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Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Thursday that the number of measles cases in the U.S. since January 1 is already higher than the annual total case counts for several recent full years.

In total, the CDC said there have been 84 cases of measles in 2015, with 67 of those linked to the outbreak at California's Disneyland. The California outbreak includes six other states as well.

Between 2001 and 2010, the median number of measles cases per year in the U.S. was just 60.

Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said on Thursday that for every 1,000 U.S. children who get measles, one to three will die from it -- "regardless of best treatment."

Interestingly, the CDC also notes that the U.S. experienced the highest number of measles cases in 20 years in 2014, with 644 cases linked to 20 outbreaks.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that placebos are more effective when they cost more.

Researchers looked at data from 12 patients with moderate to severe Parkinson's disease who were told they were being given one injection that was a more expensive version of a new drug and one injection that was a cheap version. In fact, patients were given saline -- a placebo -- both times. According to the study, published in the journal Neurology, patients had their brain activity and motor function measured to determine effectiveness.

While neither placebo was as effective as the Parkinson's drug levodopa, the expensive version of the placebo prompted better performance on motor skills tests. "Perceptions of cost," the researchers determined, "are capable of altering the placebo response in clinical studies."

Dr. Alberto Espay, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, said in a press release that "if we can find strategies to harness the placebo response to enhance the benefits of treatments, we could potentially maximize the benefit of treatment while reducing the dosage of drugs needed and possibly reducing side effects."

Because the study involved such a small sample of participants, further research may be needed to prove the findings.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization on Thursday released a new report on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, showing that the number of new cases identified in the last week had fallen below 100.

According to the WHO's Ebola Situation Report, 99 new cases were detailed in the three countries most heavily affected by the outbreak -- 65 in Sierra Leone, 30 in Guinea and four in Liberia. The total number of Ebola cases since the beginning of the outbreak is now at 22,092. At least 8,810 of those cases has resulted in death.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have been the site of the vast majority of Ebola cases, with 22,057 cases in those three nations. A small number of cases have been detected in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

The WHO says that the response to the Ebola situation "has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing the transmission to ending the epidemic." Specifically, efforts are being shifted to ensure capacity for case finding and management, safe burials and community engagement.

Liberia and Sierra Leone each reported decreased incidents of new Ebola cases compared to last week, while the 30 cases in Guinea was up from 20 the week before.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jacek Chabraszewski/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When faced with a patch of unruly hair on your body, it’s tempting to grab a razor and cut it down to size. But should you think again before reaching for the blade to solve your over-active follicles?

Dr. Debbie Yi, an Emergency Medicine and Neurology physician at the Hospital of UPenn, cuts this myth down to size. Dr. Yi asserts that our hair is a lot like grass: thick at the bottom and thinner towards the ends.

“So when we shave, all you’re doing is causing a cut, that makes the hair more coarse and more stubbly. So it might appear to be darker, and might appear to be thicker, but sadly, it actually isn’t,” Dr. Yi says.

So the next time you reach for that razor to get rid of unsightly hair, never fear, the hair that remains isn’t thicker or darker -- it’s just an illusion.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This is nothing to sneeze at ahead of the Super Bowl: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a cold.

Brady told reporters he's sure he'll be fine in time for Sunday's clash against the Seattle Seahwaks, saying, "It's been lingering, so I'm just trying to get some rest. A lot of garlic, old remedies, everything I can."

But epidemiologists aren't sold on the garlic -- but they also say there's a good chance Brady will be just fine in time for the big game.

"That will keep those linebackers away," Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said of the garlic remedy, which he called "folklore."

"People get better as time passes with colds, so I expect that he will indeed improve by the time Sunday comes along," he added.

Schaffner, who has not treated Brady, said most colds go away after about four or five days. He also said the most important thing Brady can do this week is stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep at night.

"That’s the stuff your grandmother told you which is actually is useful," he said.

Exercise also helps with symptom relief because it stimulates adrenaline production, Schaffner said.

Adrenaline constricts the blood vessels in the nose to relieve some of the stuffiness from a cold. He said most people have their favorite over-the-counter drugs for symptom relief, and those might help Brady, too.

"I think hydration, sleep, the passage of time and his exercise actually bode well for his performance on Sunday," Schaffner said. "He may not need that garlic to keep away the linebackers."


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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