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Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Older adults are more likely to use benzodiazepines for help sleeping, a new study says, which could put them at risk of injury.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, older adults are more likely to use benzodiazepines than young adults. While 5.2 percent of Americans aged 18 to 80 use the drugs, such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan, the percentage increased along with age. Among adults aged 18 to 35, just 2.6 percent used the drugs, while 8.7 percent between 65 and 80 years old used benzodiazepines.

Researchers also say that the proportion of long-term use of the drugs increased with age. Previous research suggested that older adults receiving the drugs may lead to increased risk of falls, fractures and motor vehicle crashes.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Digital Vision./Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pilots should remember to pack their sunscreen, researchers said, after a study noted that flying at 30,000 feet exposes pilots to significant ultraviolet radiation.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, found that pilots flying at 30,000 feet for 56 minutes receive the same amount of UV-A radiation as is received during a 20-minute session in a tanning bed. The windshields on planes block UV-B radiation, but not UV-A. The research was prompted by recent findings that pilots and cabin crew more commonly suffered from skin cancer.

Researchers measured the amount of UV radiation in airplane cockpits during flights and compared it to the amount released in tanning beds. Specifically, radiation was measured in the pilot seat. Researchers say that pilots and cabin crew should use sunscreen and undergo periodic skin checks.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pup Tries Out New 3-D-Printed Paws

Stephanie Portanova/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- One lucky dog is getting his stride back after being fitted with custom 3-D printed paws and legs.

Derby, a mutt believed to be mostly husky, was born without fully formed front legs. Instead, the dog had small “elbows” that left him pitched forwards as he tried to run and play with other dogs.

“He was scooting around on these nubs and chest,” said Melissa Hannon, who rescued Derby through her organization, Peace and Paws.

After taking in Derby from his original owners in Alabama, Hannon placed the pup with a foster owner, Tara Anderson, a director of product management at a company focused on developing 3-D products called 3-D systems.

From the first day that Hannon matched Derby with Anderson, she hoped they could figure out a way to get Derby fully on his feet.

“I think it was a vision,” Hannon said of the plan to create 3-D printed prosthetic legs for Derby. “No one knew if it would work or if it would take.”

As Anderson cared for Derby, she also started to work with people at her company to design prosthetics for Derby.

“We start him off very low so it wouldn’t be too drastic,” Anderson said of Derby’s first model on the 3D Systems website.

This summer, Derby was matched with his permanent owners, Sherry and Dom Portanova in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The couple said Derby could get around using a wheeled cart, but because it replaced his front legs it was hard for him to move around or interact with other dogs.

When Derby was given his first prosthetic caps, they were little more than “caps” to cover and protect his “elbows” as he scooted around.

“He took to those immediately,” Sherry Portanova told ABC News. “They have cushion inside. That meant he could go run on driveway and concrete.”

Anderson kept working with engineers at 3D Systems to fine tune the prosthetic limbs. One model looked like “peg legs” according to Portanova, and didn’t quite work when Derby tried to run around.

However the next model, Anderson designed -- a long looping prosthetic -- seemed to be just right for the energetic Derby.

As soon as Derby tried them on, Portanova said the dog just took off.

“The first time he was put on them and he took off running, he was so happy,” she said in a video for 3D Systems. “I was absolutely amazed at how well he did.”

Now, the dog runs every day with the couple, Portanova told ABC News. She hopes Derby's story encourages owners to adopt disabled pets.

"He’s such a good dog and he lives a full life," she said. "He’s very special. Everybody who sees him just loves him."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


iStock/Thinkstock(FRAMINGHAM, Mass.) -- A Massachusetts pharmacy owner has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak tied to tainted steroid injections.

The outbreak killed 64 people and sickened 687 others who received the injections across 20 states. Prosecutors said the pharmacists' actions displayed "extreme and appalling disregard for human life.”

Barry Cadden, who owns the New England Compounding Center, and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin were charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of 25 victims in six states who received tainted vials of methylprednisolone acetate.

Cadden and Chin were "acting in wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of their actions would cause death or great bodily harm," according to the indictment announced on Wednesday.

"The investigation uncovered widespread sustained and systematic unlawful conduct at NECC that was not only condoned but was expressly directed by management and senior partners," Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said during a news conference Wednesday morning announcing the culmination of a two-year investigation involving state and federal officials.

In addition to Cadden and Chin, 14 people associated with NECC were indicted on a laundry list of charges including racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud. The indictment details how cleaning logs were falsified, expired ingredients were used with fictitious labels, and drugs weren't recalled when microbes were found.

"Production and profit were prioritized over safety," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts, adding that the clean room where drugs were compounded "failed to comply with the most basic health standards."

Eleven people, including Cadden and Chin, were arrested Wednesday morning, Delery said. Three others were not arrested but were named in the indictment.

"Every patient who receives medical treatment deserves peace of mind and know that the medicine they're receiving is safe," Delery said.

For victims such as Michigan mother Jona Angst, 46, news of the indictment and arrests was emotional. Angst received two tainted spinal injections in 2012 and developed a spinal abscess that forced her to spend two weeks in the hospital, she told ABC News at the time.

There, doctors administered intravenous antifungal treatments, which gave her powerful hallucinations and made her skin burn. Since then, Angst has undergone two back surgeries and has been diagnosed with PTSD in relation to the experience, she said.

"I am on cloud nine today," she told ABC News, adding that the first thing she did was thank God. "I have done nothing but cry all day. It's the best Christmas present that anybody could have given me."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Proponents of the so-called paleo diet believe that humans who probably went by names like Grok, Thog and Dorn knew more about nutrition than we do today. But a new analysis by two anthropology professors suggests otherwise.

Short for Paleolithic, the popular paleo diet goes heavy on meat, fish and vegetables while shunning grain products and processed food. It’s supposedly patterned after the way our ancestors dined between 10,000 and 2.5 million years ago before the advent of agriculture, fast-food or Cronuts.

Ken Sayers, an anthropologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta and one of the lead authors of the just-released Quarterly Review of Biology paper, said there is very little evidence to suggest early humans subsisted on a specialized diet or considered any one food group especially important.

“Whatever angle you chose to look at the diets of our early ancestors, it’s hard to pinpoint any one particular feeding strategy,” Sayers said.

The study examined anthological, biological and chemical clues that suggest hominids lived in a wide range of environments. They were probably not the best hunters and their large, flat teeth would have made it difficult to chew many common plants, Sayers explained. Their diet can be more accurately described as an opportunistic buffet than meat-lovers menu, he said.

And even if one assumes early humans had access to some of the foods still around today, they wouldn’t be the same, Sayers pointed out. For example, langur monkeys whose eating habits closely resemble our Paleolithic brethren won’t touch the wild strawberries that grow high in the mountains near Nepal. While attractive, they are very bitter. They taste nothing like the plump, juicy supermarket strawberries that have been selectively bred for sweetness, Sayers said.

Caine Credicott, the founder and editor in chief of Paleo Magazine, said he can’t speak to this latest study but he can say that the paleo lifestyle is “about nourishing our bodies with real food that is grown and raised as nature intended, not manufactured in a sterile facility.”

And, he insisted, it goes beyond what’s on the plate.

“Paleo encourages other aspects such as getting more sleep, reducing time in front of blue screens, consuming locally grown foods, supporting local farmers that follow sustainable farming practices, reducing stress, playing outside, and getting out in the sun,” Credicott said.

Perhaps there’s some truth to that, Georgia State anthropologist Sayers said. There is certainly nothing silly about someone trying to eat a healthier diet, he reasoned. But why bother emulating a civilization where the average lifespan was only about 18 years?

“They lived short, tough lives that were focused on survival and reproduction,” Sayers said. “Most people on diets today are generally affluent and not worried about going hungry.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio





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