Health & Fitness (205)
High tech glasses developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may help surgeons visualize cancer cells, which could help reduce the number of surgeries need to eradicate the disease in many patients.
The glasses are so new they have yet to be named.
They're designed to make it easier for surgeons to distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, by making the cancer cells appear blue. Highlighting the diseased cells will help to ensure that no stray tumor cells are left behind during surgery.
The glasses were used during surgery for the first time Monday. Breast surgeon Dr. Julie Margenthaler performed the operation at BJC's Siteman Cancer Center. She says more development and testing will be done, but the potential benefits to patients is encouraging.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A day after Rachel Fredrickson won the latest season of "The Biggest Loser," after shedding nearly 60 percent of her body weight, attention wasn't focused on her $250,000 win - but rather the criticism surrounding her loss.
Experts cautioned that regardless of her current weight, the criticism being levied on social media about her losing too much isn't helpful. A more constructive message is needed, they say, centering on body image and healthy living.
The 5-foot-4, 24-year-old Frederickson dropped from 260 pounds to 105 under the show's rigorous exercise and diet regimen - but also time spent on her own before the finale. She was a three-time state champion swimmer at Stillwater Area High School in Minnesota, and said she turned to sweets for solace after a failed romance and gained the weight over several years.
Frederickson's newly thin frame lit up Twitter on Wednesday, with many viewers pointing to the surprised expressions on the faces of trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper during the show's Tuesday night finale. Many tweeted that Fredrickson looked anorexic and unhealthy, while others congratulated her for dropping 155 pounds.
Frederickson's body mass index, a measure of height and weight, is below the normal range, said Jillian Lampert, senior director of the Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment program based in St. Paul, Minn. But she said the criticism directed against Frederickson isn't helpful.
"As a society we often criticize people for being at higher weights - that's part of why we have the TV show `The Biggest Loser' - and then we feel free to criticize lower weight," Lampert said.
A more constructive message to send young people would center on well-rounded health and the importance of eating well, moving well and sleeping well, she said.
"We certainly see a lot of people who struggle with eating disorders who use the same behaviors on that show to an extreme," she said. "That can't be helpful."
Joanne Ikeda, a dietitian and retired faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Sciences, added that focus needs to be on embracing body-size diversity.
"We are just obsessed with body size, women particularly. There's just tremendous body dissatisfaction," Ikeda said. "I'm sure even if she was the exact right size, someone wouldn't like the look of her fingers or the length of her hair."
"We should be happy we don't all look like Barbie and Ken," she said.
A listed phone number for Frederickson couldn't be found by The Associated Press late Wednesday. During an appearance on "Access Hollywood," Frederickson didn't directly respond to the criticism but said she intends to live a healthy lifestyle going forward.
"My journey was about finding that confident girl again. Little by little, challenge by challenge, that athlete came out. And it sparked inside me this feeling that I can do anything I can conceive. And I found that girl, and I'm just going to embrace her fully," she said.
In a statement released late Wednesday, NBC said it was committed to helping all of the show's past contestants live healthier lives.
Among the social media commentators was 36-year-old Shannon Hurd, who tweeted that Frederickson looked weak and unhealthy. In an interview Wednesday with AP, Hurd said she became anorexic at age 16 and has been recovering since she was 19.
"Looking at her `after' photo, I guess I saw ... a piece of myself way back when, and it really just struck something deep down," Hurd said from her home in suburban Denver. "I don't know if she's anorexic, but I do think her weight loss is so extreme there is no way her loss can be maintained through normal habits, and unfortunately that leads to distorted thinking."
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LONDON (AP) -- Russian men who down large amounts of vodka - and too many do - have an "extraordinarily" high risk of an early death, a new study says.
Researchers tracked about 151,000 adult men in the Russian cities of Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk from 1999 to 2010. They interviewed them about their drinking habits and, when about 8,000 later died, followed up to monitor their causes of death.
The risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week was a shocking 35 percent.
Overall, a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with 7 percent of men in the United Kingdom and less than 1 percent in the United States. The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years - placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category.
It's not clear how many Russian men drink three bottles or more a week. Lead researcher Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University said the average Russian adult drinks 20 liters of vodka per year while the average Briton drinks about three liters of spirits.
"Russians clearly drink a lot, but it's this pattern of getting really smashed on vodka and then continuing to drink that is dangerous," Peto said.
"The rate of men dying prematurely in Russia is totally out of line with the rest of Europe," he said. "There's also a heavy drinking culture in Finland and Poland but they still have nothing like Russia's risk of death."
Alcohol has long been a top killer in Russia and vodka is often the drink of choice, available cheaply and often homemade in small villages. Previous studies have estimated that more than 40 percent of working-age men in Russia die because they drink too much, including using alcohol that is not meant to be consumed like that in colognes and antiseptics.
Drinking is so engrained in Russian culture there's a word that describes a drinking binge that lasts several days: "zapoi."
Peto said there was some evidence of a similar effect in Russian women who also drank heavily but there was not enough data to draw a broad conclusion.
The study was paid for by the U.K. Medical Research Council and others. It was published online Thursday in the journal Lancet.
Other experts said the Russian preference for hard liquor was particularly dangerous.
"If you're drinking vodka, you get a lot more ethanol in that than if you were drinking something like lager," said David Leon, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has also studied the impact of alcohol in Russia but was not part of the Lancet study.
He said changing drinking patterns in Russia to combat the problem was possible but that it would take a significant cultural adjustments.
"It's not considered out-of-order to drink until you can't function in Russia," Leon said. "It just seems to be part of being a guy in Russia that you are expected to drink heavily."