iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Surgeon General is calling skin cancer a "major public health problem" and says tanning is a direct cause.
A report from the office of Surgeon General Boris Lushniak says unlike other forms of cancer in the United States, the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, with 5 million people getting treated each year.
About 63,000 people are treated for melanoma and about 10% of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.
Lushniak says all states should ban minors from using tanning beds and the report urges everyone to wear sunscreen outside.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to exercise, even a little can go a long way. A slew of new studies suggest that working out for just a few minutes -- seconds, even -- can be beneficial to your health.
Read on to find out how any amount of exercise is completely worthwhile. The amount you should do just depends on your goals.
6 Seconds: For seniors, every second of exercise counts. In a new Scottish study, retirement-age subjects were asked to do six six-second sprints on a stationary bicycle with one minute of rest in between. After six weeks, their blood pressure dropped by a respectable 9 percent. It’s possible these results might translate to younger folks, said Michele Olson, an exercise science professor and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama. “Even a little activity can increase the efficiency of your heart and lead to more energy overall, no matter what your age,” she said.
5 Minutes: According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a five-minute daily run can cut the risk of death in middle-aged men and women by 30 percent and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 45 percent compared to people who parked themselves on the couch all day. But don’t cancel your gym membership just yet, Olson said. “You have to push at a very high intensity to see improvements in heart function and reduce the dangerous, unhealthy visceral fat that collects around the organs,” she said.
10 Minutes: Olson, who has led numerous investigations on the benefits of quick, intense exercise, said that bone health benefits begin to kick in around the ten minute mark. “That’s about how much time you need to stress the bones and stimulate bone density to avoid osteoporosis,” she said.
30 Minutes: Most major health groups, including the American Heart Association, recommend getting at least half an hour of activity daily -- and with good reason. “Thirty minutes seems to be the tipping point where you begin to see not just health benefits but fitness benefits like reduced weight and increased stamina as well,” Olson said, adding that other advantages include cancer prevention, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a healthier cholesterol profile. Thirty minutes of exercise is also where you’ll see improvements even if you slow down to a moderate pace, which Olson characterizes as brisk but sustainable. However, an International Journal of Obesity study published earlier this year found that pushing hard for the full half hour may lead to even greater weight loss by dulling your appetite.
60 Minutes: One hour of exercise a day at a moderate pace appears to be the secret to substantial, long term weight loss, Olson said. This may be especially true for middle-aged and older women who are close to their ideal weight, a recent Harvard study revealed. While sixty minutes of exercise may seem unrealistic, Olson said you don’t have to do it all at once. “You can accumulate minutes throughout the day doing many different exercises and activities, including some resistance training,” she said. “And if you go at a higher intensity you can cut back to 45 minutes daily.”
90 Minutes: People who are obese or have lost a lot of weight may have stubborn metabolisms that require up to 90 minutes a day of activity for weight loss or maintenance, studies suggest. Longer exercise sessions should be done at lower intensity to prevent injury and burn out, Olson said, especially for someone who carries a lot of extra pounds. But here again, breaking up your workout into shorter, more manageable sessions should yield the same results as one marathon session.
iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Florida health officials are warning beachgoers about a seawater bacterium that can invade cuts and scrapes to cause flesh-eating disease.
Vibrio vulnificus -- a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera -- thrives in warm saltwater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also infect open wounds and lead to “skin breakdown and ulceration,” according to the CDC.
“Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater,” the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.
The infection can also be transmitted through eating or handling contaminated oysters and other shellfish, according to the CDC.
At least 11 Floridians have contracted Vibrio vulnificus so far this year and two have died, according to the most recent state data. In 2013, 41 people were infected and 11 died. The proportion of skin and gastrointestinal infections is unclear.
Florida isn’t the only state to report Vibrio vulnificus infections. Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have also recorded cases, and a 2013 outbreak linked to contaminated shellfish sickened at least 104 people in 13 states, according to the CDC.
Most people who contract Vibrio vulnificus infection recover with the help of antibiotics, but severe skin infections may require surgery and amputation, according to the CDC. People with weakened immune systems are also at risk for blood infections, which are fatal about 50 percent of the time, the CDC notes.
The CDC recommends the following precautions to avoid Vibrio vulnificus infections:
Avoid exposing open wounds to warm saltwater, brackish water or to raw shellfish
Wear protective clothing when handling raw shellfish
Cook shellfish thoroughly and avoid food contamination with juices from raw seafood
Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers
Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak continues to spread in the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and possibly one other.
At least 1,093 people have contracted the deadly virus and 672 people have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.
Two American aid workers are among the victims of the growing outbreak, which has taken a heavy toll on health care providers treating the sick and working to contain the outbreak. Meanwhile, a top Liberian doctor also died this past weekend.
Officials are also concerned after an infected man managed to board a plane from Liberia to Nigeria, potentially spreading the deadly virus to a fourth country.
In an effort to stop the spread of the incurable disease, Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak.
As for what this means for the U.S., Dr. Stephan Monroe at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions told reporters Monday, "No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low."
iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) -- It’s a sign of the times: when people have good news that’s happened to themselves or others, they’ll more often share it on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the biggest possible audience in the least amount of time.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison arrived at that finding after having 300 undergrads keep a journal of their emotions and the form of media they used to convey these feelings to others.
Far and away, when there was positive news to report, the students generally posted messages on social media.
Interestingly, however, the participants went “old school” when they had to pass along bad news.
The preferred ways of spreading less joyous information was via the phone or even telling people face-to-face.
Study author Catalina Toma put it succinctly, “You often hear people say when the phone rings, its bad news," Toma said. "Our data supports that."
Although people who believe they’ve found the perfect mate who “completes” them, University of Toronto researchers say those in love are often surprised when things don’t work out as planned.
Essentially, it’s those couples who understand that a relationship can take some time to develop are the ones who are more successful in the long run, according to study authors Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz.
They had participants fill out questionnaires about whether they considered if love meant two people were “made for each other” as soul mates do or if “love is a journey” filled with mistakes and forgiveness.
Not surprisingly, those who believe relationships take work reported fewer conflicts and tended to recall more celebrations with their partner.
Still, the soul mate concept is apparently the more accepted of the two, a Marist poll found, with 73 percent agreeing with it and 27 not believing it. Furthermore, it’s younger folks who are more likely to think that finding a soul mate is the essence of true love.
iStock/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- Are you the kind of person who gets a kick out of the things you choose solely on your own, such as movies, restaurants, clothes, car, etc., while ignoring what others might like?
While some might have an unflattering name for that, neurologists at Brown University are willing to cut you some slack.
They call the high you get from making particular selections “choice bias,” which involves the brain rewarding itself with the pleasure hormone called dopamine.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that but due to constant reinforcement, your brain might actually be over-rewarding itself for a decision that isn’t that much of a big deal.
Again, the Brown researchers say this may not be your fault because “choice bias” is actually in your genes, based on DNA samples they’ve taken from saliva of those who exhibit this trait.
Of course, that fact won’t placate those you irritate if you keep ignoring their choices.
Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Aside from the health risks associated with obesity, those who are grossly overweight are also at a disadvantage at the workplace, according to a joint University of Buffalo-Virginia Tech study.
The researchers had about three dozen people perform a series of tasks that involved hand gripping, elevating the shoulders and an exercise where they pretended to perform on an assembly line.
Participants were male and female, young and old, obese and non-obese. After completion of the tasks, which involved breaks, those who were obese performed worse than the others.
The researchers say this would likely mean in real-work settings that obese employees are less productive, more susceptible to injury and need longer breaks than their co-workers.
The study’s authors are not advocating employers replace their obese workers but instead “make adjustments to the extent that [the workers] have a skill which is necessary, useful and in demand.”
They admit the answer is not making bigger desks or chairs but to encourage wellness programs, gym memberships and other ways of living healthier.
Fuse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Why won’t kids eat their vegetables? Other than “What happens when we die?,” it’s the question that has frustrated mankind more than any other.
Researchers from Northwestern University didn’t set out to find out why children are so resistant to eating beans, broccoli and other veggies. Rather, their mission was to learn how to entice youngsters to drop their objections to greens and such.
It appears they may have found that elusive magic bullet. They believe that parents may have been using the wrong strategy all along in convincing their kids to eat their vegetables, which is by emphasizing the so-called health benefits of these foods.
Michal Maimaran and Ayelet Fishbach say that kids are too hip to buy the story that somehow they’re going to get bigger, stronger and faster from consuming vegetables.
Now here's the secret. After conducting a series of experiments, the researchers said children were more apt to eat their veggies when parents either said nothing or if it was presented as the best-tasting thing ever put on the planet.
Bottom line: the whole Popeye-spinach connection doesn’t cut it anymore. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
iStock/Thinkstock(SENECA, S.C.) -- A South Carolina man who says he's been struck by lightning ten times compares the feeling to being zapped inside a microwave.
"When it hits you, it's like being hit by a freight train. It knocks you out, knocks you down," Melvin Roberts of Seneca, South Carolina, told ABC News Monday. "You can tell what's around, you just don't have any control over your body."
"It's like grabbing an electrical cord," he added. "You don't feel the burns until it's over with. It cooks you from the inside out like being in a microwave. And you've got a hurting in your bones."
Roberts made headlines in 2011 when he was struck by lightning for the sixth time, and his wife says he's been struck four more times since then. If her count is correct, that would make him the world record-holder for most lighting strikes survived, although Guinness World Records still lists Roy C. Sullivan as the record holder.
Sullivan, a park ranger who died in 1983, was struck by lightning seven times. Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Roberts, a retired heavy equipment operator, can barely remember all the times he's been struck. There were a couple times when he was on his lawnmower, another time when he was trying to cover the mower up before the rain came, and yet another time when he was helping his aunt hang a tarp on her porch.
"It's like a big syringe in the sky and when it hits you it puts all this different stuff in your body," he said. "It turns your insides completely around."
But it doesn't hurt -- at least not at first, Roberts recalled.
"You're in shock," he explained. "Now, when you come to, that's a different thing. You've got big old blisters on you. It takes a long time to get over it."
As a result, he said he suffers from memory loss, headaches, speech problems and has nerve damage in his hands and left leg because of the strikes. Roberts also can't hear well, so he doesn't always know when there's thunder -- that might be a reason he appears to be such a target for lightning, he said.
But John Jensenius, the National Weather Service's lightning expert, says it's a myth that once someone is struck, they're more likely than anyone else to be struck again. He noted that people who work outdoors are more vulnerable.
"Nothing attracts lightning," he said. "It generally does strike the tallest thing, like trees."
He recommends people seek shelter if they hear thunder and stay away from tall trees, doors, windows and anything that conducts electricity.
People struck by lightning can suffer neurological damage, burns, memory loss, headaches and changes in personality, and the strike could also stop their heart, Jensenius said.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Doctors battling Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia say a mistrust of Western medicine is hampering efforts to contain the outbreak.
At least 1,201 people having contracted the virus and 672 people have died in what health officials are calling the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Dr. Michel Van Herp of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders said his organization has even been accused of "bringing the disease" into certain villages. He also said Ebola has been mystified by villagers, who fear that "to say 'Ebola' aloud is to make it appear."
"They believe that, but the reverse is also believed to be true," said Van Herp. "Denying that Ebola exists would mean that it won't be able to affect you."
Van Herp and his colleague, Dr. Hilde de Clerck, have been on the front lines of six past Ebola outbreaks, according to Doctors Without Borders.
"To control the chain of disease transmission it seems we have to earn the trust of nearly every individual in an affected family," said de Clerck, noting that 20 villages in Guinea near the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders still deny access to their medical team.
Medical personnel must wear full-body plastic protective gear, which De Clerck said is uncomfortable and difficult to bear in the region's high temperatures.
De Clerck said the work also takes an emotional toll, as up to 90% of those who contract the virus die a painful and terrifying death.
"We are the last people to touch them and many of them ask us to hold their hands," she said.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women taking daily doses of aspirin may be increasing their risk of suffering a heart attack.
A new study reports that nearly 23% of women carry a gene that -- when combined with aspirin -- makes them twice as likely to suffer a heart attack.
According to ABC's Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, "There may be genetic tests that identify people who will benefit from aspirin and people who will not benefit from aspirin."
"That's important because aspirin has side-effects," Dr. Besser added. "So before you start taking aspirin, talk to your doctor, understand what is your own personal risk of heart disease, and whether aspirin is right for you."
Trisha Leeper/WireImage(SAN DIEGO) -- Now, more than ever, the world could use a superhero. In November, the city of San Francisco got one. His name is Miles Scott and he had yet to start kindergarten.
Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the participation of thousands of enthusiastic locals, 5-year-old Miles, who had recently completed chemotherapy treatment for leukemia, spent that fall day racing through city streets to rescue damsels in distress, disarm explosives and defeat his arch-nemeses.
Over 7,000 onlookers came out to cheer Miles on as he patrolled San Francisco in a pint-sized Batman outfit. More than 400,000 people participated in the unprecedented phenomenon on Twitter.
But while the raw footage captivated the nation, filmmaker Dana Nachman wanted to go behind the scenes to find out more. Nachman has been working on a documentary since January.
On Sunday, she premiered the trailer for Batkid Begins at Comic-Con.
"There's a lot of reasons not to do things that are crazy and big," Nachman told ABC News. "But here were a lot of people who said, 'Let's not be safe for a day. Let's go crazy and be a little absurd.'"
Nachman cited the spirit of creativity that is characteristic of the City by the Bay as a possible explanation for the reaction that the spectacle prompted.
"It was this big fantasy for everybody," Nachman said. "It was as much a fantasy for everybody on the ground as it was for Miles."
The project has launched an Indiegogo campaign on July 15 to help finance the feature film. Over the next three weeks, it hopes to raise $100,000. Nachman plans to finish a rough cut of the movie in time to coincide with the anniversary of the event.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Equinox, the upscale gym chain, is acquiring another trendy fitness company to add to its growing exercise empire.
Equinox, based in New York, already operates 73 clubs in cities that include New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and London. The company announced that it is acquiring six Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club locations from Boston-based Millennium Partners Sports Club Management.
Equinox said its "long-term vision" is leveraging a portfolio of "complementary fitness brands." Monthly dues for its various fitness brands range from $25 to around $200 a month.
Equinox was established in 1991 and is known for its racy advertisements with scantily clad models.