Having a Baby: Stages of Pregnancy

For a pregnant woman, feeling a new life developing inside her body is an amazing experience, even though she may not always feel her best at some points along the way.

Pregnancy can be different from woman to woman, and even for the same mother from one pregnancy to the next. Some symptoms of pregnancy last for several weeks or months, while other discomforts are temporary or don’t affect all women.

“Pregnancy is a long, 10-month journey,” said Dr. Draion Burch, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Magee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

A normal pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period, which is about two weeks before conception actually occurs.

Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. Each of these periods lasts between 12 and 13 weeks.

During each trimester, changes take place in a pregnant woman’s body as well as in the developing fetus, and a summary of these changes will be described below.

About two weeks after a woman has her

US Obesity Rates Start to Level Off

After years of soaring to new heights, obesity rates in the U.S. appear to be leveling off, according to a new report.

The report found that, from 2015 to 2016, adult obesity rates remained stable in 45 states. Rates increased in just four states — Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia — and decreased in one state, Kansas.

This is a change from prior years, when many states saw increases in their obesity rates. For example, in 2006, obesity rates increased in 31 states, and in 2010, obesity rates increased in 16 states, according to the report, from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a philanthropic organization that funds health research. [13 Kitchen Changes That Can Help You Lose Weight]

The drop in Kansas’ obesity rate is also a break from previous trends — until last year, not one state had seen a decline in its obesity rate for at least a decade. (Last year, obesity rates declined in Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio.)

The new report shows progress in fighting the obesity epidemic, but experts caution

Couple Sues Amazon Alleging Faulty Glasses

A couple in South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that the company sold faulty solar eclipse glasses that did not adequately protect their eyes during last week’s eclipse.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in a South Carolina federal court on Tuesday (Aug. 29), according to Reuters.

The lawsuit says that the couple — Corey Thomas Payne and Kayla Harris, of Charleston, South Carolina — purchased a three-pack of solar eclipse glasses on Amazon in early August. They used these glasses to view the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, which was visible across the United States.

They did not look at the sun without wearing the glasses, but soon after, they claim that they experienced a number of eye symptoms, including dark spots in their vision, blurriness and changes in perception of color, the lawsuit says. These are all symptoms of solar retinopathy, or damage to the eye’s retina that happens from looking directly at the sun. Often, symptoms of solar retinopathy are temporary, but sometimes they are permanent.

Prior to the eclipse, Amazon did issue a recall of some of the solar eclipse glasses sold on its

PSA Screening May Reduce Prostate Cancer Deaths After All

For men approaching 50 years old, deciding whether or not to be screened for prostate cancer can be confusing: Information about a screening test — called the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test — is riddled with conflicting advice.

The test measures the blood level of the protein PSA, which is produced by cells in the prostate gland. Abnormally high levels of PSA can mean that a man has prostate cancer, but not always. Some organizations, such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (an expert panel that advises the government) do not recommend that men undergo routine screenings with the PSA test. But others, including the American Cancer Society, recommend that men discuss the test with their doctor.

Now, a new analysis of conflicting findings from two of the largest prostrate screening trials conducted suggests that PSA testing does lead to a lower risk of death from prostate cancer. These results should reduce uncertainty in an area of medicine where patients, doctors and policymakers have many questions, and could help raise awareness about who is best-suited for the blood test, said senior study author Ruth Etzioni, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. [5 Things You Should

How Zika Virus Could Help Fight Brain Cancer

The Zika virus can be a serious health threat, especially to unborn children, but now researchers say the virus itself could help treat another devastating illness — brain cancer.

A new study suggests that the same properties that make Zika a dangerous virus for unborn children could be useful in treating brain cancer in adults. The study was done in lab dishes and animals, and much more research is needed before it could be tested in humans.

It’s thought that the Zika virus naturally targets and kills brain stem cells, which are abundant in fetal brains during development. As a consequence, women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy are at increased risk of giving birth to children with neurological problems. But adults have fewer active stem cells in their brains, and as a result, the effect of Zika on adult brains is usually much less severe, the researchers said.

What’s more, the growth of certain brain cancers — including often-lethal glioblastomas — may be driven by cancer stem cells that divide and give rise to other tumor cells. These glioblastoma stem cells are typically resistant to therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, and may fuel the return of the cancer after

How Your Height May Raise Your Risk for Blood Clots

Your height may be linked to your risk of blood clots: A new study from Sweden found that taller men and women were more likely to develop blood clots in their veins than their shorter counterparts were.

Compared with men who were taller than 6 feet 2 inches (190 centimeters), men who were shorter than 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm) were 65 percent less likely to develop a blood clot in their veins, according to the study. And compared with women taller than 6 feet (185 cm), woman who were shorter than 5 feet 1 inch (155 cm) were 69 percent less likely to develop a venous blood clot.

Venous blood clots, or “venous thromboembolisms,” are blood clots that start in a person’s veins, according to the American Heart Association(AHA). One type of venous blood clot is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and it often forms in the vein of a person’s leg. If a DVT breaks free from a person’s vein, it can travel to the individual’s lungs and get stuck, causing the second type of venous blood clot, a pulmonary embolism. These embolisms can be deadly.

Venous blood clots affect up to

‘Hearing Voices’ in Schizophrenia May Trace to Specific Brain Region

For people with schizophrenia, “hearing voices” is a common symptom that can be disturbing. But a new study from France suggests that stimulating a precise spot in such patients’ brains may ease these auditory hallucinations.

The study involved 59 patients with schizophrenia who said they heard voices that other people could not perceive. The people in the study answered questions about the nature of these voices, including whether the voices were friendly or threatening, happened frequently or only occasionally, or were “internal” (perceived as coming from inside a patient’s head) or “external” (perceived as coming from outside a patient’s head). Based on the participants’ answers, the individuals were given an “auditory hallucinations” score, with higher scores indicating more-severe hallucinations.

The researchers then used a therapy called high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which sends magnetic pulses through a person’s scalp to stimulate brain cells. The scientists targeted a specific part of the brain that is linked with people’s understanding and production of language, within an area known as the temporal lobe.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either TMS or a “sham” treatment that was not expected to have an effect. Each group underwent two sessions of their treatment a

This Man’s Bladder Stone Was Almost As Big As an Ostrich Egg

When a man in California went to the hospital because of bladder problems, doctors found a large reason for his pain: a mineral stone nearly the size of an ostrich egg, according to a new report of the case.

The 64-year-old man went to the emergency room because he had pain in his left side and trouble urinating. His doctors found an egg-shaped bladder stone that weighed a whopping 1.7 lbs. (770 grams) and measured 4.7 inches by 3.7 inches by 3 inches (12 by 9.5 by 7.5 centimeters), according to the report. (For reference, a typical ostrich eggweighs about 3 lbs., or 1,360 grams.) [Here’s a Giant List of the Strangest Medical Cases We’ve Covered]

Bladder stones are mineral masses that form in the bladder. In some cases, the stones are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but in others, the stones can be quite large, reaching an inch or more in diameter. According to Guinness World Records, the largest bladder stone was 7 inches long, 5 inches thick and 3.7 inches tall (17.9 by 12.7 by 9.5 cm), and weighed 4.2 lbs. (1.9 kg).

CT scans of the man’s adbomen also revealed another, much

Lack of Sleep May Be a Cause, Not a Symptom, of Mental Health Conditions

An online therapy program designed to treat insomnia also appears to reduce levels of anxiety and depression, a new study from the United Kingdom finds.

Sleep problems are common in people who also have mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. In fact, sleep issues are often thought to be a symptom of these other issues, according to the study. But the new findings suggest that the opposite may be true: Some mental health conditions may stem from a lack of sleep.

“How well we sleep might actually play a role in our mental health,” lead study author Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, said in a statement. “If you can sort out your sleep, you could also be taking a significant step forward in tackling a wide range of psychological and emotional problems.”

The new study, which was published today (Sept. 6) in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, included more than 3,700 British college students (with an average age of 24) who had insomnia. All participants filled out questionnaires about their sleep and other mental health conditions — including paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety and depression — at the

Finger Length Could Predict Athletic Ability

Examine your fingers. Which is longer? Is it the index finger (the finger you use to point with – technically the second digit, or 2D, counting the thumb), or the ring finger (the fourth digit, or 4D)?

The relative length of the index and ring fingers is known as the digit ratioor the 2D:4D. For example, if your index finger is 2.9 inches (or 7.4 cm) long, and your ring finger is 3.1 inches (or 7.9 cm) long, your digit ratio is 0.935 (i.e., 2.9/3.1 or 7.4/7.9).

Males typically have lower digit ratios (the ring finger in males is typically longer than the index finger) than females (the fingers are about the same length in females). The ratio does not change much with age.

There is some indirect evidence that the digit ratio is determined during early fetal development – as early as the second trimester of pregnancy – by the balance between the steroid hormones testosterone and estrogen. The developing ring finger has a high number of receptors for testosterone: the more testosterone the fetus produces, the longer the ring finger, and so the lower the digit ratio.

Our research team wanted to take

Child Nearly Dies After Taking Big Bite of Hot Dog

Taking a big bite of a hot dog nearly killed a 9-year-old boy in Turkey, but it was a rare heart disorder, not choking, that triggered the close call, a new case report reveals.

The boy suffered sudden cardiac arrest after the mouthful, was revived by emergency services and was later diagnosed with Brugada syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder that usually has no symptoms, according to a report of the case, published online Sept. 6 in the journal Pediatrics.

Brugada syndrome is a rare condition that is usually inherited; it disrupts the electrical impulses between the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart, which causes them to beat abnormally, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases. [27 Oddest Medical Case Reports]

People with Brugada syndrome may develop a fast and dangerous heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation that prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the rest of the body. Sometimes, the first signs of Brugada syndrome are passing out, a sudden fast heart beat or even sudden death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The boy in the recent case fainted and experienced a sudden heart attack during lunch at his school.

Is ‘Chicken Sashimi’ Safe?

It’s not uncommon to find raw foods on a restaurant menu — think sushi or steak tartare — but if you see uncooked poultry as an option the next time you’re dining out, you may want to opt for something else.

Several restaurants in the United States are serving up a raw chicken dish that’s referred to as either chicken sashimi or chicken tartare, according to Food & Wine Magazine. Though the “specialty” hasn’t caught on much in the U.S., it’s more widely available in Japan.

But if you’re wondering whether raw chicken served in a restaurant has suddenly become safe to eat, the answer is still no.

Eating chicken sashimi puts a person at a “pretty high risk” of getting an infection caused by Campylobacter or Salmonella, two types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, said Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and an associate professor at North Carolina State University.

“There’s a pretty good chance that one or both of these pathogens are on/in the chicken meat itself,” Chapman told Live Science in an email.

Campylobacter infections are one of the most common causes of diarrheal infections in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control

Marijuana with ‘CBD’ May Pose Less Risk to Long-Term Users

Marijuana with relatively high levels of a compound called cannabidiolmay be less risky to smoke over the long term, because this ingredient may counteract some of the drug’s harmful effects, according to a new study in mice.

The study found that adolescent mice injected with frequent doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the ingredient in marijuana that produces a “high” — showed signs of impaired memory and increased anxiety over the long term. But mice that received daily doses of THC combined with an equal amount of cannabidiol (CBD) did not experience these negative effects.

The study “suggests that strains of cannabis with similar levels of CBD and THC would pose significantly less long-term risk due to CBD’s protective effect against THC,” study author Dr. Ken Mackie, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, said in a statement.

Over the last several decades, THC levels in marijuana used in the United States have increased 300 percent, while levels of CBD in marijuana have decreased, the researchers said. But the long-term effects of exposure to THC and CBD need to be studied further, they said. [25 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

Studies on whether CBD

Puppies Are ‘Likely Source’ of Outbreak That Has Sickened Dozens in US

Could that doggy in the window make you sick?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today (Sept. 11) that it is investigating an outbreak of Campylobacter — a type of bacteria that causes diarrhea — linked with puppies sold at Petland stores, a national pet store chain.

So far, the outbreak has sickened 39 people in seven states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin), the CDC said.

Of those who became ill, 12 are Petland employees, and 27 came into contact with puppies sold at Petland because they recently bought a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or lived in a home with a puppy sold through Petland, the CDC said.

All of the illnesses occurred within the past year, and the most recent illness was reported on Sept. 1, 2017. [11 Ways Your Beloved Pet May Make You Sick]

Those infected ranged in age from less than a year to 64 years, and nine people were hospitalized. So far, no deaths have been tied to the outbreak.

Puppies sold at Petland are a “likely source” of this outbreak, and officials are working to stop its

Tonsil Stones: Causes, Removal & Prevention

While tonsil stones may seem like a bad medical hoax, they can be a real problem. Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths or tonsilliths, are benign accumulations of bacteria and debris in the crypts of some people’s tonsils. Though this problem may cause discomfort, it is not dangerous and is usually easily treatable.

The tonsils are part of a protection system that keeps foreign objects from slipping into the lungs. They are also lymph nodes that filter for bacteria and viruses while producing white blood cells and antibodies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Objects such as food, dirt and other particles can get stuck in the groves on the surface of the tonsils. The grooves, called crypts, also collect old cells and bacteria.

The body’s white blood cells proceed to attack the foreign objects stuck in the tonsils. When the white blood cells are finished, hard particles remain on the tonsils. Most people simply swallow what is left behind and never know that it was there in the first place. If the particles are lodged into the crypts, though, the particles will continue to grow. These growing objects are tonsil stones, which are also

How Many Viruses Can Get into Men’s Semen?

During recent outbreaks of the Zika virus, researchers discovered that the virus could find its way into men’s semen and stay there for months. But how many other viruses can get into semen?

To find out, researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom searched the scientific literature for reports of “viremic” viruses — ones that get into the blood —  that have also been found in semen.

The results showed that at least 27 viruses can make their way into human semen.

“The presence of viruses in semen is probably more widespread than currently appreciated,” the researchers wrote in the October issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. [10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species]

The list includes a number of well-known viruses, such as Ebola, HIV, hepatitis C, chickenpox, herpes, mumps and chikungunya (a mosquito-borne virus), as well as some lesser-known viruses, such as JC virus, simian foamy virus and Rift Valley fever.

In addition, some of these viruses, such as HIV and herpes, are known to spread sexually. But for many of the viruses on the list, it’s unclear whether they can be spread through sex, the researchers said.

The results

Lady Gaga’s Chronic Pain: What Is Fibromyalgia?

Singer Lady Gaga recently revealed that she has fibromyalgia; the painful condition is often hard to diagnose, and its causes are still unclear.

Yesterday, the singer said on Twitter that her upcoming Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” will touch on her struggles with chronic pain.

“In our documentary, the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia,” she wrote on Twitter. “I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.”

The chronic disorder causes pain throughout the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). People with the condition have “tender points” — for example, on their necks, shoulders, backs, hips, arms and legs — that hurt when touched or when pressure is put on them, the NIH says. Most often, this pain affects the muscles, but it can sometimes affect joints or even the skin, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). [5 Surprising Facts About Pain]

(The word “fibromyalgia” literally means “muscle and tissue pain,” coming from the Latin term “fibro,” meaning fibrous tissue, and the Greek words “myo,” meaning muscle, and “algia,” meaning pain, according to the NIH.)

In addition to pain, people with fibromyalgia often experience

Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Sleep paralysis is the inability to move or speak immediately after waking up. This can be an exceptionally scary time for those afflicted with this weird phenomenon, but despite former beliefs, the feeling of paralysis is not caused by supernatural beings.

During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep the brain has vivid dreams, while the muscles of the body are essentially turned off. While sleeping, the muscles are unable to move so that the person won’t be able to act out dreams with their body. Sleep paralysis happens when a person wakes up before REM is finished. The person will be conscious, but the body’s ability to move hasn’t been turned back on yet.

Several things can bring on episodes of sleep paralysis. For example, sleep deprivation, some medications and some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are triggers. Also, sleep paralysis is commonly seen in patients with narcolepsy, said Dr. Shelby Harris, director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at the Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York.

Youth seems to be a factor in the occurrence of sleep paralysis. According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder is more likely to

Why Selena Gomez Needed a Kidney Transplant

Singer Selena Gomez revealed today (Sept. 14) that she recently had a kidney transplant due to complications from lupus. But how does lupus affect the kidneys, and why do people with the condition sometimes need kidney transplants?

In an Instagram post, Gomez, who is 25, explained to fans why she appeared to be “laying low” over the summer. “I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering,” Gomez said. “It was what I needed to do for my overall health.” The post included a photo of her in the hospital with friend Francia Raisa, who donated the kidney to Gomez.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, according to the Mayo Clinic. This leads to inflammation that can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart and lungs.

Damage to the kidneys is one of the most common health problems for people with lupus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). About half of adults and 80 percent of children with lupus have kidney disease, the NIH said.

Tramadol: Dosage & Side Effects

Tramadol is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is sold under the brand name Ultram in the United States, and as Ralivia, Dromodol and other names elsewhere. It is intended to work by changing the way the central nervous system responds to pain.

Tramadol is effective on two fronts: About 20 percent of its painkilling effects come from opioids, and 80 percent from ingredients that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, two chemicals in the brain associated with mood and responsiveness to pain, said Dr. Lewis Nelson, a professor of emergency medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

Because tramadol has less opioid content than other addictive painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, “a lot of doctors inappropriately view this as safer,” Nelson told Live Science. But tramadol carries risks: People can still abuse and overdose on tramadol because of its opioid component. Its interaction with serotonin can also affect people taking other serotoninlike drugs, such as antidepressants, he said.

However, tramadol’s opioid and serotonergic effects are important because they allow tramadol to treat both pain and the psychological components of pain, he