Mental health risk for new dads

Researchers have found anxiety around the arrival of a new baby is just as common as postnatal depression, and the risks for men are nearly as high as for women.

Mental health researcher Dr Liana Leach reviewed 43 separate studies and found anxiety before and after a child arrives is just as prevalent as depression, affecting around one in ten men, around half the rate for women.

“Men can feel left out of the process, because pregnancy and childbirth are so integrally linked to the mother,” said Dr Leach, from The Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Ageing, Health and Wellbeing.

“It can compound the problem. They don’t seek help, because they think ‘it’s not so much about me’.”

The causes of anxiety and depression around the arrival of a new baby are poorly understood. While results from individual studies vary, some studies suggest over 20 per cent of parents suffer from anxiety or depression.

The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“Having a new baby is a time of great adjustment for many parents, and it is normal to be nervous, but anxiety can become a problem when

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

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

Newborn Skin-to-Skin Contact

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

Watch What You Eat After Teeth-Whitening

Blueberries, wine and soy sauce stain while cheese, firm fruits and veggies ‘scrub.’
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SATURDAY, Nov. 19, 2011 (HealthDay News) — Eating certain foods and avoiding others can help keep your teeth white after you’ve used an at-home whitening kit or had cosmetic bleaching, an expert says.

“For many individuals who have had good results with either dentist-directed or over-the-counter whitening techniques, a significant concern is how to keep the teeth white after bleaching,” Dr. Raymond Garrison, professor and chairman of the Wake Forest Baptist Department of Dentistry, said in a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center news release.

“We now know that there are foods that actually help to keep your teeth white rather than stain them. In fact, it may help patients avoid the time and expense of whitening retreatment.”

Firm fruits and vegetables such as apples, green beans, cauliflower, carrots and celery help scrub teeth while you chew. They also help promote the flow of saliva, which neutralizes acids and protects teeth, Garrison said.

Dairy products, especially those high in calcium, and cheeses also

Fluoride in Your Water: The Great Debate

Most communities in the United States drink from fluoridated water supplies, but the benefits and risks are still being hotly debated. Here’s what you need to know.
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You’ve heard about fluoride from your dentist — there are fluoridated toothpastes, mouth rinses, even supplements. But do you know what fluoride is?

Fluoride is found naturally in water (rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans) and in many foods, such as grapes and tea. It’s also added to certain processed cereals and infant formulas. And this mineral has a big benefit: It protects your teeth from the plaque bacteria and sugars that hang around your mouth after you eat, preventing tooth enamel from being eaten away and cavities from forming.

In fact, evidence suggests that fluoride not only prevents decay, but also reverses it by enhancing re-mineralization, the rebuilding of tooth enamel that has begun to decay. That’s why the American Dental Association (ADA), as well as most dentists, believes that small amounts of fluoride should be added to water supplies so that everyone gets an adequate amount.

The scientific

What Keeps Kristin Chenoweth So Smiley?

Kristin Chenoweth is one busy gal — the sweet-but-spunky Tony- and Emmy-winner has released her new album Some Lessons Learned (“It’s got a country-pop feel,” she says), she just co-hosted and performed at the 2nd Annual American Country Awards, and she’s starring in an upcoming ABC TV series G.B.C. (Good Christian Belles).

But the 43-year-old is also one happy gal. “I’m not saying I’m a spring chicken,” Chenoweth recently told Everyday Health. “I definitely have my down times. But I’ve basically been happy my whole life.”

From the outside looking in, Chenoweth has a lot to be joyful about (the shiny awards on her shelf, for example — and that amazing voice). But beyond the impressive resume, what’s with all the cheeriness? Was she simply blessed with frown-resistant genes?

Perhaps. But Chenoweth also takes some important steps to fight stress and stay upbeat.

Kristin Chenoweth’s ‘Stay-Sane’ Routine

As diehard Cheno fans — the nickname for her fast-growing fan base — will gladly tell you, Chenoweth is a triple threat. She’s a Broadway veteran (which landed her a Tony in 1999 for her role as the leading actress in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown); a TV pro (she recently had a guest spot on Glee

Dental Health and Overall Health

Healthy mouth, healthy body: The link between them may surprise you.
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The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health. Find out how oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.

Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath. Recent research has found a number of links between oral health and overall health. While in many cases, the nature of this link still isn’t clear — researchers have yet to conclude whether the connections are causal or correlative — what is certain is that the condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall physical health.

Oral Health and Diabetes

Doctors have known for years that type 2 diabetics have an increased incidence of periodontitis, or gum disease. In July 2008 the connection was further highlighted: Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health followed 9,296 nondiabetic participants, measuring their level of periodontic bacteria over the course of 20 years. “We found that people who had higher levels of periodontal

Breast Cancer Drugs Battle Disease’s Return

A pair of drugs already on the market appear to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer in women who’ve already undergone treatment, two new clinical trials show.

The chemotherapy drug capecitabine (Afinitor) seems to reduce by nearly a third the risk of breast cancer recurrence if women receive the drug following surgery to remove their cancer, researchers were to report Wednesday at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

In addition, an osteoporosis medication called denosumab appears to reduce recurrence risk by 18 percent in women who have HR-positive breast cancer, a second study reports.

Denosumab (Xgeva) is usually given to women undergoing breast cancer treatment because hormone therapy for their disease can make their bones brittle, explained lead researcher Dr. Michael Gnant, a professor of surgery at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

This new study suggests that denosumab might also hold breast cancer at bay, Gnant said.

For the capecitabine study, Japanese researchers enrolled 910 patients who had HER2-negative breast cancer that did not fully respond to chemotherapy prior to surgery.

Some have suspected that these patients have breast cancer that is somehow resistant to chemotherapy, and that chemo following surgery might not do them any good, said study author Dr. Masakazu Toi,

Mom-to-Be’s Smoking Tied to Poorer Fitness in Sons

Young men may have reduced aerobic fitness if their mothers smoked during pregnancy, a new study suggests.

“It’s well established that smoking and breathing in secondhand smoke are harmful for both mother and baby. Our study adds to the existing evidence base of the negative and longstanding impacts of maternal smoking,” said study author Maria Hagnas, of the University of Oulu, Finland.

The research included just over 500 young men, average age 19, in Finland, whose aerobic fitness was assessed on a running test as part of the military service assessment.

The 59 men whose mothers smoked at least one cigarette a day during pregnancy had lower aerobic fitness than those whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy, the study found.

Having a mother with a higher body mass index (BMI — an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) before pregnancy or a mother who gained too much weight during pregnancy was also associated with worse aerobic fitness in the young men.

And the sons’ aerobic fitness was also influenced by their own smoking habits, weight and physical activity levels, according to the study published Dec. 9 in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Women must receive advice and support to

Health campaigns that tap teen culture curtail risky adolescent behavior

Health campaigns that target teens based their social groups and subcultures, such as hip hop, preppy or alternative, can be an effective tool in dissuading adolescents from engaging in risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking, suggests a survey of the literature and a case study.

The findings will be presented at the APHA meeting in Chicago on Nov. 3.

“In public health, we typically segment more in terms of sociodemographics like race, gender and income,” says Meghan Moran, an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society and lead author of the study. “But, we know that young people identify strongly with groups along subcultures and these groups vary on their health behavior, too. For instance, the teens we categorize as alternative, be they goth or skateboarders, are at a higher risk for alcohol use. If we develop campaigns that incorporate the style of the group, it can increase their effectiveness.”

For their study, researchers surveyed journal articles highlighting evidence related to the use of peer crowds to develop targeted health campaigns aimed at adolescents. Such campaigns can work on several levels. One, the teens identify with the individuals and

Heart damage linked to obesity in kids

A big, strong heart is important to staying healthy and active. But hearts can grow too big. Now, a study finds that obese children as young as eight often have enlarged, potentially unhealthy, hearts.

An enlarged heart won’t kill someone. Indeed, elite athletes who are exercising their muscles — including their heart muscle — may end up with a big, powerful heart. But in couch potatoes, an enlarged heart can be a sign of developing heart disease. And that’s what the new study uncovered.

Among very overweight kids, “Even the youngest children in our study, who were only 8 years old, had evidence of heart disease,” notes Brandon Fornwalt. He works at the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Penn. There, he studies how muscle in the heart expands and contracts to pump blood throughout the body.

His team used magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to take pictures of 40 kids’ hearts. The children were all between 8 and 18 years old. Half were obese, meaning overweight to an unhealthy degree. The rest were at a healthy weight. From the MRI images, the scientists could see that 40 percent of the obese children had enlarged hearts that interfered with how well blood pumped

New gene resists our last-ditch drug

Antibiotics are drugs that can kill bacteria. But many germs have evolved genes that make them immune to one or more of these drugs. In some cases, only one lone drug remains that can kill them. If bacteria found a way to resist — ignore — that last drug too, these killer germs might be unstoppable. Infections that were once easy to treat would become incurable. And, new data show, bacteria are dangerously close to that scary future.

Scientists have just reported finding a bacterial gene that lets germs resist drugs that doctors use only as a last resort.

The bacteria, discovered in China, can resist the drug colistin. That’s an antibiotic that doctors reserve for the sickest patients, those sick from germs resistant to all other drugs. It’s not time to panic — yet. Instead, scientists say, it’s time to take a hard look at how doctors, and farmers, use antibiotics on a daily basis. That won’t get rid of the colistin-resistant bacteria. But it could help prevent other resistant germs from evolving.

Why colistin resistance is a big deal

Most bacteria die when hit with an antibiotic — a drug doctors use to target them. But a few germs may be lucky. They will have genes — sets of

How this vitamin can foster pimples

Vitamin B12 causes bacteria normally found on the skin to start pumping out chemicals that can give you zits. The new finding suggests that taking supplements of the vitamin unnecessarily can trigger acne.

Details appeared June 24 in Science Translational Medicine.

Vitamin B12 is important for making red blood cells and for brain function. The vitamin also has been known to sometimes cause acne. Dezhi Kang works at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He and his colleagues wanted to find out why the vitamin was sometimes linked to pimples. So they gave vitamin B12 supplements to 10 people with clear skin. One of them developed acne a week later.

Triggering the zits was a bacterium that normally lives on our skin. It’s called Propionibacterium acnes. Among people with pimples, some of these germs have genes that are more active than normal; other of the germ’s genes are less active. Among the less active genes are ones that these bacteria rely on to make vitamin B12.

In the new experiment, P. acnes bacteria cut back their production of vitamin B12 on their own. It turned out that the microbes were getting enough of the vitamin from those 10 human hosts. The

Allergies linked to obesity and heart risks

Sometimes, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive. It’s meant to fight disease and foreign microbes. But at times it may inappropriately fight against healthy parts of its own body. This is known as autoimmune disease. Common examples include asthma and allergies. Children with such diseases face a higher than normal risk of becoming overweight and developing conditions that could lead to heart disease, a study now finds.

Asthma is a disease affecting the lungs’ airways. It can make it hard to breathe. Eczema (EX-eh-mah) is an autoimmune disease that makes the skin rough, itchy and red. Allergies act up when the body thinks something harmless in the environment is actually dangerous and then tries to fight it.

Jonathan Silverberg looked for people with any of these conditions who had been interviewed as part of a major U.S. health survey. Silverberg works at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. As a dermatologist there, he treats skin disorders, such as eczema.

For the new study, he reviewed data from interviews of more than 13,000 U.S. children and teens (and their families). Some 14 percent of children up to age 17 had asthma. Another 12 percent had eczema. And 17 percent had seasonal allergies, also

Young Women’s Cancer Risk Linked to Tanning Beds

Young women who use tanning beds or booths have up to a sixfold increase in their likelihood of developing melanoma, a new study found.

The study also suggests that indoor tanning has likely played a role in the rise in melanoma rates among young U.S. women in recent years.

The findings indicate that the “melanoma epidemic … seems likely to continue unabated, especially among young women, unless exposure to indoor tanning is further restricted and reduced,” the researchers, from the University of Minnesota, wrote in the Jan. 27 issue of the journal JAMA Dermatology.

Although some states have implemented bans on indoor tanning for people under age 18, these efforts “need to be accelerated and expanded,” the researchers said. [5 Things You Must Know About Skin Cancer]

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from 681 people ages 25 to 49 who were diagnosed with melanoma in Minnesota between 2004 and 2007. The scientists compared this group with 654 healthy people, who did not have melanoma but who were around the same age and also lived in Minnesota.

The researchers found that women who had ever gone indoor tanning were 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 40s, and six

Limited Zika Virus Outbreaks ‘Likely’ in US

It’s likely that the United States will face small outbreaks of Zika virus, but widespread transmission of the virus here is not expected, health officials said today.

Zika virus is spreading rapidly in Central and South America, and there have been a few cases in the United States among travelers who caught the virus overseas. Although the virus isn’t spreading locally in the United States yet, it is possible that it will, because the mosquitoes that transmit the virus are common in some parts of the country, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (“Spreading locally” means that mosquito bites an infected person, and then spreads the virus to another person in the vicinity.)

“It’s possible, even likely, that we will see limited Zika virus outbreaks” in the United States, Schuchat said today (Jan. 28) in a news conference.

The United States has seen limited outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases that are more common in the world’s tropical regions, including dengue fever and chikungunya virus. But the United States never had large outbreaks of these viruses, and the CDC said it does not expect large outbreaks of Zika virus here either.

That’s because differences between the

Zika Prevention: Can Pregnant Women Safely Use Mosquito Repellants?

The possible connection between Zika virus and microcephaly, a potentially fatal condition in infants, is a serious concern for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. Women are being told to take all possible measures to prevent mosquito bites, including using some pretty heavy-duty insect repellants.

But generally, pregnant women are bombarded by advice about avoiding chemicals. And some insect repellants – DEET, for example — come with a long list of warnings. Should women really slather on these repellants frequently during pregnancy?

Experts say yes.

If you are pregnant, and you are in an area with serious mosquito-borne diseases, use repellant with high amounts of DEET, and reapply it as often as necessary, said Dana Boyd Barr, professor of exposure science at Emory University.

Zika poses a potentially dire risk to unborn children, and studies, including Barr’s own research, have shown that DEET is a fairly harmless chemical, she said. “Really, there’s not any strength of evidence indicating that DEET is harmful to a fetus or harmful to a person,” Barr said.

There is general consensus that we don’t know much about the long-term effects of DEET, Barr acknowledged. And there are limited studies looking specifically at pregnant women. But when facing the

Autism Risk Linked to Obesity, Diabetes Combination in Moms

Children born to women with obesity and diabetes may have an increased risk of autism, a new study suggests.

The children in the study who were born to women who were obese before becoming pregnant were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism by age 6, compared with those children born to mothers whose weight was normal before they got pregnant, the researchers found.

And the babies born to women who had developed diabetes at some point before they got pregnant were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism by age 6, compared with those children born to women without diabetes.

However, the children born to women with both obesity and diabetes showed the greatest risk. These kids were nearly four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism by age 6, compared with those children born to women who had neither obesity nor diabetes.

The new study “highlights the potential that autism starts before birth, in utero,” said study author M. Daniele Fallin, chair of the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

In the study, the researchers looked at the rates of autism and intellectual disabilities in about 2,700 children.

What’s That Word? Marijuana May Affect Verbal Memory

Years of smoking pot may have an effect on a person’s verbal memory, which is the ability to remember certain words, a new study finds.

For every five years of marijuana use, researchers found that, on average, one out of two people remembered one word fewer from a list of 15 words, according to the study.

Long-term use was not, however, significantly associated with decreases in other measures of cognitive function, such as processing speed or executive function, the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Feb. 1) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Executive function includes skills such as planning and focusing.

To examine the effects of long-term marijuana use, the researchers studied participants who were enrolled in the long-running Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The CARDIA study included more than 5,000 adults who initially enrolled in the study between ages 18 and 30. During a series of follow-up visits, the participants reported if they had used marijuana in the previous month. At the 25-year follow-up, the participants were given a series of cognitive tests that looked at verbal memory, processing speed and executive function. [11 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

While long-term marijuana use was associated with worse performance

High-Fiber Diet May Help Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Teenage girls and young women who eat a lot of foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that the women who consumed high amounts of fiber during early adulthood had a 12 to 19 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer over the 20-year study, compared with the women who consumed very little fiber in early adulthood.

And the women who consumed high amounts of fiber during their teenage years had a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer before menopause, compared with those who consumed little fiber as teens.

“This study reminds us the role of early-life diet on health in later life,” said lead study author Maryam Farvid, a scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Women are doing themselves a huge favor in terms of breast cancer prevention if they increase the amount of dietary fiber intake earlier in life rather than later.”

In the study, the researchers looked at data from more than 90,500 women ages 27 to 44 about what they normally ate, and followed them for 20 years. At one point during the study,