OnCentral | Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Baby boomer blues and how TV can affect sperm count: In health news today

A new study suggests that young men who watch at least 20 hours of TV weekly may have a sperm count that's 50 percent less than that of their counterparts who watch very little.
Detlef Reichardt/Flickr Creative Commons

Staying fit through middle age could help significantly reduce the likelihood of your developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease by the time you're 65, says a new study. CBSNews.com reports that Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 84,000 yearly.

The BBC reports on new research that suggests living in a sunny climate may reduce a person's risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that mostly occurs in women. But researchers cautioned that people should not spend all day in the sun.

Baby boomers are living longer than their parents did – but not necessarily healthier. ABCNews.com says folks born between 1946 and 1964 are more likely than their predecessors were to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. They also have higher rates of obesity and physical inactivity.


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New South LA park turns foreclosed property into neighborhood space

Jan Perry along with neighborhood children break ground on Wall Street Park in South L.A.
via Council District 9

City officials have begun demolition on a foreclosed property in South L.A. that will soon be reborn as a park.

The new public space, dubbed Wall Street Park, is part of L.A.'s 50 Parks Initiative that takes properties left vacant in the housing crisis and transforms them into neighborhood parks. 

According to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks , each park will include "environmentally sustainable designs and safety features that minimize park maintenance and maximize community impact."

The features including automatic time-lock gates that close the parks at night and solar-charged motion-activated cameras that aim to deter intruders at night.

"Park-poor" neighborhoods

Wall Street Park, located off of Manchester between Main and San Pedro streets, is being built on a plot of land owned by Chase Bank.


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World Cancer Day aims to 'dispel myths' about the disease

A patient undergoes part of a chemotherapy treatment. For World Cancer Day 2013, the Union for International Cancer Control is focusing on four myths in particular, including the idea that cancer is a death sentence.
Phil and Pam Gradwell/Flickr Creative Commons

It's World Cancer Day, and this year organizers are focused on dispelling four myths about the disease:

1. It's just a health issue.

2. It's a disease that primarily affects the wealthy, elderly and residents of developed countries.

3. It's a death sentence.

4. It's "fate."

In a statement on Monday, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the event's main organizer, said 1.5 million lives could be saved annually if health experts, researchers and advocates aggressively push for achievement of the World Health Organization's "25 by 25" goal: to reduce early deaths caused by non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by the year 2025.

Right now, cancer claims about 7.6 million lives worldwide every year; 4 million of those people die between the ages of 30 and 69. The latest data from Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health says in the county, there are about 35 lung cancer deaths, 21 breast cancer deaths, 3 cervical cancer deaths and 15 colorectal cancer deaths for every 100,000 people.


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A failed TB vaccine and teen pregnancy in NYC: In health news today

A doctor administers a shot to a young girl. A new tuberculosis vaccine failed in its efficacy trial, with only a 17 percent effectiveness rate. It was the first trial of a TB vaccine since 1921.
Scott Ableman/Flickr Creative Commons

The latest effort in the fight against tuberculosis has failed, reports the BBC. A new vaccine, known as MVA85A, underwent a major trial and was found to have an effectiveness rate of 17 percent – which is so low that it's not statistically significant. It was the first efficacy trial of a TB vaccine since 1921.

On Friday, the Obama Administration proposed rules that would allow religious organizations to hand off the responsibility of providing birth control to their employees under the Affordable Care Act. HealthDay says the proposed rules demonstrate how such organizations – like Catholic hospitals or universities – could offer their workers separate contraceptive coverage through a third party. Under the new rules, neither the people being insured nor the religious organization would carry the cost.


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Doctor, patients: Rheumatoid arthritis is far more than joint pain

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause painful inflammation in the joints. Because it is carried through the bloodstream, though, it can affect many other parts of the body, including vital organs.
Richard Rudisill/iStockphoto.com

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that debilitates but doesn't destroy – it hammers away with constant pain, but not so it's apparent to others.

That's why if you ask Kelly Young about rheumatoid arthritis (R.A.), she's quick to de-emphasize the "arthritis" part.

"Arthritis is one of the symptoms, but it's not the only symptom," she said. "It's a systemic disease."

Young founded the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, the non-profit behind the first Rheumatoid Awareness Day, which took place on Saturday. The hope is to get people who are feeling R.A. symptoms to see a doctor now – and to get people with money to give some of it to R.A. research.

"The levels of research funding, federally, in the United States for this disease are much lower per patient than they are for comparable diseases," said Young.


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