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Indiana Gov. Will Declare 'Public Health' Emergency in County After HIV Spike

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) — The gov­er­nor of Indi­ana will declare a “pub­lic health dis­as­ter emer­gency” after a spike of HIV cases in south­ern Indi­ana has alarmed health officials.


I will declare a pub­lic health emer­gency for Scott County in the next 24 hours

— Gov­er­nor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 25, 2015

Gov. Mike Pence’s planned dec­la­ra­tion comes after Scott County has seen 71 con­firmed and seven pre­lim­i­nary pos­i­tive cases of HIV. While nation­wide HIV is pri­mar­ily spread through sex­ual inter­course, this out­break has been fueled by intra­venous drug use, accord­ing to the Indi­ana Health Department.

I am deeply trou­bled by this out­break, and stop­ping it is a top pri­or­ity for our depart­ment,” State Health Com­mis­sioner Dr. Jerome Adams said in a state­ment last week. “We are engag­ing local, state, and national part­ners to deter­mine where we can most effec­tively focus our efforts. Extra care is being taken to invest resources in get­ting peo­ple off drugs and into treat­ment, since drug abuse is the clear dri­ving force behind this outbreak.”

On Wednes­day, Pence trav­eled to Scott County to talk to local health offi­cials about the increase in cases and what can be done about it.



Meet­ing w/ Scott Co. local offi­cials & com­mu­nity mem­bers regard­ing the HIV out­break

— Gov­er­nor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 25, 2015

A team from the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion has been dis­patched to the region to help local and state health offi­cials. The team, includ­ing two med­ical doc­tors and an epi­demi­ol­o­gist, will work with state and local health offi­cials to try and com­bat the ris­ing HIV cases.

A pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign to alert res­i­dents about the increase in HIV cases has started in the region.

Accord­ing to the state health depart­ment the out­break is mainly related to the intra­venous drug use of a pre­scrip­tion opi­oid painkiller called Opana, although some peo­ple reported that unpro­tected sex also led to infection.

Until now, every­body thought they could just do that at will and there was no con­se­quence to it. Now we see so many peo­ple with HIV that never knew they had it,” Scott County Sher­iff Dan McClain told ABC News affil­i­ate WHAS-TV in Louisville, Ken­tucky, about the out­break that started in mid-December.

HIV experts say they hope that the state will con­sider allow­ing a nee­dle exchange pro­gram to help com­bat the grow­ing spread of HIV infections.

Anthony Hayes, man­ag­ing direc­tor of pub­lic affairs and pol­icy at Gay Men’s Health Cri­sis in New York, said that New York’s nee­dle exchange pro­gram has helped to sig­nif­i­cantly reduce HIV infec­tions through intra­venous drug use.

Research has shown over and over again that syringe exchange reduces risky behav­ior,” said Hayes. “What needs to hap­pen is a com­pas­sion­ate reac­tion to what is a clearly a pub­lic health problem.”

Accord­ing to the Gay Men’s Health Cri­sis, the National Insti­tute of Health found that HIV rates dropped by 30 per­cent in areas with safe nee­dle exchanges.

If you clamp down too hard in an uncom­pas­sion­ate way…then what you end up doing is [dri­ving] peo­ple who are using injec­tion drugs under­ground,” he said. “Which will only increase this behavior.”


Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Simple Rice Cooking Method May Drastically Cut Calorie Count, Scientists Say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A sim­ple method for cook­ing rice could some­day reduce its calo­rie count by as much as 60 per­cent, the authors of a new research study say.

The tech­nique involves boil­ing the rice with a small amount of coconut oil, plac­ing it in the fridge for sev­eral hours to cool it down and then microwav­ing it briefly.

The hypoth­e­sis is that we turn more of the starch into an indi­gestible form of starch, which reduces the amount of calo­ries the body will absorb,” Dr. Push­para­jah Thavara­jva, the researcher from the Col­lege of Chem­i­cal Sci­ences in Sri Lanka who super­vised the study, told ABC News.

The sci­en­tists looked at 38 vari­eties of Sri Lankan rice and chose to test the one with the low­est amount of nat­u­rally occur­ring starch resis­tant to diges­tion, explained Sud­hair James, the grad­u­ate stu­dent who pre­sented the pre­lim­i­nary research ear­lier this week at the National Meet­ing and Expo­si­tion of the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety in Den­ver. After try­ing out a vari­ety of cook­ing approaches, they found adding oil dur­ing cook­ing and cool­ing the rice down worked best, he said.

The beau­ti­ful piece is there was a fifteen-fold increase in the amount of resis­tant starch after using this method,” James said in a news con­fer­ence Wednes­day. “This led to a 10– to 15-percent calo­rie reduction.”

Starch mol­e­cules are shaped like dough­nuts, explained Thavara­jva. The added oil seeps into the holes of the mol­e­cules dur­ing cook­ing to help block diges­tive enzymes. Cool­ing the rice then allows the rice mol­e­cules to rearrange and pack together more tightly to increase their resis­tance to diges­tion, he explained.

The tech­nique shows such promise, James said, that one day it might be used in com­mer­cial prepa­ra­tions and could be a low-cost way to help fight obe­sity and type 2 diabetes.

We as sci­en­tists believe that if we are going to do this process on the best vari­eties and if this method is going to work this could be a mas­sive break­through,” James said. “We could lower the calo­ries in rice by 50 to 60 percent.”

But Thavara­jva was quick to point out that the cook­ing tech­nique will not be effec­tive with all vari­eties of rice. He said that they are not clear why it works with some types but not oth­ers and that the team needed to do more research to find out how well their exper­i­ment trans­lated into the real world.

We know that it will increase the amount of resis­tant starch and reduce calo­rie count, that’s true. But it might not lead to any real calo­rie reduc­tion ben­e­fits depend­ing upon how the starch is used by the gut bac­te­ria,” he said.

There is prece­dence for this the­ory, Thavara­jva added. Work done on pota­toes at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and stud­ies at Indian Uni­ver­si­ties using legumes and cere­als noted sim­i­lar starch-and-calorie reduc­tions using sim­i­lar prepa­ra­tions, he said.

Could we do it with other starches like bread?” he asked. “That’s the real question.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Why Legendary Bodybuilder Who Died with Almost Zero Body Fat Lives On YORK) — Aus­trian body­builder Andreas Mun­zer, who died 19 years ago this month, remains both the gold stan­dard and a cau­tion­ary tale for men striv­ing for the ripped, lean look the sport demands.

Although it could not be con­firmed, he appears to have died from mul­ti­ple organ fail­ure, the likely result of years of alleged ana­bolic steroid abuse. He was 31, and eas­ily rec­og­niz­able from the images that have gone viral in recent days.

Munzer’s autopsy revealed he had almost 0 per­cent body fat, the leg­end goes. Such a small amount of body fat could have has­tened his demise, experts say.

You need body fat for cel­lu­lar func­tion, energy use and to pad the joints and organs,” said Carol Gar­ber, pro­fes­sor of move­ment sci­ences at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity in New York City. “Hav­ing too lit­tle can lead to nutri­tional defi­cien­cies, elec­trolyte imbal­ances and mal­func­tion of the heart, kid­ney and other organs.”

Men require at least 3 per­cent body fat and women at least 12 per­cent in order for the body to func­tion prop­erly, Gar­ber said. Below that is where you start to see seri­ous health prob­lems. Some­times it leads to organ fail­ure and death, she added.

But despite the risks, Munzer’s pic­tures and pro­file fre­quently go viral on body­build­ing forums all these years later because of the sports’ per­pet­ual obses­sion with strip­ping every last ounce of adi­pose tis­sue from their body, accord­ing to Brian Wash­ing­ton, com­mis­sioner of the United States Body­build­ing Federation.

Per­cent­age of body fat is a major issue with body­builders,” Wash­ing­ton said. “They devote a lot of their efforts and money on prod­ucts to go as low as they can pos­si­bly go.”

Oth­ers agree.

There are still some body­builders obsessed about their num­bers who take their body fat per­cent­age read­ings on a reg­u­lar basis read­ers,” said Louis Zwick, the pro­ducer of Mus­cle­ma­nia, a body­build­ing and fit­ness com­pe­ti­tion pro­duc­tion com­pany, adding that even those who don’t care about an exact per­cent­age do care about get­ting as ripped as pos­si­ble for competition.

Zwick, who said he was part of the film crew that taped Münzer’s last com­pe­ti­tion before his death 10 days later, said the Aus­trian was very lean but doubts his body was com­pletely absent of fat.

I’ve never really seen any­one who really had zero body fat,” he said. “You just can’t be. You wouldn’t survive.”

But it is pos­si­ble to get down to so lit­tle body fat it becomes unmea­sur­able by stan­dard meth­ods, Columbia’s Gar­ber said. Pinch­ing the skin to mea­sure the thick­ness of fat just below the sur­face is the most com­mon way of mea­sur­ing body fat per­cent­age, she said. It wouldn’t be pre­cise enough to esti­mate the degree of accu­racy needed to make such a claim, she said.

The aver­age body­builder is prob­a­bly between 3 and 5 per­cent body fat, at least dur­ing com­pe­ti­tion sea­son, Mus­cle­ma­nia pro­ducer Zwick esti­mated. Some cycle up in weight dur­ing the off-season but as the sport has moved toward a more nat­ural look in the past decade, many strive to stay in shape all year long, he said.

Mun­zer, Zwick said, was leaner than most. He was always mus­cled up and stripped of fat.

That’s why he’s still a leg­end today,” he said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Amy's Kitchen Recall: What to Know About Spinach Listeria Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amy’s Kitchen and at least three other organic food com­pa­nies have recalled prod­ucts this week because of lis­te­ria found in organic spinach, which may cause you to think twice before you reach for foods con­tain­ing Pop­eye the Sailor Man’s favorite ingredient.

Here’s what you need to know:

What was recalled?

Amy’s Kitchen, which makes organic prod­ucts, recalled nearly 74,000 cases of them because of the lis­te­ria scare this week. For a full list of which prod­ucts and what dates were on them, click here.

Three other com­pa­nies — Ris­ing Moon Organ­ics, Supe­rior Foods, Inc., and Twin City Foods, Inc. — also recalled prod­ucts because of con­t­a­m­i­nated spinach from an organic sup­plier. Twin City Foods said its prod­ucts were sold at Weg­mans Super­mar­kets, Inc., which also issued a sep­a­rate recall because the spinach was sold under the Weg­mans brand name.

Who sup­plied the greens?

The Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion said its pol­icy is not to name the sup­plier or com­ment on whether it is inves­ti­gat­ing, but Coastal Green LLC in Oxnard, Cal­i­for­nia, told ABC News it sup­plied leafy greens to all three companies.

Coastal Green said it noti­fied the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion as soon as it detected lis­te­ria dur­ing rou­tine test­ing and real­ized some of its shipped prod­uct may have been con­t­a­m­i­nated, said spokesman Paul Fanelli. Coastal Green processes organic and con­ven­tional veg­eta­bles and is work­ing with the FDA to resolve the lis­te­ria prob­lem, he said.

We’re in the mid­dle of an inves­ti­ga­tion here as to what the root cause was of the lis­te­ria,” Fanelli said. “Once we deter­mine what that is, we’ll change our poli­cies and our pro­ce­dures accordingly.”

Who got sick?

There have been no reported lis­te­ria ill­nesses tied to any of these prod­ucts, but Weg­mans and Twin City Foods said they issued recalls to be cautious.

Amy’s Kitchen, Ris­ing Moon Organ­ics, and Supe­rior Foods did not imme­di­ately respond to requests for comment.

What is lis­te­ria monocytogenes?

Lis­te­ria is a bac­terium that lives in ani­mals’ diges­tive tracts but can cause an ill­ness called lis­te­rio­sis when con­sumed by humans. This hap­pens when fruit and veg­etable crops are con­t­a­m­i­nated by ani­mal waste. That can hap­pen because of tainted irri­ga­tion or wash water, or because ani­mals got into the field.

It’s very dif­fi­cult to wash them so com­pletely and dis­in­fect them so com­pletely that they become com­pletely clean and ster­ile,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair­man of pre­ven­tive med­i­cine at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter in Nashville, Ten­nessee, explain­ing that this is one of the rea­sons it is rec­om­mended to give veg­eta­bles an addi­tional wash at home before con­sum­ing them.

What are the symptoms?

Lis­te­ria usu­ally results in a fever, mus­cle aches and gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms, accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. It’s espe­cially harm­ful to older adults, new­borns and preg­nant women, but healthy peo­ple may con­sume the bac­te­ria with­out get­ting sick, accord­ing to the CDC.

Lis­te­rio­sis can prompt dehy­dra­tion from vom­it­ing and diar­rhea and can be espe­cially harm­ful to peo­ple with under­ly­ing health con­di­tions, Schaffner said. The bac­terium can also get into the blood­stream, he said.

Lab­o­ra­tory tests can con­firm diag­no­sis, and doc­tors will usu­ally treat with antibi­otics and flu­ids, he said.

How seri­ous is listeriosis?

The deadly bac­te­ria sick­ens about 1,600 peo­ple each year and kills about 260 peo­ple, accord­ing to the CDC. But healthy peo­ple who con­sume it don’t always become ill.

Why is lis­te­ria problematic?

If food hasn’t been heated thor­oughly, lis­te­ria can live on even after it’s been cooked, Schaffner said. And unlike other bac­te­ria, lis­te­ria can con­tinue repro­duc­ing in cold tem­per­a­tures such as a refrig­er­a­tor and doesn’t die in a freezer, he said.

This is a ras­cal,” he said. “It may cre­ate an infec­tious dose even though you’ve kept the food in the fridge.”

What does the out­break show us?

Food safety lawyer Bill Mar­ler said the lis­te­ria out­break illus­trates how com­plex the food sys­tem has become, but that rou­tine test­ing is effective.

Prod­ucts like frozen spinach travel all over the coun­try and make it into mul­ti­ple brands,” he said. “It does make doing a recall a chal­lenge, and if an out­break [occurs, it can be] dif­fi­cult to pin­point the cause.”

On the plus side of the recall, it shows that test­ing of prod­ucts [for harm­ful bac­te­ria] works and being trans­par­ent with that infor­ma­tion, as required by the FDA, will save lives,” Mar­ler added.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Ultrasound Study Reveals How Some Fetuses React to Smoking Moms

Dr Nadja Reiss­land, Durham Uni­ver­sity(DURHAM, Eng­land) — Smok­ing has long been known to cause com­pli­ca­tions in preg­nancy but a new study aims to show how the unborn baby of a smok­ing mother reacts differently.

A small pilot study pub­lished ear­lier this week in Acta Pae­di­atrica found that fetuses of smok­ing moms touch their face and mouth much more than fetuses of non­smok­ing mothers.

Using high-definition, 4-D ultra­sounds, researchers, led by Dr. Nadja Reiss­land of Durham Uni­ver­sity in the United King­dom, inves­ti­gated minute mouth and hand move­ments of the fetuses in both the smok­ing and non­smok­ing mothers.

Four out of the 20 preg­nan­cies stud­ied involved moth­ers who smoked. Each woman had scans at four inter­vals between their 24th and 36th weeks of pregnancy.

Reiss­land said fetuses of the smok­ing moth­ers had a 58 per­cent increase of mouth move­ment and a 69 per­cent increase in self-touch, where the fetuses touched their face or head, com­pared to the unborn babies of women who didn’t smoke.

Reiss­land said pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that moth­ers with high lev­els of stress are con­nected to a high level of fetal move­ments, also caus­ing stress in the unborn baby.

Fetal facial move­ment pat­terns dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly between fetuses of moth­ers who smoked com­pared to those of moth­ers who didn’t smoke,” Reiss­land said, adding that a big­ger study is needed to con­firm the findings.

These results point to the fact that nico­tine expo­sure per se has an effect on fetal devel­op­ment over and above the effects of stress and depression.”

The extra-movements made by the fetuses of smok­ing preg­nan­cies could indi­cate that nico­tine or other tox­ins from the smoke are hav­ing an effect on a fetus’ devel­op­ment. Tra­di­tion­ally, Reiss­land said, the fetus’ move­ment starts to lessen as they develop to full-term pregnancy.

The brain…matures indi­cates cer­tain move­ments for the fetus that the fetus can make, it’s a proxy for brain devel­op­ment,” said Reiss­land. “As they grow older, they inte­grate the move­ment [and] they make fewer but more com­plex movements.”

All infants in the study were born at a healthy weight and size with no obvi­ous health issues.

Tech­nol­ogy means we can now see what was pre­vi­ously hid­den, reveal­ing how smok­ing affects the devel­op­ment of the fetus in ways we did not real­ize,” study co-author Pro­fes­sor Brian Fran­cis of Lan­caster Uni­ver­sity said. “This is yet fur­ther evi­dence of the neg­a­tive effects of smok­ing in pregnancy.”

Reiss­land says she hopes to fol­low up with the infants of smok­ing moth­ers to see whether they show any new signs of health effects or devel­op­men­tal delays related to their expo­sure to nico­tine in the womb.

Dr. Mar­jorie Green­field, a pro­fes­sor of obstet­rics and gyne­col­ogy at Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tals Case West­ern Reserve School of Med­i­cine in Cleve­lend, said the study was inter­est­ing but she wanted to see more evi­dence con­nect­ing the extra move­ment in the fetuses to any health effects after birth.

I think the study is inter­est­ing in that it gives us the win­dow to look at the effects of look­ing at the win­dow on a baby,” Green­field said. “I think it’s kind of dra­matic in that, look, we can see this behav­ior that’s already different.”

Green­field said the dra­matic images could poten­tially help dis­cour­age other women from smok­ing dur­ing preg­nancy, but said she finds the patients who con­tinue to smoke usu­ally have other stres­sors in their life or other issues that keep them from quit­ting smoking.

There isn’t any mom who wants to hurt their kids,” she said. “They feel like they can’t man­age with­out the cigarettes.”

Accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters of Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, 10 per­cent of women reported smok­ing dur­ing the last three months of preg­nancy. Smok­ing dur­ing preg­nancy has been con­nected a num­ber of com­pli­ca­tions, includ­ing low birth weight, mis­car­riage, or pre­ma­ture birth.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Adoption May Affect IQ Scores for the Better

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Chil­dren who are adopted may have an advan­tage over other kids that sci­en­tists have never pre­vi­ously considered.

Based on find­ings of a new study, young­sters who were adopted fared bet­ter in IQ tests than their broth­ers or sis­ters who stayed with their bio­log­i­cal parents.

Study co-author Eric Turkheimer, a pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia in Char­lottesville, says the dif­fer­ence was about four points higher based on an analy­sis of 400 sets of full male broth­ers from Swe­den who were given IQ tests that are part of manda­tory mil­i­tary service.

Turkheimer acknowl­edges that the research can’t say defin­i­tively whether adop­tion is respon­si­ble for a higher IQ of four points, the equiv­a­lent to mov­ing up ten per­cent in cog­ni­tive abil­ity, com­pared to the gen­eral population.

How­ever, the find­ings do seem to sug­gest that even when genetic fac­tors are con­sid­ered, “the more edu­cated the adop­tive par­ents are, the big­ger the advan­tage for the child.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Study Finds Concussions Affect Baseball Players' Hitting

Moodboard/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — It takes a while for Major League Base­ball hit­ters to bounce back from a con­cus­sion, a new study has found.

After exam­in­ing the records of 66 posi­tion play­ers who suf­fered head injuries between 2007 and 2013, the study pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Sports Med­i­cine reports that their bat­ting aver­age, on base per­cent­age and slug­ging aver­age all dipped notice­ably in the two weeks after com­ing back from their con­cus­sion, as com­pared to what they were hit­ting before get­ting hurt.

As of now, Major League Base­ball has a seven-day dis­abled list to allow play­ers to recover from con­cus­sions, but there is actu­ally no time limit as to how long they need to stay off the field. If they pass a pro­to­col involv­ing tests of phys­i­cal and men­tal func­tion­ing, they can resume playing.

Although study author Dr. Jef­frey Bazar­ian of the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester says that a recov­ery rate of 90 per­cent is prob­a­bly good enough to return to most pro­fes­sions, he argues that base­ball play­ers should be fully recov­ered before step­ping up to the plate where fast­balls often exceed 95 mph.

How­ever, Dr. Gary Green, baseball’s med­ical direc­tor who ques­tioned the study’s method­ol­ogy, main­tains that “the player asso­ci­a­tion and MLB make the deci­sion on return. If there’s any dis­crep­ancy, we have an inde­pen­dent neu­rol­o­gist give his opinion.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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How Many Minutes Should Kids Really Spend Doing Homework?

iStock/Thinkstock(OVIEDO, Spain) — Sev­enty min­utes of home­work a day doesn’t seem like a lot but a Span­ish study sug­gests that it might be the per­fect amount of time to improve grades, par­tic­u­larly in math and science.

Researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Oviedo in Spain ana­lyzed the per­for­mance of about 7,700 boys and girls with a mean age of about 13. A cou­ple of things were dis­cov­ered right off the bat: kids did bet­ter in stan­dard­ized tests when assigned home­work and when they did it with­out any assistance.

How­ever, the time spent doing home­work was cru­cial when it came to math and sci­ence scores, which declined a bit when stu­dents were given between 90 and 100 min­utes of home­work. Fur­ther­more, the improve­ment in scores when 70 to 90 min­utes of home­work was assigned was negligible.

There­fore, 70 min­utes of home­work for ado­les­cents is preferable.

Co-lead authors Javier Suarez-Alvarez and Ruben Fernandez-Alonso con­cluded, “It is not nec­es­sary to assign huge quan­ti­ties of home­work, but it is impor­tant that assign­ment is sys­tem­atic and reg­u­lar, with the aim of instill­ing work habits and pro­mot­ing autonomous, self-regulated learning.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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