This Season’s Knock Down Drag out Flu: Worst in 10 Years

flu seasonEvery year, doctors recommend that their patients get a flu shot — and for good reason: there are different strains of flu that become prominent each year and that require different immunizations. This means that depending on the strains that are out there, some flu seasons are worse than others. That’s definitely the case this year, which is the worst flu season since 2009, which was the year of the swine flu pandemic.

The Worst Flu Season in a Decade

Americans falling ill with the flu is increasing. Additionally, hospitalization rate has increased as well. This number is important to predicting the death rate. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), this year’s flu season is about to equal the flu season from 2014-2015. During the 2014-2015 flu season, roughly 34 million Americans fell ill with the flu, 710,000 had to go to the hospital as a result and almost 56,000 died.

The CDC also tracks the number of children that die as a result of the flu. It tracks these numbers individually as opposed to death totals, which it estimates. During the 2014-2015 flu season, there were a total of 148 child flu deaths. This year, there are currently 37. There are, however, still several weeks left in the flu season. The CDC often does not learn about flu-related deaths until a few weeks after the case. This is especially true with children who die at home from the flu.

The flu pandemic in 2009 was historically bad because it was a new virus. This year’s flu season is dominated by the H3N2 virus (also known as the Hong Kong flu), which has been around for almost half a century.

This year’s flu season has been one of the worst the country has seen in almost a decade. Although it’s at the tail end of the flu season, people who have not had their flu shots yet should still get them. To stay up to date with all the latest health news, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Poliovirus Destroys Cancer Cells

Cancer continues to be a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Although treatment of cancer has improved as well as methods for prevention, there is still no cure. However, scientists continue to make advancements in finding a potential cure, as evidenced by the discovery that the poliovirus may kill cancer cells.

How the Poliovirus Could Stop Cancer

Research gathered from a study performed at Duke University was recently published in the Science Translational Medicine journal suggesting that the poliovirus could help the body to fight cancer. The research team consisted of Professor Smita Nair of the Department of Surgery and Dr. Matthias of the Department of Neurosurgery.

The research reveals how a modified poliovirus is able to combat cancer by helping the body to identify and attack cancerous cells. This modified version of polio has been in clinical trials for almost seven years. Preliminary results have shown positive signs that the virus could fight more aggressive forms of brain tumors.

The research team explored how the poliovirus acted in melanoma and triple-negative breast cancer. Studies showed that the poliovirus would attach itself to the cancerous cells as a result of the CD155 protein that these cells carried, which act as a receptor for the poliovirus.

As a result, the virus begins attacking these cells, which in turn triggers the release of antigens from the tumor. The body is unable to identify these antigens, which are toxic substances, and therefore attacks them. Basically, the release of the antigens helps jumpstart the body’s immune system. Not only could this help to eliminate cancer, the process seems to have continuous success, which means that it could stop tumors from re-growing.

The use of the poliovirus could help the body’s immune system to identify and more effectively attack cancerous cells, thereby fighting cancer and preventing the return growth of tumors. For all the latest news relating to cancer or to keep up to date with the latest health news in general, be sure to continue visiting us at The Benefits Store.

Friends Become Brothers After 60 Years – DNA Testing

DNA TestingDNA testing is incredible! Many people are tracking their ancestry through the use of DNA ancestry testing services, such as Me and Ancestry. It gives people the opportunity to find out about their family history. DNA testing has even allowed people to find and seek out unknown family members, such as in the case of Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson, two men who were friends for over 60 years only to find that they were brothers through DNA testing.

Lifetime Friends Turn Out to be Long-Lost Brothers

Macfarlene, who is 74 years old, and Robinson, who is 72, were both born in Honolulu, HI and first met in elementary school. They became close friends, to the point where their families would often vacation together. One day, Macfarlene decided he wanted to find out who his biological father was. He took a DNA ancestry test, only to find out that Robinson was his biological brother.

Macfarlene was born in 1943 right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. His mother decided to give him up for adoption for reasons unknown to him. Her parents stepped having decided to “hanai” him. This Hawaiian tradition allows a family to adopt a person informally even if they do not have the proper papers. However, Robinson, who was born 15 months later, was put up for adoption. Robinson would never know who his biological mother or father were.

Robinson was given DNA test opportunities from both 23 and Me and Ancestry for his birthday a few years back. He submitted swabs from his cheek for both. Last year, Macfarlane submitted DNA samples to both companies as well with the encouragement of his daughters. He was provided with a list of 800 people he was related to. It was his daughter who noticed that there was a near identical match. The name was “Robi737.” They asked Robinson if that was his username and he confirmed.

DNA testing can help to not only reveal your family history, it can also bring long-lost family members together. For all the latest health news, visit The Benefits Store today.

US Life Expectancy Falls for Second Year in a Row

US Life ExpectancyThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revealed Americans born in 2016 can expect to live an average of 78.6 years. This is down from 78.7 the year before, marking the second year in a row that the life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped. In that same report, the CDC also revealed that death rates and drug overdose deaths have both risen.

Life Expectancy in the U.S.

Although the life expectancy has dropped in the U.S., it’s only regarding the life expectancy of men. The life expectancy for women has not dropped. The life expectancy for men at birth is currently 76.1 years, while for women it’s 81.1 years. It’s also worth noting that the life expectancy drop wasn’t equal for all racial and ethnic groups either. The average death rate of black men increased by one percent in 2016, while the average death rate for white women dropped by one percent.

The Leading Causes of Death in the U.S.

The report published by the CDC revealed that the number of deaths per 100,000 has risen among young adults from 2015 to 2016. Around 63,600 of those deaths were related to drug overdoses in 2016, roughly two-thirds of which were caused by opioids. Although these overdose-related deaths were not directly linked to the drop in life expectancy, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they are somewhat related. Death rates associated with drug overdoses have increased by 18 percent each year from 2014 to 2016.

According to the report, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. Other major causes of death in the U.S. included cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, diabetes, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, Alzheimer’s disease, suicide and kidney disease.

The third leading cause of death was found to be unintentional injuries, replacing chronic lower respiratory diseases in that spot from last year. (Drug overdoses are classified as unintentional injuries.)

Life expectancy is dropping in the U.S., while drug-related deaths are increasing. Stay up-to-date with all the latest health news by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.

Eating Intuitively: Healthiest Resolutions for 2018

New Years ResolutionIt’s 2018, and odds are you’re ready to make a New Year’s resolution. One of the most common resolutions is to go on a diet and to lose weight, but this rarely lasts. While people who diet may see short-term results, the majority end up putting the weight back on later in the year. Instead of making a resolution to lose weight, you should consider making a resolution to eat intuitively.

Why Losing Weight Shouldn’t be a Resolution

There are hundreds of different diets out there that are meant to help you lose weight. Few of these diets consider what impact their advice will have over the long-term. Studies have shown that you are statistically likely to put back on whatever weight you lost on your diet.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association published research involving 80 obese women who were chronic dieters. Half of them were put on a “normal” diet. Roughly 40 percent of dieters ended up quitting the diet over time, failing to lose weight. Although many of them lost weight over the short-term, they regained that weight and even gained more weight in some cases over the long-term.

Learn to Eat Intuitively

Eating intuitively involves ignoring what you’ve learned about how many calories you should eat and what’s good for you and what isn’t. It’s all about learning how to listen to your body’s needs and fulfilling those needs with the food choices you make.

For example, if you’re trying to decide between an apple and a candy bar, think about what your body is feeling. It may need fiber and vitamin C or it may need sugar. Make your choice based on how your body feels, not what you know about the flavor or nutrition factors of the food.

Instead of going on a diet that only works for a few months, make a resolution to learn how to eat intuitively. Doing so is more likely to result in a healthier lifestyle and a positive body image. To learn about more health tips, visit us at The Benefits Store today.