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Health roundup: Gun deaths on the rise, vaccine linked to menstrual cycle changes, and more

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Gun deaths continue rising trend in America's cities

A temporary falloff in the number of Americans who kill themselves and others with guns is over, newly released U.S. government data show.

It noted that guns were involved in 75% of all homicides and 91% of homicides involving youths between 2018 and 2019 -- a rate basically unchanged from 2016.

But those new numbers represent a significant and troubling uptick from a decade before, said Kegler, from the CDC's Division of Injury Prevention.

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COVID-19 vaccination linked to small changes in menstrual cycle length

COVID-19 vaccination is associated with a small change in menstrual cycle length, but not in menses length, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Alison Edelman, M.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues prospectively tracked menstrual cycle data among U.S. residents aged 18 to 45 years with normal cycle lengths (24 to 38 days) for three consecutive cycles before the first vaccine dose and three additional cycles following the first dose (including the vaccination cycle), or for six cycles over a similar time period among unvaccinated individuals. The mean within-individual change in cycle and menses length was calculated among 3,959 individuals (2,403 vaccinated and 1,556 unvaccinated).

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Zoo study finds animal DNA floating in the air

Sampling the air from local zoos, two teams of researchers collected enough DNA to identify the animals nearby. They say their study could potentially become a valuable, noninvasive tool to track biodiversity.

“Capturing airborne environmental DNA from vertebrates makes it possible for us to detect even animals that we cannot see are there,” said researcher Kristine Bohmann, head of the team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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Children's behavior is reportedly worse at home during remote learning

Parents report that their children's health at home is worse during remote learning than with in-person learning, according to a research letter published online Jan. 10 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Emily C. Hanno, Ph.D., from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues administered online surveys four times to 405 parents of children in Massachusetts from Jan. 4 to May 23, 2021.

Parents indicated their child's current learning format in each wave and then reported their child's behavioral health on three measures: general behavioral health in the last month; number of maladaptive behavioral changes in the previous month; and frequency of dysregulated behaviors. Overall, 348 parents reported on 356 children's behaviors in at least one of the surveys.

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Exercise can save your brain, scientists say

Exercise helps you stay fit, hale and hearty, and researchers say it may also help you stave off dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Now they have a better understanding of the hidden benefits that aid the brain.

Older folks who are more physically active have higher levels of a protein that promotes better communication between the brain's synapses, a new study reports.

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Watch Now: Five ways to help you stay focused, and more videos to improve your life

Here are five tips to help you stay more focused, how to defeat the winter blues, and more videos to improve your life.

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Here are some top tips to help you stay focused.

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Early sunsets, the end of the holidays, erratic temperatures, and lets not forget COVID, odds of catching the winter blues are up there, so ho…

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If you think you’re losing some dollars and cents over your WiFi signal, PennyGem’s Justin Kircher has some ways to save.

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If you are resolved to cook from home, these tips from experts should help. Buzz60’s Keri Lumm reports.

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We’ve got the goss on the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to your skin and exercise. Buzz60’s Chloe Hurst has the story!

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Settling credit card debt as quickly as possible not only saves money on interest, but it can also help you improve your credit score.

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PennyGem’s Elizabeth Keatinge tells us how to budget for three paycheck months.

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As many now focus on new health resolutions for 2022, experts say it's important to remember that being skinny and being healthy aren't mutual…

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Does your dog often look at you like you’re crazy? Buzz60’s Tony Spitz has the details.

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After a December filled with presents, family and festive spirit, January can be a challenging time for many. Here are three ways to combat th…

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COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking. Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions. Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Officials said Wednesday those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors  — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice.

The loudest voices in the abortion debate are often characterized along a starkly religious divide, the faithful versus not. But the reality is much more nuanced, both at an Alabama abortion clinic and in the nation that surrounds it. The clinic’s staff of 11 — most of them Black, deeply faithful Christian women — have no trouble at all reconciling their work with their religion. And as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to dismantle the constitutional right to an abortion, they draw on their faith that they will somehow continue. God is on our side, they tell each other. God will keep this clinic open.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and a top Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, John Fetterman, is recovering from a stroke he says was caused by a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. In a statement Sunday, Fetterman says doctors quickly and completely removed the clot. A cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, says people who develop A-fib are almost always put on a blood-thinning medication for the rest of their lives. He says that helps prevent the stroke-causing blood clots that untreated A-fib can create.

The white gunman charged in a deadly, racist rampage inside a Buffalo supermarket didn’t need to travel abroad for tactical training, nor did he need to join an organization of like-minded militants who shared his world view. All Payton Gendron needed on his path to radicalization was exposure on the internet to a stew of hate-filled conspiracies, peddled in some cases by white killers whose massacres he had extensively researched online. The 18-year-old now stands accused in a murderous assault that left 10 Black people dead, and the rant-filled diatribe attributed to him fits an all-too-familiar profile — an aggrieved white man driven to violence by racist extremism.

The government website for requesting free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is accepting a third round of orders. The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests. President Joe Biden committed to making 1 billion at-home tests available to the public free of charge, but the White House says just 350 million tests have been shipped to date. A third round of orders is possible because hundreds of millions of tests are still available. The latest round will bring to 16 the total number of free tests available to each household since the program was launched earlier this year. 

Massachusetts has reported a case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada. Health officials said Wednesday they are looking into whether the case is connected to small outbreaks in Europe. Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa and the rare cases in the U.S. and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there.  A small number of confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain. Health officials said the U.S. case poses no risk to the public. The Massachusetts resident is hospitalized but in good condition. Last year, Texas and Maryland each reported a case in people who traveled to Nigeria.

Upcoming data shows traffic deaths soaring in the U.S. The Biden administration is steering $5 billion in federal aid to cities and localities to address the growing crisis. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday announced the availability of money over five years under his department’s new Safe Streets & Roads for All program. The goal is to spur cities to adopt detailed plans to reduce traffic deaths by slowing down cars, carving out bike paths and wider sidewalks and nudging commuters to public transit. Fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists are rising faster than those within vehicles. Roadway safety advocacy group BikeWalkKC in Kansas City, Missouri, wants communities to foster walkable neighborhoods.

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