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Heart attack sidelines president of American Heart Association during scientific conference

The president of the American Heart Association was recovering this week after suffering a minor heart attack at the organization’s scientific conference.

Dr. John Warner had the cardiac episode on Monday in Anaheim, California, and was taken to a local hospital, where doctors inserted a stent to open a clogged artery, according to a press release from the organization. His wife, son and daughter were with him as he recovered.

>> Read more trending news

Warner’s family was on-hand to see him deliver his presidential address Sunday afternoon, during which Warner, 52, talked about the toll heart disease has taken on his family. Both his father and paternal grandfather required bypass surgery in their 60s, and he lost a maternal grandfather and great-grandfather to heart disease.

He was 6 years old when his great-grandfather died suddenly, Warner said in his speech. It was the first time he was exposed to the term “heart attack,” he said. 

Heart disease continued to plague his family as he grew up and into his adulthood. 

“After my son was born and we were introducing him to his extended family, I realized something very disturbing,” Warner said, according to the release. “There were no old men on either side of my family. None. All the branches of our family tree (were) cut short by cardiovascular disease.”

He told those at the conference that many other families have had the same experience with heart disease in the U.S. and around the world.

“Together, we can make sure old men and old women are regulars at family reunions,” he said. “In other words, I look forward to a future where people have the exact opposite experience of my family, that children grow up surrounded by so many healthy, beloved, elderly relatives that they couldn’t imagine life any other way.”

Click here to learn more about heart attacks.

Following Warner’s heart attack on Monday, Nancy Brown, the chief executive officer for the AHA, said that his sudden illness highlights the organization’s message to the public.

“John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday -- that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done,” Brown said

“Cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere.”  

Warner, a practicing cardiologist, is chief executive officer of UT Southwester University Hospitals in Dallas, the news release said. 

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

Quick-thinking teachers save life of boy impaled by pencil

A Florida 8-year-old is alive because of the quick thinking of two teachers who sprang into action when he accidentally impaled himself on a freshly sharpened pencil earlier this month.

Kolston Moradi, a third-grader at Equestrian Trails Elementary School in Wellington, was waiting for his mother to pick him up from school the afternoon of Nov. 1 when he sat down with other students on the floor of the dismissal room. According to the Palm Beach County school district, the weight of his body drove a pencil in the side pocket of his backpack into his arm near the armpit.

“I didn’t really feel anything,” Kolston said in a news release on the district’s website. “But when I went to put (the pencil) in my backpack, I realized it was in me, and I pulled it out.”

Blood immediately started pouring from the wound and onto the floor. The pencil, which was driven about four inches into his body, had punctured an artery.

The frightened student went to Mandi Kapopoulos, a reading teacher who was standing nearby, and showed her his injury, school district officials said. Elizabeth Richards, the school’s Exceptional Student Education (ESE) coordinator, was also nearby and ran to help.

Kapopoulos pulled her arm out of her shirt sleeve and used the sleeve as a tourniquet as Richards, who went to nursing school before becoming a teacher, ran to get gloves so she could apply pressure to Kolston’s wound.

Richards laid on the floor with the boy, applying pressure and keeping him calm as they awaited paramedics. 

“There were hundreds of other kids in the hall, but I didn’t see or hear them,” Richards told school district officials. “I just focused on Kolston. I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got this. It’s going to be OK.’”

>> Read more trending news

Meanwhile, Kolston’s mother, Annalisa Moradi, was outside, waiting her turn in the car pickup line. An administrator called her and asked her to come inside.

“When I saw the ambulance, my heart sank,” Moradi said

Carrying two of Kolston’s siblings, she hurried inside, where teachers tended to her little ones while the school’s principal, Michele Johnson, took Moradi to her son’s side, the news release said.

“At first, I didn’t understand what happened, but as soon as I walked in, I felt like the situation was under control,” Moradi said. “They were calm, and they kept me calm.”

Paramedics who responded to the scene told the mother of four just how dire the situation could have been. 

“The EMT told me that if the teachers hadn’t acted as quickly as they had, my son would be dead,” Moradi said. 

Instead, Kolston’s experience ended with two staples in his arm to close the wound. He was back at school the next day.

Since the freak accident, school administrators and teachers are reminding their charges to always keep their pencils in a pencil case. 

Johnson told district officials that the incident was a first in her career.

“I have been an educator for 28 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Johnson said

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.

Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires’ outbreak

Disneyland shut down two cooling towers in October after people who visited the Southern California theme park were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

A dozen cases of the bacterial illness were discovered approximately three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed to The Associated Press. All the patients lived or had spent time in Anaheim and nine had visited Disneyland in September. One patient, who hadn’t visited the park, has died.

>> Read more trending news

Legionnaires’ can cause severe pneumonia. It is spread by mist from contaminated water. 

Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires’ cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria. The towers will reopen once they are no longer contaminated, park officials said.

The health agency told The AP that no new cases have been reported.

Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

The holiday season is upon us and that probably means the icicle lights are going up at your local hangouts, your neighbors are starting to set up the decor in their front yards and, of course, Christmas music is likely on a continuous loop everywhere you go — or it will be soon.

» RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

If you’re not all that excited about the last bit, you’re not alone.

In fact, according to some mental health experts, hearing Christmas music can be psychologically draining, especially for those working in retail who have to listen to holiday tunes blasting in their stores regularly. 

» RELATED: 9-year-old battling cancer to celebrate Christmas early this year

“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out -- tune out Christmas music -- because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

Music tends to bypass rationality and go straight for our emotions, Blair said. "It might make us feel that we're trapped. It's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.”

>> Read more trending news

While previous research has shown that adding Christmas music or scents to the shopping experience yields a positive experience for shoppers, it could also lead to impulse buys, due to the music’s emotional influence, Blair said.

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

The United Kingdom’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers also told Sky News it “ask(s) employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting.”

» RELATED: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Increased stress during the holidays is also a major trend in the U.S., according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some common holiday stressors could include financial demands of the season, dealing with the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, including an exercise regimen, a 2015 Healthline study on consumer health found.

» RELATED: 12 expert-approved tips to avoid holiday weight gain

Ellen Braaten, a psychology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some tips in a Harvard Medical School report on holiday stress and the brain:

“People who feel stressed during the holidays should evaluate how they spend their time, decide what they want the holidays to mean to them, and keep their expectations for the season realistic.”

“The holidays are just another time of year,” Braaten said, “certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.”

Read more about holiday stress and the brain at neuro.hms.harvard.edu.

Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

Are you on birth control? If you use an intrauterine device, also known as an IUD, you may have a lower risk of developing cervical cancer, according to a new report

»RELATED: 7 surprising things that can increase your risk of cancer

Researchers from the University of Southern California recently conducted an experiment, published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, to determine the link between IUDs and the disease.

>> Read more trending news 

To do so, they took a look at 16 previous studies that examined more than 12,000 women from around the world. Each study included information about the participants’ IUD use, history of cervical cancer and other health risk factors, including prevalence of HPV and the age of a woman’s fist vaginal intercourse. 

»RELATED: Newborn baby photographed with mother's IUD in hand

After analyzing the results, they found that the rate of cervical cancer was one-third lower in women who used IUDs compared to those who did not. 

“The pattern we found was stunning. It was not subtle at all," lead author Victoria Cortessis said in a statement. "The possibility that a woman could experience some help with cancer control at the same time she is making contraception decisions could potentially be very, very impactful."

»RELATED: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells , study says

Scientists, however, did note that their analysis did not include any clinical work. Therefore, IUDs have not been proven to prevent cervical cancer. 

But they do have a few theories about IUDs’ protective benefits. 

Some believe the placement of the IUD causes an immune response in the cervix that helps the body ward off an HPV infection that could one day lead to cervical cancer. Also, when an IUD is removed, they think it may contain harmful cells that contain the HPV infection. 

Scientists plan to continue their research to understand how IUDs can be used as protection against the illness. 

“The results of our study are very exciting,” coauthor Laila Muderspach added. “There is tremendous potential.”

»RELATED: Just 1 percent of women are aware of this common ovarian cancer symptom, study says

Florida woman ends up in hospital, has surgery after getting pedicure

A woman in Tampa, Florida, blames a pedicure for her weeklong stay at a local hospital. 

>> Read more trending news 

Tara Batista told WFTS that a few hours after she left a nail salon where she got a pedicure, she began to feel weak, and the next day felt severe pain in her leg. 

Family members drove Batista to the emergency room a day and a half later, when her foot turned black and she could not stand on her leg, WFTS reports. 

Doctors told Batista that she suffered a severe leg infection and needed to undergo surgery. Medical records obtained by WFTS revealed Batista had a deep injury on her left big toe that turned into a severe bacterial infection. 

The nail salon refused to comment since there is “no conclusive proof” Batista got the infection there, but she said the woman who gave her the pedicure dug too far into her skin, and she told her “to ease up a bit,” according to WFTS. 

Batista said she now has a catheter in her leg and needs care from a home health nurse for six weeks, WFTS reports. 

Read more here.

READ: Potentially deadly parasite found in 5 Florida counties

Americans more stressed about future of country than work or money, study says

Money and career woes can be triggers for anxiety, but there’s one topic Americans are stressed about the most. It’s the country, according to a new report from the American Psychological Association. 

>> Read more trending news 

The APA determined its results for its 2017 Stress in America study by surveying about 3,400 American adults who were 18 years old and older and resided in the U.S. between Aug. 2 and Aug. 31.

Researchers discovered that 63 percent of U.S. citizens believe the future of the nation is a “very” or “somewhat” significant form of stress. That figure is higher than other stressors, including money, which was a source of stress for 62 percent of the people surveyed, as well as work, a source of stress for 61 percent. 

When researchers dug a little deeper, they found that 59 percent of adults reported the current “social divisiveness” was also stressful. Of that number, 73 percent were Democrats and 56 percent were Republicans. 

“We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” APA’s CEO Arthur C. Evans said in a statement. “The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”

These are the political topics Americans are most concerned about:

Health care: 43 percent

Economy: 35 percent

Trust in government: 32 percent

Hate crimes: 31 percent

Wars/conflicts with other countries: 30 percent

Terrorist attacks in the United States: 30 percent

Unemployment and low wages: 22 percent

Climate change and environmental issues: 21 percent

» RELATED: Georgia among the most stressed states in the U.S., study says 

Furthermore, keeping up with the news is also stressful for adults. About 95 percent of people are following the news regularly, but 56 percent say it causes them stress and 72 percent think the “media blows things out of proportion.”

“With 24-hour news networks and conversations with friends, family and other connections on social media, it’s hard to avoid the constant stream of stress around issues of national concern,” Evans said. “These can range from mild, thought-provoking discussions to outright, intense bickering, and over the long term, conflict like this may have an impact on health.”

But despite the stress levels among Americans, 51 percent say they are more inspired to volunteer or support a cause. About 59 percent said they had taken some form of action, such as signing petitions or boycotting companies, within the last year.

Want to learn more about the results? Read the details about the findings here

» RELATED: Talking to yourself can reduce your stress levels

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.

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