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Vampire spiders could help fight malaria but not by sucking on humans

Published: Monday, August 24, 2015 @ 5:18 PM
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015 @ 5:18 PM

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A species of jumping spider found in Kenya and Uganda that is sometimes called the vampire spider may become part of the human arsenal against malaria.

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Malaria kills more than a half million people each year

The spider does, indeed, suck human blood — but only when served in a mosquito. It does not consume the blood by preying directly on humans.

The mosquitoes that the spider eats carry malaria. Not only does the spider fill its belly with the malaria-carrying insects, it also becomes more attractive to prospective mates after eating them.

And, therefore, arachnologist Fiona Cross says it’s time to “embrace the spiders” and use them to help control malaria

In the meantime, while you are thinking about embracing that spider, you may want to simply take a prescription medication to avoid the disease if you are traveling in an area where you could contract the disease.

Oklahoma family seeking medical marijuana for child hopes for legalization

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 5:43 AM

Via FOX23.com
FOX23.com
Via FOX23.com(FOX23.com)

As Oklahoma voters prepare to make a decision on legalizing medical marijuana, one family is using cannabis oil to help a young girl with a rare medical condition.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On FOX23.com: Oklahoma Gov. Fallin sets election date for medical marijuana measure

KOKI has been following the story of Jaqie Angel Warrior for years now. Her mother, Brittany Warrior, said she needs cannabis oil to help with the seizures she has every day.

>> On FOX23.com: New poll finds 62 percent of Oklahomans support medical marijuana measure

Jaqie Angel Warrior suffers from a rare and potentially deadly form of epilepsy. Traditional pharmaceuticals haven't worked well for her, the family says.

She started having seizures at 5 months old. At 20 months old, the family put her on cannabis oil at the advisement of her neurologist. Since then, she has been weaned off all pharmaceuticals.

Jaqie's mother, Brittany Warrior, said they were losing all hope before they tried cannabis oil.

>> Read more trending news 

"Prior to starting cannabis, Jaqie had anywhere from 150 to 300 seizures a day. She was catatonic and life was fading out of her before my eyes," she said.

The family has traveled back and forth, and even temporarily moved to states with legalized medical marijuana.

Now that State Question 788 is on the ballot in Oklahoma, Brittany Warrior hopes that voters will support the measure to help her child.

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Are you hooked on sugar? 5 clues you might be addicted to sugar

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 11:28 AM

These 9 Healthy Sounding Foods have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut Bottle of Naked juice green machine smoothie: 28 grams or about three Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts ¼ cup of Sun Maid raisins: 29 grams or three Krispy Kreme doughnuts Chobani blueberry greek yogurt: 15 grams or 1 ½ Krispy Kreme doughnuts Nature Valley oats and honey crunchy granola bar: 12 grams or about one Krispy Kreme doughnut Vitaminwater: up to 32 grams of sugar or about three Krispy Kreme doughnuts One cup of Mo

What was known to previous generations as a "sweet tooth" is known to ours as a widespread health threat.

Too much dietary sugar causes or contributes to ailments and diseases from insomnia tonight to kidney failure down the road. 

»RELATED: This is what 12 Diet Cokes a day can do to your body, according to Atlanta nutritionists

One study from University of California San Francisco found that drinking sugary drinks like soda can age a body as quickly as cigarettes.

"Our high-sugar diets are a big part of why more than one-third of American adults are clinically obese," Self magazine reported. "Obesity can lead to insulin resistance, which ramps up blood sugar levels, which leads to diabetes."

And if that wasn't enough bad news about the sweet stuff, experts say that the brain responds to sugar the same way it would to addictive drugs. Eating sugar creates a wave of dopamine and serotonin, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals, just as certain drugs do, including cocaine, according to Self. Just like an emerging drug habit, a body craves more sugar after the initial high.

"You then become addicted to that feeling, so every time you eat it you want to eat more," Gina Sam, director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital, explained to Self.

Mark Hyman, M.D. cited a study from David Ludwig, author of Ending the Food Fight, and his Harvard colleagues and concluded that "foods that spike blood sugar are biologically addictive" and they "trigger a special region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens that is known to be 'ground zero' for conventional addiction, such as gambling or drug abuse."

Think you might be hooked on sugar? Hyman has your answer.

He indicated five clues that a person has become biologically addicted to foods that spike blood sugar: 

  • You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  • You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  • You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  • You have health or social problems (of the sort that affect school or work) because of food issues −but continue to eat the same way in spite of the negative consequences.
  • You need increased amounts of the sugary foods you crave to experience any pleasure from consuming them, or to reduce negative emotions.

»RELATED: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says 

Other signs that you're eating too much sugar

Even if you're not eating sugar at rates that could be described as an addiction, don't be too quick to breathe a sigh of relief. You can be eating way too much of the sweet stuff without being entirely hooked. Sugar detox expert Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D. and other medical experts described these red flags that you're consuming too much sugar:

Studies show that your brain responds to sugar the same way it does to cocaine.(Contributed by hivewallpaper.com/For the AJC)

You eat more sugar and then crave more sugar. "It becomes a vicious and addictive cycle," Alpert noted in Self. Part of the cycle is that your taste buds have adapted and you need more sugar to get the same taste, the other component is that the sugar high is followed by a crash. "By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that's like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar," Alpert said.

You feel sluggish during the day. "Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you're consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy," she added. Too much sugar doesn't leave room in your diet for protein and fiber, which are both important for sustained energy.

Your skin breaks out a lot. "Some people are sensitive to getting a spike in insulin from sugar intake, which can set off a hormonal cascade that can lead to a breakout like acne or rosacea," Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, told SELF. Binging on sugar may show up on your face within a few days.

You look old before your time. Eating too much sugar can cause long-term damage to skin proteins−collagen and elastin − leading to premature wrinkles and aging, nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb told Harper's Bazaar. Less desirable gut bacteria also feed on sugar, which might lead to inflammation of the sort seen in skin conditions like eczema.

You're losing sleep. People who eat sugary foods late at night might experience a rush of energy precisely when the body needs to be preparing for rest, resulting in insomnia. "If you're someone who has trouble sleeping, then it might help to reduce the sugar in your diet and be kinder to your gut," Lamb noted.

»RELATED: Trying to beat those sugar cravings? Go to sleep, says a new study

Your brain gets foggy, especially after a meal. When you eat a lot of sugar, blood sugar levels rise and fall too quickly. "Poor blood sugar control is a major risk for cognitive issues and impairment," Alpert said.

How low should you go?

If you're determined to reduce your sugar consumption, a reasonable amount might seem like a deprivation. (Why does sugar have to taste so good?)

The World Health Organization recently recommended a sharp drop in sugar intake for just about everyone on the planet. Just 5 percent of calories should ideally come from added sugars, the WHO advised. That translated to about 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, about the amount in one 8-ounce bottle of sweetened lemon iced tea. The average American takes in almost four times the WHO recommendation, or 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

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Trying to beat those sugar cravings? Go to sleep, says a new study

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 3:20 PM

If you're trying to lose weight, dump added sugar from your kitchen. Added sugars are those that are put into food or drink during processing or preparation. Foods such as fruits contain naturally occurring sugar, but they also provide important nutrients such as vitamins, protein and fiber. Added sugars may make you feel tired and hungry within an hour or two of eating them. You'll be tempted to reach for another sugary food, adding even more empty calories to your diet, and the cycle may repeat itse

Cookies, and brownies and sodas, oh my! If those thoughts are often on your mind, you may need a little more sleep, according to a new study out of the United Kingdom.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Tuesday, found that sleeping longer hours may reduce cravings for sugary foods.

»RELATED: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

A small group of 21 participants participated in a 45-minute sleep consultation at the beginning of the study. By following simple tips such as establishing a relaxing pre-bedtime routine and going to bed at a recommended time, they were able to sleep up to 1.5 hours more each night. Another group didn't receive the consultation.

Each person in the study wore a wrist monitor to record his or her sleep for seven days, and participants also recorded what they ate during this time period. When participants increased their amount of sleep, they reduced the amount of sugar in their diet by as much as 10 grams the next day compared to the amount they took in before the study. They also ate fewer carbs when compared to participants who didn't sleep more.

"We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalized approach," lead researcher Haya Al Khatib, a professor from in the Department of Nutritional sciences at King's College London, said in the statement. "Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices."

»RELATED: 5 easy ways to improve your sleep 

The group that slept longer was given a suggestions on how to get a better night's sleep , like avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establishing a relaxing routine and not going to bed too full or hungry — as well as a recommended bedtime suited to their lifestyle.

"Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions," Khatib said. "We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalized approach."

In addition to spending more time sleeping, the following tips from Live ScienceWebMD and doctoroz.com can help you reduce your sugar cravings:

Don't have sugary foods at home – if you don't have sugary foods in your house, they won't be as easily accessible.

Choose another sweet treat – Satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of fruit instead of candy or a similar unhealthy snack.

Keep portion-controlled servings – Buy sugary snacks that are individually wrapped, such as ice cream sandwiches, and limit yourself to eating just one at a time.

Dilute sugary drinks – If you love sugary sodas or juice, try diluting them with an equal amount of seltzer to cut your sugar intake in half. As you get used to the reduced sugar, continue to increase the amount of seltzer.

Try chewing gum – Chewing a stick of gum can help reduce sugar cravings.

Combine foods – Satisfy your sugar craving by combining what you're craving with a healthier option. For example, try eating chocolate chips mixed with some almonds.

Eat regularly – If you eat regular meals and snacks, your blood sugar is less likely to dip and cause you to make unhealthy choices and reach for sugary foods.

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Study: Heart attack care for women pales in comparison to men

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 1:42 PM

A 61-year-old woman reported to an emergency room last year reporting chest pains. Doctors found she had takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or "broken heart syndrome." It has similar symptoms as a heart attack but no arteries are blocked. The woman said she was "close to inconsolable" after the death of Meha, her dog.

new study recently revealed that heart attack care is alarmingly unequal for women when compared to men. Researchers found that many women who have had the most serious type of heart attack − where the coronary artery is completely blocked − don't receive the same tests and treatment that men receive under similar circumstances.

»RELATED: Women less likely than men to get CPR from bystanders - and more likely to die - study suggests

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers reviewed 180,368 Swedish patients, who had experienced a heart attack between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2013. During the 10-year span, the results of the study showed that women were three times more likely to die in the year after having a heart attack in comparison to their male counterparts due to lack of treatment. 

It was also reported that women who had a total blockage of an artery, a STEMI, ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, faced a 34 percent lower chance of receiving the recommended treatments, like stents, than men. Additionally, women were 24 percent less likely to be prescribed statins, which lower the chances of another heart attack, and 14 percent less likely to be given aspirin, which can stop blood clots.

“We need to work harder to shift the perception that heart attacks only affect a certain type of person,” said study co-author Chris Gale, of the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, in a statement.

Although the risk of heart disease in women has been publicized recently with the help of the American Heart Association's "Go Red" campaign, many women – and healthcare professionals – still may think that the typical heart disease patient is a middle-aged man. As a result, they may fail to see crucial signs that point to the presence of heart disease in women.

If you're a woman, here's what you need to know about protecting your heart:

Realize the risk. 

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., but women often dismiss symptoms, according to the American Heart Association. They may mistake it for another, less serious illness or stress, and even if they think they may be having a heart attack, some just take an aspirin and never call 911.

Only 13 percent of women in an American Heart Association survey said that heart disease is their greatest personal health risk. Instead, they were more concerned about getting breast cancer, despite the fact that heart disease kills six times more women every year when compared to breast cancer.

RELATED: 4 questions every woman in her 30s should ask her doctor

Take preventative steps.

The American Heart Association recommends that you make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your individual risk for heart disease. In addition, if you smoke, you should quit, and it also helps to start an exercise program. Even walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk. Eating a healthy diet that's low in saturated fats and processed foods and high in fiber can also improve your heart health.

Risk factors such as increasing high blood pressure during menopause, experiencing depression or high levels of stress or having an autoimmune disease increase a woman's risk of having heart disease, according to John Hopkins Medicine. If these apply to you, you may want to take additional preventative steps.

»RELATED: You can avoid strokes and heart attacks with these two household fruits, study says

Learn the warning signs.

In some cases, warning signs of a heart attack can occur a month or so before the actual event occurs, according to Harvard Medical School. These include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion, anxiety, a racing heart and a heavy or weak feeling in your arms.

During a heart attack, women may experience the classic crushing chest pain that men often have, but it can also be accompanied by other symptoms that could make you wonder whether you're really having a heart attack. You may even have an absence of obvious chest pain, John Hopkins Medicine said. Women are more likely than men to have symptoms such as back pain, indigestion and shortness of breath. They may also feel weak or dizzy, break out into a cold sweat or feel unusually tired.

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