Gorgeous Images of the Sun’s Corona in Simulation

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Gorgeous Images of the Sun’s Corona in Simulation

Magnetic field

Credit: Predictive Science, Inc.

Young People Face Stroke Risk with Methamphetamine Use

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Young People Face Stroke Risk with Methamphetamine Use

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Using methamphetamines may increase the risk of stroke among young people, according to a new review.

Methamphetamine use was linked most strongly to a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, as opposed to ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots.

What’s more, strokes among young methamphetamine users tend to be deadlier than strokes among young people in general, the review found.

Given the increasing use of methamphetamine worldwide, the findings are cause for concern, the researchers said.

“With the use of methamphetamine increasing, particularly more potent forms, there is a growing burden of methamphetamine-related disease and harms, particularly among young people,” the researchers wrote in the Aug. 23 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. In fact, it’s likely that methamphetamine abuse is contributing to the increase in the rate of stroke among young people that has been seen in recent decades, the researchers said. [9 Weird Ways You Can Test Positive for Drugs]

In the review, the researchers analyzed data from 77 previous reports on the link between methamphetamine use and stroke in people under age 45. These data included reports of just a single person or of a few patients, as well as reports of larger groups of people who either used illicit drugs or had a stroke.

Overall, the reports showed a link between methamphetamine use and stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke, the researchers said. For example, one study of more than 3 million patients treated at hospitals in Texas found that young people who abused amphetamines (including methamphetamine) were five times more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke, compared with young people who didn’t use this type of drug.

In addition, the review looked at 98 cases of young people who had a stroke and used methamphetamine. Of these strokes, 80 percent were hemorrhagic. This is much higher than the rate of hemorrhagic stroke among the general population of people under 45, in which 40 percent to 50 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic, the review said.

About one-third of young methamphetamine users who experienced a hemorrhagic stroke died as a result of the stroke. That’s also much higher than the death rate among young people in the general population who experience a stroke, which is around 3 percent, the study said.

Hemorrhagic stroke is associated with vascular abnormalities, such ashigh blood pressure and vasculitis, or inflamed blood vessels, according to the review. And repeated use of methamphetamine raised blood pressure even in those users whose blood pressure was normal to start with, the researchers said.

Young people who use methamphetamine, and the doctors who treat them, need to be aware of the increased risk of stroke tied to this drug, the researchers said. Users should also be aware of early warning signs of stroke; some users may experience symptoms such as headache, speech and language difficulties, and vision problems that may be temporary at first, but which later predict a full-blown stroke.

“The increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in particular should be highlighted to young people who may use methamphetamine, and to their communities,” which may encourage them to seek help and get treatment for their drug use, the researchers said.

Original article on Live Science.

Pregnant Women Can Do These 2 Things to Lower Odds of a C-Section

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Pregnant Women Can Do These 2 Things to Lower Odds of a C-Section

Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Women may have another reason to eat healthy and exercise during pregnancy: These behaviors may lower their odds of having a cesarean section, a new meta-analysis finds.

Gaining some weight during pregnancy is healthy and indeed expected, but gaining too much weight can have negative effects on both mom and baby.

For example, gaining too much weight during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that a baby will have a high birth weight, which, in turn, can increase the baby’s risk of medical issues, such as obesity and high blood pressure, during childhood. In addition, excess weight gain can put a woman at risk for a condition called preeclampsia during pregnancy. And some studies have found that excess weight gain can increase the chances of a C-section, which is riskier than a vaginal delivery. (C-sections are generally considered safe, but they are still major surgical procedures and therefore carry risks.) [The Best Ways to Lose Weight After Pregnancy]

Among the pregnant women in the new study, those who followed a healthy diet and exercised gained 0.7 kilograms (1.5 lbs.) less than the women who didn’t follow these healthy lifestyle behaviors. They were also 9 percent less likely to have a C-section, according to the meta-analysis, published today (July 19) in the journal The BMJ. The study was conducted by the International Weight Management in Pregnancy Collaborative Group, a network of researchers looking at weight management interventions for pregnant women.

The findings came from the researchers’ analysis of data gathered on more than 12,500 women in 36 previous studies. All of the studies had looked at the effects of diet and exercise programs during pregnancy on both mother and baby.

About 45 percent of the women in the meta-analysis participated in the study during their first pregnancy. In addition, 40 percent of the women included were obese, and another 40 percent said they had a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers noted.

The findings suggest that all women, regardless of their weight, could benefit from diet and exercise advice during pregnancy, the researchers wrote. In addition, doctors should reassure women that it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy and point out that not doing so could be harmful.

One limitation of the meta-analysis was that the majority of women included (80 percent) were white. More research is needed on women of different races.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Four Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

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Four Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

The fourth week of pregnancy is when you will see positive results on a pregnancy test.

Credit: Hadi Djunaedi | Shutterstock

During the fourth week of your pregnancy (measured from the first day of your last period), you may begin to have positive results on a home pregnancy test. For the sake of accuracy, it’s best to wait until the end of the first week after a missed period to take the test, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health.

If the test comes back positive, congratulations! You should make an appointment to see your health care provider to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test and arrange a prenatal checkup. If the results are negative, take another test at five weeks because you may have taken the test too early for it to show a positive result.

Home pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine, a hormone that is produced by the placenta when a woman is pregnant. The hormone begins to appear shortly after the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, and hCG levels increase rapidly in early pregnancy.

Most practitioners don’t see pregnant women until they are eight weeks along, so you may need to wait a few weeks before actually seeing your health care provider. However, if you have had a high-risk pregnancy or a history of problems in giving birth, you should see a health care provider sooner than that.

At this early stage in the pregnancy, there typically won’t be any major outward changes in your body, though your basal body temperature — your temperature first thing in the morning — will be higher than usual. You may experience some mild uterine cramping. Some women will notice a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding, caused by the fertilized egg attaching to the uterine lining, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is calledimplantation bleeding, and light bleeding or spotting is normal.

A woman may experience some pregnancy symptoms at this point, including fatigue and exhaustion, which may be linked to rising levels of the hormone progesterone during the first trimester, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rising hormone levels can also increase the blood flow to your breasts, causing them to feel tender and sore during early pregnancy. In addition, elevated hormone levels can increase blood flow to your pelvic region, causing the need to urinate more frequently.

The rapidly rising levels of estrogen could even cause a heightened sense of smell. An increased sensitivity to smells and odor could contribute to the nausea and vomiting known as “morning sickness,” which may begin between the second and eighth weeks of pregnancy. You may start craving certain foods, and foods that you previously enjoyed might start to taste different.

By the fourth week of pregnancy, a woman may gain one pound in weight.

At four weeks, the blastocyst — a tiny group of embryonic cells — would have already made the journey from your fallopian tube into your uterus and implanted in the uterine lining. After the fertilized egg implants, some of the cells will develop into an embryo and other cells will form the placenta, which will provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing embryo. A sac filled with fluid surrounds the embryo, called the amniotic sac, to help cushion and protect it.

During the first month of pregnancy, the brain and spinal cord begin to form, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Arms and legs begin to form, and the heart and lungs begin to develop.

At this point and throughout the pregnancy, you should avoid alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking, substances that may affect fetal development. Certain medications should also be avoided — ask your health care provider to make sure that none of the medications you are taking may be harmful to the fetus.

Limit your consumption of caffeine to 200 milligrams a day — about one 12-ounce cup of regular coffee, recommends the March of Dimes.

At least one month before becoming pregnant, women should begin taking a daily multivitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, a B vitamin that is important in helping to prevent certain birth defects, advises the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When a woman knows she is pregnant, her health care provider will prescribe a daily prenatal vitamin that has 600 micrograms of folic acid in it. It is hard to get this amount of folic acid from foods alone.

Taking folic acid before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy may help to reduce a baby’s risk for birth defects of the brain and spine, according to the March of Dimes.

Besides folic acid, a prenatal vitamin will also supply additional amounts of calcium, iron and vitamin D, three nutrients that are important for the healthy development of your baby. In addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, calcium should also be obtained from foods, such as yogurt, milk, cheese and some leafy green vegetables. Pregnant women should also include more Iron-rich foods in their diet, such as chicken, meat, fish, beans and iron-fortified cereals, as well as good sources of vitamin D, such as salmon and milk.

You can learn more about healthy eating and weight gain during pregnancy here. See the following articles for more lifestyle information onsleep needs during pregnancy and tips for exercising during pregnancy.