Dr. Marc Siegel: Trump had his Physical — Now it’s Your Turn

Regardless of your political preferences or whether your views align with those of President Trump, there’s one action he took last week that can set an important example for all of us to follow: he got a thorough physical exam and advice from his doctor on staying healthy and living longer.

How many of you have given up trying to improve your health? Maybe you don’t exercise right, don’t eat right, and have gained more weight than you would like to admit.

Maybe you were even cringing when you heard that our 71-year-old overweight president who likes fast food was about to undergo the same type of extensive physical that you have been avoiding yourself for years.

Maybe you didn’t realize that the physical could give you enough good news to motivate you to overcome the bad.

But now, in the wake of the most extensive release of information about the health of any president in American history – thanks to Navy Rear Adm.  Dr. Ronny Jackson, the president’s personal physician – there is no longer any excuse left for you.

Now that we’ve put President Trump under the medical microscope, it’s your turn. Let a primary care physician like me or Dr. Jackson assess your current health and help you to make even better choices.

Heart health is a prime example. At Dr. Jackson’s news conference this week about President Trump’s health, we were reminded about how important our bad cholesterol level is – it should be low for all of us.

I try to make sure all my patients have an LDL – low density lipoprotein level (also known as bad cholesterol) – below 100. Find out your number. If it is too high, change your diet to one with less animal proteins – the way President Trump was advised to do.

Also follow the advice the president received to try to lose weight (if you are overweight) and exercise more. Start by walking or biking whenever you are able. When driving, park your car further than you need to from your destination in order to get in some extra steps.

Find a good primary care doctor and become his or her friend, as President Trump has clearly done. Unlike Dr. Jackson, not many primary care docs have emergency medicine and hyperbaric training, have treated dying members of the military in combat, or have served three presidents and the entire White House staff. But you can get by without someone with such incredible experience or training.

What you need to do – and what I bet you can do – is find a good doctor who will meet your medical needs and help you stay healthy. If you have troubles or worries you need that doc to listen to you all the better. He or she can return that confidence you have by advising you and reassuring you that you are mentally healthy.

I can’t overestimate the importance of screening colonoscopies every five to 10 years over the age of 50. It was reassuring to find that the president had his last one in 2013. Colon cancer can easily become a killer if not diagnosed until its later stages. But if spotted early, polyps – small growths of cells that form on the lining of the colon – can be removed before they have the chance to turn cancerous.

By the same token, it is important for men to have their prostates screened over the age of 40 and for women of the same age and older to have regular mammograms. All sexually active women should have regular Pap tests. Both sexes need to have screens for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Everyone should have their skin checked regularly.

When it comes to immunizations, it was good to hear that for all the talk about his supposed anti-vaccine stance, it turns out that President Trump is up to date on all his vaccines, the greatest public health discovery from the 20th century.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a vaccine pioneer, explained to me this week in an interview that the current flu shot is expected to have a 30 percent effectiveness this year, which still makes it well worth having. The president had one.

In terms of mental function, it was inspirational to see President Trump volunteer to undergo a cognitive test in order to respond to his detractors. He scored 30 out of a possible 30 on the test. This is not to say that we all need cognitive tests or that he did, but we can all face down concerns by testing areas that our family and friends – or even critics – are concerned about, just as President Trump has.

Heart disease remains the top killer in the U.S. for both men and women, which makes it well worth paying attention to. The president lacks several cardiac risk factors because he doesn’t drink or smoke, and has a low blood pressure. But he does suffer from high cholesterol, he is mainly sedentary and overweight, and he is male – all risk factors.

What about you? Are you having chest pain, or shortness of breath? Have you had an EKG lately? Dr. Jackson was informative in explaining the role of various heart screening tests. President Trump did very well on a stress test and echocardiogram of the heart and doesn’t have any evidence of active heart disease.

But, how about you? Have you had a stress test or do you need one? Ask your physician. Most of us are building up plaque in the coronary arteries that supply our heart but don’t know it.

Did you know that these plaques can calcify and that you can follow this calcification over time with a calcium scoring CT scan of the chest – just as the president has? Doctors can use this result to determine your risk of developing clinical heart disease, and advise you on lifestyle changes.

Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were followed closely by White House physicians throughout their presidencies. Bush was a poster president for exercise, and inspired many Americans (including me), to resume daily exercise routines (biking in my case) that had been put aside.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton developed active heart disease after they left office – an important reminder that regular physicals must continue after retirement. President Obama brought the joys of basketball (one of my favorite sports) to the White House. And all of the last three presidents, including President Trump, are prodigious golfers. Golf can involve walking and relaxation, both important tools for better health.

Now that we’ve put President Trump under the medical microscope, it’s your turn. Let a primary care physician like me or Dr. Jackson assess your current health and help you to make even better choices.

Louis Tomlinson gives $10G to sick girl confined to wheelchair

Louis Tomlinson contributed $10,000 toward the medical care for 9-year old fan with a message ‘Sending you all the love!’

Louis Tomlinson donated $10,000 to help one of his fans with cerebral palsy pay for her medical care. The former One Direction singer-songwriter gave the generous gift to 9-year-old Rylee Sanford, who suffers from bilateral close-lipped schizencephaly, a condition that leaves her confined to a special type of wheelchair.

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9-year old Rylee Sanford suffers from bilateral close-lipped schizencephaly, a condition that leaves her confined to a special type of wheelchair.  (Courtesy: YouCaring)

Rylee’s family, who is from Chatsworth, Georgia set up a YouCaring page to help raise money to modify their home for her special needs and provide her with medical treatment.

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Money raised will go toward her medical care and to making the house more handicapped-accessible.  (Courtesy: YouCaring)

Her page read: “She loves Zayn, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. She is a true warrior and always has a smile on her face….Thank you for any amount you are able to give”


Earlier this week, Tomlinson went on the site and donated $10,000 with a sweet message that read “Sending you all the love!’”

Former One Direction band-member Zayn Malik also shared a link to Rylee’s page with his 26.4 million Twitter followers, which led to even more donations.

According to the fundraising page, money will go toward medical care and to making the house more accessible to the handicapped child.


The rest of the post on Rylee’s YouCaring page reads:

“Our next goal would be stem cell treatments as there have been a lot of great results. However, insurance will not cover most of this, and it is pretty expensive. Please help Rylee reach her full potential and achieve her dreams!!! Any donations will help!!!”

Disney parks’ most coveted jobs, according to cast members

According to cast members, these are the best jobs you can have at Disney Parks.

Users on a subreddit were asked what the best job at a Disney park is, and many park insiders had some advice for prospective applicants.

It may come as a surprise, but the top comment on the thread, provided by user Susurrations, answered that the best job in the park isn’t as a character or ride operator — it’s as the park’s electrician.

The Reddit user wrote that their brother works this job at a Disney park: “Most of the year he drives around in a little golf cart all day and fixes stupid simple quick-fix type stuff… Part of the year he helps with attraction renovation which is harder work but he loves getting to see behind the scenes of big rides and such.”

The user added: “Also, apparently his golf cart goes the perfect speed for hatching eggs in Pokemon Go.”

Not a bad gig.

Some other intriguing career paths mentioned in the thread included working in Animal Kingdom (because it closes the earliest), being a “face” character, like a Disney Princess, and working as a server at VIP Club 33 (because of the tips).

According to one user, who said they worked at Disney’s California Adventure for four years, everyone wants to work on the “red triangle rides,” which results in slightly higher pay. “The ride people wanted in my area was screamin or grizzly,” they said.

Get your pens ready and fill out those applications. Summer is just around the corner.

How to avoid the flu on airplanes

airplane cold kid istock

As the entire country plunges into cold and flu season, travelers may be wary of boarding any flights. After all, the idea of being stuck in a flying metal tube with recirculating air as other people cough and sneeze could be enough to make anybody call in a preemptive sick day.

And this flu season has been especially devastating: The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 13 said it is widespread in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, with a total of 74,562 diagnosed cases. The center reported that 30 children have died from the viral illness.

Those numbers are scary — making this the worst flu season in recent years — but as long as you’re healthy before departure, you don’t need to cancel your travel plans. There are a few steps you can take to help yourself avoid catching any illnesses on a plane.

The main name of the game is prevention. This means avoiding highly contaminated areas and close quarters with many other people. Choose a window seat over an aisle seat. Fewer people passing by means fewer opportunities to catch germs. Travelers should also avoid waiting in tight lines to board the plane.

Packing a few extra items could make a big difference. “One of the things we’ve noticed, particularly on airplanes, is that as soon as your mucous membranes, particularly in your nose and your mouth, start to dry out, we lose one of the most valuable defenses for preventing respiratory viruses,” Dr. Nicholas Testa told ABC News. Pack a small bottle of nasal spray (often available at airport convenience stores, if you forget) to stay well-lubricated.

The tray table is one of the dirtiest places on the plane. Whereas the bathroom is subject to mandatory cleanings, no one is guaranteed to be wiping down the tray tables between services. Having a small vial of antibacterial gel or wipes will help you kill any germs in your area before you even come in contact.

And contrary to popular belief, you should actually turn on your overhead vent. When someone sneezes, those germs can quickly spread to those in their immediate area. Turning on an air vent increases air circulation and can move germs away if you’re sitting next to someone who might be sick.

Five-foot long tapeworm came ‘wiggling out’ of man’s body after he ate sushi

"I take out a toilet paper roll, and wrapped around it of course is what looks like this giant, long tapeworm," Dr. Kenny Bahn said on the podcast.

Sushi lovers beware!

A California man who ate sushi every day ended up with a 5-foot-plus long tapeworm inhabiting his body. The Fresno male went to the emergency room complaining of bloody diarrhea, according to Dr. Kenny Bahn, who shared the story of his patient on the podcast “This Won’t Hurt A Bit.”


After being unraveled, the tapeworm ended up being 5.5 feet long. The patient said he felt the worm “wiggling out” and then, began to remove the worm, which started moving.  (DR.KENNY BANH/THIS WON’T HURT A BIT )

The emergency room physician was initially skeptical when the man insisted to residents at Community Regional Medical Center, “I really want to get treated for worms” until he saw for himself the disgusting proof.

“I take out a toilet paper roll, and wrapped around it of course is what looks like this giant, long tapeworm,” Bahn said on the podcast.

After being unraveled, the tapeworm ended up being 5-and-a-half feet long. Bahn recalled how the patient said he felt the worm “wiggling out” and felt like “his guts were coming out” as he sat on the toilet. He then, began to remove the worm, which started moving.

Bahn said the man was relieved it was a tapeworm. The patient was treated with medication to help remove the rest of the worm from his body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study last year pointing out that wild-caught salmon caught off the coast of Alaska may contain tapeworm.

The California resident said he won’t be eating salmon anytime soon.

Trump administration bolsters protections for doctors, nurses who oppose abortion

Pro-abortion rights activists facing off against anti-abortion demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court in 2013.

More than eight months since President Trump signed an executive order instructing agencies to expand religious liberty under federal law, his administration on Thursday delivered some results.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of its Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.

The new division will make it easier for doctors, nurses and other health providers to opt out of services that violate their moral or religious beliefs; Doug McKelway has more for 'Special Report.'

“HHS is the next area where the issues of conscience and the issues of life and death are coming to the fore,” said Roger Severino, the new head of HHS’s Office of Civil Rights in a ceremony marking the occasion.

The announcement comes as a backlash to several Obama-regulations — including the Obamacare requirement that non-church employers had to provide contraceptive coverage or face fines, an absurd demand, conservative critics said, for organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Though the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the contraceptive mandate, there were countless other alleged civil rights abuses.

Sara Hellwege, a certified midwife who spoke at Thursday’s ceremony, claims she was rejected for a job at a health care center because of her pro-life views.

U.S. acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Eric Hargan addresses reporters during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1B3B26FB30

HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan said health care practitioners have been bullied and discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and moral convictions.  (REUTERS)

“I was told that because of these convictions, I wouldn’t  be allowed to interview and proceed with the hiring process,” she said.

HHS maintains the new Conscience Division will make it easier for doctors, nurses and other health providers to opt out of services that violate their moral or religious beliefs. And it will ensure hospitals, clinics and other health centers accommodate religious beliefs.

That may be problematic in such a polarized country where one citizen’s civil right is often seen as another’s injustice. “They say it’s for religious liberty. What we know is it discriminates against LGBT people and women,” says Mara Kiesling of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Religious freedom is so important, but that’s not what this is about.This is about pediatricians refusing to treat children with gay parents. This is about transgender people turned away from emergency rooms and doctors offices,” she told Fox News.

A woman sits within the grounds of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial located beside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington June 16, 2016. The memorial pays tribute to the millions of American veterans living with permanent disabilities. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - S1AETKLWYSAA

The Conscious and Religious Freedom division will be a part of Health and Human Services.  (REUTERS)

The National Abortion Rights Action League mirrored that view in a statement Thursday, calling the Trump Administration’s HHS a place, “where science, ethics, and concern for the well-being of all Americans are non-existent.”

But the decision may only energize Trump’s base, especially evangelicals. About 63 percent of them approve of the job he’s doing, down only 3 percent from October.

How the new Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom plays out in the long run remains to be seen. Religious accommodations and health services were not as complex in the days when the First Amendment was written as they are in today’s multi-cultural patchwork of many religions and numerous health services.

Woman warns others about eyelash extension dangers after severe allergic reaction

A Canadian woman is warning others about the potential dangers of eyelash extensions after developing a severe allergic reaction to the adhesive used.

A woman is speaking out about the dangers of eyelash extensions after developing a severe allergic reaction to the treatment.

Ottawa resident, Isabelle Kun, had a new set of false eyelashes applied by an esthetician at a spa last Tuesday. By Thursday morning, Kun says her eyes were swollen almost complete shut.

“My girlfriend had slept over and I couldn’t even see her. And, I was having a hard time swallowing and even breathing,” she told CTVNews.ca by phone.

The 20-year-old was rushed to the hospital where she was admitted immediately.

“They took me right in within seconds when they saw my face. My eyes are swollen both above and under and my tonsils were apparently really inflamed,” she says.

Kun had been getting eyelash extensions every few weeks for the past year without incident. But last month, she says she noticed her eyes became slightly swollen after a session and believed she was having a reaction to the adhesive used. Eyelash extensions are applied one at a time and secured to the lash line using an instant adhesive.

When she went back, Kun said she asked the esthetician what kind of glue they were using. Some people can develop severe allergic reactions to the cyanoacrylates in instant adhesives, which are used in other beauty services like fake nails.

Kun said the esthetician didn’t “know the name of the glue” being used, but told her she “should be good.”

“So I said okay. I continued with it when I really shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have done it when I heard she didn’t even know what glue she was using or what the ingredients were or anything,” Kun says.

At the hospital, Kun was administered an antihistamine and steroid intravenously to reduce the swelling. She was eventually sent home with antihistamine pills, but says the swelling hasn’t gone down.

“My eyes are actually even worse now. There’s like a sac of fluid under my eye now. It’s so gross,” she said.

The beauty salon, Sara Beauty iLash Lounge, Kun went to states on their website the possibility of an allergic reaction to the lash adhesive.

Sara Du, the owner of the beauty salon, told CTV News that her business doesn’t test every client for allergies, but will if the client requests it.

Kun said she was unaware that people could develop sudden allergies – and wants to encourage other women to allergy test before getting any procedures.

“Also be very careful where you go. These people are dealing with your eyes, with your vision. I mean, this morning I woke up and I wondered if I would ever be able to see again,” she says.

Though Kun is unsure how her recovery looks at this time, she still would like to get eyelash extensions again.

“I would want to do them again, but I will be going for allergy testing first, because I do love getting fake eyelashes.”

Adidas sneakers come with free subway travel for a year

Adidas has unveiled a new limited-edition sneaker in Germany that comes with a year's worth of free travel on the Berlin subway.

Adidas has found a way to make traveling easier and a lot more fashionable — by slapping train tickets on the tongues of its sneakers.

The German-based manufacturer is releasing shoes on Tuesday that will be fitted with a tag allowing a year’s worth of free travel on the Berlin subway.

The limited-edition kicks — dubbed the EQT Support 93/17 “Berlin” — will cost about $215. Only 500 pairs will be sold.

They will be available at Adidas’ Originals flagship store in Berlin and another local shop, according to the streetwear site Highsnobiety.com.

Clothing brands have tried incorporating fashion with travel in the past, including a one-time collaboration between the MTA and the company Supreme. The partnership led to Supreme subway cards.

Drunken driving blood-alcohol threshold should be lowered, scientific panel says

A prestigious scientific panel is recommending that states significantly lower their drunken driving thresholds as part of a blueprint to eliminate the “entirely preventable” 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving deaths in the United States each year.

The U.S. government-commissioned, 489-page report by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released Wednesday throws the weight of the scientific body behind lowering the blood-alcohol concentration threshold from 0.08 to 0.05. All states have 0.08 thresholds. A Utah law passed last year that lowers the state’s threshold to 0.05 doesn’t go into effect until Dec. 30.

The amount of alcohol required to reach 0.05 would depend on several factors, including the person’s size and whether the person has recently eaten. A 150-pound man might be over the 0.05 limit after two beers, while a 120-pound woman could exceed it after a single drink, according to the American Beverage Institute, a national restaurant group.

The panel also recommended that states significantly increase alcohol taxes and make alcohol less conveniently available, including reducing the hours and days alcohol is sold in stores, bars and restaurants. Research suggests a doubling of alcohol taxes could lead to an 11 percent reduction in traffic crash deaths, the report said.

It also calls for cracking down on sales to people under 21 or who are already intoxicated to discourage binge drinking, and putting limits on alcohol marketing while funding anti-alcohol campaigns similar to those against smoking.

All the proposals are likely to draw fierce opposition from the alcohol and restaurant industries. The beverage institute took out full-page newspaper ads opposing Utah’s new law that featured a fake mugshot under a large headline reading, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”

But the academies’ report points out that “alcohol-impaired driving remains the deadliest and costliest danger on U.S. roads,” accounting for 28 percent of traffic deaths. Each day, 29 people in the U.S. die in alcohol-related crashes and many more are injured. Forty percent of those killed are people other than the drunken driver.

Rural areas are disproportionately affected. In 2015, 48 percent of drunken driving fatalities occurred in rural areas.

The report says many strategies have been effective to prevent drunken driving, but “a coordinated multilevel approach across multiple sectors will be required to accelerate change.”

“The problem isn’t intractable,” the report said.

From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, there was significant progress as the result of an increase in the drinking age to 21, decreases in the blood-alcohol threshold, and other measures, the report said. But since then, progress has stagnated and recently has begun to reverse.

Action to address drunken driving can’t wait for the advent of self-driving cars immune to the lures of a cold beer or a fine wine — it will take too long for autonomous vehicles to replace all the human-driven machines on the road, said the panel’s chairman, Steven Teutsch, a senior fellow for health policy and economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

“In the meantime, we have 10,000 people a year dying and we ought to do something about it,” he said.

The report cites studies that show the United States lags behind other high-income countries in preventing drunken driving fatalities. More than 100 countries have adopted the 0.05 threshold lower. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped, the National Transportation Safety Board said in 2013. The safety board has also recommended the 0.05 threshold.

Alcoholic beverages have changed significantly over the past 25 years. “They are more affordable, of far greater variety, and more widely advertised and promoted than in earlier periods,” the report said. The lack of consistency in serving sizes and the combination of alcohol with caffeine and energy drinks make it harder for drinkers to estimate their level of impairment.

The report was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which asked the academies to determine which strategies for reducing drunken driving have been proven effective.

Shredded coconut causes widespread salmonella outbreak

A salmonella outbreak that affected nine states has been linked to a batch of shredded coconut that is minimally treated and typically safe to consume raw.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that shredded coconut was the cause of a widespread salmonella outbreak affecting nine states. A staple health food of many plant-based and nutritious diets, shredded coconut is minimally processed and safe to consume raw. However, the particular batch of shredded coconut that was recalled on January 3 contained traces of salmonella contamination.

“Evershing International Trading Company is recalling Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut, 16 oz., because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella,” the CDC reported in a recall notice. Salmonella infection can be fatal, especially for young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems; however, no deaths have been reported. Twenty-five people have fallen ill and six have been hospitalized due to the infection.

Investigations were aided by several victims’ reports that they had consumed an Asian-style dessert drink at various restaurants in the weeks prior to their illness. These drinks may have contained servings of the coconut in question — one Boston restaurant was confirmed to have included the ingredient in a drink.

The coconut product was distributed in Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Oklahoma with redistribution to Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida, and Texas. Consumers and restaurants in all of those states should return all sizes of Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut to the place of purchase to receive a full refund.

Customers are also free to contact Evershing International Trading Company at 408-975-9660 with any questions or concerns.

At this stage, the product has been fully recalled, so it’s probably safe to eat coconut at restaurants. The food may be hard to avoid, since it’s such a popular ingredient to add texture and flavor. Did you know some restaurants even put it on pizza?