “come out and go back in,” making it difficult for a doctor to tell if something’s wrong, Hedrick said.

By the second trimester, intestines should be permanently inside the fetus, and if they’re not, intestine loops that are visible on an ultrasound point to the gastroschisis abnormality, she said.

In a recent report, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that yearly cases of gastroschisis in the U.S. more than doubled,

Flu Season Is Here; CDC Warns of Severe Cases in Young Adults

Flu season has started, and although so far it has not been as bad as last year’s, there have been reports of some young and middle-age adults developing severe cases of influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today (Feb. 1), the CDC announced that flu cases are increasing across the country. And although the nation as a whole isn’t experiencing as much flu as this time last year, “some localized areas of the United States are already experiencing high activity, [and] further increases are expected in the coming weeks,” the CDC said in a health alert to physicians.

The most common flu strain circulating now is H1N1, the same strain of flu that caused a pandemic in 2009.

What’s more, the CDC has received reports of severe flu illness developing in young to middle-age adults who are infected with H1N1. Some of these people needed to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and some died, the agency said. Most of these patients hadn’t been vaccinated with this year’s flu shot. In the past, H1N1 has been known to cause particularly severe disease in younger adults.

The CDC urged doctors to use antiviral medications as soon as possible for everyone

Moms’ Beneficial Vaginal Microbes Given to C-Section Babies by New Method

In a new procedure, doctors wiped down the skin of newborns delivered by cesarean section with a gauze carrying their mothers’ vaginal fluid.

The doctors found that this was a successful way to transfer beneficial microbes from pregnant women to their infants, a new pilot study suggests.

This small study showed that this swabbing procedure, known as vaginal microbial transfer, can safely and effectively change the microbial communities of babies delivered by C-section to make them more closely resemble those of vaginally born babies, said José Clemente, an assistant professor of genetics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and a co-author of the research, published today (Feb. 1) in the journal Nature Medicine.

This is the first time such a procedure to manipulate the microbial communities, or microbiomes, of newborns has been tried in humans, although it has been previously shown to work in mice, Clemente said.

A baby’s method of delivery is known to influence the microbial composition found on the newborn’s skin and in his or her intestinal tract. This early microbial community in newborns may play a role in developing a healthy immune system, and previous research has shown a link between babies delivered

New HPV Vaccination Recommendations Released

Health officials issued new recommendations this week in an update to the vaccine schedule for children, including a recommendation to get a new type of vaccine against HPV, and an update to the timing of this vaccine for some children.

The updated schedule for children and teens was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with a corresponding policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The update is an opportunity to remind people that “vaccine-preventable disease is at historically low levels for almost every single vaccine,” said Dr. Cody Meissner, a co-author of the new policy statement and a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Tufts University in Boston. “And the reason for that is because vaccine uptake is at historically high levels.”

“If we have a decrease in immunization rates, we are going to see these diseases return,” Meissner said, citing the recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough as possible examples of this.

One change in the updated schedule is the introduction of a new type of HPV vaccine, called 9vHPV, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2014. The previously recommended vaccine, called 4vHPV, offered protection against four types of HPV associated with certain types

Innovative Wound-Healing Technique Could Save Limbs

The fight is on to save human limbs: As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, the foot ulcers and chronic wounds that can come with the condition — and can lead to amputations in severe cases — remain a persistent problem.

To address it, medical professionals are now turning to wound dressings made from human amniotic membrane, a tissue found in the human placenta.

With this innovative approach to treating wounds, doctors are giving another option to patients whose wounds won’t heal using existing treatments. The method uses a substance that would otherwise end up discarded as medical waste following a birth.

“When you put membrane on the wound, the wound starts to heal faster,” said Dr. Dusko Ilic, a physician and stem cell science professor at King’s College London who specializes in regenerative medicine. In a new article, published Jan. 12 in the British Medical Bulletin journal, Ilic and his colleagues reviewed the use of medical products made from human amniotic membrane tissue to treat chronic wounds.

The human amniotic membrane is a thin, intricate protein mesh that covers the placenta as a fetus develops. When a pregnant woman’s “water breaks,” this is the protective layer that ruptures. Following birth, the membrane

Riding High Pot-Smoking Drivers Evade Blood Tests

People who drive after smoking marijuana are at greater risk of car crashes, but blood tests to check for the drug may not be a reliable way to catch impaired drivers, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that levels of marijuana’s active ingredient — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — decrease very quickly in the blood. This means that a person who was impaired by marijuana while behind the wheel might not have a positive test result by the time a test is administered a few hours later, the researchers said.

“Blood THC concentrations measured in forensic cases [after a car crash] may be lower” than common levels allowed by law, “despite greatly exceeding [these levels] during driving,” the researchers, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Iowa, wrote in the February issue of the journal Clinical Chemistry. [11 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

Because levels of THC in the blood don’t always reflect how impaired a person is from using marijuana, efforts to establish a legal blood level of THC for drivers have been controversial. Both Colorado and Washington state, where recreational marijuana is legal, have set a limit of 5 micrograms per liter.

But complicating matters, people who use marijuana frequently can

Aging May Slow When Certain Cells Are Killed

Killing off certain aging cells in the body may lead to a longer life, suggests a new study done in genetically engineered mice.

Researchers used a drug to kill these “aging” cells in mice around the time the animals reached midlife. Those mice lived longer, on average, than mice in which the cells had not been removed, the study found.

However, more research is needed to see whether and how these results could be applied beyond these mice. The mice in the study had been genetically engineered so that the aging cells, and only those cells, would be killed by injecting the drug. [8 Tips for Healthy Aging]

The drug that the researchers administered to the mice only worked because the mice were transgenic, and researchers “can’t make transgenic humans,” noted Christin Burd, an assistant professor of molecular genetics at The Ohio State University, who was not involved in the new study. In other words, it not clear whether the finding would hold true in people.

Nonetheless, the new results do suggest that if researchers can one day find a way to get rid of these cells in humans, “it can have some really huge impacts on health care,” she said.

The “aging,” or senescent,

In a World With No Antibiotics, How Did Doctors Treat Infections?

The development of antibiotics and other antimicrobial therapies is arguably the greatest achievement of modern medicine. However, overuse and misuse of antimicrobial therapy predictably leads to resistance in microorganisms. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus species (VRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have emerged. Certain CRE species are resistant to multiple antibiotics, and have been deemed “superbugs” in the news.

Alternative therapies have been used to treat infections since antiquity, but none are as reliably safe and effective as modern antimicrobial therapy.

Unfortunately, due to increasing resistance and lack of development of new agents, the possibility of a return to the pre-antimicrobial era may become a reality.

So how were infections treated before antimicrobials were developed in the early 20th century?

Blood, leeches and knives

Bloodletting was used as a medical therapy for over 3,000 years. It originated in Egypt in 1000 B.C. and was used until the middle of the 20th century.

Medical texts from antiquity all the way up until 1940s recommend bloodletting for a wide variety of conditions, but particularly for infections. As late as 1942, William Osler’s 14th edition of Principles and Practice of Medicine, historically the preeminent textbook of internal medicine, included bloodletting as a treatment for pneumonia.


Super Bowl Teams’ Cities See Spike in Flu Deaths

Football fans in Denver and Charlotte might want to be extra vigilant about hand washing during the Big Game this Sunday — a new study finds that cities whose teams play in the Super Bowl have an increase in deaths due to flu that year.

The study analyzed information on flu deaths in U.S. counties from 1974 to 2009. It found that counties that had teams advance to the Super Bowl had an 18 percent increase in flu deaths among people over age 65, compared to counties that didn’t have a team in the Super Bowl that year. The researchers focused on flu deaths among older adults because they are at high risk for complications from flu.

The researchers suspect that Super Bowl parties and other social events that bring people together for the game lead to an increase in flu transmission, particularly for those areas that have teams playing.

“You have friends over for a Super Bowl party. You all go out to a bar to watch the game. A bunch of people are cramped in a small space, and they’re all touching the same napkins and grabbing the same chips,” study co-author Nicholas Sanders, an assistant professor of economics at Cornell

Why the BMI May Be a Flawed Measure of Health

The body mass index, or BMI, may not be an accurate indicator of a person’s risk of heart disease or diabetes, according to a new study.

The results suggest that about 75 million adults in the United States may be misclassified — they have a true risk of heart disease or diabetes that is either lower or higher than suggested by their BMIs, the researchers said.

The new results show that BMI is a flawed measure of health, they said.

To stay healthy, people should “prioritize eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep,” rather than focus on their weight, said study co-author Jeffrey M. Hunger, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In the study, the researchers looked at the BMIs of about 40,000 adults in the U.S. They also looked at data on the people’s “cardiometabolic health,” which is their risk for heart disease and diabetes, including data on their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, inflammation and insulin levels. According to the definition adopted by the researchers, a person “is considered cardiometabolically healthy only if they have healthy values on four or more of these indicators,” Hunger told Live Science.

When the researchers looked at the relationship between the people’s BMIs

5 Things to Know About Zika Virus

The outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus throughout parts of the Americas has raised international concern because of the virus’s possible connection to a neurological birth defect called microcephaly.

In response to the outbreak, two doctors writing today (Feb. 8) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal have compiled a concise list of things that people should know about the virus, which is carried by certain mosquitoes in the Aedes group — mainly, the species Aedes aegypti.

“The spread of this virus is highly dependent upon the mosquito population — we know that this Aedes aegypti is really distributed through really large swaths of the Americas,” Dr. Derek MacFadden, one of the authors of the article and an infectious-disease physician at the University Health Network in Toronto, said in a podcast posted on the journal’s website.

“So there’s a great potential here for significant spread of this virus, and we’ve already seen that with a number of countries that have been involved,” MacFadden said.

In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 3 million to 4 million people worldwide will contract the virus this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against traveling to more than 20 countries and territories where

Potent Pot: Marijuana Is Stronger Now Than It Was 20 Years Ago

Pot is becoming more potent, a new study suggests.

In the study, the researchers looked at more than 38,600 samples of illegal marijuana seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration over 20 years. They found that the level of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol — marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient — in the marijuana samples rose from about 4 percent in 1995 to about 12 percent in 2014.

Conversely, the level of CBD, or cannabidiol — an ingredient sometimes touted for its potential health benefits — fell from about 0.28 percent in 2001 to less than 0.15 percent in 2014.

When the researchers looked at the ratio of THC to CBD, they found that marijuana in 1995 had a THC level that was 14 times its CBD level. But in 2014, the THC level was 80 times the CBD level.

“We can see that the ratio of THC to CBD has really, really increased and climbed so much higher,” said lead study author Mahmoud A. ElSohly, a professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi. [11 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

In the study, the researchers looked at nearly 39,000 samples of illegal cannabis. The vast majority of these were samples of cannabis plant material, but there were also samples

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