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Vitamin D Supplements May Not Be for Everyone

areeya_ann/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study says that the vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments many Amer­i­cans take at a doctor’s rec­om­men­da­tion may not be quite as ben­e­fi­cial as they believe.

Accord­ing to a study con­ducted by the United States Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force and pub­lished in the jour­nal Annals of Inter­nal Med­i­cine, there is insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to deter­mine whether screen­ing for vit­a­min D defi­ciency in adults not show­ing symp­toms of a defi­ciency is more ben­e­fi­cial or harmful.

Vit­a­min D can be found in in cer­tain foods, and can also be obtained by the con­ver­sion of ultra­vi­o­let rays from the skin that come in con­tact with bare skin. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that low lev­els of vit­a­min D may be linked with increased risk of dia­betes, can­cer and heart disease.

Patients with kid­ney dis­ease or bone dis­ease, as well as elderly patients, should still take vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments if instructed to do so by their doc­tor, the study said. How­ever, researchers believe that many peo­ple may not stand to ben­e­fit from vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments not rec­om­mended by a physician.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Researchers Say Device Could Reduce Mammography Discomfort

monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers say that a newer, less painful mam­mo­gram may be possible.

Accord­ing to a study pre­sented at a meet­ing of the Radi­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety of North Amer­ica, researchers believe that the improved process can exert pres­sure through­out the breast tis­sue, avoid­ing direct force applied to the breast.

Researchers tested the pro­posed pro­ce­dure on over 400 women. Of those par­tic­i­pants, 27 per­cent said they expe­ri­enced less severe pain, com­pared to the cur­rent stan­dard protocol.

Researchers say the images pro­duced by the mam­mog­ra­phy were not infe­rior to the old tech­nique, and could be imple­mented in many hos­pi­tals or doc­tors’ offices quickly using a sim­ple device.

The pro­posed mam­mog­ra­phy method did have at least one draw­back, how­ever. Researchers found that the pressure-based test had three times the num­ber of peo­ple forced to re-do the test when com­pared to the force-based test.

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FDA Finalizes New Rules Requiring Calorie Information for Restaurant Menus, Vending Machines

Igor Dimovski/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion on Mon­day final­ized a pair of new rules related to label­ing of prod­ucts in vend­ing machines, chain restau­rants and other retail food establishments.

Amer­i­cans eat and drink about one-third of their calo­ries away from home and peo­ple today expect clear infor­ma­tion about the prod­ucts they con­sume,” FDA Com­mis­sioner Mar­garet Ham­burg said in a statement.

The new rule will cover restau­rants and retail food estab­lish­ments with 20 or more loca­tions that do busi­ness under the same name and offer largely the same food prod­ucts. Those estab­lish­ments will be oblig­ated to list calo­rie infor­ma­tion for all stan­dard menu items on both menus and menu boards, along with a short state­ment regard­ing sug­gested daily caloric intake. That state­ment will read: “2,000 calo­ries a day is used for gen­eral nutri­tion advice, but calo­rie needs vary.”

Addi­tional health infor­ma­tion about the food will have to be made avail­able in writ­ing upon request.

Foods sold at gro­cery stores and other retail loca­tions that are intended for more than one per­son to eat, or which require addi­tional prepa­ra­tions — such as pounds of deli meats, cheese and large deli sal­ads — will not be cov­ered by the new rule.

The rule regard­ing vend­ing machines will apply to oper­a­tors who own 20 or more such machines and will force those oper­a­tors to dis­close calo­rie information.

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Golfers Love Birdies but Hate Ticks

Car­ole Gomez/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Peo­ple who enjoy hik­ing in the woods from spring through autumn in var­i­ous part of the coun­try are gen­er­ally told to check them­selves for ticks after their strolls.

Now, the same thing goes for any­one who enjoys a round of golf.

Although played in wide open spaces, New York Med­ical Col­lege researcher Gre­gory Owens says that golfers must also watch out for ticks that prey on small rodents because they feed at the bound­aries between the woods and fairway.

Owens sur­veyed 29 golfers in Orange County, New Jer­sey, three-quarters of whom who revealed they have found at least one tick on them after golf­ing. Fur­ther­more, seven peo­ple in this group were also diag­nosed with Lyme dis­ease. That’s a much higher rate than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion in the area.

Still, most of the golfers were pretty cav­a­lier about the ticks, say­ing they never spray them­selves with insect repel­lent before tee­ing off. The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion rec­om­mends a bug spray with between 20 and 30 per­cent DEET, the active ingre­di­ent in many insect repel­lent products.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Why It's a Lot Easier to Spill Coffee than Beer

kzenon/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — And for our next trick, we’ll try to walk from the barista to our table with­out spilling this tray of coffee.

Good luck with that. As opposed to car­bon­ated bev­er­ages like beer, cof­fee often spills out of the cup regard­less of how care­ful we walk. But why?

It took some geniuses from Prince­ton and NYU to fig­ure out the answer: it’s all about the bub­bles in beer and the lack thereof in coffee.

Appar­ently, foam in a heavy stout like Guin­ness reduced much of the slosh­ing, mak­ing it a lot eas­ier to go from counter to table with beer than coffee.

Researchers explained their inter­est in such a seem­ingly triv­ial study by not­ing that the find­ings are rel­e­vant to “numer­ous indus­trial appli­ca­tions,” includ­ing the trans­fer of liq­uids in cargoes.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Bride Holds Early Wedding So Cancer-Stricken Mom Can Attend

iStock/Thinkstock(MIDLAND, Texas) — The dress was per­fect, the flow­ers were in place and the string quar­tet was all set up to ease the beau­ti­ful bride down the aisle.

But most impor­tant to new­ly­wed Cathryn Copeland on her mag­i­cal wed­ding day was the fact her mother was there.

It’s a huge bless­ing,” Copeland, 26, of Mid­land, Texas, told ABC News.

Copeland’s mom, Janet, was bat­tling a fight with breast can­cer. Orig­i­nally diag­nosed 11 years ago, she had since gone into remis­sion — but bad news came in Octo­ber 2013, when the fam­ily learned it was not only back, but as of Octo­ber 2014, it had spread, allow­ing her very lit­tle time.

The wed­ding was orig­i­nally sched­uled for Novem­ber 1 in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. How­ever, Copeland and her now hus­band, Con­ner Wood, didn’t want to take any chances.

We said, ‘Mom, what do you want to do with this wed­ding?’” Copeland recalled of the emo­tional con­ver­sa­tion. “She just broke down and said, ‘I want to see this wedding.’”

That’s all it took. Copeland made the deci­sion to move up her wed­ding to Octo­ber 22, a Wednes­day, at her mother’s can­cer treat­ment cen­ter, MD Ander­son Can­cer Cen­ter, in Houston.

The hos­pi­tal was very accom­mo­dat­ing and it’s just a beau­ti­ful cam­pus that they have,” she explained. “I’ve been going with my mom to some of her treat­ments and we would do fast walks around the cam­pus. She was always very phys­i­cally fit. So I already knew all the beau­ti­ful spots where we could hold the ceremony.”

The bride says she was able to pull off the mag­i­cal wed­ding a week and a half early, despite chang­ing states, dates and tim­ing, all because of the “self­less, lov­ing peo­ple” will­ing to help make it happen.

I just had an incred­i­ble group of peo­ple sur­round­ing me,” said Copeland. “My dress was cus­tom made for me and we became friends with her so she rushed my dress and she made my mom’s dress, too. She looked so beautiful.”

The wed­ding cer­e­mony took place at 12:30 p.m., which gave Copeland and her mom all morn­ing to rel­ish in their girl time — being pam­pered with their hair and makeup in Janet’s hos­pi­tal room.

She had an unshak­able faith and that gave me so much strength,” the bride explained. “I got to see Mom have a lot of prayers answered before she went home and that was a pure joy.”

Janet Copeland died two weeks after see­ing her daugh­ter wed, but the mem­o­ries they shared that day will last a lifetime.

On the day I was just so happy, filled with hap­pi­ness, the hap­pi­est day of my life,” said Copeland. “The wed­ding answered that wish of hers to be able to be there, and to do some­thing small for her was great.”

And despite the unfor­tu­nate cir­cum­stances, “We had a blast and it was the per­fect day,” she added. “It was dif­fer­ent than we planned, but it was infi­nitely more spe­cial. Now that she’s gone I have all the gor­geous pho­tos shar­ing that day with her, and I have the video. To see her talk­ing to me is just the biggest blessing.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Why Bagged Lunches Aren't as Healthy as Cafeteria Food

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Do you pack lunch for your chil­dren to bring to school? A new study says it may be health­ier to have them buy food at the cafeteria.

A study appear­ing in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion Pedi­atrics on Mon­day found that 9 out of 10 lunches brought from home included chips, desserts, and sweet­ened drinks. While lunches made at home con­tained fewer calo­ries on aver­age, they also had more sodium and fewer serv­ings of fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, and milk.

The author of the study, child nutri­on­ist Karen Cullen, says par­ents need to be pick­ier about what they pack.

I think that this is an oppor­tu­nity for par­ents to get their chil­dren involved in dis­cussing what makes good choices for a school meal and how you go about plan­ning and going to the gro­cery store, get­ting the foods and pack­ing those items,” Cullen said. “A sug­ges­tion would be for par­ents to make sure that the health­ier choices are also in those lunches that pro­vide the kids with all the food groups they need.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Why Couple Adopted 8 Boys - All From Same Family

iStock/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) — Melissa Groves will never for­get that over Christ­mas 2004, her then-6-year-old daugh­ter Autumn asked Santa Claus for a lit­tle brother.

Boy, was she in for a sur­prise. The lit­tle broth­ers kept com­ing and coming.

Autumn got two adopted broth­ers the fol­low­ing year, fol­lowed by their six sib­lings over the next 10 years, Groves said. The fam­ily offi­cially adopted their youngest, baby Zayn, two days ago.

I just want them all to stay together,” said Groves, of Omaha, Nebraska, adding that she often hears about adopted chil­dren who go search­ing for their lost sib­lings as adults. “I didn’t want that for my boys.”

Groves and her hus­band learned shortly after get­ting mar­ried that con­ceiv­ing chil­dren nat­u­rally was “very unlikely” for them, so they decided to try fos­ter par­ent­ing, Groves wrote in a blog post last week for the Con­gres­sional Coali­tion on Adop­tion Insti­tute.

Although they were only expect­ing one child, they were asked to fos­ter two of them: broth­ers Noah and Chase, who were then 3 and almost 2. The Groves were ner­vous, at first, to take home two boys, but soon decided to adopt them both.

Once the adop­tion was final­ized, how­ever, they got a sur­pris­ing phone call: The boys’ mother had given birth to another baby boy and he needed a home immediately.

There was no ques­tion,” Groves wrote on her blog. “How could I deny my sons and this new child the pos­si­bil­ity of being together?”

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This hap­pened five more times over the years, some­times with the boys’ birth mother reach­ing out to Groves over Face­book to say she was preg­nant again. Though their birth mother always told Groves she hoped she would be ready to be a mother each time she became preg­nant, it never worked out because she had a drug prob­lem, Groves said, becom­ing emotional.

She’s not a bad per­son,” Groves added, not­ing that she’s in con­tact with the boys’ bio­log­i­cal mother every few months. “I can’t even imag­ine the pain that she’s gone through.”

Though no two sto­ries are exactly the same, Groves said she hoped to shed light on the plights of thou­sands of chil­dren across the coun­try and the need for fam­i­lies like hers to take them in.

Accord­ing to the Con­gres­sional Coali­tion on Adop­tion Insti­tute, more than 100,000 chil­dren are avail­able for adop­tion in the United States.

The institute’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, Becky Weich­hand, said the Groves’ story is impor­tant because it helps the pub­lic real­ize that “every­day peo­ple are mak­ing an impact in the life of a child, and that they can do it, too.” She said it’s impor­tant to keep sib­lings together where pos­si­ble because their bond is a source of emo­tional strength after the trauma of being sep­a­rated from their parents.

These chil­dren have been through some­thing at no fault of their own,” Weich­hand said. “Their par­ent is not able to par­ent, for what­ever reason.”

In Nebraska, there are 322 chil­dren avail­able for adop­tion and 4,122 chil­dren who are in state wards, said the state’s deputy direc­tor of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices, Vicki Maca. She said any­one who is curi­ous about fos­ter­ing chil­dren should call their state officials.

Some­times, the gen­eral pub­lic thinks you have to be per­fect par­ents in order to be eli­gi­ble for fos­ter care,” she said. “Our kids aren’t expect­ing or need­ing per­fect par­ents. They just want con­sis­tency. No fam­ily is perfect.”

Though the Groves’ Omaha, Nebraska, home is often hec­tic with eight boys, Groves said they call it “sweet chaos.” And when things calm down, she’s reminded exactly why she did adopted them all.

When the lit­tle ones sit on big­ger ones’ laps to sit down and watch car­toons, it’s like that’s exactly it,” she said. “I’m glad they’re all here.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio