Just 1 drink a day might increase risk of stroke: Study

iStock/skynesherBY DR. CHARLYN LASERNA

(NEW YORK) — While it’s well known that drinking too much alcohol can cause both physical and psychological damage, the pros and cons of moderate alcohol use are still heavily debated, with the latest study on the subject finding that moderate drinking can increase a person’s risk of stroke.

The study, published in The Lancet, counters the findings of some previous studies that have shown links between moderate alcohol intake and heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

It found that among 500,000 men and women in China, those who drank alcohol at moderate levels were more likely to have high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke. The researchers didn’t find a link between alcohol use and heart attacks.

Moderate drinking is considered to be up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The standard drink in the United States is equal to about one 5-ounce glass of wine, one 12-ounce can of beer, or one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor, according to the USDA.

For the study, each participant reported their drinking habits and about a third had their DNA tested to see if they had genes for processing alcohol, which made them more prone to drinking. The gene tests also allowed researchers to rule out other reasons as the cause of the high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.

These methods allowed the team to identify causal effects from the alcohol, Dr. Ionis Millwood, senior epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and co-author of the study, told ABC News.

That said, there were some limitations with the study. For example, the majority of the people included in the study drank mostly hard liquor rather than beer or wine — the two kinds of alcohol that have studies have linked to health benefits, with wine having the strongest evidence.

While the USDA recommends those who drink alcohol to limit their intake to moderate levels, the study shows that alcohol consumers should be cautious, as the evidence continues to remain uncertain.

Charlyn Laserna is a pediatric resident physician at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Never seen it as bad as it is now’: Law enforcement brass shine spotlight on police suicides

WPVI(NEW YORK) — Officer Andrew Einstein was supposed to die on May 12, 2012.

The former Marine who served two tours overseas, now a cop, had planned it all out.

Before going out that night, he laid out his prescription drugs on his bedside table.

He was going to get drunk and take all of the pills when he got home. He hoped to never wake up.

Einstein, wounded in Afghanistan in 2011, was having problems with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury, but he was afraid to ask for help.

“I thought in my mind if I reached out and asked for help, they would take my badge and my gun,” he said, speaking at the Law Enforcement Suicide and Prevention Symposium at NYPD headquarters.

Einstein said he got too drunk to take the pills, and his friends put him on the couch when he got home. He woke up the next morning.

Einstein’s story is not uncommon, according to law enforcement officials and health experts, and it’s one more and more police officers are starting to share.

Police suicides, according to Blue H.E.L.P., a nonprofit organization that’s tracked these figures since 2016, are responsible for more deaths than occur in the line of duty each year.

In 2018, that number reached 165, according to Blue H.E.L.P.

That number is “conservative,” said Miriam Heyman, a researcher with the Ruderman Family Foundation, a nonprofit, philanthropic research organization. There isn’t a central database for all police suicides.

“Police officers experience trauma on a regular basis — not just what is on the front line of nightly news,” Heyman continued. She went on to say that 10% of police officers have injured or have killed someone in the past three years, and officers experience on average 188 “critical incidents” over the course of their careers.

Top law enforcement officials agree.

“It’s usually not an event, it’s a culmination of many events,” Anthony Riccio, first deputy superintendent for the Chicago Police Department, said at the event.

The event put on by the Police Executive Research Forum brought together federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies to address the problem.

“I can’t think of a more important issue,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told the more than 300 people in the room.

Roccio detailed one instance where a police officer drove into a parking lot after she reported for duty and killed herself in her police cruiser.

“It’s been hard for us,” he said, choking up. “We take it personally.”

“I’ve never seen it as bad as it is now,” he added, citing his 35 years on the force.

This year, the CPD already has had three police officer suicides.

Einstein told ABC affiliate WPVI-TV that he suffered a serious brain injury due to a grenade blast in Afghanistan.

“My life was a wreck, to say the least, and having no purpose, I thought about suicide. But I didn’t just think about it. Killing myself became a viable option. I began formulating a plan. It was the worst place I’ve ever been in my life, by far,” he later wrote on the military website American Grit.

Einstein credits his service dog, Gunner, and a veterans program with saving his life.

“He gave me purpose. Though my life was still a wreck, I had a responsibility to take care of him. He truly saved my life,” he wrote.

After he came out of a dark place, he returned to being a police officer. But, he said, the threat of suicide didn’t end when he put his police uniform back on.

Experts at the symposium agreed.

“If you are a law enforcement officer, you have a 54% greater chance of dying from suicide,” said John Violanti, an epidemiology and environmental health professor and expert on police stress at the University of Buffalo.

Breaking the stigma on getting help is the first step, experts said.

“You smash the stigma, you save lives,” said Jon Adler, a former police officer and the director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Department of Justice.

Supportive families can also help.

“We need to educate families on what this job can do — I think it’s extremely important,” Violanti added.

Some police departments are hiring mental health and wellness experts, while others are turning to peer counseling or outside counseling.

Einstein is now an officer at a police department in New Jersey. He said he’s grateful for the opportunity — not just to serve his community, but to have support in understanding his condition and serve to the very best of his ability.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Broken heart syndrome: How emotional stress can mimic heart attack symptoms

iStock/RawpixelBY: DR. JOSHUA ROSENBLATT

(NEW YORK) — “Where do broken hearts go?”

Whitney Houston famously asked this in her 1987 song. For some, the answer might be to go to the doctor because the high-stress levels after an emotional period in a person’s life can cause symptoms that mimic a heart attack.

 With Stress Awareness Month getting underway, here’s a reminder that a broken heart — and the emotional stress that goes along with it — can actually have an adverse effect on your heart.

So-called broken heart syndrome is medically referred to as stress-induced cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy — after the ballooned-out shape that the afflicted heart often takes. In Japan, where the condition was first described in 1990, “tako-tsubo” refers to a type of octopus trap with a narrow neck and rounded bottom.

“Broken heart syndrome is a reaction to a surge of stress hormones [that causes] stunning of the heart,” Dr. Robert Segal, cardiologist and founder of Manhattan Cardiology in New York City, told ABC News.

Segal said he sees at least a few cases of broken heart syndrome in his practice each year. The trigger, he said, can be anything from “the loss of a loved one to divorce.”

It’s unclear why the condition occurs, however, a 2012 study found that it occurs more often in women who are older than 50 compared to women who are younger or men of any age. These women are often previously healthy, without any signs of pre-existing heart disease, Segal said.

The illness can manifest in a variety of ways. “Symptoms can vary from chest pain and shortness of breath to palpitations and near-fainting,” Segal explained.

Because the symptoms associated with broken heart syndrome are often similar to those seen in heart attacks and other heart problems, doctors diagnose it by first ruling out these life-threatening conditions — usually by testing for irregularities in heart rhythm, drops in the pumping strength of the heart muscle and then clogging in the heart’s blood vessels.

Although the condition might cause the heart to weaken so suddenly that it causes heart failure, these cases are rare and there is a relatively low risk of death.

“Usually what treats [broken heart syndrome] is time,” Segal said. Recommending emotional support for grief, he said that “the effects usually wear off within a few days to weeks.”

Joshua Rosenblatt is an internal medicine resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 4/5/19

Sports News Scoreboard roundup -- 4/5/19 https://linewsradio.com/scoreboard-roundup-4-5-19/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/sports-news/

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Friday’s sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
Tampa Bay 5, San Francisco 2
Philadelphia 10, Minnesota 4
Arizona 15, Boston 8

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Chicago White Sox 10, Seattle 8
Cleveland 3, Toronto 2
Houston 3, Oakland 2
L.A. Angels 3, Texas 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
L.A. Dodgers 10, Colorado 6
San Diego 5, St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 2, Cincinnati 0
Atlanta 4, Miami 0
Milwaukee 13, Chicago Cubs 10

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Orlando 149, Atlanta 113
Charlotte 113, Toronto 111
San Antonio 129, Washington 112
Oklahoma City 123, Detroit 110
Minnesota 111, Miami 109
Boston 117, Indiana 97
Houston 120, N.Y. Knicks 96
Memphis 122, Dallas 112
Utah 119, Sacramento 98
OT Phoenix 133, New Orleans 126
Denver 119, Portland 110
L.A. Lakers 122, L.A. Clippers 117
Golden State 120, Cleveland 114

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Columbus 3, N.Y. Rangers 2
Chicago 6, Dallas 1
Anaheim 5, L.A. Kings 2

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Los Angeles 2, Vancouver 0

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 06 Apr 2019

Rwanda genocide remembered 25 years later

WORLD NEWS Rwanda genocide remembered 25 years later  https://linewsradio.com/rwanda-genocide-remembered-25-years-later/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

iStock(KIGALI, Rwanda) — Remembrance ceremonies began around the world this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

For nearly 100 days in 1994, the Hutu majority in this small central African nation launched a purge against the Tutsi minority. The violence began after a plane carrying Rwanda’s Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down by unknown assassins.

Violence spread rapidly across the country. The number of those who perished in the mayhem is estimated to be more than 800,000, according to the United Nations. Thousands more were maimed and injured.

The ruling Hutu majority at the time was held responsible for organizing the call for mass murder of its fellow citizens, using radio stations to spread the word. Philip Gourevitch, a journalist who reported on the genocide, wrote, “The entire Hutu population was called upon to kill the entire Tutsi population.”

Hutus turned on their neighbors with machetes and knifes, and corpses by the thousands were dumped in rivers or left in mass graves.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this week that these 100 days were some of the darkest chapters in recent human history, and warned that current trends towards xenophobia and racism are danger signs.

“Wherever they occur, hate speech and incitement to violence should be identified, confronted and stopped to prevent them leading, as they have in the past, to hate crimes and genocide,” Guterres said. “This is the best way to honor those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda 25 years ago.”

Visitors to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, now flock to a somber museum dedicated to genocide where photos and videos of the terror that swept through Rwanda are shown alongside testimonies from survivors. Thousands of visitors each week come to pay their respects to the 250,000 who are buried on the grounds, and honor the memory of the hundreds of thousands of others killed.

But on another quiet street of the city, work continues for the Rwanda Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit (GFTU). Formed in 2007, this team of local and international investigators continues to probe the origins of the genocide and works to bring surviving perpetrators to justice.

Many high-profile cases were prosecuted at the U.N.-supported International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was based in Tanzania but closed in 2015. Others suspected of involvement were tried in Rwandan courts. According to the Rwandan National Public Prosecution Authority, nearly 2 million people were charged — with two-thirds of them convicted.

Yet, many key suspects are still on the run, according to the GFTU. They are reportedly hiding in Europe and other African countries. One of the alleged financiers of the attack was recently spotted in Kenya.

The U.N., the U.S. and former colonial power Belgium were heavily criticized for doing too little too late to stop the genocide. U.N. peacekeeping troops were not authorized to fully intervene in preventing the bloodshed. In April 2000, on the sixth anniversary of the genocide, the U.N. Security Council publicly admitted that the U.N. should accept some blame for failing to prevent what happened.

Former President Bill Clinton has called the failure to intervene in Rwanda one of his biggest regrets.

“I do feel a lifetime responsibility,” he told ABC News in 2008, while on a trip to the country.

In further interviews in 2013, Clinton said he believes that had the U.S. intervened, even marginally, at the beginning of the genocide, at least 300,000 people might have been saved.

Rwanda, under President Paul Kagame, has been working on national reconciliation. Kagame, a Tutsi, led fighters in 1994 that ended the fighting. He has been president of the country since 2000.

When the Tutsis regained control of Rwanda after the genocide, a large-scale exodus of Hutus to neighboring countries began. Many eventually returned. Many did face some sort of justice, which has brought some measure of reconciliation. Now Hutus and Tutsis live side by side in peaceful coexistence, but memories of the genocide are always present.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 06 Apr 2019

North Korea marathon has largest number of participants ever — but no Americans

WORLD NEWS North Korea marathon has largest number of participants ever -- but no Americans  https://linewsradio.com/north-korea-marathon-has-largest-number-of-participants-ever-but-no-americans/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

iStock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — The Pyongyang International Marathon, known officially as the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, will be held this Sunday in the North Korean capital.

The race is touted as a unique experience.

Not only are runners allowed to run through the streets of Pyongyang, passing Kim Il-Sung Square and under the Arch of Triumph where normally tourist movements are strictly controlled, but the race boasts an epic finish for each runner.

“You finish the race by running into a full [Kim Il-Sung] Stadium, filled with 50,000 people cheering you on,” Marcus McFarland, marathon coordinator for Beijing-based tour operator Koryo Tours, told ABC News.

This will be the 30th iteration of the marathon since it began in 1981, but it will only be the sixth year the race is open to foreign amateur runners. It is shaping up to be the race’s biggest year with more than 1,600 runners competing.

McFarland said their group will be bringing over 500 racers from all of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South America to compete in the races taking place. That is up from the 230 runners Koryo Tours brought in last year.

Koryo Tours is the exclusive travel partner of the marathon, designated by the Olympics Committee of the DPRK to enter foreign racers from Western countries.

U.S. passport holders, however, still cannot travel into North Korea, nor are tour operators such as Koryo Tours allowed to register them because of State Department travel restrictions put in place after the death of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was detained in North Korea from January 2016 to June 2017.

The ever-evolving political climate on the Korean Peninsula over the last couple years has impacted foreign tourism going into Pyongyang, but last year’s window of cooling tensions benefited registration for this year’s race.

McFarland said they started signing up runners for this year’s marathon last June, soon after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in Singapore.

By the time Trump walked away from the negotiating table with Kim in Hanoi at the end of February, all the marathon packages Koryo offered were already sold out.

The marathon is one of the largest sporting events of the year in North Korea and is meant to start the celebrations culminating in their most important holiday, the Day of Sun on April 15, which celebrates the birth of the Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 06 Apr 2019