Wendy Williams ordered to take three-week hiatus due to Graves’ Disease

Encore tapings of ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ will be shown during Williams’ hiatus.

Wendy Williams announced that she will be taking a break from The Wendy Williams Show to focus on her health.

On Wednesday, the TV show host, 53, told her audience she was ordered by her doctors to take a three-week break after being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, which causes the body to produce too much thyroid hormone..

“My doctor has prescribed — are you ready? — three weeks of vacation,” she told viewers after detailing her symptoms, which include difficulty sleeping and irritability. “I was pissed. Encore performances, really?”

Williams also addressed comments that something was wrong after she appeared to have twitchy eyes on-air in a previous broadcast. “Graves’ disease squeezes the muscles behind the eyeballs,” Williams explained.

“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else. Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years in addition to hyperthyroidism,” a show representative told US Weekly, “The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

Williams’ health update comes only a week after she took three days off from the talk show while experiencing flu-like symptoms. She previously had a health scare on-air in October 2017 when she fainted during her live Halloween episode.

The radio and television personality had an important message for her viewers on Wednesday: “What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said.

Thailand’s cave survivors face medical issues

Survivors of a cave nightmare in Thailand have medical issues to deal with next.

Thai boys who were rescued from a cave face medical concerns, according to CBS News. At this point, the total number of boys rescued is 8, with unfortunately 4 others and their coach still trapped. The rescues come after the victims were trapped for 2 weeks underground without sunlight.

“That basically makes your brain act very unusual,” says Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, “youstart to hallucinate, you see things, you hear things. You can’t really have a sense of who you are.”

The boys are all between 11 and 16 years old, and Glatter believes that their ages will help them a great deal in their recovery. “Kids of this age are very resilient,” Glatter said. “They have a lot of reserve in their heart, their blood vessels. They’re able to sustain and withstand stress. In other words, their reserve keeps then going through this. And part of this reserve is actually in their fat stores because what they have are lots of brown fat. And this is metabolically active fat, allowing them to generate heat, because this is exactly what they need to stay alive.”

Officials said that the rescued boys are being kept in quarantine due to a fear of infection.

“In general, the thing they’re mainly concerned of is leptospirosis,” Glatter said. The CDC says that leptospirosis is caused by bacteria found in rodent waste and that it can lead to kidney damage or meningitis.

Glatter said mental health should be a greater concern. “In my mind, I think the psychological effects are really more severe at this point,” Glatter said. “This is so critical. I think the children need to be hugged, loved. It’s so important, the support. They have to understand that their parents are here for them.”

Guam no longer has any abortion providers

There are no more doctors performing abortions in Guam.

There are no more doctors performing abortions in Guam, according to ABC News. Dr. William Freeman of the Women’s Clinic has been the island’s only abortion provider since late 2016, after the retirement of the only other physician who performed abortions for years.

Freeman retired in May, and left the clinic to Dr. Jeffrey Gabel. Gabel, an obstetrician and gynecologist, said that he does not perform abortions and that he doesn’t support abortions either. “I’ve always been against it,” he said.

Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services doesn’t refer clients or patients to abortion services, said Leo Casil, the agency’s acting director. “As far as I know there are no other physicians who conduct abortions,” he added. The lack of abortion providers on the island is not concerning to the department, Casil said, noting that abortions in emergency situations are decided by a doctor.

The absence of abortion providers could put the heakrh and lives of women in danger, said attorney Anita Arriola, an advocate for abortion rights. Arriola was one of the attorneys who challenged and eventually helped overturn a 1990 law prohibiting abortions on Guam.

“Our legislators and governor created an environment that has driven legal abortion providers away from Guam, and they’re setting up a system where women will perform their own abortions or travel at great lengths and great risk to get legal or illegal abortions,” Arriola said.

US lab companies sued in Ireland

American lab companies are being sued in Ireland over misdiagnosing cervical cancer.

American lab companies are being sued in Ireland over misdiagnosing cervical cancer, according to CBS News.

Quest, one of America’s largest labs reached a 7.5 million euro ($8.76 million) settlement with an Irish woman who says that it mistakenly cleared her of cancer years ago. She is not alone, more than 200 women in Ireland have been found to have been misdiagnosed in a screening program that involved two American labs.

Emma Mhic Mhathuna  is still fighting for her life: “I’m 37, learning about the process of dying,” she said. “It’s not fair for children to have to go through that process.” Emma is a single mother of five children, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016.

Over the past decade, Quest and Clinical Pathology Laboratories, along with an Irish lab, processed smear tests for Ireland’s Health Service. A government audit in 2014 found that the labs mistakenly cleared 209 women in Ireland who were later diagnosed as having cervical cancer. Since then, 18 of those women have died. Worse, most of the women affected were never told, until one of them, Vicky Phelan, discovered a page from the audit in her medical file in January.

“‘Jesus,’ I said, ‘Mom, I actually had cancer in 2011,'” Phelan said. “It wasn’t just pre-cancer. It was cancer.” “That was the day I contacted solicitors and decided I’m going to take this further,” she added.

She was the first of the women to go to court, and in April reached a roughly $3 million settlement with Ireland’s Health Service and CPL.

“My settlement will mostly be spent on buying me time and for paying for clinical trials to keep me alive, and to allow me to spend more time with my children,” Phelan said.

The brain does create new cells as it ages, study reports

A new study shows that, despite popular belief, aging brains do create new cells.

The human brain makes cells during old age, according to a new paper published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Scientists have long believed that the brain stops making new cells as humans age. However, the new study — which comes from researchers at Columbia University — directly contrasts that common belief. In fact, the team found direct evidence that aging brains produce as many new cells as younger ones.

“We found that older people have similar ability to make thousands of hippocampal new neurons from progenitor cells as younger people do,” said lead author Maura Boldrini, a researcher at Columbia University, according to Tech Times. “We also found equivalent volumes of the hippocampus (a brain structure used for emotion and cognition) across ages.”

This study is unique because it is the first to track the brain’s cell production over the course of an average lifespan. To do that, the team studied 28 brains that came from the corpses of healthy people — meaning they did not show any evidence of major disorders or drug abuse — aged 14 to 79.

The team analyzed the organs by slicing the hippocampi — the area of the brain important for learning and memory — into small pieces and then using a microscope in conjunction with specialized computer software to count how many newly formed cells they had.

While the older brains should have been completely unchanged according to common perception, many of them had as many new cells as the brain’s from younger subjects. However, they also made less new blood vessels and did not form connections between brain cells as quickly.

This study is one of a kind, but it is not the first to look into cell production in aging brains. Rather, it builds on past research. Scientists plan to continue to look at the connection, not just for medical research, but to see how such information could help diagnose and treat medical conditions that come with age.

“We know from work in animal models that adult born neurons are required for various learning and memory processes, and there is some evidence suggesting neurogenesis is disrupted in human psychiatric conditions,” said Niels Haan, a researcher at Cardiff University who was not involved in the research, according to Live Science. “This is a promising area for potential treatments.”

Sudden loss of wealth tied to increased death risk, study reports

A new study found a direct connection between death risk and sudden loss of wealth.

Scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found a strong link between sudden wealth loss and an increased risk of death, according to new research published in the journal JAMA.

In the study, the team examined how losing financial stability affects a person’s health. They did that by analyzing over 8,700 people aged 51 to 61 and looking at how a “negative wealth shock” — which means losing 75 percent or more of their total asset value — affected their well being.

During a 20 year follow up period, the researchers found that 25 percent of people experienced a negative wealth shock. Every single person who went through that process was at a much higher risk for death from all causes than people who did not suffer such misfortune. 

In addition, researchers discovered that low-income adults had a 67 percent risk of death in that same 20 year time span. Though poverty is known to affect both health and mortality, the team did not think losing wealth would have such a similar impact. The loss of money held up across all income levels.

“This study, by showing that loss of wealth leads to an increased risk of death over a twenty year period, after taking ill-health into account, supports the causal connection between low wealth and poor health,” said Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity at the University College of London who was not involved in the study, according to Reuters. “Indeed, the worst off group in this study was the group that had low wealth to begin with.”

Researchers are not sure exactly how wealth directly impacts health, but it is likely because losing money causes a lot of stress on the body. Large amounts of chronic stress can then lead to serious problems. There is no easy way to fix this issue, but researchers believe that more steps need to be taken by officials to make sure people are more financially stable. 

“People don’t want to lose their jobs,” said Lindsay Pool, a research assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, according to TIME. It is not on them, “but on policymakers to figure out a way to intervene.”

Infants given antibiotics are more likely to develop allergies as children

A recent study has linked early use of antibiotics in babies to the development of childhood allergies.

Infants who are given either antibiotics or antacids are much more likely to develop allergies in childhood than babies who are not, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics reports.

Both allergies and asthma have been on the rise over the past few decades. In fact, people with asthma in the United States have risen by over 60 percent since the early 80’s. Such trends are well documented, but scientists have never been able to explain them. That is, until now.

In the new study, a group of scientists from the Uniformed Services University found that the use of antibiotics and antacids during infancy is strongly linked to the development of different allergies, including asthma.

To explain such rising trends, the team combed through the health records of 800,000 children born between 2001 and 2013 who were covered by an insurance program known as Tricare.

Researchers discovered that, after four years, more than half of the subjects developed allergies. That included rashes, hay fever, as well as allergies to both food and medicine. While that does not prove cause, it does reveal a strong link between antibiotics and allergies.

“I did find it striking that we found positive associations between the use of antacid medications and virtually every class of allergy we evaluated,” he said. That associated risk “appears substantial and clinically significant,” said lead author Edward Mitre, a researcher at the Uniformed Services University, according to U.S News & World Report.

Data revealed that babies who were given antacids in the first six months since birth had double the risk of developing a food allergy and their risk of developing hay fever increased by 50 percent. In addition, babies who were given antibiotics in their first six months saw their risk of developing asthma double. They experienced a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing anaphylaxis or hay fever as well.

This study is important because it provides more evidence on why people need to balance the gut microbiome, which is easily upset by both antibiotics and antacids. When infants are given medication the gut is thrown off balance and causes overreactions in the immune system that appear like allergies. As a result, the team behind the research believes antibiotics or antacids should only be prescribed to infants when it is extremely necessary.

“These medicines are considered generally harmless and something to try with fussy babies who spit up a lot,” added Mitre, according to The Washington Post. “We should be a little more cautious prescribing these medicines.”

Second wave of flu epidemic possible this season

The CDC warns that a second waver of this season’s flu epidemic is possible.

While flu activity nationwide has dropped to just above normal, the B viruses overtook influenza A during the week ending March 17, according to the CDC. And the agency is warning that influenza B infections, which commonly strike later in the season, could pose even greater risks for young children.

“This year’s flu shot protects you from several different strains of flu, including a type of influenza B,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara and Director of the County Public Health Department. “Flu season can continue until April or May each year and we are seeing a few cases of influenza B in our community, so it’s important to know it’s still not too late to get your flu shot. Protect yourself and your family by covering your cough, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.”

Officials are also warning that it’s possible for those who’ve already been sick with the flu to get hit again, but this time with a different strain later in the season. Experts recommend everyone who has not been vaccinated to get a flu shot while strains are still circulating.

Newly discovered organ could be largest in body

A team of scientists believe they have found a brand new organ known as the interstitium.

Researchers from the New York Department of Pathology have discovered what they believe to be a never-before-seen human organ, according to new research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

In the study, the team outlined their idea that the body contains a previously undiscovered network of fluid-filled pockets and collagen that sit beneath the skin and cover most internal organs.

Researchers accidentally discovered the proposed organ — known as the interstitium — while conducting a series of standard endoscopies. Though past endoscopies relied on cameras, newer techniques employ lasers that enable scientists to look into tissue at a microscopic level.

When the team behind the research studied a patient’s’ bile ducts, they expected to find the dense connective tissue that covers most organs. However, instead they found a mesh-like pattern of dark branching collagen bands around large, fluid-filled spaces.

After confirming their finding in other parts of the body, the team theorized that scientists had never found the interstitium because tissue samples caused the pockets to collapse and appear like solid tissue. After extracting bile samples, the scientists froze and studied them underneath a microscope. As expected, they found fluid pockets surrounded by bundles of collagen.

“This fixation artifact of collapse has made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides for decades, and our results correct for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues,” said study co-author Neil Theise, a professor at New York University’s Department of Pathology, in a statement. “This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool.”

Researchers estimate that the interstitium contains up to a fifth of the body’s total fluids, and they believe the fluid is lymph — a colorless substance produced by the lymph nodes. Scientists are not sure why the interstitium exists, but they believe it could help absorb shock or act as an inner-body highway for white blood cells.

The team believes the system could foster disorders or certain diseases as well. For example, in some patients with cancer they found evidence the dangerous cells moved out of their initial site by hitching a ride along the interstitium.

The team needs to conduct more research to confirm their findings, but if they turn out to be true it would make the interstitium the first “new” organ discovered this year. It would also be the body’s 80th discovered organ, Gizmodo reports.

Low sperm count could mean more than infertility

A new study shows that low sperm count can be a sign of other health problems beyond infertility.

Low sperm counts could indicate health issues beyond infertility, according to new research presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting this month.

This finding comes from a group of scientists in Italy who studied a group of 5,177 men and found that those with low fertility were 20 percent more likely to come up with high blood pressure, higher body fat, and cholesterol related issues.

Researchers also found that low testosterone levels in men with low sperm count can suffer from a reduction in both muscle mass and bone density, which can lead to problems like osteoporosis later in life.

“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” said Alberto Ferlin, president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine, in a statement. “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”

According to the World Health Organization, lower than 39 million sperm per ejaculation is low. The study found that men with such sperm counts were 1.2 times more likely than those with normal ones to have greater body fat, high blood pressure, and lower amounts of “good” cholesterol. They also are at greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Though the study does not prove that sperm count leads to such issues, the link is so strong that it is likely plays a role somewhere in the process. Researchers are not quite sure what that is, but they believe doctors should be looking at aspects beyond infertility when they treat males with low sperm counts.

“Men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality,” explained Ferlin, according to Perfscience.