Killing it with crutches, athlete with spina bifida takes on extreme racing

Misty Diaz showed no fear as she lined up for the Red Bull 400, a brutal foot race straight up the Olympic ski jump in Park City, Utah. She’s conquered that 400-meter sprint twice. In fact, the 34-year-old competed in more than 200 obstacle and endurance races — all of them on crutches. Diaz has a severe form of spina bifida, a birth defect that kept her spine from developing properly. Doctors thought she’d never walk. By her mid-20s, the pain and exhaustion of 28 surgeries left her depressed and…

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Racial disparities in US cancer deaths are shrinking, study finds

Racial disparities in cancer deaths between black and white patients in the United States are receding — but more progress is needed to completely close the gap for some cancer types and age groups, according to a new study. Among men, the overall cancer death rate was 47% higher for blacks than for whites in 1990, but that difference dropped to 19% in 2016, and the disparity has been nearly eliminated in men younger than 50, according to the study published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians on Thursday.…

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Health alert for women who drink 2 or more diet sodas day

NEW YORK — More bad news for diet soda lovers: Drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is linked to an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50, according to a new study by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. The risks were highest for women with no history of heart disease or diabetes and women who were obese or African-American. Previous research has shown a link between diet beverages and stroke, dementia, Type 2…

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All breast cancer patients should get genetic testing, surgeons say

Barriers to genetic testing need to fall as knowledge of inherited cancer risks grows, surgeons say. Genetic testing should be made available for all patients diagnosed with breast cancer, according to guidelines published Thursday by the American Society of Breast Surgeons. The professional medical society has more than 3,000 members in the United States and 35 countries throughout the world. Its new recommendations follow a December study that found a similar rate of genetic mutations in breast cancer patients who did not qualify for testing under previous criteria and those…

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Wife of White House official pushes false anti-vaccination claims: ‘Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases’

The wife of White House communications chief Bill Shine said Wednesday that childhood diseases such as measles “keep you healthy & fight cancer.” In a series of tweets echoing anti-vaccination views she’s espoused publicly for years, Darla Shine lamented the fact her children had received the MMR vaccine, which guards against measles, mumps and rubella. She added that people of her generation – the Baby Boomers – were healthier now because they had measles as children. “I had the #Measles #Mumps #ChickenPox as a child and so did every kid I…

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India wants to make medical tourism a $9 billion industry by 2020

There are many reasons people go to India: the culture, the food, the weather. But in recent years, another factor drawing visitors is health care. India’s medical tourism industry could grow by 200% by 2020, hitting $9 billion, according to Ministry of Tourism figures. As it tries to expand the industry, the country is trying to make it easier for people to come for medical reasons. It’s touting advanced facilities, skilled doctors and low-cost treatment but also traditional practices such as yoga and Ayurveda. “India can provide medical and health…

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Ketamine-like depression treatment on track for FDA approval

A ketamine-like drug for treatment-resistant depression was backed by a US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Tuesday. If it is then approved by the FDA, the drug — called esketamine — may provide a new option for patients with major depressive disorder who have tried at least two other antidepressants without success. A panel of experts voted to endorse the drug, which is made in nasal spray form by the pharmaceutical company Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Fourteen members voted that the benefits outweighed the risk,…

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How a defibrillator implant is giving heart patients peace of mind

RICHMOND, Va. — Steve Hambleton recently received a defibrillator to help him manage an irregular heartbeat. Despite living a healthy and active life, he knows he’s at a higher risk of going into cardiac arrest. He recently had a defibrillator implanted to help ensure a healthy heart. “I walk anywhere from 10 to 15 miles a day,” Hambleton said. “So, having this is my security policy. If I were to have a heart attack, this would kick in as soon as that happened and revive me.” Sudden Cardiac Death is…

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Massive insect decline could have ‘catastrophic’ environmental impact, study says

Bees swarm in the sky as Palestinian workers remove frames from beehives to collect honeycombs in the Gaza Strip. Insect populations are declining precipitously worldwide due to pesticide use and other factors, with a potentially “catastrophic” effect on the planet, a study has warned. More than 40% of insect species could become extinct in the next few decades, according to the “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers” report, published in the journal Biological Conservation. Insect biomass is declining by a staggering 2.5% a year, a rate…

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