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Women can have babies after cancer but with risks, according to JAMA Study (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- For adolescents battling cancer, survival is the first priority. Now, with cancer treatments getting better and more young adults living into adulthood, JAMA Oncology looked at pregnancy after cancer with a study of 2600 women previously diagnosed with cancer.

"They found women were capable of having successful pregnancies after cancer treatment, which was a groundbreaking revelation for us," says Ellie Ragsdale, MD, a maternal/fetal medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, "and also found that there was an increased risk of pre-term delivery and small for gestation age babies."

Women who battled breast cancer had a worse prognosis because medications use to treat breast cancer have a larger effect on the reproductive organs. Also, women who had gynecologic cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and those who had cancer during pregnancy had poorer outcomes.

But the news was generally bright.

"Women can have successful pregnancies after successful treatment for cancer," says Dr. Ragsdale. "They're able to have successful pregnancies in the future and they just might need to be monitored more closely by people like me."


5 Eco-Friendly Foods to Help You Go Green this St. Patrick's Day (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND – With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner and March being National Nutrition Month, there’s no better time to think about going green, but we’re not talking about the color. We’re talking about going green with the top five sustainable foods that are good for the environment.
“So when we talk about St. Patrick’s Day, we talk about going green, let’s think about what we can do for the environment to help make our footprint, and try to reduce some of the carbon footprint that we use as consumers,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, Clinical Dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “By eating these healthy foods, you’re not only going to improve your health, you’re going to improve the environment.”
Here are Amy’s top five eco-friendly food picks to help you “go green”:
1. Kale: It’s known as a “superfood” because it contains a significant amount of vital nutritional requirements and grows quickly in most climates. Kale is a great low-impact food for any season. Add it to salads and burgers for an extra punch of vitamins A, K and C.
2. Pulses (legumes, peas, beans): Rich in complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and dietary fiber. When the plants are decomposed they act as a great source of nitrogen for the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer. Compared to other sources of protein, it uses much less water. (It takes 43 gallons of water to grow one pound of lentils compared to approximately 2000 gallons of water for one pound of beef.) Also, consuming pulses instead of animal protein provides a lower fat option.
3. Barley: Barley can be grown quickly and in harsh environments where other plants can’t survive. They have also been known to be a natural way to keep weeds and pests away. Barley serves as a source of soluble fiber, which binds with cholesterol in the blood and removes it from the body. They’re a nutritious addition to soups and can be found in bread and beer.
4. Cabbage: Cabbage can grow in low temperatures so there’s a high likelihood of buying it in season and at a low price. It has a very long shelf life as a leafy vegetable - usually lasts from three weeks, and up to two months, in your refrigerator. Cabbage is very versatile
and contains high amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also part of a group of vegetables known to reduce your risk of cancer.  

5. Oats: Require less nutrients and no fertilizers to grow leaving the soil well-balanced. Oats use much less water compared to other crops. They also control harmful weeds and pests. Oats are a very good source of soluble fiber and beta-glucans (beneficial for heart health). They also help lower your blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels.
Other ways you can go green in your daily life: reuse grocery bags, shop locally, buy bulk to minimize plastics and packaging and invest in reusable water bottles. 

Road Warriors: NHTSA Combats Drowsy Driving (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- Look for public services announcements, education campaigns, tougher laws, and signs on the road to combat the latest menace on the roadways: drowsy driving. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled its national plan Monday, March 20 to combat fatigued drivers on road, the latest target after the NHTSA first looked at decreasing drunk driving and then went after distracted drivers.

"Drowsy driving impairs your reaction time, impairs your ability to think of two things at once, and it also impairs your memory of where you're going," says Kingman Strohl, MD, Program Director of Sleep Medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.  "So your brain is trying to go to sleep while you're trying to drive a car and that's not a good combination."

That combination, according to the NHTSA, caused 72,000 police-reported crashes, resulting in 41,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2015. But those official numbers underestimated the real impact, according to the campaign authors, who estimate as many as 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver, resulting in as many as 8000 deaths a year. And operating a vehicle while sleep deprived affects one group more adversely than others -- risk-takers in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket who are twice as likely as 40 to 59 year olds to fall asleep at the wheel.

"Drowsy driving deaths and injuries are higher than that for drunk driving in the teenage years," says Dr. Strohl. He says 
rolling down the window, turning on the air conditioner, or chewing gum are all not good strategies but coffee and a twenty minute nap might prove more effective. "Any amount of sleep is better for prevention of drowsy driving than any other particular skill or particular medication."

Dr. Strohl recommends at least six hours of sleep a night, which can be difficult in a 24/7 world of babies crying, late night partying, all-night studying, long work days, and holiday travel. "Those long drives on monotonous roads after a night of sleep deprivation can be deadly," says Dr. Strohl.

Are Catholics smarter during Lent? (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- For centuries, Catholics have eaten fish on Fridays -- after Vatican II in 1965, just during Lent -- as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and his desire to make the apostles, many who were fishermen, "fishers of men."

It turns out the practice of eating fish might not just have spiritual significance but also health benefits as well.

"Part of having a heart-heathy but also a brain-healthy diet is eating a lot of fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids," says Brian Appleby, MD, a neurologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "Those who take Omega-3 fatty acids are at lower risk of developing dementia." 

Fish like salmon and cod are called "brain food" because of their high amounts of Omega-3s, a fat that helps the brain. Dr. Appleby also suggests eating fish is good because it's used as a substitute for red or processed meats, which, in excess, can harden or clog arteries, potentially leading to heart problems.

So even with breading and dunked in oil, fish is healthy?

"You still get the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids at fish fries but you also get the fat and the grease from the frying as well," says Dr. Appleby, "so there's definitely a preference for baked fish."

Some recommendations call for four servings of fish a week, which shouldn't prove too daunting, according to Dr. Appleby, who points out a large piece of salmon can count for two servings plus two tuna fish sandwiches can meet the weekly goal.

While there are Omega-3 supplements, Dr. Appleby says studies show people who get Omega-3s from eating fish appear to do better. "There may also be something specifically in fish that may be helpful."

Got Milk? The Moo-ve to Milk-Alternatives (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- Milk has been called "nature's perfect food" but can you improve on perfection?

Plant-based milks, like soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk and a variety of other non-dairy alternatives, are moo-ving in on cow's milk for space on store shelves and refrigerators, providing a lower-calorie, lactose-free, vegan-friendly alternative.

But not so fast putting cow's milk out to pasture.

"Cow's milk (is) high in protein, it's a natural source of calcium, and it's also fortified with vitamin D and A," says Lisa Cimperman, RD, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "Most of these plant-based milks have very little protein."

Protein can make you feel fuller for longer and the saturated fat in cow's milk is one source for toddlers from one- to three-years old to get the important nutrient for brain development.

"A lot of consumers might choose a plant-based milk like almond milk or cashew milk because it's far lower in calories than even skim milk," says Cimperman. But critics argue some plant-based milks are mostly water and are often artificially-sweetened. "If you're buying plant-based milk, get the unsweetened version," Cimperman recommends.

For now, plant-based alternatives make up less than 10 percent of the market but that's growing and even the term "milk" has come under question for any of these drinks that don't come from a cow. "You'd be hard-pressed to think of a different terms," says Cimperman in defense of what to call these alternatives.

So, according to Cimperman, it comes down to personal choice: protein, saturated fat, and no sugar for milk versus less calories, no lactose, and vegan-safe for plant-based milks.

"I don't think there's no nutritional hierarchy here where I would place cows' milk above all else or almond milk above all else," says Cimperman. "It really does come down to individual preferences and what they're needs are."

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