<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usWed, 29 Jun 2016 18:49:13 -0500Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:49:13 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[A Little Butter Won't Kill You, Study Says]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:35:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/175635030-butter-generic.jpg

A little butter isn't going to kill anyone, but it's not a health food, nutrition experts said in a study released Wednesday.

"I would say butter is neither good nor bad," Laura Pimpin of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University told NBC News. 

Many studies look at saturated fat or omega-3 fatty acids or calcium, but Pimpin's team set out to find studies that looked at whole foods that people actually eat and then calculated their risks for overall death, heart disease and diabetes.

When possible, butter should be replaced with more healthful plant-based oils, Pimpin said. And it might be more useful, she said, to focus on the stuff people eat butter with.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Water Systems Failing to Test for Lead]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 11:02:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/lead-faucet.jpg The Natural Resources Defense Council reports more than 18 million Americans got their drinking water from systems with lead violations in 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Whitewater Park Closes After Deadly Amoeba Kills Teen]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 21:01:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/USWhitewaterCenter-.jpg

Health officials found a brain-destroying amoeba in the water at a North Carolina water park, which suspended operations Friday, NBC News reported. 

Officials found evidence of the microbe, and shut down the affected parts of the park after an Ohio teen died earlier this week after visiting the U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte. Only whitewater activities are suspended, official said. 

The amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, occasionally kills people, and is often found in warm bodies of water. Cases of infection are rare. In cases that do result in infection, the microbe can get into the sinuses and from there infect the brain. Although the risk is low, experts say people worried about infection should avoid getting water up their noses. 

The North Carolina park says it disinfects the water used throughout the facility.



Photo Credit: U.S. National Whitewater Center]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities Come Out for National HIV Testing Day]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:55:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DanielFranzese-GettyImages-533405824.jpg

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation is among the organizations putting resources behind HIV prevention and is urging people to get informed and tested. 

The foundation will hold its first HIV-testing event at the Abbey in West Hollywood on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day, NBC News reports.

Celebrity advocates, including Daniel Franzese, Julie Benz, Lance Bass, Frances Fisher and Kyle Pratt, will be in attendance to encourage people to get tested, increase awareness and help eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. More than 156,000 of them are unaware they are infected.



Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[FluMist Nasal Spray Vaccine Doesn't Work: Experts]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:34:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FluMistSpray-AP_16174566973522.jpg

Experts area saying the needle-free FluMist influenza vaccine has not protected against flu for years and should not be used this coming flu season, NBC News reported. 

The decision could nerve pediatricians short of vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, data reviewed from past flu seasons revealed it didn’t work in recent years. The CDC said it was only 3 percent effective last flu season. 

FluMist uses live but weakened strains of the flu virus to stimulate immune systems, and is sprayed up the nose.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Epidemic Has Doubled Abortion Requests: Study]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:31:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16127497121865.jpg

The epidemic of Zika virus has caused a spike in requests for abortion help in countries that ban or restrict abortions, researchers said Wednesday.

Several women whose fetuses have shown evidence of possible Zika-related birth defects have opted for abortions in the U.S. and other western countries where abortion is legal, NBC News reported. But millions of women live in Latin American and Caribbean countries where the mosquitoes carry the virus almost unchecked. Many of the countries also restrict access to birth control.

The researchers found a 36 to 108 percent jump in abortion requests in countries where Zika was spreading, where there were advisories to women and where abortion was legally restricted.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, who decided to investigate how the epidemic has affected requests for abortions.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[300 Charged in Nation's Largest Health Care Fraud Bust]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:20:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AG_AP_16137669714048.jpg

About 300 people in more than half the states have been charged in the largest crackdown to date on health care fraud, federal authorities announced Wednesday. 

According to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, those arrested account for more than $900 million in false billings to Medicare and Medicaid, NBC News reported. 

The crackdown ensnared 60 licensed medical professionals, including 30 doctors, officials said. The billings were for treatments or services deemed medically unnecessary — or for services that were never provided at all, including home care, medical equipment and phony prescriptions.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Americans Spend $30 Billion a Year on Alternative Medicine]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:01:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-75357983.jpg

Americans spend a substantial part of out-of-pocket health care costs on alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic care and natural supplements, even though there is little evidence some of these approaches work, NBC News reported.

Federal researchers reported Wednesday that Americans shelled out more than $30 billion in 2012 alone for some sort of alternative or complementary treatment — an average of $500 per person.

The team at the National Center for Health Statistics says the findings is "an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them."

Though studies have shown acupuncture can help in many ways, including with pregnancy-related nausea, other popular treatments have little or no science to back them up, including homeopathy, naturopathy, guided imagery, energy healing and traditional healers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Women in Puerto Rico at Risk for Zika: CDC]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:24:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PuertoRicoZikaCDC-AP_16169572347522.jpg

The zika virus is spreading quickly in Puerto Rico, meaning hundreds of babies could be born with birth defects, NBC News reports. 

More than 1 percent of all Puerto Rico blood donations tested in early June tested positive for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"In coming months, it is possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico will catch Zika," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said at a briefing for reporters. "This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year." 

The CDC began testing for Zika in Puerto Rico in April. Health officials confirmed more than 1,700 infections in the territory so far this year. Any blood donations that test positive for the virus are thrown out.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lung Cancer Patients Treated With Drug Over Chemo ]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 17:28:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MerckKeytruda-AP_41869771122.jpg

Lung cancer patients who have never been treated will now get the same drug used to help former President Jimmy Carter, NBC News reported. 

Researchers said they wanted to give Keytruda to 305 lung cancer patients who never received treatment. They wanted to see how it worked against standard chemotherapy cocktails. 

It worked as well if not better than chemo, so researchers stopped the study to see if the drug worked well on its own. 

Keytruda was the same drug that helped Jimmy Carter stall advanced melanoma that spread to his brain. It also helped patients live longer without their tumors growing or spreading, according to Merck — the company that makes the drug. 

The company can now ask the Food and Drug Administration if it will approve Keytruda to use as the first treatment a lung cancer patient tries. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Smoking Rate Drops, But More Kids Are Vaping]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 18:43:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TeenSmoking-GettyImages-549379089.jpg

Fewer teens are smoking cigarettes than ever before, NBC News reports. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that just 11 percent of high school students said they smoked in 2015. In 2013, that number stood at 15.7 percent. 

Only one-third of the students surveyed said they had tried a cigarette, the CDC said. 

But e-cigarettes are gaining popularity among teens — a trend that worries the CDC. The survey found 24 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes during the past 30 days. 

Because it was the first time the question about e-cigarettes was asked, there’s no way to know if that’s changed from past years.



Photo Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fewer High School Kids Have Sex: Survey]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 17:11:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TeensKidsSex-AP_16160788929316.jpg

A government survey of risky youth behaviors shows fewer teens are having sex, NBC News reported. 

The survey found 41 percent of high school kids said they had ever had sex — down from around 47 percent over the last decade. There were also declines in the number of kids who said they had sex before they were 13 and in those who had four or more partners. 

Researchers could not say what was behind the drop or if it marks a new trend. 

The survey was among a series of polls that included 16,000 students at 125 schools, both public and private. Responders were voluntary and anonymous, but required parental permission.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[New Map Shows Where Zika Mosquitoes Live in US]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 14:42:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CDCMosquitoMap.jpg

A new map shows mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus can be found in 40 states and Washington, D.C., NBC News reported. 

Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled the new map by looking at all reports of the two species of mosquito that can transmit the virus: the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. 

Public health officials are bracing for local Zika outbreaks across the continental U.S., where 618 cases have already been documented. Thousands of infected people have traveled from Latin America and the Caribbean — and if a mosquito bites someone with an active investigation, it could carry the virus to someone else. 

President Barack Obama asked Congress for $.9 billion to fight Zika. The House and Senate are considering separate bills to provide some of the money.



Photo Credit: CDC/Journal of Medical Entomology]]>
<![CDATA[Turkey's President Calls Women Who Work 'Half Persons']]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 07:25:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP924995293814.jpg

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said women who chose work over motherhood are "half persons," NBC News reported. 

"A woman who abstains from maternity by saying 'I am working' means that she is actually denying her femininity," Erdogan said in a widely reported speech in Istanbul on Sunday.

"A woman who refuses maternity and gives up housekeeping faces the threats of losing her freedom. She is lacking and is a half [a person] no matter how successful she is in the business world," he said according to excepts of the speech translated by the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper.

It is the latest in a series of remarks by the leader of a key U.S. ally that has sparked outrage and fear among liberals and human rights activists, who allege Edrogan is veering toward conservative Islam.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Miss. Woman Wins Court Fight for Her Placenta]]> Mon, 06 Jun 2016 13:59:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_placentafight0602_1920x1080.jpg An expectant Mississippi mother, Jordan Thiering, was shocked to find out she couldn't easily keep her placenta after the birth.

"If I can bring my baby home, I should have every right to bring my placenta home with me," said Thiering, who obtained a court order allowing her to take home her placenta after giving birth to her son.

The placenta is the organ that surrounds the fetus in the womb and allows for the exchange of nutrients, blood, and waste with the mother. Thiering plans to eat it to because of its nutritious value, she said. Typically, the placenta is dried and processed into a powder that can be put in a capsule. ]]>
<![CDATA[New Drug Gives Bladder Cancer Patients Fresh Hope]]> Sun, 05 Jun 2016 18:08:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NYUCancerDrug-160603-dr-arjun-balar-mbe-459p-2.jpg

A newly approved drug is giving the boost needed to stall the spread of tumors in patients with advanced bladder cancer, NBC News reports. 

The drug, called atezolizumab, is sold under the name Tecentriq and works the same way Keytruda, which helped stopped former President Jimmy Carter’s advanced melanoma. The new drugs act directly on immune cells that are supposed to destroy tumors. 

The treatment stopped tumors from growing in 24 percent of patients in the study and shrank them by 30 percent, according to the team of researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, who treated some of the patients. 

Earlier approaches included revving up the immune system, but those methods didn’t always work. Other approaches, such as amplifying a patient’s own tumor-specific cells were labor-intensive and didn’t work for everyone. 

Tecentriq has won Food and Drug Administration approval last month, but it comes at a high cost: $12,500 a month.

]]>
<![CDATA[Stem Cell Experiment Stuns Doctors]]> Sun, 05 Jun 2016 08:01:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/0603-2016-StemCell.jpg

In a recent medical study, Stanford researchers say a new stem cell experiment is transforming the lives of stroke patients.

The use of stem cells is allowing patients with little hope for recovery to suddenly talk and walk again, according to the study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

“We did not expect to see significant recovery,” said Dr. Gary Steinberg, chief of neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We were quite startled by the remarkable recovery some of the patients showed.”

Steinberg and a team of researchers released the study on Thursday.

Researchers did not anticipate seeing results this early in the process. The test was meant to be an initial phase in the study, and only included 18 patients of varying ages and who had strokes at least six months before.

The study included now 36-year-old Sonia Coontz of Long Beach. She had a stroke at 31, and two years later when she participated, could barely move her arm.

Doctors drilled a small hole in Coontz's and the other patients' skulls, and then injected modified adult stem cells directly into the region of the brain impacted by stroke.

Only a day after Coontz’s surgery, she could raise her arm above her head.

“She was what we call one of our miracle patients. She showed some improvement within 24 hours. By the next day she was already moving her arm well. Over the next month, she started talking better, walking better. Within 6 months, her lifestyle was completely changed. She got married and now she’s pregnant,” Steinberg said.

The stem cells do not replace brain cells. In fact, they die within a couple of months, according to Steinberg.

However, within that time, the stem cells somehow trick the brain into thinking it’s much younger than it is.

“In a sense, we think they are turning the adult brain in to a neonatal or infant brain that recovers very well after a stroke or other types of injury,” Steinberg said. “In the past we thought patients with chronic stroke had circuits which were dead or irreversibly damaged. We never thought they would ever work again no matter what we did. And this tells us that’s simply not true.”

About half the patients made improvements authors considered clinically significant, “meaning it changed their lifestyle,” Steinberg said.

Many of the rest made significant improvements, but a few in the patient group did not improve.

“While not every single patient improved – and you wouldn’t expect that – it was quite remarkable that so many of the patients improved to the extent that they did,” Steinberg said.

However, doctors say larger studies are needed before we get too excited.

“There’s a lot of hype about stem cells. And while we think there’s a lot of hope, we also want to be cautious in how we proceed,” Steinberg said.

Stanford researchers are currently conducting a larger study with 156 people, and another study using stem cell therapy on chronic traumatic brain injury patients.

Doctors say in the future, stem cells could help other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS or even Alzheimer’s.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fentanyl: Drug That Killed Prince Killed Thousands of Others]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 20:20:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fentanyl-AP_717602029855.jpg

Fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince, is a powerful narcotic that has killed thousands of others, according to NBC News. 

According to a medical examiner’s report Thursday, the pop icon died from fentanyl toxicity. The autopsy report gave no details apart from declaring that Prince died from an apparently self-administered dose of the drug.

Fentanyl was formulated in the 1950s by Belgian drug company Janssen Pharmaceutica as a safer, more effective alternative to the painkillers morphine and meperidine. 

It is the strongest opioid approved for medical use in the United States and is rated as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. It’s the go-to drug many patients with advanced cancer use to deal with their pain. Drug pushers will mix it with heroin or cocaine, which can increase potency and danger.

Overdoses related to the drug have killed more than 700 people across the country from late 2013 to early 2015, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Health Officials Unclear Why US Deaths Rising]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 13:33:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-10189107.jpg

The overall death rate in the United States ticked up in 2015, according to new federal data, NBC News reported. 

Nearly 730 deaths were reported for every 100,000 people in 2015 compared to 723 deaths in 2014, according to initial data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Experts aren't sure why the death rate has been rising and need to analyze the data which shows that suicides, Alzheimer’s and gun deaths increased in 2015. 

The last complete report on deaths in the U.S. came in 2013, when 2.6 million Americans died. The crude death rate was 821.5 deaths per 100,000 and the average life expectancy was 78.8 years. The crude deaths rate — not adjusted for age — was 841.9 per 100,000 people in 2015.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Inside the Lab That Found the Latest Superbug]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 07:08:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/superbugmcr%281%29.jpg

The news startled doctors across the country last week. 

A small team at the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) lab in Maryland that specializes in testing germs for antibiotic resistance, found mcr-1, a drug-resistant superbug in a Pennsylvania woman.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upstaged his own speech about Zika virus to warn about what the arrival of mcr-1 means for people everywhere.

"The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients. It is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently," he said.

The MRSN team has not yet found another example of the mcr-1 gene in any of the samples they have tested. The lab tests samples from around the world, not only from U.S. military hospitals but from Israel, France's Institut Pasteur and elsewhere. The hope is to catch and stop outbreaks of dangerous new pathogens fast.



Photo Credit: Walter Reed Army Institute for Research]]>
<![CDATA[Possible Cellphone-Cancer Link Found in Rat Study]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 19:47:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-498338511.jpg

A partial report from a U.S. government study on on rats and mice has found a possible link between cellphones and cancer, giving new life to the longstanding debate over whether cellphone use might lead to cancer, NBC News reported.

The report is not finished yet, but advocates pushing for more research learned of the partial findings and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has released them early.

The partial findings suggest that male rats exposed to constant, heavy doses of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. But female rats didn't, and even the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation.

Dr. Michael Lauer of the NIH said there's just not enough information to say whether the experiment shows the radiation caused the tumors. 

The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, is still analyzing the findings. 

What they do not show is whether humans are at any risk from using cellphones, or whether using a headset or keeping phones away from the head and body might make a difference.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[6 BBQ Tips for a Safe Memorial Day Weekend]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 06:25:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/BBQ-Template-6.jpg BBQ and picnic season is just beginning. Here are a few tips to make sure you kick off the season with a safe Memorial Day weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Antibiotic-Resistant 'Superbug' Found in US for 1st Time]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 19:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/superbugmcr%281%29.jpg

A drug resistant “superbug” feared by doctors has shown up in the U.S. for the first time, researchers reported Thursday.

The germ, E. coli bacteria with the mcr-1 gene mutation, was found in a Pennsylvania woman with symptoms of a urinary tract infection, NBC News reported.

The little stretch of DNA, which bacteria can easily swap among themselves, gives the ability to fight off the effects of a last-ditch antibiotic called colistin. 

Health experts are interviewing the woman and her family to determine how she may have contracted the bug, since it had only been seen in Europe and China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient had not traveled, which means the bacteria may have already been in the U.S. 



Photo Credit: Walter Reed Army Institute for Research]]>
<![CDATA[Fake Perfume Bust Finds Ingredients Linked to Cancer, Organ Damage]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 08:54:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/perfume-arrests-0525.jpg

Federal agents seized cases of fake perfume – some of which contained ingredients linked to cancer and organ damage – and made five arrests in a counterfeiting bust Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Homeland Security agents made the bust and hauled the faux fragrances out at a news conference on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan.

They said Wednesday’s seizures were the latest in a string of such busts in New York City that has netted more than three million counterfeit items over the last three years. In total, the real versions of those fake products could fetch $94 million at stores. 

Authorities said that more arrests could be coming in the case, which they say swindles companies out of profits and potentially harm customers.

Investigators say perfumes were replicated by Chinese manufacturers using cheaper materials. They were shipped to New Jersey and then Queens, where they were labeled and packaged to look legitimate.

Authorities say wholesalers bought the fragrances for a fraction of the cost of the real brands and sold them to out-of-state retailers.

Authorities said that counterfeit colognes and perfumes come in packaging that looks authentic, but usually burn on contact and can contain various carcinogens. In at least one prior instance, a fake perfume contained horse urine.

The five suspects were released on bond after appearing in a Manhattan federal court Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Candy-Like Edible Marijuana Is Sending Kids to ERs]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 13:26:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/149252006-edible-marijuana.jpg

In Oregon, an 8-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after finding a marijuana cookie at a park. In Michigan, two children were sent to the ER after getting into a man's stash of gummy candy containing THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, "Today" reports.

Marijuana is now legal for either recreational or medical use in 24 states and the District of Columbia. But "edibles" containing marijuana are spreading everywhere, and kids are getting hurt from California to New York. Last year alone, poison control facilities across the country reported 4,000 kids and teens were exposed to marijuana.

"This is extremely dangerous," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, told "Today" national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. "When young children get ahold of these products, they can have severe reactions, including nausea, vomiting, disorientation, anxiety-like reactions and even psychotic reactions that can make them do things they wouldn't normally do."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
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<![CDATA[Family Health Care Costs Have Tripled Since '01: Analysis]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:44:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/HEALTH_GettyImages-544488581.jpg

The costs of providing health care to an average American family surpassed $25,000 for the first time in 2016 — even as the rate of health cost increases slowed to a record low, a new analysis revealed Tuesday.

CNBC reports that the $25,826 in health-care costs for a typical family of four covered by an employer-sponsored "preferred provider plan" is $1,155 higher than last year, and triple what it cost to provide health care for the same family in 2001, the first year that Milliman Medical Index analysis was done.

And it's the 11th consecutive year that the total dollar increase in the average family's health-care costs exceeded $1,110, the actuarial services firm noted in releasing the index.

A significant cost driver identified by the index was the rapid growth in what health plans and insured people are paying for prescription drugs.



Photo Credit: Caiaimage/Chris Cross via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA['Natural' Mosquito Repellents Don't Last: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 09:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

Most so-called natural mosquito repellents containing naturally derived oils smell nice but don't keep mosquitos off as long as those containing synthetic chemicals, Consumer Reports found.

Consumer Reports said it tested 16 products to see which work best against the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika as well as against Culex mosquitoes, which spread West Nile, and the ticks that carry Lyme. The products contain a range of active ingredients, including conventional chemicals like DEET, synthetic plantlike compounds that resemble those found in nature, and plant oils like citronella and rosemary, according to the group.

Their three top pics contain a different synthetic chemical: Sawyer Picaridin (20 percent picaridin); Ben's 30 Percent Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula (30 percent DEET) and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (65 percent p-menthane-3,8-diol, a synthetic derivative of eucalyptus).



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[No Harm From 'Cry It Out' Baby Sleep Method: Study]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:00:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74146469-%281%29.jpg

A new study suggests that infants left to CIO — "cry it out" or cry themselves to sleep will not suffer any emotional, behavioral or parental attachment problems, Today.com reported.  

Researchers in Australia studied infants 6 months through 16 months and found that CIO did not produce any more signs of stress in the babies than a "gentler" method, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics. 

The lead author of the study, Michael Gradisar, an associate professor and clinical psychologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, said "graduated extinction was better in reducing the number of times the infants woke during the night, as well as the amount of time they spent awake during the night."

The new study adds to existing research showing that children sleep better when parents adopt the extinction method, said Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a professor of clinical pediatrics, emeritus, at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Aurora Creative
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<![CDATA[New Prosthetic Arm Offers Life-Like Touch]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:12:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_prostheticarm0523_1920x1080.jpg A unique, thought-controlled prosthetic arm developed in part by the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, uses the the body's nerve signals to control movement.]]>