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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK)-- More children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their new numbers now show that autism affects one in 59 children, an increase from previously reported one in 68 children.

Dr. Walter Zahorodny, a pediatrician and autism researcher, is "stunned by the speed of increase."

This data was collected in 2014 through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, an organization described by the study's authors as "an active surveillance system that provides estimates of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children aged 8 years."

In this study, the ADDM Network first identified over 10,000 children with symptoms of ASD in 11 states. A team of researchers and experts in the field then reviewed their medical and school records since birth, confirming an autism diagnosis in 5,473 children. This extremely thorough approach limited confusion and ensured accurate and consistent diagnoses and results. Part of the difficulty in autism research is that there isn't a medical "test" that determines if a child falls on the autism disorder spectrum -- it's an evaluation based on observation, so reliable numbers have been historically difficult to guarantee.

The overall prevalence of autism was 16.8 per 1,000 children, or 1.68 percent, according to the study. This number varied between different states. The state with the lowest rate was Arkansas at 13.1 per 1,000 children. The state with highest rate was New Jersey at 29.3 in 1,000 children. There's no reason given for regional variation.

Zahorodny, the lead researcher at the New Jersey site, states “3 percent is a real landmark, given that we started at 1 percent autism prevalence 14 years ago.”

These rates of autism are significantly higher than those in the last study from ADDM, which looked at a similar number of young children in 2012. This new study looked at exactly the same six locations that participated in 2012, and in these sites, the 2014 autism rates were 20 percent higher than they were in 2012.

Historically, the rate of autism in white children is 20-30 percent greater than black children and 50-70 percent greater than Hispanic children. In agreement with that previous data, autism was more common in white children, although there was a significant increase in the diagnosis in black and Hispanic children, with the prevalence in white children only 7 percent greater than in black children and 22 percent greater than in Hispanic children. In agreement with past studies, autism was about four times more common in boys.

One outlier: There was virtually no difference in autism rates between white, black, and Hispanic children in New Jersey. The authors argue that perhaps New Jersey's overall higher autism prevalence is related to the more inclusive diagnosis of minority children, and therefore might be the most accurate rate in the study.

This study is not intended to be representative of the entire country. There are clear limitations, primarily because the data originated from only 11 collection sites. In addition, there were discrepancies in the amount and type of medical and educational data that was recorded from state to state. The data in this study is only as accurate as the information that was documented by physicians, counselors, and schools.

Why are more children than ever diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder?

The short answer: We don't know.

The cause of autism is still unknown. There are associations between autism and prematurity, advanced parental age, and genetics -- however no evidence of causation, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). There's also a lot of discussion about potential environmental causes, yet again, there's no science to support these claims (the claim that vaccines cause autism has been disproven by the AAP time and time again).

To be diagnosed on the spectrum, a child must have three key characteristics: delayed language development, abnormal, repetitive behaviors, and difficulty socializing. Children with autism can have stereotypical behaviors such as rocking, spinning, hand-flapping, and toe-walking. They can also have difficulty making eye contact or playing with other children.

It's important to know that there are many children that are NOT on the spectrum who may display these behaviors. The diagnosis of autism is made by looking at a child's development, language, and behavior as a whole. If you have concerns about your child, you should speak with a pediatrician.

As the name implies, there's a wide range in severity. While many children are able to do well in school and make friends with minimal assistance, others may need significant speech and behavioral therapy to function.

Which brings us to the treatment of autism: Therapy, therapy, and more therapy.


There's no cure for autism, but certain types of therapies have been proven to improve a child's ability to function in the real world.

One of the most alarming findings in this new study is the widespread delayed diagnosis of autism. The median age of diagnosis was 52 months, just over 4 years. Children with autism should be diagnosed by 3 years old and receive appropriate therapies by 4 years old, according to Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 goals.

We are diagnosing most children too late, according to these numbers.

"We need to have strong concerted efforts toward universal autism screening," Zahorodny said in response to this data. The AAP states that all children should be screened for autism by their primary care provider at 18 months and again at 24 months.

Is autism really becoming more common?

It's unclear if this rise in autism is due to an increase in diagnosis or an increase in the actual prevalence of autism. Some scientists argue that physicians are doing a better job at diagnosing autism, particularly in minority populations, and that's why the autism numbers are up.

Thomas Frazier, the chief science officer at Autism Speaks, feels "there is a meaningful increase."

Both Frazier and Zahorodny agree that while the increase in diagnosis is contributing to the prevalence, it cannot be the only cause. It seems the increase in autism is significant enough that many psychologists and pediatricians worry we're missing a piece of this puzzle.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever wanted to participate in a charity run, but don't actually want to run very far? This might be the race for you.

A group in Boerne, Texas is hosting "The Boerne 0.5K," a 0.3 mile race, and it's being billed as a "running event for the rest of us."

The "very fun, tongue-in-cheek event" intended to "lampoon the typical 5K" will benefit the charitable organization Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides food on the weekends for children who depend on federal free and reduced meal programs offered through their schools.

Organizers of the event are giving out many incentives to those who participate in and complete the nearly 547-yard race, including race T-shirts, free beer at both the beginning and the end of the race, and even "a pretentious oval Euro-style 0.5K sticker that you can attach to your rear windshield."

There is even a VIP option -- for $25, you get a "bigger" medal without even having to run the race.

As far as in-race amenities, the organizers are providing finish line photos, a coffee and doughnut station at the halfway point for carbo-loading and energy, and "world's best bagpipe player" serenading runners at the starting line with "Amazing Grace."

Sadly, this year's event is sold out, but the event organizers are "already discussing how we can increase the capacity for this event" next year.

Best of luck, runners!

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The Club House/Rowe Plastic Surgery (NEW YORK) -- Sometimes, a man just needs a place to go and be a guy.

But we're not talking about a locker room. Now, there's a place for only men to receive plastic surgery and non-invasive services like Botox and injections for hair loss.

It's called The Club House, and it's believed to be the only one of its kind in the country.

Founded by New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe, The Club House, he said, fills a need that's otherwise been ignored.

"It's designed for men, by men, and is a place where men can feel comfortable," Rowe told Good Morning America.

"There are certain things that men would rather be a little bit more private and discreet about whether it's over the phone or in the office. The male patients are often coming for hair plugs or penis augmentations," Rowe said. "An all-male facility makes them a little bit more comfortable."

Justin Barton is one of those men. He told GMA he sees Rowe for platelet-rich plasma therapy, also called PRP, a treatment that involves withdrawing a patient's own blood, processing it so that only the enriched cells, platelet-rich plasma, remain, and injecting it into the scalp with the goal of stimulating natural hair growth.

"It's a slick atmosphere, like someplace you'd come to have a drink with the guys," Barton said. "It's comforting to come someplace that's focused on male issues."

Rowe estimates that of all his patients 20 to 25 percent are men, compared to a national average of about 10 percent. About 80 percent of the inquiries from Rowe's male patients, he said, come between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Most procedures take place before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

It's another way, Rowe said, that his male clients differ from women, who tend to make appointments during regular business hours and come for appointments in a steady stream throughout the day. His female patients are seen at a second nearby office on New York's Upper East Side.

The Club House's decor is a departure from the look of the average plastic surgeon's office. Instead of white walls and Botticelli playing in the background, visitors to The Club House are immersed in a decidedly male-inspired motif. There's bamboo wallpaper, a shoeshine stand, a small bar, a poker table and a fireplace. ESPN and financial news are broadcast on all the TVs, and 1990s hip hop is played on the sound system.

But it's the changes that aren't immediately visible that matter most, Rowe said.

"A [male] patient doesn't have to whisper, 'Oh, I'm here for a penis augmentation,'" he said. "It's a place where a guy could call up and say, 'I'd like to talk to Dr. Rowe about penis augmentation, hair transplant, hair plugs or hair removal from my back,' and feel comfortable."

Eventually, Rowe said he hopes any shame associated with male plastic surgery will go away.

"I hope that stigma is gone hopefully in 20 years, and a place like The Club House won't be needed," he said. "But until that time comes about, I think I'm providing a service. And the fact that this has exploded and patients are beating down the door literally to get in tells me that there is a need, and we're fulfilling that need. Hopefully, down the road, places like this will not be needed. But until that time comes, we're here."

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, plans to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a civil lawsuit involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to court documents.

Cohen submitted the declaration in a court filing in California late Wednesday afternoon.

In a letter penned by Cohen and included in the filing, Cohen points to the April 9 FBI raids on his home, office, and hotel room that he said involved documents related to his payment to Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

“During the corresponding raids, the FBI seized various electronic devices and documents in my possession,” Cohen writes, “which contained information relating to the $130,000 payment to plaintiff Stephanie Clifford at the center of this case.”

In her lawsuit, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed that the $130,000 hush agreement is invalid because Trump — under the alias “David Dennison” — never signed the contract.

“Based on the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment right in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” he said in the court filing.

Federal agents conducting the April 9 searches related to Cohen’s business dealings seized about ten boxes of documents, plus electronic files on multiple phones and electronic devices, according to court records.

Cohen says in his letter that he “first realized that his Fifth Amendment rights would be implicated in this case” on April 10 – one day after the FBI’s raids.

Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti wasted no time responding to the filing, tweeting that Cohen’s move is a “stunning development.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s declaration, lawyers for Trump and Cohen argued in court filings that there is “substantial overlap” between Daniels’ lawsuit and the criminal investigation.

“Mr. Cohen is a key witness in this action and Defendants’ most knowledgeable person with respect to the facts,” asserts his attorney Brent Blakely, noting that Cohen negotiated the settlement agreement with Daniels’ previous lawyer and arranged for the payment.

“Thus, if the case moves forward,” Blakely wrote, “Defendants’ key witness would have to choose between exercising his Fifth Amendment rights, and testifying on Defendants’ behalf.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Skipping breakfast is a predictor of future weight gain and increases your chances of becoming obese, according to a new study presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego, California, this week.

Researchers looked at 347 healthy men and women over a period of 12 years. All of these people had a normal body mass index (BMI) -- a weight-to-height ratio used as an admittedly imperfect measure of body fat -- when they started the study and were consistent in their eating habits for at least two years. They were asked how many times a week they ate breakfast from the following selection of answers: never, one to four times or five to seven times.

At the end of 12 years, they found that people who skipped breakfast more than three times a week had a larger waist circumference -- meaning they gained that dangerous belly fat. This was most common in older men. The most overall weight gain (about 10 pounds) was found in those that never ate breakfast. For many, the 10 pounds was enough to put their BMI in the obese range, which generally increases health risks. An ideal BMI is 18-25, with obese being anything over 30.

The obesity rate was 25 percent higher among those who skipped breakfast than in those who ate it frequently. Those that ate breakfast regularly had an average weight gain over the study period of only 3 pounds.

Why would breakfast be the most important meal of the day?

Eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day. A well-balanced breakfast gives the body nutrients that tend to get neglected during the day.

Furthermore, non-breakfast eaters were found to have a high post-lunch insulin spike and increased amounts of inflammatory markers circulating in their system. Chronic inflammation has been known to lead to many other diseases, especially obesity. Fluctuating insulin levels lead to diabetes and weight gain as well.

You are what you eat

The content and calories in your breakfast matters.

The American Dietary Association (ADA) recommends whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and fruits and/or vegetables as part of a balanced diet. Protein shakes and bars can be good but beware of those that are laden with simple sugars and carbohydrates. Breakfast eaters, in general, tend to make better food choices than non-breakfast eaters and are more active. So it’s possible that eating breakfast is a “marker” for other more healthy behaviors.

If you aren’t eating breakfast now, what’s the best way to add it to your day?


Overall caloric intake in a day still matters, so don’t go crazy. But the accumulated wisdom of nutritionists says that those that eat a “substantial” breakfast stay full through the day and tend to eat less at other meals. They also have been shown to have more energy. It also helps decrease cravings that can lead to unhealthy food choices later in the day. Being satiated in the morning helps prevent overeating during the day and enables better portion control at other meals.

The American Heart Association has found that eating a well-balanced breakfast is linked to lower risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Along with breakfast, exercise is still important for keeping metabolism up and weight down.

However, it's important to note that this study did not look at what these people ate for breakfast, nor did it look at their physical activity levels.

Since this was a meeting presentation, the study hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet or published in a medical journal. The results are currently preliminary.

Additionally, everyone acknowledges that any study that has to do with diet counts on the people in the study to “self-report” what they eat. While two-thirds of the study population were men, skipping breakfast was a predictor of weight gain across all ages, gender, and initial BMI.

As the old saying goes, "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar."

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Courtesy Signature HealthCARE(NEW YORK) -- You're never too old for Disney.

This week, a group of 24 nursing home residents from three states will be vacationing in the most magical place on earth.

This marks the fifth time that Disney World's Magic Kingdom is the destination for Signature HealthCare seniors on vacation.

"We were at Epcot yesterday and they enjoyed the flowering garden festival there," said Angie McAllister, director of cultural transformation at Signature HealthCare in Louisville, Kentucky, told ABC News. "We had a private dessert party for the illuminations fireworks show.

"We had an elder whose dream was to dance with Minnie Mouse and he started crying."

Raymond Crider, 77, nursing home resident from Prestonsburg, Kentucky, said his dream came true to dance with Minnie Mouse.

"Happiness is the only word to describe what I felt when Minnie hugged me and grabbed my hand yesterday," said Crider of his first-time visit to Disney.

The 24 elders were ages 70-88, according to McAllister. In total, the group trip has 63 attendees including chaperones, nurses and other staff members.

This year’s Disney vacation is the 20th time Signature nursing home residents have been on vacation since 2011. Since then nursing home residents and employees have vacationed in Boston, Panama City Beach, Gatlinburg, Washington, D.C., and many other destinations.

"There's a lot of joy, there's a lot of laughter and there's a lot of happiness," McAllister said. "Everyone came with a bucket list so we are doing our best to make that happen."

This year, the group is staying at the Grand Floridian. The trip began on April 23 and will continue until Thursday.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teen birth rates in the U.S. are at an all-time low and continue to decline -- with a significant drop of about two-thirds over eight years -- but the comparatively large number of teens having babies remains a concern.

The number of new mothers aged 10 to 14 years in the U.S. hit a low, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2016, there were more than 2,200 infants born to mothers aged 10-14, compared to more than 8,500 in 2000.

This drop is “pretty remarkable,” according to the T.J. Mathews, the demographer at the National Center for Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, who compiled the data. by reviewing "all the birth certificates for the entire United States."

Mathews estimates 3.8 million births in the U.S. annually from moms of all ages.

The birth rate for females aged 10 to 14 years declined by a third from 2000 to 2003, remained stable through 2008, and declined by 67 percent from 2000 to 2016.

The current rate of births to pre-teen mothers is 0.2 in 1,000 live births. The largest decline was among African-American pre-teens. While they still have the highest rate, 0.5 in 1,000 births, it has been significantly reduced since 2000.

Certain states that have higher rates than others, the data showed. The states with the highest birth rates for girls in this age group are Louisiana, Mississippi, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

The decline in pre-teen motherhood coincides with a similar decline in teen motherhood, defined as girls aged 15 to 19. The birth rate in this age group fell by 57 percent from 2000 to 2016.

The CDC attributes the decline in pre-teen and teen motherhood to delayed onset of sexual activity and increased use of contraception.

Multiple federal, state, and non-profit agencies have assisted in the efforts to reduce the pregnancy rate in women less than 20 years old.

But some perspective: Despite these improvements, the U.S. birth rate among teenage girls remains one of the highest compared to other industrialized countries, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Teen pregnancy and childbearing remains a public health issue because it often leads to significant financial and societal costs.

Teen mothers continue to have elevated high school dropout rates and the children of teen moms are more likely to have lower school achievement, health problems and eventual unemployment, according to research compiled by the CDC.

While the drop in births to pre-teen mothers in the U.S. represents progress, there is more work to do.

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David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- President George H.W. Bush honored his late wife’s passion for literacy by wearing socks with books on them to her funeral last weekend.

The socks were a gift from 22-year-old John Cronin, an entrepreneur with Down syndrome who serves as the co-founder and “Chief Happiness Officer” of John’s Crazy Socks.

Cronin had previously learned President H.W. Bush has an affinity for fun socks and sent him a box of the colorful socks. The president tweeted a photo of himself wearing a pair of Cronin’s Down syndrome awareness superhero socks on World Down Syndrome Day and thanked the young entrepreneur.

After the first lady passed away, Bush contacted Cronin to see if John’s Crazy Socks had any socks he could wear on the day of the funeral. Cronin sent him a few pairs to choose from, including the book socks, along with a letter expressing his sympathy.

"I feel sad for President Bush, but I feel happy that he wore my socks," Cronin told ABC affiliate WABC in New York. "I want him to feel happy."

Founded in 2016, John’s Crazy Socks said they donate five percent of profits to the Special Olympics and hire people with disabilities, currently employing a workforce that’s half people with alternative abilities.

The company said 100 percent of the proceeds from the book socks will go to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a nonprofit organization Barbara Bush started while she served as First Lady.

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nanny to the stars Connie Simpson, also known as Nanny Connie, shared an interesting tidbit about her celebrity clients.

She told Good Morning America that they're just like the rest of us.

"They’re parents too, and I love each individual person the same," she said. "What I’ve learned is that all parents have the same struggles."

Her clients have included Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. She talks about her methods in a new book, The Nanny Connie Way.

Celebrity or not, there are a few tips that can serve any parent in the early days of baby's life. Here are her top three:

1. Pay attention to that sleep deprivation.

2. Buy plenty of diapers.

3. Breastfeeding mothers need to be drinking plenty of water.

"Parents, it’s all about that nucleus -- and you’re it," she told GMA. "Children need their parents."

As for nanny myths, Simpson said there are plenty. But what does she think is the biggest one?

"The biggest myth about being a nanny is that children sleep through the night and a person like me is not needed," she said. "Well, you are wrong. I am very much needed. If it’s not me, it needs to be your grandmother or your cousin or someone who can help you with that sleep deprivation, because it’s real."

Nanny Connie has just launched a new app with augmented reality, so now any parent can have access to her expertise.

"This augmented reality thing? They told me to bottle myself," she said. "Well, hell, here it is. AR, I’m here! Find me in my book or find me on the internet. Just download that AR app."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seniors recovering from trauma after being admitted to hospitals may be more likely to have falls when taking prescribed opioids, according to a new study.

While opioids are commonly used to manage acute pain, they can have harmful side effects, particularly for seniors. In this study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, those who had filled an opioid prescription within two weeks preceding their injuries were 2.4 times more likely to have suffered a fall.

"Taking opioids is like drinking alcohol" and there are side effects, according to lead study author Dr. Raoul Daoust. It’s important to remind people to use caution.

Elderly people who are prescribed opioids should be encouraged to take as few as they need and be careful when moving around at home, added Daoust, who is an emergency medicine researcher and clinician at Sacré-Coeur hospital in Montreal.

In this study, researchers looked at a decade of hospital records between 2004 and 2014, for almost 68,000 people older than 65 in Quebec, Canada, who were admitted to the hospital after a trauma -- a catch-all term that generally includes falls, car accidents and penetrating injuries.

Falls were the most common type of trauma in this patient population. The average age of the patients was about 81 years old and the majority, 69 percent, were women.

Opioids help the brain manage pain, but can lead to drowsiness and dizziness in some people, the authors said. This combination of symptoms, they added, may affect balance and make falls more likely, particularly in older people.

The authors attempted to rule-out other common causes of falls like alcoholism, weakness, recent cancer diagnosis, and use of other medications that cause abnormal balance.

While this study cannot clearly state that opioid use causes falls, the authors argue that there is a clear link between the two in people over the age of 65.

One other concerning finding of this study: Patients with recent opioid use had a slightly increased risk of in-hospital death. While the study did not find a specific reason, the authors suggest that opioid use could be an overall marker of fragility and poor health in an older population.

Opioids are potent narcotics that have the power to effectively treat severe pain when used appropriately. But doctors and patients alike should remain aware of their side effects and be particularly careful with their use, especially for seniors.

This article was written by Dr. Laura Shopp for ABC News.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- No one likes to be cold enough to shiver, but what if being cold could actually increase your metabolism, improve blood sugar and help you lose weight?

A study done on mice at the University of Tokyo supports this idea. The researchers found that a certain type of cells called beige fat can actively break down fat and sugar to improve insulin sensitivity and increase metabolism. Beige fat was also found to help regulate energy balance.

Where do these fat cells come from? Exposure to cold for long periods of time can “stress” the body into turning the bad fat that most people have into good fat.

Some types of fat are good

We have three types of fat -- brown, white and, now we are finding out, beige.

Brown fat, which is the fat we are born with that allows babies at birth to go from a warm uterus of 98 degrees Fahrenheit to room temperature of around 74 degrees. This fat is not associated with health problems. It got its name because it looks brown under a microscope due to its containing many mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells that produce energy. Mitochondria contain a protein called UCP1 that breaks down fat to make heat.

Brown fat is usually found in the neck, upper back and around the spinal cord and is responsible for burning calories in order to generate heat. As we get older, we lose this good fat.

White fat is the opposite. It lacks those energy-producing centers, mitochondria, and is the most common type of fat for adults. It insulates and cushions our vital organs such as the kidneys and heart. This fat interacts with hormones such as cortisol, the stress hormone, and insulin. Having a lot of this type of fat is associated with heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers.

How do we get rid of white fat and get more brown fat?

There have been many studies of how fat cells work. Humans were genetically made to survive in cold temperatures and to use fat as an energy source when food was hard to find.

Over time, these genes have become less dominant. Now we store fat even though food is readily available. We have the luxury of warm temperatures all the time through heat in our homes.

And, people are more likely these days to have an abundance of white fat, a symptom of an obesity epidemic in the United States.

Researchers in the study of mice at the University of Tokyo found that long-term cold exposure can actually stress the white fat cells into developing more mitochondria and eventually becoming more efficient, calorie-burning beige cells. One group of mice was kept at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and another at 86 degrees Fahrenheit for one week. Without any change in diet, the mice that were kept at the lower temperature had more thermogenic activity -- meaning their cells were able to burn calories and stored fat to create heat.

So how does it work?

Shivering creates body heat short-term by warming up the muscles. In a long-term process called thermogenesis, brown fat cells create heat to keep the body warm. When you are cold for a long enough time, the white fat cells are forced to start acting like brown fat. This protein, JMJD1A becomes altered to JMJD1A and this white cells becomes a beige cell, which is thermogenic.

For example, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps spends much of his day in water of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond the calories needed to swim, his body is also losing heat to the cool water environment which is increasing his calorie breakdown even more.

There is a broader significance to these findings, as the study shows that a molecular mechanism, which in this case occurs when a person is cold for a long-enough period, can affect how genes are expressed. In other words, as one of the study’s authors, Juro Sakai from the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University, believes, although a person’s gene sequence is determined at conception, lifestyle may be able to help determine how those genes are expressed.

"We believe that this is the first time that anyone has collected data to prove that there are two steps between the environmental stimuli and epigenetic changes," said Sakai, an expert in the epigenetics of metabolism, said.

There is a broader significance to these findings. As one of the study’s authors, Juro Sakai from the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University, believes. Although a person’s gene sequence is determined at conception, lifestyle may be able to help determine how those genes are expressed -- meaning that all people genetically have the ability to have more efficient beige fat, so why not tap into those genes?

How might we be able to use this science?

More research is needed on the potential to turn white fat into energy-burning beige fat cells and on how long-term exposure to cold may affect fat cells in humans.

Obesity, which is at epidemic levels in the United States, is a debilitating condition that is related to many fatal diseases. So it is worth exploring further if we could promote weight loss, treat diabetes and stabilize blood sugars through exposure to colder temperatures for enough time to change the bad fat into good.

Studies show that to make a difference in the fat cells the temperature has to be in the non-shivering zone, which has been found by some to be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Becoming too cold can be dangerous and cause hypothermia and even cardiac arrest so it’s important for us to continue to further research this concept.

If more research confirms the findings of this study, maybe this could become a new fitness craze. We will have to play it cool and see.



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Courtesy Stratford Rehabilitation Center(DANVILLE, Va.) -- Avicia Thorpe is a "star" in her community.

The former educator, who began teaching in segregated Virginia schools in 1933, celebrated her 110th birthday on April 16 to much fanfare.

Along with her fellow residents of Stratford Rehabilitation Center in Danville, Virginia, Danville Mayor John Gilstrap and Vice Mayor Alonzo Jones attended the celebration along with her family and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters, activities director Kim Holley told ABC News.

In between writing poems, some of which she read at her birthday party, Thorpe has learned a lot in her long life. And in fact, the former pastor's wife said she indeed believes in a heaven.

"I'm ready at any time when the Lord is ready to call me home," Thorpe told ABC News when asked what she's most looking forward to in this new decade of life.

"God has placed me here for a purpose and my purpose has been accomplished," she continued. "I’m still trusting in his divine guidance, but I'm ready anytime."

Thorpe, who taught high school English for 33 years before retiring, said that if she can help someone then "I shall not be in vain."

"I’ve seen and heard from people, and strangers, and my former students -- I stopped teaching 50 years ago and I still hear from my former students -- so I feel that I have accomplished that goal," she said.

When asked the secret to living a long life, Thorpe said she's "just been careful" about what she eats and drinks. But she mostly credits her faith.

"Always trust in God. He should always be number one," she said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The majority of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States last year -- more than 15.7 million of the overall 17.5 million -- were considered minimally invasive and did not require major surgery, according to a new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The most common surgeries were breast augmentation, liposuction and nose reshaping.

The most common minimally invasive procedures were botulinum injections (7.2 million), tissue fillers (2.7 million) and chemical peels (1.4 million), according to the ASPS.

In 2017, there were about 350,000 noninvasive fat reduction procedures, also known as “body sculpting” or “body contouring.”

These are FDA-approved techniques to target unwanted fat on a person’s stomach, hips and thighs.

One “body-sculpting” technique is cryolipolysis. This process involves freezing fat cells close to the surface of the skin until the cells die and shrink away.

It is meant to be a less-invasive alternative to procedures like liposuction.

Side effects are typically temporary redness, bruising and numbness, according to a 2013 study from the German group Rosenpark Research in conjunction with Weill Cornell Medical College and Louisiana State University.

Cryolipolysis is not necessarily a new idea, although its popularity has been growing since its development in 2009.

Noninvasive fat reduction procedures, as a whole, increased 7 percent in the past year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Other techniques use laser or ultrasound to heat and destroy fat cells.

Dr. Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon, has performed multiple different types of “body contouring,” and finds that cryolipolysis is a “much better-tolerated procedure.”

Instead of heating the cells, which is painful, cooling the cells makes them numb, Smith said.

As with most cosmetic procedures, there is little to no reimbursement from insurance companies for cryolipolysis.

According to Smith, prices for this procedure vary based on a person’s size and the area they want to treat.

Smith says most people usually spend $1,000 to $3,000 on a cryolipolysis treatment.

It’s hard to study the effects of such a treatment when the results are so subjective.

After all, how do you measure a love handle? While one can technically measure the thickness of a fat pad, these numbers are likely inaccurate and may or may not actually reflect how a person feels about the size of their muffin top.

The good news is that the cryolipolysis study conducted in 2013 showed a 73 percent patient satisfaction rate after cryolipolysis therapy.

Dr. Smith states that most people are happy after one treatment, however, some people opt to have a second round.

Overall, physicians believe that a person has the best results when they’re already near their goal weight range, exercising and eating well.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The hair-care aisle can be an intimidating place for those who don't know what they're looking for.

To demystify the process of selecting a shampoo, "Good Morning America" spoke with celebrity hair stylists Brant Mayfield and Robert Lopez of Chris McMillan the Salon in Beverly Hills; Ashley Streicher of Striiike in Beverly Hills; and Michael Sparks of Cie Sparks Salon in Malibu about how to choose products and what to be aware of when it comes to higher-end brands.

Their seven tips include:

1. Consider your hair and your scalp Mayfield says that when selecting a shampoo, you have to find a type that's appropriate for your hair, but your scalp is something to think about too. For example, someone with an oily scalp may want to consider a shampoo with sulfates, he added, which strip impurities from the hair and get the oil out of the scalp. The important thing to do is obvious: read the label. "Most will say on the bottle what they're good for," he said.

2. Sulfates are not necessarily the enemy: Ever since "Queer Eye" grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness declared war on sulfates, some fans of the show have expressed concern about their sulfate-filled shampoos. Not so fast, Sparks said. "Sulfates can strip the hair a bit, but at the end of the day, some of my clients want it because if shampoos don't have it, it doesn't suds up," he explained. "They feel like their hair is still dirty!" Mayfield agreed, noting that sulfates allow for people to get "a deep clean." However, he warned, people with extremely color-treated, frizzy or curly hair should look for sulfate-free shampoos, which won't be as harsh. "With a sulfate-free shampoo, you'll have to work harder to get your scalp and hair clean," he added. "You'll have to do a more rigorous massage to break free all that stuff, whereas a sulfate shampoo does it for you."

3. Sometimes a splurge is worth it: Lopez is a fan of the higher-end brands Shu Uemura and Davines, and said he'll tell clients who can afford a bottle to use the pricey product every few days rather than every day to make it last longer. But in general, he added, he advises clients to splurge on conditioner instead of shampoo. "In general, conditioners are very good for the hair, especially for people who style their hair," he said.

For Streicher, however, a professional-line shampoo is worth the investment. "A shampoo with minimal ingredients, not necessarily 'green' but a shampoo that is clean is ideal," she said. "Drug store shampoos are filled with a lot of 'fillers' like soaps and sulfates. I suggest investing in a nice shampoo and conditioner, something with minimal ingredients." StriVectin Hair and Sisley Paris Hair Ritual, which Streicher said "have proprietary ingredients focused on the scalp and scalp health," are two specific brands she loves.

Mayfield also recommends splurging on products that could treat a specific issue. For example, he explained, those with scaling on their scalp might want to try DPHUE's apple cider vinegar scalp scrub.

"Talk to your stylist," Sparks added. "If your stylist is honest with you, he'll tell you a couple things that are worth it for your particular hair." (He often recommends his clients splurge on conditioning masks or texture sprays.)

4. Drugstore brands can do the trick: "I'm a true believer in you get what you pay for but there are [good] products out there that are [less expensive]," Mayfield said. "Schwarzkopf is a professional line, but they're also making an affordable line of products called GLISS." He also praised shampoos and conditioners by L'Oreal Paris (a brand Lopez loves as well) and Neutrogena, while Sparks gushed about Suave Professionals -- a line he worked with on the show "Fashion Stars." "The price point was down but for the results they were getting, I really liked it," he said.

5. Don't be afraid of dry shampoo: "Dry shampoo is great, especially for fine hair and oily hair but there are different ones to use: You can get rid of oil on your scalp, the smell if your hair smells or to get volume," Mayfield said. Both he and Lopez recommend Klorane, which Lopez said is one of the only brands that doesn't make hair look matte in photos.

However, Streicher cautioned about using it too often: "It can really dry out your scalp and create a harsh environment for hair to grow out of," she said. "Also, it can make your scalp start to create more sebum. I like to use dry shampoo and texturixers to create texture in the hair when styling or when needing some extra volume. I love SashaJuan Dark dry texture spray, and Rene Furterer texture spray."

6. Go ahead and mix brands: "Everyone makes something that goes together and I don't think it's necessarily the best thing," Mayfield said. Sometimes, he added, a client may want to accomplish different goals with her shampoo and conditioner. For example, he may recommend she use a sulfate-free shampoo with an extra-moisturizing conditioner to offset it.

7. After a while, switch things up: Mayfield said to be aware of how your hair is changing and make adjustments accordingly, and Lopez suggested it's a good idea to switch things up every once in awhile so that the hair doesn't get too used to one product. Using a clarifying shampoo once in awhile to get a deep clean is also smart, he said.

"There's so much stuff out there and you'll probably like something else better if you change anyway!" added Sparks, with a laugh. "Change is good in anything you do -- and you can always go back!"

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Centers for Disease Control is expanding its warning over romaine lettuce tainted with E. coli. The lettuce is responsible for at least 53 people falling ill, including 31 hospitalizations, in 16 states.

The CDC had previously warned consumers only about chopped romaine lettuce, but is now saying anyone who purchased any type of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region should throw it out.

"Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region," the CDC said in a statement. "This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

"Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region," it adds.

The warning was expanded on Friday after someone at a correctional facility in Alaska reported getting sick from whole heads of lettuce.

The CDC has not listed any brand or product names affected, just the location, saying "no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified."

Of the 31 people hospitalized due to E. coli, five have developed kidney failure, the CDC said. No one has died. Symptoms of E. coli infections include diarrhea, cramps and vomiting, and severe infections can even be life-threatening.

States which have reported illnesses include Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginian and Washington. Idaho and Pennsylvania have seen the most cases with 10 and 12, respectively.

This is the second time in a week the CDC has warned consumers about tainted food. More than 200 million eggs were recalled by a distributor last weekend over salmonella concerns.

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