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More Than Half of Patients with Alzheimer’s Never Told Diagnosis

Beau Lark/Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Alzheimer’s dis­ease, which is esti­mated to affect nearly 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, is not a nor­mal part of aging.

Now, a new report pub­lished Tues­day sug­gests that more than half of patients with Alzheimer’s dis­ease may not even have been told their diag­no­sis by their doctors.

Accord­ing to the newly released 2015 Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Facts and Fig­ures report, physi­cians fre­quently report that they are afraid of caus­ing patients emo­tional dis­tress by reveal­ing the diag­no­sis of Alzheimer’s.

Other find­ings from the 88-page report include the grow­ing rate of Alzheimer’s, the enor­mous eco­nomic bur­den, such as health care costs of $226 bil­lion, and the increas­ing death rate from Alzheimer’s, which pre­dicts 700,000 Amer­i­cans will die in 2015.

Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s dis­ease, researchers say active med­ical care can improve the qual­ity of life for indi­vid­u­als liv­ing with Alzheimer’s dis­ease and their caregivers.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

NHL Star Darren Helm's Girlfriend Delivers Baby in Back Seat of Car

Hans Nyberg/iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Dar­ren Helm is known as one of the fastest play­ers in the NHL, but when it came to get­ting his girl­friend to the hos­pi­tal when she went into labor, the Detroit Red Wings cen­ter wasn’t fast enough.

Helm’s girl­friend Devon Englot deliv­ered the couple’s sec­ond child in the back seat of their car early Mon­day morn­ing as he drove on I-96, on his way to the Prov­i­dence Park Hospital.

I was try­ing to get to the hos­pi­tal as quick as I could,” Helm said Tues­day after the team’s workout.

He was sleep­ing at around 11 p.m. Sun­day when Devon woke him and “said things were hap­pen­ing really fast,” he said.

It came on so quick, we thought we’d have some time to get to the hos­pi­tal, and things just took a turn,” he said. “The baby was ready to come out and say hello, and that’s what she did.”

The new baby girl, Rylee Klaire, and her mother were both doing fine, he said.

I’m extremely proud of what [Devon] did, the courage, the pain she had to endure, it’s amaz­ing,” Helm said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Women Facing Same Choice as Angelina Jolie Talk Life-Changing Decision

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In a per­sonal essay for the New York Times, Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie recounted the painful and life-changing choice to remove her ovaries and fal­lop­ian tubes in an effort to sig­nif­i­cantly lower her can­cer risk.

It’s a choice many women at high risk for devel­op­ing breast or ovar­ian can­cer have faced out of the spot­light, and in some cases women decide that imme­di­ate surgery is not right for them.

Lind­say Avner was just 22 when she tested pos­i­tive for the same genetic muta­tion on the BRCA1 gene that Angelina Jolie has. The gene muta­tion alone indi­cates a 55– to 65-percent chance of devel­op­ing breast can­cer and a 39-percent chance of devel­op­ing ovar­ian can­cer, accord­ing to the National Can­cer Insti­tute. When com­bined with a fam­ily his­tory of the dis­ease, the chances are even greater.

I had con­vinced that I [would have] tested neg­a­tive,” Avner said. “I felt like I had my father’s side…I was like I’m not going to have to deal with it. It was totally shock­ing and totally jarring.”

While nation­ally just 1.3 per­cent of women will be diag­nosed with ovar­ian can­cer and 1 in 8 women will have breast can­cer, women with the BRCA gene muta­tion have a 45– to 65-percent chance of devel­op­ing breast can­cer and an 11– to 40-percent chance of devel­op­ing ovar­ian can­cer, depend­ing on if it’s a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Avner said in 2006 she was faced with one clear option to pro­tect her­self. She could have her breasts and ovaries removed to nearly elim­i­nate her related can­cer risk.

Here I am at 22 years old and I feel like there’s a cloud of can­cer fol­low­ing me,” said Avner.

At 23, Avner had a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy, but did not have the sec­ond surgery to remove her ovaries and fal­lop­ian tubes, which would throw her into menopause. Avner said she and her doc­tors decided to wait until she was 35 to have the sec­ond surgery so she could have a chance to have children.

Avner said she tried to crowd out this med­ical time­line in her twen­ties but some­times it was hard to ignore.

In the back of your mind [there’s a] lurch­ing feel­ing, ‘Hurry up get mar­ried, have chil­dren, get your ovaries out at 35,’” Avner, now 32, recalled. “That pres­sure it was undeniable.”

Even­tu­ally Avner froze her eggs to take the pres­sure off her rela­tion­ships. Now 32, Avner is engaged and plans to start a fam­ily as soon as she’s mar­ried later this year.

Yes, you want life to unfold [nat­u­rally],” said Avner. But, “You have infor­ma­tion you can’t ignore.”

Avner founded the Bright Pink non-profit orga­ni­za­tion that aims to edu­cate young women at risk for breast and ovar­ian can­cer so they can be proac­tive. Avner said she wants to help other young women fac­ing the same sit­u­a­tion she did.

Angela Smith, one woman whom Avner worked with, said it took seven years for her to decide to go ahead with both the dou­ble mas­tec­tomy and removal of her ovaries. Smith was 30, with a 7-year-old son, when she first tested pos­i­tive for the BRCA1 gene in 2007.

After the test Smith said she didn’t feel ready to have surg­eries and instead opted for high level of med­ical screen­ings. Last year, after a biopsy led to an MRI and addi­tional worry, Smith decided to go ahead with the operations.

I kind of thought…‘what I am gain­ing keep­ing these body parts?’ It seemed like the nat­ural deci­sion at that point,” she said.

After the surg­eries Smith said she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders.

I didn’t real­ize how heavy it was,” she said. “I remem­ber wak­ing up and being under anes­the­sia [think­ing], ‘They did it, I’m going to be OK and I’m going to be here to see my son grow up.’”

Both Smith and Avner hope that Jolie’s essay will encour­age women to be proac­tive about reduc­ing can­cer risks, and Avner thinks the essay could save hun­dreds to thou­sands of lives. Avner said women, like her­self, who are at a high risk for can­cers need to edu­cate them­selves so they can grap­ple with tough ques­tions about their future.

Ninety per­cent of the time I feel strong and empow­ered and 10 per­cent I feel, ‘My gosh, isn’t this a lot?’” said Avner.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

What You Should Know About Angelina Jolie's Surgery

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In a mov­ing and per­sonal op-ed piece, Angelina Jolie announced on Tues­day that she has under­gone surgery to remove her ovaries and fal­lop­ian tubes as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure to lower her risk of cancer.

The actress had planned to have the surgery, but went ahead with it ear­lier than expected after a test indi­cated she could be at risk for a tumor.

I went through what I imag­ine thou­sands of other women have felt,” she wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times. “I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no rea­son to think I wouldn’t live to see my chil­dren grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”

The surgery called, laparo­scopic bilat­eral salpingo-oophorectomy, meant remov­ing her ovaries and Fal­lop­ian tubes as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure, which effec­tively put the actress into early menopause.

Experts say they appre­ci­ate how the actress and human­i­tar­ian has shined a light on the choice that thou­sands of women are forced to decide in their life­time whether to go through a life-changing surgery or live with the risk.

ABC News talked to a num­ber of experts to look at the surgery Jolie under­went and its effects:

Who Should Con­sider Surgery?

After under­go­ing a bilat­eral mas­tec­tomy two years ago, Jolie wrote in a pre­vi­ous op-ed in the New York Times that she had tested pos­i­tive for the BRCA1 gene muta­tion that had left her at a higher risk for both breast and ovar­ian can­cer. Com­bined with her fam­ily his­tory, Jolie said in her op-ed on Tues­day, that her doc­tors rec­om­mended she have the surgery to remove her ovaries early, in order to sig­nif­i­cantly lower her risk of ovar­ian cancer.

Experts say each woman who tests pos­i­tive for the BRCA gene muta­tion (either BRCA1 or BRCA2) or who has a fam­ily his­tory of either breast or ovar­ian can­cer should have a dis­cus­sion with their doc­tor about pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures, includ­ing pos­si­bly surgery.

Dr. Robert DeBernardo, a gyne­co­logic oncol­o­gist in the Depart­ment of Gyne­co­logic Oncol­ogy at Cleve­land Clinic Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Insti­tute, said women with a BRCA muta­tion have about a 20 to 40 per­cent chance of devel­op­ing the can­cer, depend­ing on whether they have the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 muta­tion, com­pared with a 1.3 per­cent chance for all women, accord­ing to the National Can­cer Institute.

This is a can­cer we can’t detect until it’s advanced,” DeBernardo said. “Once my patients under­stand the risks, they [often] opt to have the surgery.”

The over­all five-year sur­vival rate for ovar­ian can­cer is just 45 per­cent, accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Society.

Women who have a fam­ily his­tory are told to have surgery about 10 years before the can­cer first appeared in their fam­ily. In Jolie’s case, she had the surgery at 39 because her mother was diag­nosed with ovar­ian can­cer at 49, accord­ing to her op-ed.

What Does the Surgery Entail?

The surgery is gen­er­ally safe and can be done laparo­scop­i­cally through the belly­but­ton, DeBernardo said. The ovaries and Fal­lop­ian tubes are usu­ally removed, although the uterus can also be removed.

It will take 30 min­utes and peo­ple go home the same day,” DeBernardo added.

Can You Screen for Ovar­ian Cancer?

Unlike breast can­cer, experts say there is no good screen­ing or test for ovar­ian can­cer that can help doc­tors find the dis­ease in its early stages.

There’s no “accepted screen­ing test for ovar­ian can­cer; we use things like CA-125 blood test and ultra­sounds,” ABC News med­ical con­trib­u­tor Dr. Jen­nifer Ash­ton said. “[They’re] not great screen­ing meth­ods, but it’s all we have.”

What Are the Effects of the Surgery?

By remov­ing the ovaries in the oper­a­tion, women will end up going into early menopause. Side effects of early menopause can ini­tially include hot flashes, mood swings and sleep problems.

While hormone-replacement ther­apy can help, going into early menopause can increase risks for a num­ber of other con­di­tions includ­ing osteo­poro­sis and heart dis­ease, accord­ing to Dr. Laura Corio, an obstetrician-gynecologist and clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor at Mt. Sinai Hos­pi­tal in New York City.

There’s risk fac­tors about going through menopause; you have to worry about bones and heart,” Corio said, adding that early menopause can also raise the risk of colon can­cer.

Are There Other Options Besides Surgery?

Experts stress there are other options for women at high risk of ovar­ian can­cer besides surgery. Women can take birth con­trol, breast-feed their chil­dren or just have their fal­lop­ian tubes removed to reduce their risk of ovar­ian cancer.

Young women who have a fam­ily his­tory but have not had chil­dren can be closely mon­i­tored by their doc­tors until they’ve fin­ished with fam­ily plan­ning and then decide to have the surgery.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Donors Rally to Save Cat Found Bound in Tape

Regina Humane Soci­ety / Face­book(SASKATCHEWAN, Canada) — The story of an abused cat dubbed “Bruce Almighty” has led hun­dreds of peo­ple to donate more than $16,000 in hopes the ani­mal can be saved.

The black-and-white cat had its legs and paws bound by elec­tri­cal tape that cut off blood flow and led to tis­sue loss, accord­ing to the Face­book page of the Regina Humane Soci­ety in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The injured ani­mal “col­lapsed into the arms” of offi­cers after he was res­cued last Wednes­day, and then “purred” as they extracted the tape from the cat’s injured legs, the soci­ety said on Facebook.

The pain and suf­fer­ing he has endured is unimag­in­able” Senior Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Offi­cer B. Lerat said in a state­ment. “He is for­tu­nate that a car­ing mem­ber of the pub­lic alerted us to his where­abouts. The pub­lic really is our eyes and ears when it comes to report­ing cases of neglect and abuse involv­ing animals.”

Lisa Koch, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Regina Humane Soci­ety, said the res­cue offi­cers were amazed that the cat was able to sur­vive with his injuries.

[The offi­cer] said it was almost like he knew he could quit fight­ing because he knew we were going to fight for him,” Koch said of Bruce dur­ing his rescue.

Koch said she was amazed that an online fundrais­ing page for Bruce has been able to raise more than $16,000.

Unfor­tu­nately, Bruce had to have most of his toes removed because of necrotic tis­sue, but the vets at the Regina Humane Soci­ety are hop­ing the ani­mal will be able to keep all of his legs.

In the com­ing days, the focus will remain on wound care to reduce the like­li­hood of infec­tion and ensur­ing he is com­fort­able as he works to heal,” read a state­ment from the Regina Humane Soci­ety. “On behalf of Bruce Almighty we’d like to share our thanks for the incred­i­ble out­pour­ing of support.”

Any­one who knows any­thing about the case is encour­aged to called the Humane Society’s Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices at 306–777-7700.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

A Good Nap Can Jog Your Memory

iStock/Thinkstock(SAARBRÜCKEN, Ger­many) — Peo­ple who have a hard time remem­ber­ing facts, fig­ures or even what they had for break­fast should remem­ber this: a nap might help.

Researchers from Saar­land Uni­ver­sity in Ger­many say short snoozes dur­ing the day can assist in mem­ory recall, such as school work or other impor­tant information.

Sci­en­tists con­ducted an exper­i­ment in which par­tic­i­pants were told to mem­o­rize 90 words and 120 phrases that had no con­nec­tion between the first and sec­ond word.

Half the group then took a 45-minute nap while the other par­tic­i­pants spent that time watch­ing a DVD.

When they were tested again, the nap­pers remem­bered as much as five times the words and phrases as those who stayed awake.

What seems to help is that short bursts of activ­ity called sleep spin­dles, which can be viewed in brain scans, appar­ently trans­form short-term mem­o­ries into ones that last longer.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Today's Marijuana Is Not Your Father's Marijuana

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — It’s pos­si­ble that mar­i­juana smok­ers from the 1960s and 70s might not be able to han­dle the potency of the drug that is now legally avail­able in Colorado. In short, it’s much, much stronger than what Baby Boomers may have puffed back dur­ing their heyday.

The Denver-based test­ing firm Cha­ras Sci­en­tific says that the con­cen­tra­tion of tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol, or THC, in mar­i­juana sold in Col­orado dis­pen­saries is two to three times greater than what was found in grass from sev­eral decades ago. THC is what gets peo­ple high.

Cha­ras Sci­en­tific pres­i­dent Andy LaFrate says the main draw­back of more potent pot is that its effect is inten­si­fied when cooked into food, tak­ing some users by surprise.

Another poten­tial prob­lem is that peo­ple who use pot for med­i­c­i­nal pur­poses should avoid recre­ational mar­i­juana because it doesn’t con­tain cannabid­iol, or CBD, the com­po­nent that pro­vides ben­e­fits to those suf­fer­ing from nau­sea from can­cer chemother­apy, glau­coma or other seri­ous conditions.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Angelina Jolie Underwent Surgery to Have Ovaries Removed

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Angelina Jolie under­went pre­ven­ta­tive surgery to have her ovaries and Fal­lop­ian tubes removed because of can­cer fears, she wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

The pro­ce­dure, laparo­scopic bilat­eral salpingo-oophorectomy, was moti­vated by a fam­ily his­tory of ovar­ian can­cer. A small benign tumor was found on one ovary, but no other signs of can­cer were uncov­ered, she wrote.

Jolie’s mother, grand­mother and aunt died from cancer.

Regard­less of the hor­mone replace­ments I’m tak­ing, I am now in menopause,” she wrote. “I will not be able to have any more chil­dren, and I expect some phys­i­cal changes. But I feel at ease with what­ever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is noth­ing to be feared.”

Pre­vi­ously, Jolie under­went pre­ven­ta­tive dou­ble mas­tec­tomy after a blood test showed a muta­tion in the BRCA1 gene.

In her op-ed, titled “Diary of a Surgery,” Jolie, 39, stated that tests showed ele­vated risks for can­cer, forc­ing her to move up the surgery.

I went through what I imag­ine thou­sands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no rea­son to think I wouldn’t live to see my chil­dren grow up and to meet my grand­chil­dren,” she wrote.

As a result of her surgery, Jolie received a prog­es­terone IUD, which will help main­tain hor­monal bal­ance – and pre­vent uter­ine can­cer, she wrote.

Jolie and hus­band Brad Pitt have three bio­log­i­cal chil­dren and three adopted chil­dren together.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.