TIME Cancer

Breast Cancer May Increase 50% By 2030

By 2030, the number of breast cancer cases in the United States will be 50% higher than the number in 2011, according to new research from the National Cancer Institute.

In the new study, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting, researchers used cancer surveillance data, census data and mathematical models to arrive at projections. Part of the reason the numbers are so high, they note, is because women are living longer. Another factor is the increase in screening that enables doctors to spot and diagnose more cases of in-situ tumors—very early stage growths that may not require treatment—as well as more invasive tumors.

MORE: This Mammogram Saves Lives and Money

The data comes amid concerns about the over-treatment of breast cancer. Last year, an analysis of women with stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found little difference in survival rates 20 years after diagnosis between women who had an unaffected breast removed and those who did not.

“There’s certainly concern, especially in the older patients, about over-diagnosis of breast cancer, and that’s one of the reasons that screening mammography can become very controversial in older patients,” says Dr. Sharon Giordano, MPH, department chair of health services research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. (Giordano was not involved in the research.) “We don’t want to end up diagnosing and treating a disease that would never cause a problem during the person’s natural lifetime.”

Not all in-situ breast cancer progresses into a dangerous condition, Giordano explains. “One of the unanswered questions is, how do we identify the in-situ cancers that are the ones that go on and progress to a life-threatening illness, and which are the ones that we should be leaving alone and not subjecting people to invasive surgery and radiation for treatment?”

The researchers also teased out some more hopeful projections: that the number of estrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative) cancers, the kind that don’t need estrogen to grow and don’t typically respond to endocrine therapy, will drop from 17% in 2011 to 9% in 2030. That may be good news, since ER-positive breast cancers tend to grow slower and have better long-term survival rates. The reasons for the expected drop aren’t clear yet, the study authors say, but one contributing factor could be that women are having children later in life, and having a child young is a risk factor for ER-negative tumors.

“In sum, our results suggest that although breast cancer overall is going to increase, different subtypes of breast cancer are moving in different directions and on different trajectories,” said study author Philip S. Rosenberg, PhD, a senior investigator in cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute, in a statement. “These distinct patterns within the overall breast cancer picture highlight key research opportunities that could inform smarter screening and kinder, gentler, and more effective treatment.”

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

This Adam Sandler Movie Has Inspired a Method of Dementia Care

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One facility is using a technique from "50 First Dates"

One home for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is using a method inspired by an Adam Sandler movie to help jog residents’ memories at the start of each day.

In the 2004 film 50 First Dates, actor Adam Sandler’s character creates a video that actress Drew Barrymore (whose character loses her memory each day) plays each morning to remind her who she is and what happened to her. The Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York City has family members of its residents doing the same thing as Sandler’s character, the Associated Press reports, recording videos of themselves providing messages and anecdotes for the patients to watch every morning.

“[The film] was fluff, but it made me think,`How could that translate to our residents with memory loss?'” Charlotte Dell, director of social services at the home told the AP.

The Associated Press notes that people with Alzheimer’s present differently and that one technique may not work for everyone.

[AP]

 

TIME Running

Meet the Man Who Won’t Stop Running

Scott Jurek has been an Ultramarathoner for twenty years

Scott Jurek thought Ultramarathoners were crazy, until he tried his first one.

Twenty years ago Jurek considered himself an average runner, but after falling in love with the long distances of Ultramarathoning — any race over the traditional 26-mile marathon — he really found his groove.

He has won the Western States 100-mile race seven straight times, the Badwater 135 mile race twice, and the 153 mile Spartathalon three times. In 2010 he set an American record at the 24-hour World Championships, running a total of 6.5 marathons in 24 hours.

Two decades after he ran his first Ultramarathon, Jurek is still going strong. He hopes to use his success in his unconventional sport to inspire others to push their minds and bodies beyond what they ever thought was possible.

TIME medicine

Most Americans Think Medical Marijuana Shouldn’t Be Used By Kids, Poll Says

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And 80% think adults shouldn't use medical marijuana in front of children

While most Americans think medical marijuana should be allowed for adults, a majority says the drug shouldn’t be used by or in the presence of children, a new poll shows.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health found that 63% of American adults think their state should allow the use of medical marijuana among adults. But only 36% think it should be allowed for children and teenagers under age 18. The poll also found that 80% think adults should not use medical marijuana in front of children. Ten percent know someone with a medical marijuana card or they have their own.

Close to half of the states currently allow the use of medical marijuana.

“Our findings suggest that not only is the public concerned about the use of medical marijuana among children, but that the majority of Americans worry that even exposure to it may be harmful to kids’ health,” Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and a professor at University of Michigan Medical School, said in a statement. “As is typical with anything involving health, the public’s standards are much higher when it comes to protecting children’s health.”

 

TIME Healthcare

How to Tell When Feeling Tired Is a Sign of a Health Problem

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When should I see my doctor about my low energy?

In our go, go, go lives, it’s not always easy to spot problematic lack of energy. But if you’re sleeping a solid seven to eight hours a night and still feeling sluggish, that should raise a red flag. The best advice is to pay close attention to exactly how it feels so you can describe it to your doctor in detail. If your fatigue is more like weakness, for example, the problem might be your thyroid gland, which regulates energy levels; either an overactive or underactive thyroid can zap you. Blood tests will show if there’s an issue, and your doctor can prescribe medicines that help.

Read more: 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired

More general daytime sleepiness or fogginess, on the other hand, is more likely related to stress or a lingering infection. Your doctor might order a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to pause while you snooze. This can disrupt your z’s, even if you don’t notice. To treat it, your doctor might prescribe a mouthpiece or breathing machine so you can get good rest.

Read more: A Sleep Meditation for a Restful Night

If you also have breathlessness, that’s a possible sign of a heart condition like cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes overgrowth of the heart muscle. Treatment ranges from diet changes to surgery to remove tissue or implant a pacemaker. Finally, if you feel apathy, too, that’s a sign of depression or grief. Thankfully, most of the time persistent tiredness can be solved with a little detective work.

Read more: 11 Secrets to All Day Energy

Health‘s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Healthcare

7 Kinds of Coughs and What They Might Mean

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Answers may lie in what the cough sounds like

Allergies? A cold? Acid reflux? No matter what the cause, there’s a simple reason behind all your hacking: “A cough is a protective mechanism to clear your airway,” explains Jonathan Parsons, MD, Director of the Cough Clinic at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

While it’s impossible to always pinpoint a cough by how it sounds, there are some key differences to give you clues as to what’s going on. Here’s how to tell what that cough really means.

Read more: 15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong

Postnasal drip

Sounds like: Either a dry or wet cough. It’s caused by mucus dripping down your throat (due to either allergies or a cold), which tickles nerve endings, triggering coughing, Dr. Parsons says.

Other telltale symptoms: The cough is worse at night; there’s a tickly feeling at the back of your throat. If it’s due to allergies you may also have itchy eyes and sneezing.

Diagnosis and Rx: If you suspect allergies, try an over-the-counter antihistamine. But if that doesn’t help after a couple weeks, see your doctor, who can refer you to an allergist for skin testing. If it’s due to a residual cold, you can try natural remedies like saline washes and steam to help relieve congestion, but if the cough lingers for more than a week see your doctor to rule out a sinus infection, which might require antibiotics.

Read more: Your 12 Worst Allergy Mistakes

Asthma

Sounds like: A dry cough that ends with a rattle or wheeze. People with asthma have inflamed airways, which can cause difficulty breathing as well as wheezing and coughing.

Other telltale symptoms: The cough gets worse at night or while exercising; chest tightness; shortness of breath; fatigue

Diagnosis and Rx: To check for asthma, your doctor will most likely order spirometry, a lung function test, he says. To treat it, there are two types of medications: quick-relief drugs (bronchodilators like albuterol, which make it easier to breathe) and drugs you take daily to keep asthma under control, such as leukotriene modifiers (like Singulair).

GERD

Sounds like: A dry, spasmodic cough. Short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD is when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. It’s actually the second most common cause of chronic cough, causing about 40% of cases, according to a 2006 review published in Nature.

Other telltale symptoms: Your cough gets worse when you’re lying down or eating. “The classic sign is coughing that starts as soon as you lie down in bed at night,” says Dr. Parsons. About 75% of GERD patients with chronic cough have no other symptoms, but if you do they can include heartburn and hoarseness.

Diagnosis and Rx: Tests may include an x-ray of your upper GI tract and/or an endoscopy (where your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube down your throat to examine it). GERD is treated with OTC or prescription meds to reduce acid production, like Pepcid AC, Zantac, or Prilosec.

Read more: 11 Surprising Symptoms of Acid Reflux

COPD

Sounds like: A chronic, hacking cough that produces a lot of mucus, particularly in the morning, Dr. Parsons says. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema; the main cause is smoking.

Other telltale symptoms: The cough gets better as the day progresses; shortness of breath, especially with physical activity; wheezing, fatigue, and chest tightness.

Diagnosis and Rx: Your doctor will usually recommend lung function tests such as spirometry and a chest x-ray. The disease is treated with meds like bronchodilators and inhaled steroids; it’s also imperative to stop smoking. In extreme cases, you may need oxygen therapy.

Medication-related cough

Sounds like: A dry cough. A group of drugs known as ACE inhibitors are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure; they can cause cough in about 20% of patients.

Other telltale symptoms: Cough begins a few weeks after starting these meds, Dr. Parsons says.

Diagnosis and Rx: Talk to your doctor. If your cough is mild, you may be okay switching to a different ACE inhibitor, he says, but if it’s severe, you’ll want to switch to another type of blood pressure med entirely, such as an angiotensin receptor blocker or ARB, like Cozaar.

Read more: 11 Weird Things That Make Your Seasonal Allergies Worse

Pneumonia

Sounds like: Initially a dry cough which after a few days turns to a wet cough with yellow, green, and/or red or rust-tinged mucus.

Other telltale symptoms: Fever, chills, trouble breathing, pain when breathing in deeply or coughing

Diagnosis and Rx: Your doctor can usually tell if you have pneumonia by listening to your chest with a stethoscope, although she may order an x-ray and blood tests to determine if it’s viral or bacterial, Dr. Parsons says. Treatment for the latter is antibiotics; if it’s viral, the only remedy is rest, OTC cough meds, and chicken soup.

Whooping cough (pertussis)

Sounds like: A severe, hacking cough that ends with a whooping sound as you breathe in. While this disease used to be extremely rare thanks to vaccines introduced back in the 1940s, it’s now seeing an upswing—in 2012, there were more than 48,000 cases reported, the most since 1955, according to the CDC.

Other telltale symptoms: The first symptoms are similar to the common cold: stuffy, runny nose, watery eyes, fever, and cough. But after about a week the classic coughing signs emerge, with hacking so intense you may throw up or turn red or blue, he says.

Diagnosis and Rx: Pertussis is diagnosed with blood tests and a chest X-ray. It’s treated with antibiotics.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

4 Low-Sugar Food Swaps

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Try these trades to lower your blood sugar

Diabetes has become an epidemic, affecting 29 million Americans. But here’s the good news if you’re concerned about your blood glucose: “One of the best ways to stay healthy is to make better food choices,” says Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD, author of The Gene Therapy Plan. Try these trades to lower your blood sugar and pack more protective nutrients into every bite.

Read more: Diabetes-Friendly Desserts

Breakfast
Instead of: Fried egg + bacon + American cheese + bagel
Eat this: Scrambled egg whites + onion + tomato + spinach + black beans + sprouted whole-grain tortilla

The classic breakfast sandwich is packed with saturated fat and refined carbs. But wrapping an egg-white scramble in a 6-inch sprouted whole-grain tortilla cuts calories and cholesterol and boosts fiber content to balance your blood sugar. “Throw in some color for extra nutrients,” says Tami Ross, RD, a diabetes educator in Lexington, KY and author of What Do I Eat Now? Onions, tomatoes, spinach and black beans all contain minerals essential to glucose metabolism.

Read more: 10 Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes

Lunch
Instead of: Romaine lettuce + carrot + cucumber + Thousand Island dressing
Eat this: Kale + dandelion leaves + radishes + chicory + scoop of tuna + olive oil + vinegar

A basic green salad is OK, says Dr. Gaynor, who is clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City. “But you can make it a lot better if you’re worried about diabetes.” He tells his patients to add kale, dandelion leaves, radishes and chicory: “It’s amazing what they do to prevent blood sugar spikes. You won’t be hungry for hours.” A scoop of tuna offers a dose of protein and heart-healthy fat, while olive oil fights insulin-blocking inflammation.

Watch the video: Smart Swaps That Cut Hundreds of Calories

Dinner
Instead of: Breaded white fish fillet + corn + couscous
Eat this: Whole baked trout + collard greens + quinoa

Trout is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that protect against heart disease. Just skip the extra carbs in breaded fillets, suggests Amy Stephens, RD, a diabetes nutritionist in New York City. Pair your fish with collard greens, a good source of alpha lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity. For your grain, go with nutrient-dense quinoa over couscous. “People get these mixed up because they look alike, but couscous is essentially pasta,” Stephens says.

Read more: Swap Your Way Slim at Every Meal

Snack
Instead of: A granola bar
Eat this: Cacao nibs + almonds

Avoid all the fillers (and empty calories) in a snack bar by noshing on cacao nibs and almonds. Both are loaded with magnesium, and a large Harvard University study found that high dietary intake of the mineral reduced women’s risk of developing diabetes by 34 percent. Happy bonus: “The tryptophan in cacao raises serotonin levels in your brain to help you feel full,” Dr. Gaynor says. “And you get your chocolate fix, too.”

Read more: 15 Diabetes-Friendly Vegetarian Recipes

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

Meet the Transgender Man Leading the Men’s Health Cover Contest

At first glance, Aydian Dowling looks like the average reader of Men’s Health magazineand an excellent contender for the title’s annual cover contest. Besides his handsome, bearded face, he’s got a solid six-pack and plenty of cool tattoos.

But Dowling is actually on the cusp of marking a historic first for the magazine and for men like him. The 27-year-old proud transgender man is currently destroying the field of candidates in the reader’s choice portion of the contest.

“It’s crazy,” Dowling told People. “It’s phenomenal, the amount of support it’s gotten—how many people have re-Tweeted and re-blogged and re-posted and liked and shared and commented and voted.”

Read more: Meet the Transgender Teen Who’s One of the New Faces of Clean & Clear

Will he be the next Men’s Health “Ultimate Guy” cover star? Well, he is surpassing the No. 2 contender by more than 27,000 votes as of this writing. And he certainly fits the magazine’s criteria: “a guy who is fit and fearless, a doer who gives back and leads by example.”

Assigned female at birth, it took Dowling most of his life to come out as trans. From an early age, he identified as male, but faced criticism from the people around him. “I just wanted to act a certain way, but I was told that was not how girls act,” he told Men’s Health as part of their feature series on each of the contestants.

He came out as a lesbian during his teenage years, but it wasn’t until he was 21 that his then-girlfriend asked him: Have you ever wanted to be a boy?

At the time, Dowling didn’t want to be trans, he told Men’s Health. “I was scared, and I thought being a lesbian was hard enough.” But shortly after that question, he started to think about it. He began searching for information online about transitioning, according to The Daily Beast.

Read more: Coming Out at School Better for LGBT Youth, Study Finds

This was in 2009. Before Bruce Jenner announced he’d sit down with Diane Sawyer and before Laverne Cox (from Orange Is the New Black) was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people. Dowling couldn’t find much of anything about being trans save for a clip from the Maury Show in which a man revealed that he had transitioned from a woman. Still, “that little three-minute clip was life-changing,” Dowling told The Daily Beast.

He spent the next five years vlogging about his own transition via his YouTube channel, which he still updates, now with advice for others going through the process.

Dowling lives in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife of three years, and stays busy selling and promoting his clothing company, Point 5cc, which offers free chest binders to trans men in need. (These garments are often worn my female-to-male transgender people to flatten their chests. They can be pricey, but they often curb the intense discomfort associated with gender dysphoria.) Each year, Point 5cc awards the Transgender Surgery Fund to a person pursuing a gender-confirming surgery.

On top of that, Dowling maintains another YouTube channel called BeefHeads Fitness, a collaborative page dedicated to bodybuilding and lifestyle tips for people who have transitioned from female to male.

“I started bodybuilding because I wanted my outer body to feel more masculine like my inner soul does, so I started training and it really just changed my whole life,” he told People. “I started to feel better. You’re forced in front of a mirror to make sure that you’re doing an exercise properly, and after five days a week in front of a mirror, you start to get used to your body. You start to appreciate it.”

Read more: Here’s Why Sam Smith Says Accepting His Body Helped His Career

Dowling started BeefHeads Fitness in the hopes that it would help others in the community feel more confident in their bodies. The feedback from the channel, along with encouragement from friends and family, pushed him to enter the Men’s Health cover competition.

“I want to break the stereotype of what a man should or shouldn’t be,” he said to People. “I think it would blow minds. I think it would be so affirming to young kids who are lost right now and depressed to see somebody on a magazine, to see if I can do it, they can do it too.”

If Dowling wins the overall competition, he would not only be the first transgender male to be featured on the cover of Men’s Health, but the first to ever appear on any major national magazine.

“Having a trans person on the cover would tell people that no matter who you are, you can be the man you want to be,” he told Men’s Health. “It’s fully possible if you put the time and effort and balance it takes to find the man in you.”

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

The Smell of Your Sweat Can Make Other People Happy

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Another reason happiness might be contagious

People seem to be able to send happy vibes through their sweat, according to a new study in Psychological Science. The study found that women showed more signs of happiness when they sniffed sweat made by happy men than when they smelled sweat generated by men in a neutral emotional state.

“Being exposed to sweat produced under happiness induces a simulacrum of happiness in receivers, and induces a contagion of the emotional state,” said study author Gün Semin, a professor at Utrecht University, in a statement. “Somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness.”

MORE: What Pheromones Really Reveal About Your Love Life

Determining how sweat affects the happiness of the people who smell it required some unusual experiments. Researchers showed film clips to a group of 12 men that inspired either fear or happiness. A control group of men was shown neutral scenes. After screening the clips, researchers collected sweat samples from the men by placing pads in their armpits and asked 36 women to smell a vial with the scent of the pads. Researchers measured the facial expression prompted by each sweat sample. Women smiled more when they smelled the sweat of happy men than sweat made after men watched a neutral video clip.

The study is small and more research is needed. Previous research has shown that chemosignaling—or conveying emotion through smell—can inspire negative emotions in others, but these findings show that smells might be able to inspire happy emotions, too.

Read next: 6 Signs You’re Not Working Out Hard Enough

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TIME public health

California Measles Outbreak Is Over, Health Officials Say

No new cases related to the outbreak have been reported in 42 days

A measles outbreak that infected 131 Californians has ended, the state’s Department of Public Health said Friday.

The outbreak, which began in December at Disneyland, infected people ranging from 6 weeks to 70 years old, sending 19% of them to the hospital. No new cases related to the outbreak have been reported in 42 days, officials said.

“Having this measles outbreak behind us is a significant accomplishment,” Gil Chavez, California’s state epidemiologist, said during a press call. “Measles can be very serious with devastating consequences.”

Health officials believe a tourist brought measles to Disney’s Anaheim, Calif. theme parks in December, eventually infecting 42 people at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The disease then spread to a number of students, teachers, health care workers and other Californians. No deaths were reported.

At least 56 of the people who contracted measles during the outbreak had not been vaccinated, according to Chavez (the vaccination status of 38% of those who were infected is unknown). He encouraged unvaccinated people to get the measles vaccine “to protect themselves, to protect their loved ones and to protect the community at large.”

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