Birth Defects Controversy; Pets and Compatibility
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The Doctors discuss the latest news affecting your health.


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Pets and Compatibility

Veterinarian Dr. Karen Halligan joins The Doctors to reveal what you can learn about your potential mate from his or her four-legged friend.

Birth Defects Controversy
In September of 2013, Andrea, 31, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Olivia. Shortly after Olivia was born, however, she underwent surgery to close an opening on her back, caused by a birth defect called spina bifida. While Andrea was caring for her newborn daughter, she was shocked to learn that Olivia was actually one of several babies born with severe birth defects in her area of rural Washington. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of spine and brain defects in this area are four times the national average. Andrea joins The Doctors to discuss the potential causes of this baffling surge.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains that spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. The condition affects the spinal tube, an embryonic structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal column. If the tube doesn’t completely form, then physical and neurological problems may arise, which can range from difficulties walking to disabilities affecting attention, language and comprehension.

The condition is most common when moms are obese or have diabetes or a folic acid deficiency. It can also be caused by exposure to pesticides that contain nitrates. After Olivia’s diagnosis, Andrea learned that the well water in her area that she’d been drinking contains high amounts of nitrates.
 

Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross explains that it’s recommended for pregnant women to get at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day for the first three months of pregnancy, which can reduce the risk of this type of birth defect.

Andrea shares that, thankfully, Olivia has hit or exceeded all of her developmental milestones so far. “If you didn’t see the surgery scar on her back, or her feet … you couldn’t tell the difference.”  
 

At-Home Health and Beauty
The Doctors share tips and tricks to improve your health and get salon-style hair in the comfort of your home.


Dr. Rachael takes the "sham" out of shampoo and offers a DIY recipe to get smooth, frizz-free hair at home. | Get the recipe!


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Lose Weight the Healthy Way
Suzanne says she wants to lose 20 pounds, but has been struggling to overcome her late night snacking habit and find time to exercise. Nutrition specialist Dr. David Katz explains that the physical and psychological benefits of losing weight are undisputable, but that the hardest part of achieving one’s weight loss goal is just getting started on a new regimen.

“We live in a society that makes it so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose it,” Dr. Katz says.

Dr. Katz shares his advice to help Suzanne kick those unwanted pounds to the curb.

“While there’s no magic bullet for weight loss, it’s important to know that your lifestyle and habits are really important in this journey,” urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman says. “Diet and exercise are going to be a critical part to the process of weight loss.”

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