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Retired Sgt. 1st Class Frederick T. Slape shows off the scar on his head after having a tumor removed from his brain on Sept. 25, 2015.

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    A new CDC study shows a staggering increase in the number of teen deaths across the United States. The reasons for these fatalities are widespread, however, experts are alarmed and referring to the recently published report as a "wake-up call."

    A recent study has shown a momentous increase in the number of teenage deaths across the United States. Rather than sickness or heart disease, these fatalities are attributable to traffic accidents, drug overdoses, homicidal crimes, and suicide. Experts in the field are referring to the rise as a “wake-up call” for America.

    In accordance to a recent report published by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Center For Disease Control, after decreasing by 33 percent between 1999 and 2013, the death rate for children between the ages of 10- and 19-years-old abruptly skyrocketed 12 percent in the following three years.


    But there are problems with intermittent fasting, too. Besides leaning heavily on animal studies, the approach may have several benefits that only arise as an incidental result of the fact that it tends to lead to weight loss.

    With that in mind, researchers have recently been trying to pin down whether some of those benefits could emerge even if intermittent fasters don't lose any weight.

    And for the first time, a rigorous, but small study published last month has hinted at a positive answer. They discovered that people who tried the IF approach but were given enough calories to prevent them from losing weight still saw boons like reduced blood pressure. That's a promising sign for future studies of the plan.

    "We found that there were benefits to this approach that were completely independent of losing weight," Courtney Peterson, the lead researcher on the study and an assistant professor of nutrition science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Business Insider.

    How intermittent fasting works

    Erin Brodwin / Business Insider
    Intermittent fasters can eat whatever they want, within reason — there are no strict limits on carbs, fat, or anything else. In general, most intermittent fasters stick to their normal diet; all they change when they begin the eating plan are the hours in which they eat. Having temporarily tried the IF lifestyle myself, I can tell you it's not for everyone. That said, I also understand why some people love it. When I fasted, I found myself thinking about food less, working out more, and even unintentionally curbing my caffeine intake.

    So far, the most well-researched benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss. Krista Varady, a nutrition professor at the University of Illinois who wrote a book about IF called "The Every-Other-Day Diet" in 2013, published a study last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that obese participants who intermittently fasted lost roughly the same amount of weight as those on a traditional diet that involved strict eating and calorie counting.

    But a handful of recent papers suggest that in animals, intermittent fasting is linked with other more vital boons like improvements in blood sugar control and some antiaging effects. With that in mind, some researchers have been hard at work trying to suss out whether those benefits might also apply to people. At the same time, they also want to know something even more important: whether those perks are just a result of weight loss, or if they might have something to do with intermittent fasting itself.

    The first intermittent fasting study of its kind

    Nutrition studies are hard to design and even harder to carry out. In many cases, scientists must rely on self-reports from participants, who often vastly underestimate the amount of food they actually ate.

    So for Peterson's recent study, she and her colleagues decided to take a far more intense approach: they supervised everything their participants consumed, and only allowed them to eat the food that was given to them.

    These sorts of studies are called supervised controlled feeding trials, and because of the difficulty involved in designing and performing them, they're rarely done. But the sort of insight they provide into a specific diet or eating plan is unique and high-caliber.

    "Aside from locking up people in a hospital room and not letting them leave that room for weeks, supervised controlled feeding trials are the most rigorous type of nutrition study," Peterson said.

    The difficulty of this kinds of research also means that large pools of people often get whittled down to just five to 25 individuals. After receiving interest from nearly 400 people who wanted to participate in the study, Peterson and her colleagues ultimately ended up with just eight men.

    Still, the paper is the first study of its kind, and it hints at some surprising potential perks of fasting.

    Fasting appears to improve blood pressure and our body's response to sugar

    Although Peterson's study was small, some of its results were surprisingly positive. After doing intermittent fasting for five weeks, all of the eight participants showed improvements in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, the body's response to sugar.

    Notably, the participants in the study who had the worst sensitivity at its outset saw the biggest improvements, Peterson said. The blood pressure findings were also significant: many people showed drops of roughly 10-11 points, a difference that's roughly equal to the benefit someone might get from trying out a blood pressure reduction medication, according to a 2008 study published in the Cochrane Database.

    "These were huge differences for a 5-week study," Peterson said. "I was very surprised by that."

    To do the study, Peterson and her colleagues had eight men who showed early signs of diabetes restrict their eating window to just six hours. During this time, they ate only food provided by the researchers, and only while under supervision. Importantly, in order for the researchers to home in on the potential benefits of fasting that were not linked with weight loss, the study participants were not supposed to lose any weight. With that in mind, they were given just enough food to maintain their current weight. .


    . . Breaking: Cultists On Rampage,15 Feared Dead In Rivers

    New guidelines released Wednesday recommend American adults start getting colon cancer screenings earlier -- at age 45 instead of 50.

    The American Cancer Society said it decided to urge earlier screenings because a study last year found rising rates of colon cancer deaths in people younger than 50.

    The new guidelines are for men and women ages 45 to 75 with average risk for colon cancer. The recommendations may differ for people with certain conditions, like Crohn's disease, or a family history of colon cancer.

    The American Cancer Society endorses six kinds of screening exams, ranging from inexpensive take-home stool tests performed annually to colonoscopies done every 10 years.

    "All of these tests are good tests, and the choice should be offered to patients," said the ACS's Dr. Rich Wender. "The best test is the test that gets done."

    Dr. Harsha Polavarapu of Blessing Physician Services in Quincy, who specializes in colorectal surgery, said he thinks the earlier screening recommendation is a good idea based on the studies showing colon cancer is striking "a younger and younger population."

    Polavarapu said it makes sense to start the screening process earlier "and catch those marginal patients who are between 40 and 50."

    He said early detection is the key to helping someone diagnosed with colon cancer, which is typically confirmed through a colonoscopy -- an examination of the colon using a flexible tube inserted through the rectum. If the exam uncovers the presence of a polyp, a tissue sample from the polyp will be taken to determine if cancer cells are present.

    If cancer is not present or if no polyps are found, the patient can usually wait 10 years before having another colonoscopy.

    "Our goal is to catch these cancers at the polyp stage where we can take it out completely without any major surgery," he said.

    Polavarapu said any type colon cancer screening is helpful, including stool tests that look for microscopic traces of cancer or even CT scans that look for abnormalities in the colon.

    "But the colonoscopy is still the gold standard test for screening for colorectal cancer," he said.

    "Colon cancer screening is extremely important, and it's something that everybody needs to seriously consider and talk to their primary care doctor about."

    The ACS's new guideline is out of sync with guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an influential government advisory group that kept the initial screening age at 50 in an update two years ago.

    The panel reviews evidence and issues advice for a variety of screenings and treatments. It updated its colon cancer guidelines in 2016 and its next review isn't expected until around 2021.

    The panel's recommendations drive what screening is covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, although 20 states have laws that link coverage to the cancer society's guidelines. It's not uncommon for groups to have slightly different guidelines, although those for colon cancer have been about the same for decades.

    Cancer society officials acknowledge the shift to 45 could cause confusion for doctors and patients, but they felt they needed to act now because of the rising number of younger cases.

    Polavarapu agreed that the change in guidelines could lead to some confusion, but he feels it's "something that can easily be disseminated in the medical community" through an educational campaign.

    Statistics show most colon cancer occurs in adults 55 and older, and the good news is rates of cases and deaths have been falling for decades. Colon cancer, combined with rectal cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. This year, more than 140,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with it, and about 50,000 will die from it.

    Doctors will probably look to specialty medical societies to sort out the different guidelines, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. But it may take a little while before they offer clear advice.

    Some experts have worried about pre-50 risks of colon cancer in some racial and ethnic groups, and at least one specialty society for gastroenterologists has urged screening of black adults starting at age 45.

    Others argue that instead of lowering the age for routine screening, more effort should be put into getting more people tested. Only about two-thirds of people 50 and older have been following screening guidelines.

    "It's hard enough to get people to do it at all," Plescia noted.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.