Dieters move past calories, concentrate more on nutrition; food makers follow
NEW YORK -- Obsessing over calories alone has left dieters with an empty feeling. The calorie counting that defined dieting for so long is giving way to other considerations, like the promise of more fiber or natural ingredients. That is chipping away at the popularity of products such as Diet Coke, Lean Cuisine and Special K, which became weight-watching staples primarily by stripping calories from people's favorite foods...
St. Louis-area hospital to offer midwife option
ST. LOUIS -- The hospital in the St. Louis area that delivers the most babies will soon offer an option for midwife-led births, part of a growing trend as more women seek natural childbirth. Mercy Hospital St. Louis said Thursday that patients are now being accepted for prenatal care at its Mercy Birthing Center, which will open in September. ...
Researchers using math to whittle away at jet lag; exposure to light essential
WASHINGTON -- Lots of apps claim they can help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust to new time zones a bit faster than previously thought, and they created their own free app to help...
Surgery helps obese diabetics
WASHINGTON -- New research is boosting hopes that weight-loss surgery can put some patients' diabetes into remission for years and perhaps in some cases, for good. Doctors on March 31 gave longer results from a landmark study showing that stomach-reducing operations are better than medications for treating "diabesity," the deadly duo of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Millions of Americans have this and can't make enough insulin or use what they do make to process food...
FDA approves easy-to-use heroin overdose antidote
WASHINGTON -- Friends and family will be able to take the first step to save a loved one from an overdose of heroin or powerful painkillers called opioids. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved an easy-to-use device that automatically injects the right dose of an overdose antidote named naloxone before an ambulance arrives. Doctors could prescribe it for family members or caregivers to keep on hand, in a pocket or a medicine cabinet...
Test accurately rules out heart attacks in ER
WASHINGTON -- A simple test appears very good at ruling out heart attacks in people who go to emergency rooms with chest pain, a big public health issue and a huge worry for patients. A large study in Sweden found the blood test plus the usual electrocardiogram of the heartbeat were 99 percent accurate at showing which patients could safely be sent home rather than be admitted for observation and more diagnostics...
Missouri health policy enrollment to miss goal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Last-minute efforts across Missouri were expected to boost the number of consumers gaining coverage through the new federal health insurance law, but organizers said they still don't expect the state to hit anticipated enrollment targets...
Study: Married folks have fewer heart problems
Love can sometimes break a heart, but marriage seems to do it a lot of good. A study of more than 3.5 million Americans finds that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed folks to suffer any type of heart or blood vessel problem...
MMA brain injury risk higher than boxing, report says
ALBANY, N.Y. -- About one-third of professional mixed martial arts matches end in knockout or technical knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine...
Sober smartphone app aids boozers' recovery, developers say
CHICAGO -- A smartphone app for recovering alcoholics that includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns helped keep some on the wagon, researchers who developed the tool found. The sober app studied joins a host of others that serve as electronic shoulder angels, featuring a variety of options for trying to prevent alcoholics and drug addicts from relapsing...
People face Monday deadline to pick health policy
The Affordable Care Act's online health-insurance marketplace opened to the public half a year ago, and individuals now have less than a week to enroll in an insurance plan using the exchange. More than 4.2 million Americans have signed up for health-insurance plans through the marketplace, and more are expected to enroll as the nation closes in on the Monday deadline, according to a recent news release from the U.S. ...
Mo. hospitals cut positions, construction, group says
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri hospitals have eliminated about 1,000 positions and put a hiring freeze on more than 2,100 vacant positions in the past six months, the state hospital association said Wednesday while pushing for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program...
FAST thinking: Children learn stroke signs in class
NEW YORK -- Andrea Esteban tried to smile with half her face, crossing her eyes in the process, and her third-grade classmates giggled. Matthew Velez struggled to speak, "Luh, luh, uh, gronk," and the students erupted in laughter. But the funny faces, the gibberish and some arm flapping were all part of a serious lesson to help children learn the telltale signs of a stroke by imitating them. ...
Report: Labor in tub OK but water births unproven
WASHINGTON -- Sitting in a tub of warm water can relieve a mom-to-be's pain during the early stages of labor, but actually giving birth underwater has no proven benefit and may be risky, say recommendations for the nation's obstetricians. There's no count of how many babies in the U.S. are delivered in water, but it is increasingly common for hospitals to offer birthing pools or tubs to help pregnant women relax during labor...
Study ties breast gene to high-risk uterine cancer even if ovaries removed
Women with a faulty breast cancer gene might face a greater chance of rare but deadly uterine tumors despite having their ovaries removed to lower their main cancer risks, doctors are reporting. A study of nearly 300 women with bad BRCA1 genes found four cases of aggressive uterine cancers years after they had preventive surgery to remove their ovaries. That rate is 26 times greater than expected...
Gov. Nixon signs oral chemotherapy bill
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri cancer patients could soon find it more affordable to take chemotherapy pills under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday. Starting in January, patients could not be charged more than $75 for a 30-day supply of oral cancer drugs. The measure is intended to make the cost of oral chemotherapy, which typically has fewer side effects, more comparable to traditional intravenous treatments...
Battling son's seizures, a Bernie mother joins medical marijuana debate
BERNIE, Mo. -- A Bernie woman has entered the medical marijuana debate in order to help get her son the medication she believes will help him deal with seizures. Brandy Johnson says it doesn't make sense that doctors can prescribe illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin, but marijuana -- and products made from it -- is a Schedule I drug, considered by the government to have no legitimate medicinal use...
Mo. budget funds lab for faster newborn screenings
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers are proposing to boost spending at a state health laboratory in hopes of speeding up the results of newborn blood screenings that test for dozens of health conditions. A budget plan pending in the House would add about $150,000 for the state public health laboratory to conduct newborn screenings on Saturdays and expand a courier service to Sundays...
Gene mapping study shows promise, challenges
CHICAGO -- These days, it's faster and cheaper than ever to decipher a person's entire DNA. But a small study suggests looking for disease risks that way may not be ready for the masses. For one thing, the research found that gene variants most likely linked with significant disease were the least likely to be accurately identified...
Study: 2 percent of Americans have new hips, knees
It's not just grandma with a new hip and your uncle with a new knee. More than 2 of every 100 Americans now have an artificial joint, doctors are reporting. Among those older than 50, it's even more common: 5 percent have replaced a knee and more than 2 percent, a hip...
Tablet program aims to help doctors, patients
The concept of touch-based, voice-driven tablets is not new -- smartphones have touch screens, and the iPhone features a voice recognition system called Siri. But bringing that technology into the medical world is a new idea that's gaining popularity, particularly in the Cape Girardeau office of Dr. William K. Kapp III, CEO and chairman of Landmark Hospitals and Technomad...
World Health Organization: 5 percent of calories should be from sugar
LONDON -- Just try sugarcoating this: The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories -- half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday...
Alzheimer's buddy program pairs patients, students
CHICAGO -- At age 80, retired Chicago physician and educator Dan Winship is getting a bittersweet last chance to teach about medicine -- only this time he's the subject. In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, Winship is giving a young medical student a close-up look at a devastating illness affecting millions of patients worldwide...
Health beat: Diabetes, high blood pressure raise kidney disease risk
Kidney disease damages kidneys, preventing them from cleaning blood as well as they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body and lead to other health problems, including heart disease and weak bones. It can cause anemia, which makes people feel tired and weak as the number of red blood cells becomes low. Chronic kidney disease eventually can cause kidney failure if it is not treated...
Study: National drop in obese toddlers
ATLANTA -- Toddler obesity shrank sharply in the past decade, a new study suggests. While promising, it's not proof that the nation has turned a corner in the battle against childhood obesity, some experts say. The finding comes from a government study considered a gold-standard gauge of trends in the public's health. The researchers found that obesity among children ages 2 to 5 decreased -- to 8 percent, from 14 percent a decade ago. That would represent a 43 percent drop...
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