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Bodies of 2 mental health patients who drowned in sheriff’s van recovered, authorities say

The bodies of two female mental patients who drowned while they were chained in the back of a county sheriff’s van when it became overcome with floodwaters have been recovered, according to authorities.

The bodies of Nicolette Green and Windy Newton were taken to Charleston, South Carolina, for an autopsy, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

The women were being transported following involuntary commitments by a physician, according to the sheriff’s office. They were on Highway 76 in Conway, South Carolina, when the roadway was washed out, the released stated.

The deputies who were transporting the two women to a different facility in South Carolina were saved, local law enforcement officials told ABC News late Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office is “pleased” that the victims’ bodies were recovered, thanking all of the responding agencies for their efforts.

The pair of Horry County Sheriff’s deputies who were in the van tried to extricate the patients, but, due to rapidly rising floodwaters, were unable to open the van’s doors to reach the shackled women, according to a statement from County Sheriff Phillip Thompson. Rescue teams responded in time to save the deputies.

The coroner in neighboring Marion County confirmed the two deceased patients were female, and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident, according to the statement.

PHOTO: The Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence.AP
The Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence.

“Tonight’s incident is a tragedy,” Thompson said in the statement. “Just like you, we have questions we want answered. We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event.”

According to ABC affiliate WPDE, the patients were being transported from Loris Hospital Waccamaw Center for Mental Health to McLeod Health, which runs multiple facilities in the region.

The van was traveling west on Highway 76 into neighboring Marion County when floodwaters overcame the vehicle.

The incident happened in the area of the Little Pee Dee River, which branches off from the Lumber River, in Mullins, South Carolina. The Lumber River overflowed its banks following the record rains dumped by Hurricane Florence.

ABC News’ Julia Jacobo, Darren Reynolds and Louise Simpson contributed to this report.

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Nest tried to hide its identity as the buyer of a promising health startup

More and more tech companies are blurring the line between gadgets and health devices. The new Apple Watch Series 4 will eventually do electrocardiograms. Fitbit just announced a fitness coaching program tailored to the health care industry that aims to “help improve wellness, disease management and prevention.” Google recently gave its Google Fit software an overhaul that awards users “heart points.” Based on an acquisition made last year, it seems Nest also has ambitious plans for the health sector.

As reported by GeekWire, communications between employees of Senosis — a health-monitoring startup that Nest quietly snatched up — and the University of Washington (where Senosis was founded) make clear that the company has something in the works. It was initially believed that Google had made the acquisition, but in fact it was Nest.

“It turns out Nest is much more secretive than the rest of Google or Alphabet. They seem to be particularly sensitive in this situation since they don’t want people to know they are getting into a whole new line of business, digital health, until they are ready to publicly announce,” Senosis co-founder Shwetak Patel wrote in an email to an executive at the university’s innovation hub. Employees were told to write “Google” and not Nest on forms pertaining to the buyout.

Senosis developed three health apps that utilize a smartphone’s built-in sensors to monitor different health attributes. HemaApp could measure a user’s hemoglobin level using a phone camera. Another could check for jaundice in newborn babies. And the last allowed a phone’s mic to act as a spirometer for diagnosing asthma when people blew into it. None of this tech had been cleared by the FDA when Nest bought Senosis, but the company told GeekWire that it had begun the process.

When Nest came calling, the university was proud of reaching the deal and wanted to tell the world as much. But Google instructed the Senosis team not to mention Nest or publicize the deal until after a health-focused product eventually shipped to consumers. It wanted to make the agreement as hush-hush as possible, which seems to have worked since it’s been a year and it has gotten little attention. GeekWire obtained the exchanges between Senosis and UW through a public records request.

“We do not want UW to issue a press release or other official communication with respect to the acquisition as this will likely result in the (Senosis) team being subject to a lot of distraction from inbound inquiries and opens the door to internet sleuthing on the WA Secretary of State website to uncover the acquirer’s identity,” one of Google’s lawyers wrote. “If a Nest health product doesn’t use the licensed technology, an unrelated press release regarding Nest’s acquisition of (Senosis) could again negatively affect our product rollout.”

So far, such a product has not yet been released. In July, CNBC reported that Nest has held discussions with senior living centers about incorporating its range of products into their facilities. A smartwatch being able to detect when you’ve fallen is useful, yes, but what if a smart video camera could recognize the same thing when pointed at elderly users who choose to live independently? You know, at least until Alphabet’s Verily unit discovers how to help people live forever. According to CNBC, Nest has also pitched the idea of using its motion sensors to automatically turn on lights when people wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

The big question is how Nest’s rejoining with Google might have impacted the former’s health plans. Perhaps we’ll hear more about new Nest hardware sometime this fall. For now at least, the company is sticking to traditional smart home products.

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Health Care Spending Under Employer-Sponsored Insurance: A 10-Year Retrospective

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Michigan resident infected with deadly mosquito-borne illness, health officials say

A Michigan resident has been diagnosed with a case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne virus that can lead to “lasting brain damage.”

A Michigan resident has been diagnosed with a case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne virus that can lead to “lasting brain damage.”


For the first time since 2016, a Michigan resident has been diagnosed with a case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne virus that can lead to “lasting brain damage” and even death, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services said in a Monday statement.

The news comes after the Lansing resident, who has not yet been identified, was hospitalized in August “with a neurological illness,” the department said. The case is the first in the state since three people were infected in 2016.

EEE is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The infection is “a virus of birds that is spread by mosquitoes near swamps and bogs,” according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.


While rare in humans, the disease is deadly.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly a third of those diagnosed with EEE die, while those who survive “have mild to severe permanent neurologic damage.”

“An average of 7 human cases of EEE are reported each year in the United States. Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey typically have the largest number of cases. EEEV transmission is most common in and around freshwater hardwood swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and the Great Lakes region,” the CDC continued.

Those at risk of contracting the virus — named in part because horses are susceptible to infection, according to the CDC — is greater for those who “engage in outdoor work and recreational activities” in the areas where the virus is more common.

Symptoms of an EEE infection include fever, headache, chills and nausea, according to the department. However, the CDC also noted that “it is possible that some people who become infected with EEEV may be asymptomatic.”

While a vaccine is available to protect horses from the virus, there is none for humans.

“There is still plenty of mosquito season left in Michigan,” Dr. Eden Wells, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ chief medical executive, said in the statement.

“Michigan residents are urged to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites including using mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and long sleeves,” while outside, Wells said.


Other tips to prevent mosquitos include using screens on windows and doors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn, when the insects are most active. Emptying standing water areas where mosquitoes lay eggs — such as tires, bird baths, and buckets, among other items — is also important for prevention, the CDC said. 

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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Apple carrying stick-on Health Tags wearable with over one-year battery life

While Apple Watch Series 4 offers the most comprehensive health features yet and is the number one smartwatch, Apple still sells wearables from other companies in its retail stores and online. One of the latest products to become available from Apple is Spire’s Health Tags that stick to your clothes to seamlessly track heart rate, steps, stress, and sleep.

Whoosh! Screen Cleaner

As spotted by TechCrunch, Spire’s Health Tags take a different approach from products like Apple Watch and Fitbit wearables in a few ways.

First, as the name suggests, the sensors are slim, stick-on tags that ditch displays and can be added to a variety of garments, and they’re washing machine safe. The company sells everything from a single Health Tag for $50 up to an eight-pack for $299. Spire is hoping you’ll forget it’s even there.

“Continuous health data will revolutionize health and wellness globally, but early incarnations have been hampered by poor user experiences and a focus on the hardware over the outcomes that the hardware can create,” Spire’s founder Jonathan Palley said. “By making the device ‘disappear’, we believe Health Tag is the first product to unlock the potential.”

Another unique aspect of Spire’s Health Tags is that they feature 1.5-year battery life. The Health Tags track your heart rate, breathing patterns (stress levels inferred from breathing), sleep, and steps. Spire uses its iOS app to help users make use of the data collected.

Spire’s Stone is currently available from Apple, while Health Tags should be available at its retail stores soon. Check out the video below for more details!

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SpaceX’s Moon loop will affect passengers’ health — here’s how

When billionaire Yusaku Maezawa takes his planned trip around the Moon with SpaceX, he’d better be ready to vomit.

Maezawa, who founded online fashion store Zozotown, bought seats for himself and a handful of artists on SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket, which combines a massive, 40-story rocket booster and the Big Falcon Spaceship. Musk anticipates the flight will last between four and five days as the tourists trace a figure-eight around the Earth, the Moon, and back again. Those tourists can expect nausea, a small dose of radiation, and — possibly — friction among their group, as a result of their isolation.

The short duration means that the space tourists won’t have to worry about things that plague astronauts on longer stays in space: Maezawa and his artist posse probably won’t develop vision changes or lose bone mass and muscle tone like astronauts do over months in the microgravity of the space station, says Petra Illig, a doctor who specializes in aerospace medicine. “All of those things happen over longer periods of time,” she says. Still, the space tourists’ flight won’t be easy. “It’s dangerous, to be clear,” Musk said during Monday’s announcement. “This is no walk in the park here.” And even if everything goes according to plan, the challenges will start during liftoff.

Image: SpaceX

As the rocket speeds away from Earth, the passengers will be hit by forces of acceleration up to three times the force gravity they’re accustomed to on the ground, or 3 Gs. That can put a strain on the heart as it struggles to pump blood to the head. If the passengers aren’t positioned correctly, the blood could drain from their brains into their feet and they might pass out, Illig says. So it will be important to screen all of the space tourists to confirm their hearts are healthy enough for the trip. “You don’t want people fainting or having heart attacks,” Illig says. “You’re stuck along for the ride.”

After the rocket stops accelerating and microgravity sets in, the passengers will feel weightless. And that’s when the vomiting will probably start. “Any participant going into space should be prepared for some motion sickness and being a little confused about where up is and where down is,” says Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist of NASA’s human research program. “It can be a little disconcerting if you’re not prepared.” Astronauts who’ve been to space a few times have an easier time adjusting, she says. But rookies like Maezawa and the artists who join him won’t know how their bodies will react.

Image: SpaceX

That’s because there’s no earthly analog to space motion sickness. Not seasickness, or roller coasters. “We are terrestrial beings. We walk on flat surfaces. We have a horizon. Our organs of equilibrium are dependent on gravity,” says Illig. “So there’s no way to remove gravity while you’re on Earth and say, ‘Well, let’s see how you feel.’” The closest you can get is a trip aboard a plane nicknamed “the vomit comet,” where passengers can experience brief 20 to 30-second spurts of weightlessness during parabolic flights. But, Illig says, the simulations are so brief that they’re not a perfect predictor.

The good news is that the nausea tends to pass within the first few days, Fogarty says. But for a four to five day tour around the Moon, that’s most of the trip. “That period of discomfort is going to take a significant chunk out of a space tourist’s initial experience with space,” says Sheryl Bishop, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch who investigates human performance in extreme environments. Anti-nausea medications can help with it, Fogarty says — although they can be problematic for astronauts responsible for critical operations because the drugs can make them sleepy. For space tourists just along for the ride, “they would still get to enjoy the view, they could still participate in activities as long as they weren’t critical to the function of the vehicle,” Fogarty says.

Image: SpaceX

One hazard we hear a lot about is space radiation. Astronauts on the ISS are protected from the brunt of it by the Earth’s magnetic field and the structure of the ISS itself, according to Edward Semones, NASA’s radiation health officer. On a loop around the Moon, Maezawa and the artists along for the ride would be exposed to a somewhat higher daily dose of radiation than astronauts on the ISS, but for a shorter period of time. By the end of the trip, they might experience roughly the same amount of radiation they’d get from a CT scan — just distributed across the entire body, Semones says.

That dose could skyrocket, however, if the sun belches out charged particle radiation in what’s known as a solar particle event during the space tourists’ flight. The likelihood of that happening during the four to five day trip is small, according to Semones. But if a solar particle event occurred, the passengers on the ship could be potentially exposed to six months’ worth of space radiation in just a couple days. Worst case scenario, that could lead to nausea and fatigue, Semones says: “The very beginnings of what’s called acute radiation syndrome.”

Image: SpaceX

NASA’s strategies for keeping the astronauts on the ISS safe include an early warning system, and places inside the ISS where the crew can seek shelter from the radiation, Semones says. But it’s not clear what Musk has planned for his own passengers. In the past, he’s been blasé about the risks of radiation, and he didn’t discuss any protective measures in Monday night’s announcement.

Then there’s the potential psychological toll of being locked into a sealed container with a handful of other people for days on end. “They have to not freak out,” Illig says. “They can’t just say, ‘Hey, I’ve had enough, bring me back.’” That’s why it will be key for the space tourists to go into the flight with clear expectations and understand their roles and responsibilities, Fogarty says. And one way to establish that would be to have the group train together before they leave Earth. “Just to see how people respond to stressors, especially when there might be conflict within the team, or if there were emergency events you have to rally and response to,” she says. It won’t predict everything, she says, but it could “relieve the anxiety of experiencing something totally new when you’re in an extreme environment.”

Musk, too, said that the passengers will need to prepare for the flight. “This will require a lot of training,” he said. “When you’re pushing the frontier, it’s not a sure thing.” The good news is that there will be plenty of prep time. The flight isn’t planned until 2023, and Musk admitted that even he wasn’t sure SpaceX would meet that deadline: “We’re going to do everything humanly possible to bring it to flight as fast as we can, and as safely as we can.”

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Are Smoothie Bowls Healthy? Plus: Five More Trendy Foods and Whether They’re Actually Good for You

Have you ever found yourself questioning whether a food or diet is actually good for you?

We’ve asked two dietitians to break down some of the most commonly questioned foods so you never have to think twice again.

You may be surprised that some of the most popular trends really aren’t all that great for your waistline or your heart health.


While smoothie bowls look and sound super healthy, they’re often times loaded with empty carbs.

“It all depends how you make it, but I’ve seen a lot of recipes that will call for anywhere from three to five servings of fruit, which is way too much sugar,” says Texas-based registered dietitian Lauren Ott.

Most people wouldn’t sit down and eat two bananas and another fruit in a sitting, adds Peak Nutrition Services‘ Heather Bainbridge, EdM, MA, RDN, who notes a bowl can add up to 800 calories very quickly.

“I think another thing that I find for a lot of my clients is that smoothies, whether it’s in an actual smoothie or in a bowl, they’re just not filling,” Ott says. “Fullness is not just dictated by your stomach, but it’s dictated by your brain. A lot of times if something is in liquid form, like a smoothie bowl, and you’re not physically chewing it, it just doesn’t lead to the satiety queues that actually chewing food will.”

How to Keep It Healthy: Make smoothie bowls yourself at home so you can control the portions.


While Dr. Karin Michels, an adjunct professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, caused waves last month, calling coconut oil “one of the worst foods you can eat,” Ott says as long as it’s in moderation — and not the only type of fat you’re using—she’s okay with it.

“I’m definitely not going to recommend you throw a bunch of it in your coffee every morning,” Ott says. “There is no conclusive data showing that coconut oil is any different from the saturated fat found in things like Crisco or butter.”

How to Keep It Healthy: Use coconut oil sparingly while preparing food, and don’t rely on it as your only source of fat.


“Hummus gets this health halo where sometimes its calories are kind of forgotten and they can add up,” says Bainbridge. “In quarter-cup proportions, it is great as a dip or condiment and can add a boost of nutrition to a sandwich or vegetables.”

While the chickpeas are high in fiber, the dip also contains a lot of carbohydrates and fat.

“Just like any dip, we still have to be aware of how much we’re having while eating it and what’s going along with it,” she says.

How to Keep It Healthy: Portion out a quarter-cup of the dip before you start snacking so you’re not tempted to go past one serving size. 


On average, a roll of sushi can be anywhere from 300 to 400 calories, Bainbridge says.

“Sushi has also been kind of deemed as a health food, so then a lot of times there can be ordering of several or a couple rolls and not realizing that the calories are adding up and becoming much more than what is intended,” she says. “The other to be careful about is when there’s tempura involved. Tempura is Japanese for ‘fried’, so I tend to veer people away from that.”

How to Keep It Healthy: Choose rolls with a lot of veggies and stay away from creamy mayos, dressings and Tempura.


While not everyone is a fan of replacing beef or turkey in their burgers, Bainbridge says veggie burgers are a healthy alternative for people who don’t eat meat.

But the key is looking at the ingredients and nutritional information before you purchase.

“The one downside to veggie burgers for some people is that they don’t contain as much protein as say a turkey burger would,” she says. “One patty might not be enough to truly fill someone up. I would say that in some cases, just check in with yourself and ask do you feel satisfied after the veggie burger? If not, then you might need two.”

How to Keep It Healthy: Focus on the ingredients and calories in each burger and decide if it is enough to keep you satisfied. 

RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Garner Shares the Healthy Smoothie She Makes ‘Every Day for Breakfast’


If stopping at a drive-thru is part of your weekly routine, ordering a salad will only be beneficial if you make smart choices, and understand that they’re not all created equal.

According to Bainbridge, the portion of salad dressing is usually much larger than people realize and can add up to 400 calories alone.

“The standard cup is four tablespoons, which is double what the serving size is,” she says. “Chick-fil-A, for instance, their salad dressings, if you get just the regular, even their vinaigrettes, which sometimes we have a feeling that vinaigrettes are a little bit lighter than the creamy dressings, that’s not always the case. It needs to say light in front of it to have that reduction.”

How to Keep It Healthy: Skip the bacon bits and fatty cheeses on many to-go salads. Turn the dressing packet around and look at the serving size on the label before you pour it on, or pack your dressing yourself and just order the salad.

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Childhood Trauma And Its Lifelong Health Effects More Prevalent Among Minorities

Nearly 62 percent of respondents had at least one ACE and a quarter reported three or more. The remaining respondents had at least two ACEs, including 16 percent with four or more such experiences.

Elva Etienne/Getty Images

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Elva Etienne/Getty Images

Nearly 62 percent of respondents had at least one ACE and a quarter reported three or more. The remaining respondents had at least two ACEs, including 16 percent with four or more such experiences.

Elva Etienne/Getty Images

When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.

But the first major study to focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was limited to a single healthcare system in San Diego. Now a new study — the largest nationally representative study to date on ACEs — confirms that these experiences are universal, yet highlights some disparities among socioeconomic groups. People with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.

The study finds three out of five adults across the U.S. had at least one adverse experience in their childhood, such as divorce, a parent’s death, physical or emotional abuse, or a family member’s incarceration or substance abuse problem. A quarter of adults have at least three such experiences in childhood, which – according to other research — increases their risk for most common chronic diseases, from heart disease and cancer to depression and substance abuse.

“This is the first study of this kind that allows us to talk about adverse childhood experience as a public health problem in the same way we talk about obesity or hypertension or any other highly prevalent population risk factor,” says Adam Schickedanz, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who was not involved in the research. “Up until now, we haven’t really had a study that takes a national look.”

The study researchers, led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher Melissa T. Merrick, analyzed data from 214,157 adults in 23 states between 2011 and 2014. The participants answered 11 questions about whether they’d experienced what have now become well recognized as ACEs: parental separation or divorce, child abuse (physical, emotional and sexual), domestic violence and living with someone who has been incarcerated or has a mental illness or a substance use disorder.

Nearly 62 percent of respondents had at least one ACE and a quarter reported three or more. The remaining respondents had at least two ACEs, including 16 percent with four or more such experiences.

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Those identifying as black or Latino and those with less than a high school education or an annual income below $15,000 were more likely to have more ACEs. But a relatively new finding was that multiracial and gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals carried the greatest burden.

Multiracial participants reported roughly 2.5 ACEs, and bisexual adults reported 3.1, both the highest scores reported. Women, younger adults, unemployed people and those unable to work also tended to have higher scores.

But Schickedanz cautions that, while the disparities are real, it’s important to recognize how common these experiences are among all people, including white and middle class families.

“This [study] shows that ACEs affect people from all walks of life everywhere,” he says.

The link between trauma and health

The original ACE study, published in 1998, analyzed data from more than 9,000 primarily middle class adults in the San Diego area, starting in 1995-1997. Its publication opened people’s eyes to how common adverse experiences are even among children in seemingly more privileged homes. Nearly 40 percent of participants had at least a college degree, and 75 percent were white.

More than a quarter of those original participants reported physical abuse in childhood, and one in five reported sexual abuse. And the study identified the link between adverse childhood experiences and poor physical and mental health decades later.

Since that study, an increasing number of states have begun collecting data on ACEs with the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the database used by the new study’s researchers. All states use the system, and 32 states since 2009 have collected ACEs data.

The CDC tracks the many ACE-related studies published on a website section specifically about ACEs. Studies have linked a greater number of ACEs with greater risk of heart disease, cancer, bone fractures and chronic lung or liver diseases, diabetes and stroke. Those with the most ACEs, four to six or more, tend to have higher rates of mental illness.

Scientists have just begun understanding the social and biological mechanisms that might explain how highly stressful experiences in childhood could translate to greater risks for heart disease or diabetes. One way has to do with the stress response itself: the body produces and releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline while increasing blood sugar and blood pressure — all of which help with the body’s need for fight or flight.

But chronic stress means chronically high levels of these substances, which isn’t healthy in the long term. Consistently high blood sugar, for example, increases the risk of diabetes, and high blood pressure is linked to heart disease.

Opportunities for intervention

This new study suggests a need to target prevention resources where they can help most, says Jack Shonkoff, a professor of child health and development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This also requires identifying what makes some people more susceptible than others to the effects of adversity.

“Nobody is immune to adverse experiences in childhood but for some population groups, they’re a larger burden of childhood adversity than others,” he says. “We need to focus on targeting limited resources to the people at greatest risk and making sure those resources go into programs that reduce or mitigate adversity.”

Doing that will require developing tools to screen for people’s sensitivity to adversity, he says. He also notes that ACEs alone don’t account for health disparities. Genetics play a key role in health outcomes as well, he explains.

“Environmental risk factors are only part of the story. You can’t separate genetics from environment,” Shonkoff says.

To address the consequences of childhood adversity, it will be important to develop programs that help children learn healthy coping mechanisms and strengthen families and communities overall, says Andrew Garner, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.

“Our objective is not to put kids in a bubble but teach kids how to deal with adversity in a healthy manner,” Garner says. “If parents are in survival mode, their kids are in survival mode too, and they’re not going to learn as well and learn coping mechanisms. Those poor coping mechanisms are what we think links adversity to poor health outcomes.”

For example, youth who cope by using drugs, alcohol, sex or other risky behaviors are increasing their risk of substance abuse problems, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, all of which increase risk of other chronic diseases later on.

Garner and Schickedanz both pointed to increasing levels of social isolation documented by other researchers as a substantial likely contributor to the health outcomes linked to ACEs.

“If you look the very highest risk group, it’s bisexuals, and we know they may feel isolated. The second highest is multiracial people who may not necessary feel they belong in any particular group,” Garner says. “We know from biology that it’s really bad to be socially isolated and we’re seeing that disparities in adversity are mirrored in health outcomes later on.”

But Garner emphasizes that an ACE score is “not destiny.” In addition to social programs that address underlying income and racial disparities, it’s vital to teach kids resilience.

“Resilience reflects using skills, and the beauty of that is that skills can be learned, taught, modeled, practiced and reinforced, and kids learn better when they’re in relationships,” he says. “We need to do better job of primary prevention by focusing on emotional learning and promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships.”

Tara Haelle is a freelance health and science writer.

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Baby-aspirin risks overwhelm benefits in healthy elderly

The findings may upend a common practice.

The findings may upend a common practice.


In healthy elderly people who never had a heart attack, the widespread practice of taking a baby aspirin every day may do more harm than good, according to a U.S.-Australian study of more than 19,000 volunteers.

The trial has “provided convincing evidence that aspirin is ineffective in preserving good health in elderly people without a medical (reason) to be using it,” chief author Dr. John J. McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne told Reuters Health in an email.

The results – which show that risks of major bleeding in low-dose aspirin users overwhelm any heart benefits – were reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Paris.


The findings may upend a common practice.

For people trying to prevent a second heart attack or stroke, evidence in support of baby aspirin therapy remains strong. But the new study, known as ASPREE, looked at the long-standing question of whether a first heart attack, stroke, or case of heart failure could be prevented with small amounts of the blood thinner in aspirin.

Until now, the balance between risks and benefits in older individuals was unclear, said Dr. McNeil.

Most volunteers had to be at least 70 years old. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the U.S. – two groups that face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia – could be age 65 or older. At the start of the study, all were expected to survive for at least five years.

After about five years of treatment, the rate of heart disease was not significantly lower in the 9,525 volunteers taking 100 mg of aspirin daily than in the 9,589 who took placebo tablets.

But the odds of a major bleeding episode were 38 percent higher with aspirin. Problems like stroke and intestinal bleeding occurred in 8.6 percent of aspirin patients versus 6.2 percent of placebo patients.

“This should set the record straight,” said Dr. Vincent Bufalino of the Advocate Heart Institute in Chicago, who was not involved in the study. “There’s a lot of folks on both sides of this but this study should end the question. There is no benefit for seniors who do not have vascular disease.”

“I’ve spent the last five, six years trying to get all my seniors to stop taking aspirin” based on the clear risks and unproven benefit, he told Reuters Health by phone. “If you look at the new findings, at best it’s neutral and at worst it increases the bleeding risk.”

And what about people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol who might be taking other medicines to mitigate a higher risk of heart attack or stroke? In the new study, most volunteers fell into that category and aspirin didn’t seem to help them.


“Essentially, we could not identify any subgroup in whom aspirin was beneficial in preserving good health,” Dr. McNeil said.

The ASPREE study was stopped early as it became clear that the “wonder drug” wasn’t working wonders.

While there were 21.5 cases of death, dementia or disability per 1,000 patients each year in the aspirin group, the rate was 21.2 with placebo. The difference wasn’t statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.

But the rate of major bleeding with daily aspirin use was 3.8 percent, versus 2.8 percent with placebo.

When the McNeil team looked at death from any cause, aspirin still made no difference statistically, with a rate of 12.7 per 1,000 patients each year with aspirin and 11.1 with placebo.

Extra cases of cancer were the chief reason for the higher death rate, with 3.1 percent of aspirin users dying of cancer versus 2.3 percent in the control group.

The higher pace of cancer deaths became apparent three and a half years after the study began, particularly death from stomach and intestinal tumors.

The cancer finding surprised researchers because in other studies, aspirin protected against death from cancer.

Thus, McNeil team said, the cancer results “should be interpreted with caution.”

The study was coordinated at 34 sites in the U.S. and 16 in Australia.

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EDITORIAL: Stop looming health care ‘oligopoly’

Ryan McKibben, Chairman

Christian Anschutz, Vice Chairman

Dan Steever, Publisher

Wayne Laugesen, Editorial Page Editor

Pula Davis, Newsroom Operations Director

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