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Ibuprofen use linked to male infertility, study finds

Ibuprofen is one of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers used worldwide, and researchers have long warned users about the risk of heart attack and stroke associated with the drug. But scientists now believe that ibuprofen, commonly sold under brand names such as Motrin or Advil, could potentially result in male infertility.

>> Read more trending news

The new findings come from researchers in Denmark and France who examined the effect of the drug on a group of men between the ages of 18 and 35.

Thirty-one men were given the maximum limit of 600 milligrams, or three tablets, of the drug each day for six weeks, a dosage commonly used by athletes. Other study participants were administered a placebo.

In just two weeks, the researchers found the men who took ibuprofen had an increase of luteinizing hormones, which males use to regulate testosterone production. If men ever get this hormonal condition, it typically begins during middle age.

>> Related: Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack by one-third, new study finds

At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased — a sign of dysfunctional testicles.

“The increase indicated that the drug was causing problems in certain cells in the testicles, preventing them from producing testosterone, which is, of course, needed to produce sperm cells,” Medical XPress reported.

As a result, the body’s pituitary gland responded by producing more of a different hormone, essentially compensating for ibuprofen’s effect on testosterone production. This phenomenon is called compensated hypogonadism, which can reduce sperm cell production and infertility, the scientists wrote. The condition is also associated with depression and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

>> On AJC.com: Want to gain some muscle? Beware of ibuprofen, study says

Because the small group of young male participants who took the drug only consumed it for a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Bernard Jegou, co-author of the study and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France, told CNN. Compensated hypogonadism can lead to a temporary reduction in sperm cell production, but that’s not cause for alarm.

The larger concern, Jegou noted, is that using the drug for much longer periods of time could lead to a much more serious issue: overt primary hypogonadism, “in which the symptoms become worse -- sufferers report a reduction in libido, muscle mass and changes in mood.”

The medical community, including the study authors, believe larger clinical trials are needed to understand ibuprofen’s effects on men using low doses of the drug and whether or not long-term effects are indeed reversible. 

Read the full study, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Family warns of dangers after 21-year-old dies of flu complications

A seemingly healthy and active 21-year-old from Pennsylvania has died of complications from the flu

"He was into physical fitness. He was going to school to be a personal trainer,” Kyler Baughman's mother, Beverly Baughman, told WPXI.

>> Read more trending news

He was working, going to school and celebrating Christmas with his family. 

"We saw him the 23rd for our family Christmas get together and we noticed he wasn't feeling well. He looked run-down and had a bit of a snotty nose,” Beverly said.

He celebrated with family again Christmas night, and returned to work Tuesday, but came home early because he wasn't feeling well.

"He kinda just laid down and went about his day and that was the day he was coughing and said his chest hurt, he had a mild cough,” said Baughman's fiancée, Olivia Marcanio. 

Within two days, Baguhman's health took a turn. He was running a fever on and off. 

On Wednesday, he went to the emergency room, then was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he died less than 24 hours later. 

His mom said it was from complications from the flu. 

"Organ failure due to septic shock caused by influenza,” Beverly Baughman said. 

The Baughmans are now left grieving a sudden and most unexpected loss. 

They're hoping by sharing his story, it could help save someone else. 

"Try and know your body; don't let things go. Whenever you have a fever and you have it multiple days, don't let it go,” said Kyler’s father, Todd Baughman. “Get it taken care of.”

"I think he thought, ‘I just got the flu, I'll be all right, I'll go rest a little bit.’ He was always on the go. I just think he ignored it and thought it would go away like most people, and I think people need to pay more attention to their bodies," Beverly Baughman said.

These are the best diets for 2018

With so many diets and fitness fads, it can be difficult to determine which might be best for you. However, a new ranking might make the decision a little easier.

>> Read more trending news

U.S. News & World Report recently released its list of the best diets, including ones specifically for weight loss.

For their eighth annual round-up, the publication’s editors and reporters looked into medical journals and government reports to create in-depth profiles for diets. 

A panel of national health experts, including nutritionists, dietitians and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss, then reviewed the summaries. They considered factors such as how easy the diets were to follow, their ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss and their safety.

>> Related: How to lose weight: Take a break from your diet for 2 weeks, study suggests

U.S. News analysts then converted the experts’ ratings into scores, ultimately constructing nine sets of best diets rankings: best diets overall, best commercial diets, best weight-loss diets, best for diabetes, best heart-healthy, best for healthy eating, easiest to follow, plant-based and best fast weight-loss diets. 

Here are the top 10 best diets overall:

  1. DASH, Mediterranean (tie)
  2. The Flexitarian
  3. Weight Watchers
  4. MIND, TLC, Volumetrics (tie)
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. Ornish
  7. The Fertility

Here are the top 10 best diets specifically for weight loss:

  1. Weight Watchers
  2. Volumetrics
  3. Jenny Craig
  4. Vegan
  5. The Flexitarian
  6. DASH, The Engine 2, Ornish, Raw Food, SlimFast (tie)

10 tips for sticking with your exercise plan in the new year

It’s the New Year’s resolution that everyone has and virtually no one keeps: We want to get in shape.

Here are 10 tips to help you keep on track:

>> New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

1. Make a plan

If you made your decision on New Year’s Eve, that’s only making a decision based on your emotional state that day. Make a plan for big and small goals and particular parts of your body you want to target to help keep you focused. A health professional can help with this.

2. Be realistic

While you might be adamant that you’ll never eat bread, meat or chocolate chip cookies again, making that one of your goals is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, go for what’s attainable: Instead of having your favorite food three days a week, you’ll only have it once. Start small and build.

>> How to keep your New Year's resolutions this time

3. Create a battle plan

Despite all your best efforts, temptation will come knocking. Try to decide in advance how you will deal with wanting to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling or texting a weight loss buddy, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal.

4. Talk about it openly

Wanting to live a healthier life is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Don’t treat your resolution like a dirty little secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve.

With any luck, they’ll help you find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and can help you stay motivated.

>> Read more trending news 

5. Document your feelings

Why is getting in better shape a good idea? Write down all the reasons that are motivating you, from wanting to be able to walk up the stairs without losing your breath to wanting to look better on the beach. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.

6. Keep track of your progress

It sounds like this list has more writing down than working out, but it is important to keep track of your progress. Being able to see where you were and how far you’ve come is an important way to keep yourself motivated.

For example, instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track, and reward yourself for each five pounds lost.

7. Rewards are OK

Rewards are a good thing. Don’t think that because you’re losing weight, you have to become an ascetic. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate a milestone, treat yourself to new fitness clothes or by going out to a movie.

>> 9 inspiring New Year's resolution quotes to motivate you in 2018

8. 21 days

Exercising and working out won’t become good habits overnight. By Tuesday of the second week, all the newness will have worn off, and it’ll start getting harder to get up and get moving, especially if you’re exercising before work.

Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Get through that first three-week stretch, and you’ll be making real progress.

9. Give yourself a break

It’s not the day missed at the gym or the indulgence in ice cream that’ll knock you off track – it’s the obsessing about it afterward.

Negative thought patterns won’t help maintain your positive plan. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.

10. Don’t give up

Maybe you hit the Valentine’s Day wall – or even the Jan. 15 wall. But that’s not a reason to give up.

Start with one meal, then one day. You can do anything for 24 hours. Once you start building on the 24-hour increments, before long you’ll be back in the groove.

New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

The holidays are over and it’s time to get back in shape, but officials are warning consumers about potential gym membership scams.

>> Read more trending news 

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received about 140 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included cancellation and billing issues. Under Ohio’s Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel a contract for gym memberships and other “health spa services,” martial arts training, dance studio lessons, or social referral services (such as a dating service).

>> How to keep your New Year’s resolutions this time

“This is a time when many people are thinking about joining a gym, and that can be a great way to get in shape. We just want consumers to understand what they’re signing up for,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “A little bit of prevention can go a long way.”

>> PHOTOS: Most controversial figures from 2017

DeWine’s tips for avoiding scams include the following:

1. Research the gym. Look for complaints on file with your local attorney general’s office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers. Pay attention to how a business addresses customer complaints.

2. Read contracts carefully. Make sure verbal agreements are put in writing. Otherwise, they are not guaranteed.

3. Watch out for extra fees. Determine the total cost of your membership. Find out if there are any extra fees for services like fitness classes or personal training. Also find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically from your account.

4. Check the cancellation policy. Understand what you would need to do to cancel your contract and how far in advance cancellations must be made. Many contracts renew automatically, so be sure to check the total length of the contract. 

Don't ever eat raw cookie dough, FDA warns

If you just can't resist eating the last bits of raw cookie dough from the bowl while baking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a message for you: don't.

>> Read more trending news

As holiday bakers took to kitchens nationwide last week, the FDA reminded people to refrain from eating raw cookie dough or face the possibility of getting sick.

The warning comes after the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state officials investigated an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour that in 2016 sickened 63 people in 24 states.

The outbreak started in December 2015. The CDC determined at least half of those who fell ill made something at home with flour. Subsequent tests linked the outbreak with General Mills flour produced in Missouri, and the company issued a voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour.

Although many people know about the danger of getting salmonella poisoning from raw dough, fewer people may be aware that eating raw flour carries its own risks.

"Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria," Leslie Smoot, a senior advisor in the FDA's Office of Food Safety, said last year.

The bacteria is killed during cooking or processing through boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving or frying. However, raw dough does not go through any of those "kill steps," according to the FDA.

For anyone who still hopes to use raw cookie dough in something like homemade cookie dough ice cream, authorities suggest using commercially made dough.

"Manufacturers should use ingredients that include treated flour and pasteurized eggs," FDA officials said.

The FDA released the following food handling tips for handling raw flour:

  • Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
  • Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
  • Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

WATCH: Joe Biden puts politics aside on 'The View' in emotional moment with Meghan McCain

Former Vice President Joe Biden set political differences aside on “The View” when he consoled Meghan McCain over the cancer diagnosis of her father, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, telling her that there’s “hope.”

Sen. McCain was recently diagnosed with the glioblastoma, the same cancer that took the life of Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“The View” co-host brought up her father’s illness while talking with the former vice president on the show Wednesday, saying that she thinks about Beau “almost every day,” but she wasn’t able to talk about it very long before breaking down.

Biden quickly consoled Meghan, telling her “there’s a lot of hope.” He then went on to talk about how Beau and Sen. McCain had become friends years ago and told her how his son talked about her father’s courage.

>> Watch the clip here

The former vice president also talked about how there are cancer therapy breakthroughs every day, but he kept coming back to Sen. McCain’s courage.

“There is hope, and if anybody can make it, your dad [can],” Biden said, before talking about his relationship with John McCain, saying that they were like brothers from “different fathers.”

Biden also joked about his political differences with the ailing senator, but added, “I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain, and said, ‘John, I’m at Second and Vine in Oshkosh, and I need your help. Come,' he’d get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”

>> Read more trending news 

He continued: “Beau insisted on, and your dad’s gonna insist on, you gotta maintain hope. You have to have hope."

Sen. McCain was diagnosed with the deadly form of cancer in July, according to The Hill. He revealed in September that his doctors gave him a “very poor” prognosis, the Arizona Republic reported.

Meghan McCain, who tied the knot last month with Ben Domenech, revealed that she had moved up her wedding because of her father’s diagnosis, saying that she lives from “scan to scan," People reported.

WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel holds infant son during tearful monologue about children's health care

On Monday, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue while holding his 7-month-old son, Billy, after taking a week off as the baby boy recovered from heart surgery.

>> Jimmy Kimmel: Senator ‘lied right to my face’ about health care

A tearful Kimmel asked lawmakers to restore the Children's Health Insurance Program, which expired two months ago.

>> Round 3: Jimmy Kimmel continues criticism of GOP’s health-care bill

"This is literally a life-and-death program for American kids," Kimmel said. "It’s always had bipartisan support, but this year, they let the money for it expire while they work on getting tax cuts for their billionaire and millionaire donors."

>> Read more trending news  

He continued: "And imagine getting that letter, literally not knowing how you will be able to afford to save your child’s life. It's not a hypothetical. About 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions. I don’t know about you, I’ve had enough of this. I don’t know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to rich people ahead of the lives of children."

>> Watch the clip here

Kimmel's son, who was born with congenital heart disease, has had two heart surgeries and will have another at age 6, according to his show's YouTube page.

Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds

Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”

Kroger recalls bottled water for babies after mold complaints

The Kroger Co. is recalling bottled water for infants after customers complained they found mold in the product.

According to a news release on the Food and Drug Administration website, the recall is for 1-gallon bottles of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water With Fluoride Added with sell-by dates from April 26, 2018, to Oct. 10, 2018. The bottles are labeled with UPC code 0 41260 37597 2, plant code 51-4140 and the text "DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202."

Kroger said the product tested positive for Talaromyces penicillium, which can spark allergic reactions.

>> Read more trending news 

"Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash," the release said. "Allergic reactions to molds are common and can happen immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, or later. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are also allergic to mold. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, even in people who aren’t allergic to them."

Babies with HIV or immune-compromising conditions are particularly at risk, the release said.

The water was distributed to Kroger stores – including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market and Ruler – in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the release said. The company has told stores to remove the recalled bottles from their shelves.

If you bought the bottled water, you can return it to the store for a refund, the release said. Do not drink it.

For more information, read the release on the FDA website or call 1-888-SAFEFOOD from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

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