<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 23 Jul 2017 13:32:23 -0500Sun, 23 Jul 2017 13:32:23 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Texas Coffee Recalled for Viagra-Like Ingredient]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:56:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BESTHERBS-COFFEE-RECALL.JPG

Coffee from a North Texas company was recently recalled for containing an ingredient similar to the drug in Viagra, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Bestherbs Coffee LLC, in Grand Prairie, voluntarily recalled all of its "New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Herbs Coffee" after an FDA lab analysis detected desmethyl carbodenafil, which is structurally similar to sildenafil, according to the FDA notice.

Sildenafil is the active ingredient in the FDA-approved prescription drug Viagra, which treats erectile dysfunction.

Desmethyl carbodenafil may react with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, lowering blood pressure to dangerous levels, the FDA said. The drug poses a risk to men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.

The instant coffee packs also include milk, but the potential allergen is not included on the labels.

The coffee was sold nationwide online, with each box containing 25, 13-gram packs of coffee, and was officially recalled on July 13.

People who purchased the recalled coffee can return it to the Bestherbs office for a full refund. The address is listed below:

Bestherbs Coffee LLC
4250 Claremont Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 75052



Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[What Competing in the Tour de France Can Do to Your Legs ]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:42:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pawGettyImages-805284696.jpg

Polish cyclist Pawel Poljanski gave his Instagram followers a glimpse into the toll that riding 1,758 miles can take on one’s body.

On Tuesday, after riding in the 16th stage of the Tour de France, Poljanski posted a picture of his legs and added: “After sixteen stages, I think my legs look a little tired.”

Medical experts say Poljanski’s condition is caused by a massive amount of blood moving through the veins, Today reported.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[This Is How the GOP Plan Would Change Health Care Coverage]]> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:57:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-813943998.jpg

Senate Republican leaders released a new version of their health care bill on Thursday and they hope to vote on it as soon as next week. Here’s what you need to know about how it would affect your health care:

Premiums and deductibles: Like Obamacare, the Senate bill provides subsidies to buy insurance on the individual market based on a person’s income. But they’re less generous overall and encourage people to buy plans that cover fewer out-of-pocket costs.

Pre-existing conditions: The Senate bill would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and push sicker customers toward more expensive plans and healthier customers toward cheaper, less generous plans.

Medicaid: The Senate bill would reduce Medicaid spending dramatically compared to current law.



Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Keep Your Cool This Summer: Safety Tips for the Heat]]> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:32:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17186795988820.jpg

With temperatures in some parts of the country soaring as high as 120 degrees this summer, combating the heat is no easy task. Last year, 94 people suffered from heat related deaths, more than double the number from 2015, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Here are tips from the National Weather Service you can use to help keep cool and stay safe during this summer.


Track the Heat
If you’ve been outside for long enough it can be hard to tell how hot is too hot to be outdoors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have created a mobile app that calculates the heat risk index of any given location.

What to Know About Fans
During times of extreme heat risk, limit the time you spend outside as much as possible. If you can’t get access to air conditioning, fans can help. But try not to point the fan directly at you because the dry air can make you become dehydrated faster, according to the National Weather Service.

Reapply Sunscreen
If you must go outside, stay in the shade and apply sunscreen at least every two hours. Reapply immediately after swimming. 

Warmer Water Is Better Than Icy
Make sure to drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty. Excessive sweating will cause you to lose fluids at a rapid pace. Although ice water may feel refreshing, opt for room temperature fluids. When water is especially cold your body will exert more energy trying to adjust to the temperature.

Watch Out for Seatbelts
The inside of a car can be one of the most deadly places during a heat wave. Before you buckle up, check the metal on the seatbelt to avoid burns. Never leave a child or animal unattended in a vehicle even if you have the window rolled down. To ensure your children don’t accidentally trap themselves inside, keep the doors and trunk locked at all times.

Know The Signs
It can be easy to confuse heat stroke and heat exhaustion, so knowing what to look for is crucial. Heat stroke is more serious and common symptoms include a throbbing headache, no sweating, red, hot, or dry skin, nausea and vomiting. If you or someone around you exhibits any combination of these signs, call 911 immediately.


Check out more hot weather resources here



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Connecticut Doctor Arrested While Feds Search for Other in Major Health Fraud Scheme]]> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 18:39:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Family+Health+Urgent+Care+Doctor+Rhamil+Mansourov.JPG

Federal officials have located a Connecticut doctor accused of fleeing the country after being named a suspect in an investigation into what authorities are calling the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force in the country.

Dr. Bharat Patel, 70, of Milford, and 47-year-old Dr. Ramil Mansourov, of Darien, are accused of running a “pill mill” and selling prescriptions for drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to addicts and drug dealers, who would then sell the drugs on the streets.

In all, 412 defendants have been charged across the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.

Patel was arrested at his Milford home Wednesday, has been detained and is scheduled to appear in court on July 17.

Federal authorities were searching for Mansourov, who they believed fled to Canada. He was taken into custody at a Marriott in Montreal Thursday.

The local investigation began after allegations that the two doctors might be writing prescriptions outside the scope of legitimate medical practice.

Patel and Mansourov operated out of Family Health Urgent Care, at 235 Main Street in Norwalk, which is closed until further notice.

Some of those addicts they are accused of selling to referred to the defendants’ medical practice as “The Candy Shop,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Patel owned the previous practice, which was known as Immediate Health Care, and sold it in 2012 to Mansourov, who renamed it, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested for distributing or possessing controlled substances.

On several occasions, he sold the prescriptions to patients under the table for $100, including to some who used a state Medicaid card, then distributed the drugs, officials said.

In some instances, Patel wrote prescriptions for people who were not his patients in exchange for cash, federal officials said, and Mansourov provided Patel’s patients with unnecessary prescriptions.

In 2014 alone, more than $50,000 in cash was deposited into Patel and his wife’s bank accounts and some of that money went to buy the house Patel currently lives in, according to federal authorities.

These two doctors are charged with violating their oaths and recklessly prescribing highly addictive painkillers,” U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said in a statement. “Dr. Patel is alleged to have regularly sold to addicts solely for his own profit. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic.”

Mansourov is accused of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million between November 2013 and December 2016 and moving some of that money to a bank account in Switzerland.

He is accused of billing for home visits he never made, billing for nursing home visits he never made, billing for office visits that never happened and billing for visits that he claimed took place on dates on which he was actually out of state or out of the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement about the nationwide crackdown.

“Amazingly, some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start. The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards. While today is a historic day, the Department's work is not finished. In fact, it is just beginning. We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate fraudsters and drug dealers wherever they are,” Sessions added.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and the U.S. Department of Justice]]>
<![CDATA[Dayton Hospital Calls on Volunteers to Cuddle Opioid Babies]]> Wed, 12 Jul 2017 10:38:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_cuddleprogram0710_1500x845.jpg

As the opioid epidemic grips Ohio, one Dayton hospital is making sure their youngest victims are in good hands. Each year, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Miami Valley Hospital see an average of 90 babies born addicted to opioids and experiencing the painful symptoms of withdrawal called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS. The hospital has called on local volunteer cuddlers to to ease the babies' symptoms. 

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<![CDATA[Actor’s Death Spotlights Risk in Detoxing Alone]]> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 20:37:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_100608010193.jpg

Actor Nelsan Ellis, best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO series "True Blood," died suddenly this week at the age of 39. The actor struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for many years, NBC News reported.

Ellis’ manager said the actor's death was a result of heart failure after an attempt to quit drinking on his own.

The ease and low expense of managing detox at home can be tempting to individuals who struggle with addiction, but the process, if done quickly and without professional supervision, can be dangerous.

Between 5 and 25 percent of people who go through extreme alcohol withdrawal die as a result, according to a report in Alcohol Health & Research World.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles]]>
<![CDATA[Coffee Drinkers Seem to Live Longer, According to Researchers]]> Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:52:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Coffee+Generic.PNG

Go ahead and order that second cup.

Studies have found that people who frequently enjoy a cup of joe could live longer lives, according to researchers at the University of Southern California.

"We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," said Veronica W. Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of a new study, which will be published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and respiratory and kidney disease for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites, according to the study that used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study.

"Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention," Setiawan said. "Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this 'elixir effect,' it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle."

Don't do caffeine? The study still stands regardless of whether you enjoy regular or decaffeinated coffee.

People who drink one cup daily were 12 percent less likely to die from these diseases. People who drink up to three cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death.

A separate study of more than 520,000 healthy people in 10 European countries, meanwhile, also found coffee drinkers were associated with lower risk for death, specifically from digestive and circulatory diseases, the "Today" show reported. That study was also published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. 

But an editorial in the journal cautioned "it’s 'premature' to recommend that people drink coffee to live longer or prevent disease," the "Today" show reported.

Coffee drinkers could have other things in common that factor into their health.

The editorial instead notes at a takeaway that moderate daily coffee intake "is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet." 

The Multiethnic Cohort Study, which a team from USC conducted in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, is an ongoing study that proclaims itself as the most ethnically diverse study that examines lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. It has more than 215,000 participants.

The study is important because "lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others."

But it's safe to say the association applies to other groups, Setiawan said, since it was seen in four different ethnicities.

"If you like to drink coffee, drink up!" Setiawan said.

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<![CDATA[Insurer Profits Up With Obamacare: Report ]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:20:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-657458982-healthcare.jpg

Insurer profits are up this year in Obamacare’s individual exchanges, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

As NBC News reported, the analysis found insurance companies are paying a lower share of premiums out in medical claims than in any period since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, without any significant difference in the health of the group measured.

The new information suggests the insurance market is stabilizing, despite claims from Republicans that Obamacare is collapsing.

However, some insurers have submitted significant premium increases or pulled out of the market, which experts say could be related to uncertainty over health care legislation.



Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[As Drug Resistance Evolves, Gonorrhea Is Getting Harder to Treat]]> Sat, 08 Jul 2017 13:58:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/170*120/gonorrea-5.jpg

Gonorrhea infections are becoming harder and harder to treat, according to new data published by the World Health Organization.

The WHO found that ciprofloxacin and azithromycin -- two drugs commonly used to treat gonorrhea -- are not as effective in treating the sexually transmitted illness as they used to be. Due to the shape-shifting nature of the bacterial infection, antibiotics used to fight the infection tend to wear off overtime.

"The bacteria that cause [gonorrhea] are particularly smart," said Dr. Teodora Wi, a medical officer at the WHO. "Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them."

Some cases of gonorrhea have been deemed untreatable by all known antibiotics in some developed countries. This knowledge is attributed to high quality surveillance methods, which poorer countries lack, but where gonorrhea may actually be more common, the WHO said. 

Dr. Wi told the BBC that there have been cases in France, Japan and Spain where the infection was completely untreatable. 

Widespread resistance to the drug ciprofloxacin -- also known as Cipro -- was documented by the WHO Global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme, a laboratory network that monitors trends in drug-resistant gonorrhoea, according to a statement. An increased resistance to gonorrhea was found in the drug azithromycin.

Data from 77 countries was analyzed for the study. From 2009 to 2014, 97 percent of countries reported Cipro-resistant strains of gonorrhea, and 81 percent reported resistance to azithromycin. Sixty-six percent of countries reported resistance to last-resort treatment known as ESCs (extended-spectrum cephalosporins).

Right now, the WHO said ESCs are the only antibiotics that remain effective against gonorrhea. However, due to a lingering potency of the ESCs cefixime and ceftriaxone, the WHO recommends that doctors prescribe a combination of ceftriaxone and azithromycin to treat gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea affects roughly 78 million people per year, according to the WHO. Left untreated, the illness can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility and the formation of scar tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Untreated gonorrhea can also increase the risk of contracting HIV.

The WHO is stressing awareness of antibiotic resistance to gonorrhea and said the illness is "sometimes impossible" to treat, according to a press release issued Friday.

"To control gonorrhea, we need new tools and systems for better prevention, treatment, earlier diagnosis, and more complete tracking and reporting of new infections, antibiotic use, resistance and treatment failures," said Dr. Marc Sprenger, director of antimicrobial resistance at the WHO.

CORRECTION (July 8, 2017, 7:32 a.m. EST): An earlier version of this story misidentified gonorrhea as a virus in the second paragraph. Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection.



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Smelling Your Food Leads to Weight Gain: Study]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 14:21:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-106907321.jpg

Joey Tribbiani once famously claimed on "Friends" that, “Half the taste [of food] is in the smell.” And according to a new study, the more delicious that meatball sandwich smells, the higher the likelihood that your body may pack on the pounds.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that mice who could smell gained twice their normal weight compared to smell-deficient mice who ate the same amount of fatty foods.

In addition, mice with boosted scent receptors, “super-smellers,” gained even more weight than those with a normal sense of smell.

The results of the new study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism, and the findings point to an unexplored link between olfactory neurons and weight gain.

The study also found that the genetically-altered rodents who could not smell lost around 16 per cent of their body weight. The study suggests that not being able to smell food could have a surprising effect on the metabolism, potentially helping those struggling with weight loss remain thin even when eating fatty foods.

"Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain isn’t purely a measure of the calories taken in; it’s also related to how those calories are perceived," said senior author Andrew Dillin, the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research, professor of molecular and cell biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "If we can validate this in humans, perhaps we can actually make a drug that doesn’t interfere with smell but still blocks that metabolic circuitry. That would be amazing."

While it seems like something out of the Twilight Zone, Dillin pointed out eliminating a person’s smell may act as a future alternative for gastric bypass surgery.

"This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance," said Céline Riera, a former UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow now at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Preterm Birth Rates Have Increased in the U.S.]]> Fri, 30 Jun 2017 12:36:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/premiiebaby_1200x675.jpg

Almost 10 percent of newborn babies in the United States are born premature according to a new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBC News reported. 

The report also included the rising births of more low birth weight babies than in previous years and births overall fell across the U.S., while high-risk births became more common, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. 

“The increase in the preterm birth rate is an alarming indication that the health of pregnant women and babies in our country is heading in the wrong direction,” Stacey Stewart, president of the March of Dimes, a charity organization, told NBC News.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New CBO Report Finds Deep Medicaid Cuts in GOP Bill]]> Thu, 29 Jun 2017 17:07:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17178803963393.jpg

The Senate health care bill’s Medicaid cuts would grow even deeper after a decade, according to a new report Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, leaving more people without coverage under the government program.

The new report complements the CBO’s main analysis of the Senate bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which found Medicaid would spend 26 percent less and cover 15 million fewer people in 2026 if the bill passed, NBC News reports. The Senate bill caps Medicaid spending and, starting in 2025, grows it at a rate of inflation that’s expected to be less generous than either current law or the House bill, which included major cuts as well.

While the CBO warns that projecting beyond the first decade is difficult, the new report estimates that the slower growth rate would drive relative spending down even further in the second decade. By 2036, the government would spend 35 percent less on Medicaid than it would under current law.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon]]>