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Can’t seem to lose weight? You may have this special gene

Are you envious of your friends who seem to eat whatever they want without gaining a pound, while a single slice of pizza causes you to gain several? Genetics may be related to the difference, according to a new report. 

» RELATED: How to lose weight: Take a break from your diet for two weeks 

Researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, to target mutations in a gene called ankyrin-B, which is associated with weight gain among heavier people. 

To do so, they engineered mice that had human variants of ankyrin-B. They found the mice grew quicker and faster than mice without the gene, even when getting the same amount of exercise and nutrition. 

"We call it fault-free obesity," senior author Vann Bennett said in a statement. "We believe this gene might have helped our ancestors store energy in times of famine. In current times, where food is plentiful, ankyrin-B variants could be fueling the obesity epidemic."

»RELATED: Why this diet praised by Jennifer Aniston could work for you

Why is that?

They discovered these rodents stored calories in fat tissues as opposed to the other tissues that burn the calories and use them as energy. This causes the glucose to produce even more fat, which is unusual. Normally, a special membrane works as a door to keep the glucose from spreading to other cells, but the mutation keeps the “flood gates opened.”

"We found that mice can become obese without eating more, and that there is an underlying cellular mechanism to explain that weight gain," Bennett said. "This gene could enable us to identify at-risk individuals who should watch what kind of calories they eat and exercise more in order to keep their body weight under control."

>> Read more trending news

For future studies, researchers hope to identify humans with the gene to determine how it could affect other variants of health. 

»RELATED: Lose the belly pooch: 7 do’s and don’ts to accomplish a flat stomach

Women less likely than men to get CPR from bystanders -- and more likely to die -- study suggests

New research funded by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health shows gender may play a major role in whether or not someone receives life-saving CPR from bystanders.

And it may come down to a person’s reluctance to touch a woman’s chest in public, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers presented the findings Sunday at an American Heart Association Conference in Anaheim, California.

It’s the first study to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus professional responders.

The study, which involved nearly 20,000 cases around the country, found only 39 percent of women suffering cardiac arrest in public received CPR, compared to 45 percent of men.

Men were also 23 percent more likely to survive a cardiac arrest occurring in public.

» RELATED: Do heart stents even work? New study finds they fail to ease chest pain

Researchers don’t know why exactly rescuers were less likely to assist women and did not find a gender difference in CPR rates for people suffering from cardiac arrest at home, where a rescuer is more likely someone who knows the person needing help.

» RELATED: Study: Patients who undergo heart surgery during this time of day have better chance for survival

“It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest,” and some people may fear they are hurting her, said lead researcher Audrey Blewer, from the University of Pennsylvania.

And, according to Dr. Benjamin Abella, another study leader, rescuers may also worry about moving a woman’s clothing to get better access or touching breasts to do CPR.

But proper CPR shouldn’t entail that, Abella said.

“You put your hands on the sternum, which is the middle of the chest. In theory, you’re touching in between the breasts,” he said. “This is not a time to be squeamish, because it’s a life and death situation.”

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Roger White, who co-directs the paramedic program for the city of Rochester, Minnesota, said he has long worried that large breasts may impede proper placement of defibrilator pads if women need a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

“All of us are going to have to take a closer look at this” gender issue, he said.

» RELATED: Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack by one-third, new study finds

More than 350,000 Americans who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease suffer a cardiac arrest each year in areas other than a hospital, and about 90 percent of them die. According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double or triple survival odds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Just one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

Do you enjoy the occasional cocktail? Beware, because even moderate consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of cancer, according to a new report

>> On AJC.com: Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

Researchers from the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently conducted an experiment, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, to determine the link between drinking and the disease. 

To do so, they looked at several studies that found a strong correlation between alcohol and cancer.

After gathering all the data, they concluded that about 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths were due to alcohol consumption. 

Furthermore, in 2012, they discovered approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide were attributable to drinking alcohol.

"The importance of alcohol drinking as a contributing factor to the overall cancer burden is often underappreciated," the organization said in a statement. "Associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverages."

>> On AJC.com: 7 surprising things that can increase your risk of cancer

While researchers did note the greatest risk was among those with heavy and long-term use and those who also smoked cigarettes, moderate drinking is risky, too. Scientists described moderate as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

This was particularly the case with oropharyngeal – cancer affecting the throat – and breast cancer.

“A meta-analysis that focused solely on cancer risks associated with drinking one drink or fewer per day observed that this level of alcohol consumption was still associated with some elevated risk for ... oropharyngeal cancer and breast cancer,” the authors wrote. 

>> Read more trending news

But researchers aren’t suggesting you get rid of your booze altogether. They want individuals to recognize “that excessive alcohol use can delay or negatively impact cancer treatment and that reducing high-risk alcohol consumption is cancer prevention,” they wrote. 

To prevent high-risk alcohol consumption, researchers believe lawmakers and health care providers should implement specific strategies and policies.

Some suggestions include limiting youth exposure to advertising of alcoholic beverages and increasing alcohol prices and taxes. 

Scientists also hope to conduct more research.

>> On AJC.com: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

“Systems-based research,” the report said, “including research into successful means for the oncology community to identify patients who are currently using alcohol or who may be at high risk for alcohol relapse, will be critical.”

Company will give non-smoking employees 6 extra days off

A Japanese company will give its non-smoking employees an additional six days off to promote fairness and simultaneously acknowledge the amount of time smokers use to take smoke breaks. 

>> Read more trending news 

Piala, a marketing firm based out of Tokyo, begun offering its non-smoking employees extra paid days after an employee complained that colleagues who take breaks throughout the day to smoke often end up working less.

Piala employees told leadership their smoking coworkers generally spend about 15 minutes on each smoke break. 

Coupled with the time employees took to commute from the office’s 29th floor to the smoking area in the building’s basement, employees spend about 40 minutes each day away from their desks for smoke breaks, Piala spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima said, according to CNN

“One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems,” Matsushima said, according to The Telegraph. “Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate.”

Piala began offering the days-off incentive in September, at which point the company employed about 120 people, of which more than three dozen were smokers. Since then, four have quit smoking, Matsushima said.

“I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives, rather than penalties or coercion,” Takao Asuka, Piala CEO, said.

“We don’t give punishment for smoking,” Matsushima said. “Instead, we offer a benefit for not smoking. Without doing anything, (nonsmokers’) vacation increases by six days.”

At least 30 people have taken advantage of the extra time, including Matsushima, who said he used the extra time to visit a hot spring resort for a couple of days with his family. Shun Shinbaba, 25, told CNN he plans to use the extra time to play tennis.

Daith piercing could help alleviate headaches

Intense and often sudden headaches can be debilitating.

Migraine sufferers may find relief in a unique technique: an ear piercing.

>> Read more trending news 

Paula Nicholls has suffered from migraine headaches since second grade. The pain is so intense, she's hoping a trip to a tattoo studio will bring relief.

Migraine medicines haven't worked, so Nicholls is trying out a new trend that involves piercing a portion of the ear known as the daith.

Daith piercing was the topic of an essay by University of Florida health neurologist Edward Neely presented at the American Headache Society this June.

“I've seen some patients with good response and other with virtually no response,” Neely said.

Neely said one patient has been headache free for at least 18 months. He said the daith piercings go through the vagus nerve.

“So potentially piercing that nerve can act like a permanent acupuncture needle,” Neely said.

Professional piercer Kelly Buscher said while these kinds of piercings are nothing new, thanks to social media, the trend for the method of headache relief has grown in the past year. 

“There have been days where I've done 10 piercings where it's just the daith only,” Buscher said

For Nicholls, a chance to be pain-free was worth exploring.

Within a minute, Nicholls’ piercing was done and she said the pressure in the left side of her head was gone. 

“I usually have a lot of sinus pressure and a lot of pressure near my face, but I automatically felt the difference between my left side and my right side -- it feels more free on this side and it feels amazing,” Nicholls said.

“People are tired of the medications, Botox, so they're using this as one of the last resorts and taking a jump to see if it works,” Buscher said.

Neely said the procedure may not work for everyone, but it’s something more people may decide to try, hoping for even a chance to live a life pain free.

What is Narcan? 12 things to know about the drug

Walgreens pharmacy now sells over-the-counter Narcan nasal spray, a life-saving medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, at its more than 8,000 locations nationwide, company officials announced Tuesday.

» RELATED: Trump declares ‘public health emergency’ to fight opioid use in US

President Donald Trump also declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency Thursday, as estimates from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s what you need to know about Narcan:

What is it?

Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a drug that can temporarily reverse the potentially deadly effects of opioid overdose during an emergency.

According to Time, naloxone itself comes in three FDA-approved forms, including a shot (usually for more professionally trained individuals), an easier shot called Evzio for untrained users that works like an EpiPen and a nasal spray that can be administered by both trained and untrained users.

» RELATED: Is America’s opioid epidemic killing the economy?

What are the signs and symptoms of an opioid emergency?

Signs and symptoms may include breathing problems, severe fatigue and unusual sleepiness and “pinpoint pupils,” where the eye’s pupil becomes very small.

How much naloxone is in the nasal spray?

There is a concentrated 4-miligram dose of naloxone in the spray.

» RELATED: What is fentanyl? 10 things to know about the potentially deadly drug

How does Narcan work?

Because opioids affect the part of the brain that regulates breathing, opioids in high doses can lead to severe breathing problems, unresponsiveness and potentially, death.

When Narcan or naloxone is administered to someone with signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, naloxone molecules travel through the body to the brain and attach to receptor sites in the brain with a greater affinity than most opioid molecules and can easily displace them.

By displacing the opioid molecules, naloxone can quickly reverse the potentially fatal effects of an opioid overdose, specifically targeting any breathing issues, referred to as respiratory depression.

What are Narcan’s side effects?

According to the official Narcan website, Narcan may result in symptoms of acute opioid withdrawal. Those symptoms can vary depending on age and occurrence of opioid use.

For those using opioids regularly, symptoms may include body aches, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sweating, shivering or trembling, weakness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, goose bumps, stomach cramping and more.

Sudden withdrawal for infants under four weeks old who have been receiving opioids regularly may be life-threatening if not treated properly. Symptoms in these infants may include seizures, increased reflexes and crying more than usual.

For more information about Narcan’s side effects, contact your health care provider.

What if the patient doesn’t wake up or the opioid symptoms return after using Narcan nasal spray?

Administer a second dose of Narcan in the alternate nostril and watch the person closely as you wait for emergency medical care.

Additional doses can be given every 2-3 minutes until the person responds or receives emergency care.

» RELATED: Walgreens to begin selling OTC Narcan to combat opioid epidemic

Do you still need to get emergency medical care after administering Narcan nasal spray?

Yes. Narcan nasal spray is not a substitute for emergency medical care. It’s advised that you seek medical attention right away after taking the first dose or giving the first dose.

» RELATED: Study says opioids cost economy at least 1.4 million workers (and that’s just the men)

Is the nasal spray safe to administer on children?

Yes, Narcan nasal spray is safe and effective in children for known or suspected opioid overdose.

Is there anyone who can’t use Narcan nasal spray?

Narcan should not be used on anyone allergic to naloxone hydrochloride or any of the other ingredients in the spray.

If you take opioids yourself, be sure to consult with your health care provider before using the spray.

Why is it in nasal spray form?

Its design was meant for emergency overdose situations both inside and outside of health care settings. The nasal spray is ready-to-use and easy-to-use for nearly anyone, including family members and caregivers.

Firefighters, other first responders and emergency medical personnel also carry naloxone.

Where can you get Narcan?

Narcan is available at pharmacies both by prescription and, in some states, over the counter as well.

CVS offers naloxone over the counter in 43 states, and Walgreens now sells Narcan in its 8,000 stores nationwide. Walgreens stores in 45 states will sell Narcan over the counter.

How much does Narcan cost?

Without insurance, Narcan typically costs about $130 for a kit with one or two doses, but the over-the-counter prices could be 25 percent lower depending on current price points and discounts for other pharmacies already carrying the drug, company officials said in a news release.

Based on your personal insurance plan, you may have a copay between $0 to $20 to buy the drug. The majority of prescriptions, according to IMS Heath data, have a co-pay of $10 or less (75 percent) and $20 or less (80 percent).

» RELATED: Questions and Answers: Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) open enrollment

Though Medicare and Medicaid cover brands like Narcan, the coverage varies by state.

According to Time, some community-based organizations focused on treating drug addition may provide the drug for free.

Sources: CDC, Narcan.comFDA.gov

Read more about Narcan nasal spray at narcan.com.

Read the FDA approval for additional information about dosage, warnings and more.

Walgreens to begin selling OTC Narcan to combat opioid epidemic

As President Donald Trump prepares to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, customers will now be able to purchase a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug in over 8,000 pharmacies across the nation.

>> Read more trending news 

On Tuesday, Walgreens announced that it will begin carrying Naloxone (Narcan), a medicine that can rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose upon administration via nasal spray, for sale over-the-counter in all 45 states that allow it. 

While the drug typically costs about $130 without insurance, the over-the-counter prices could be be around 25 percent lower, based on current price points and discounts for other pharmacies already carrying the drug. 

Pharmaceutical wholesaler AmerisourceBergen has given Walgreens Narcan demonstration devices for free, providing them with the opportunity to show patients how to administer the medication.

RELATED: CVS has a plan to fight the opioid crisis

“By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed,” said Rick Gates, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy, in a statement. “As a pharmacy we are committed to making Narcan more accessible in the communities we serve.”

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton praised the decision on Thursday’s “Good Morning America,” saying, “This drug saves lives. Think of this maybe as defibrillator, EpiPen, another piece of lifesaving medical equipment that probably is going to be pretty widespread now.”

Speaking from personal experience, overdose survivor Nicholas Popinski said, “I’ve overdosed three times, and it’s saved my life three times. I had got the nasal spray Narcan, and I was at home one day and I had it on top of my fridge, and I did a lot of heroin. I did a few bags, and, you know, I was nodding off pretty bad, so my dad grabbed it and hit me with the Narcan.”

Georgia, Carolinas among top 10 most sexually diseased states

New data reveals the top 10 most sexually diseased states for 2017.

Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled by BackgroundChecks.Org shows the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea per 100,000 residents for each state.

>> Read more trending news 

Alaska maintained its ranking from the previous year, earning the No. 1 state with the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease. Vermont rounded out the bottom of the list.

The data comes just weeks after the CDC announced that cases of sexually transmitted disease were at their highest in the U.S.

BackgroundChecks.Org notes apps like Grindr and Tinder have increased the amount of casual sex and the risk of STDs.

Another important note: “Chlamydia rates also rose in most states, and remains the most common STD in the nation, which is often attributed to the fact that most people infected do not experience symptoms.”

Here are the top 10 most sexually diseased states:

1. Alaska2. Mississippi3. Louisiana4. Georgia 5. New Mexico6. North Carolina7. South Carolina8. Arkansas9. Delaware10. Oklahoma

Georgia rose to No. 4, three spots higher than last year, as the rate of residents with gonorrhea increased by more than 40 per 100,000 people.

North Carolina fell to the No. 6 spot from its No. 3 ranking in 2016 after seeing a decrease in chlamydia infections.

Oklahoma fell two spots from eighth place in 2016.

See the full list at BackgroundChecks.Org and read more at CDC.gov

Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

Nearly one-third of American adolescents and adults are affected by anxiety, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s the most common mental health disorder in the country.

» RELATED: What is anxiety and how can you overcome it?

And when it comes to teens, severe anxiety is becoming more crippling each year.

In fact, over the last decade, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services, the New York Times reported.

» RELATED: Anxiety and depression do not define who we are

The data comes from the American College Health Association’s 2016 survey of students about the previous year.

Sixty-two percent of undergraduate students in the survey reported “overwhelming anxiety,” a significant increase from 50 percent in 2011.

A separate survey from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, asks incoming college freshmen whether they “felt overwhelmed by all I had to do” during the previous year.

>> Read more trending news

In 1985, when the institute began surveying students on the issue, 18 percent said they felt overwhelmed.

By 2010, 29 percent said they did. And in 2016, the number jumped to 41 percent.

And since 2012, the Washington Post reported, the Boys Town National Hotline has seen a 12 percent spike in teens reaching out via calls, texts, chats and emails about their struggles with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

» RELATED: Teens and the distorted reality of social media

The rate of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers has also doubled over the past decade.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mirrored a national trend in suicide rates across the board.

» RELATED: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame?

But the research found suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

That means for every 100,000 American girls in 2015, five committed suicide.

For teen boys, the rate rose by more than 30 percent.

» RELATED: ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ shows how adults can mess up teen angst

What’s causing the rise in teenagers with severe anxiety?

Anxiety, along with depression, cuts across all demographics, including both privileged and disadvantaged teenagers.

But privileged teens are among the most emotionally distressed youth in America, Arizona State University psychology professor Suniya Luthar told the New York Times.

» RELATED: How to keep your kids safe on social media 

“These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic,” she said, but there’s “contempt and scorn for the idea that kids who have it all might be hurting ... there’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college. Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.”

But helicopter parents aren’t always to blame. Many students internalize the anxiety and put the pressure on themselves, Madeline Levine, co-founder of Challenge Success, a nonprofit aimed at improving student well-being, told the Times.

» RELATED: The more social media you use, the lonelier you feel, study says

Another expert, psychiatrist Stephanie Eken, said despite the cultural differences, there’s a lot of overlap among teens regarding what makes them anxious.

Eken mentions factors range from school, family conflicts, what food to eat, diseases, how they’re perceived by friends and notably in the last few years, Eken told the Times, to a rising fear about terrorism. 

“They wonder about whether it’s safe to go to a movie theater,” she said.

A lack of close, meaningful relationships is also a major factor.

» RELATED: Should kids be watching new Netflix series on teen suicide? 

Experts have long said hormonal, mental and physical changes associated with puberty may leave teens especially vulnerable to anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

And social media doesn’t help, Eken said, adding that teens are always comparing themselves with their peers, which leaves them miserable.

When Times reporter Benoit Denizet-Lewis visited Mountain Valley, a nonprofit that offers teens need-based assistance for $910 a day, a college student at the facility said, “I don’t think we realize how much it’s affecting our moods and personalities,” he said. “Social media is a tool, but it’s become this thing that we can’t live without but that’s making us crazy.”

» RELATED: This social media platform is the worst for cyberbullying 

But social media can also be used to “help increase connections between people,” CDC suicide expert Thomas Simon told CNN in August. “It's an opportunity to correct myths about suicide and to allow people to access prevention resources and materials.”

Still, Simon acknowledged that cyberbullying can greatly impact vulnerable youth.

More from experts at NYTimes.com.

How parents can help

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not getting treatment. And anxiety disorders are highly treatable.

While anxiety can be a normal reaction to stressful environments and situations, there are specific symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.

Generally, someone with anxiety disorder would have fear or anxiety that is out of proportion to the situation or inappropriate for his or her age.

The anxiety would also affect normal day-to-day function.

Two questions parents should ask themselves: Is my child more shy or anxious than others his or her age? Is my child more worried than other children his or her age?

» RELATED: Nighttime cellphone usage linked to poor mental health among teens

According to Lynn Miller, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, those questions can help predict a child’s potential of developing an anxiety disorder.

If you notice overwhelming feelings of anxiety in your child, the ADAA suggests seeking help and talking to a professional.

While antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can offer relief from symptoms, they’re not treated as cures. Instead, talk therapy is often recommended.

More tips from ADAA.org.

Woman made up story about doctors leaving camera inside her after surgery, hospital says

Earlier this year, a patient at an Atlanta hospital filed a lawsuit claiming that a surgeon left a camera in her body during transplant surgery, a camera that was discovered six months later.

Lacrystal Lockett’s lawyers have now dropped the complaint.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Doctors left camera in woman's body after surgery, lawsuit claims

Emory Hospital attorney Anna Fretwell pointed out an apparent problem with the story: No cameras are used in such surgeries.

“No evidence to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims — medical records, photographs, the alleged camera itself, eyewitness testimony, or any other evidence — ever was produced,” Fretwell said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Instead, the plaintiff and her lawyers admitted that Emory never left a camera in her body or had to remove one and then dropped the lawsuit.”

>> Read more trending news

Caleb Avraham, who worked with fellow attorney Michael Jo’el Smith for Lockett, didn’t go so far as to say the claim was false.

“I am not Ms. Lockett, so I can’t get into the mind of Ms. Lockett,” he told the AJC. “I know she believes her story. That’s as much as I can say.” 

Attempts to reach Lockett have been unsuccessful.

>> On AJC.com: Doctor, friend die from cocaine laced with fentanyl

Lockett went into surgery on Dec. 17, 2014, for a kidney and pancreatic transplant, according to the suit. Dr. Paul Lu Tso, assisted by doctors Ronald Parsons and Denise J. Lo, performed the procedure.

Lockett’s suit claimed a camera turned up in her torso the following June during an exam at the hospital and required another surgery to remove it.

>> On AJC.com: NFL player protests during anthem and gives critics a tip

Avraham said by the time Lockett came to him and Smith, the statute of limitations was almost up. They had what they believed to be “credible information” — he declined to elaborate — that Lockett’s story was true.

He said they decided to file suit and get more information from the discovery process, as lawyers do in the “pursuit of the truth.”

>> On AJC.com: Many questions after man dies and no one notices

Through discovery and their own investigation, the lawyers decided they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue the case, Avraham said.

Lockett had been asking for a jury to decide what she was owed for the alleged negligence.

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