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A Lack of Teeth May Take a Bite Out of Your Memory


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Does the number of teeth in a person’s mouth have any link to decreases in their memory and walking ability?

A new study by researchers at University College London suggests that total tooth loss could provide an early warning of increased risk of physical and mental decline in older people.

In a study of more than 3,100 participants 60 and older, participants with no teeth did about 10 percent worse on tests of memory and of walking speed than those with at least some choppers.

The connection between total tooth loss and mental and physical problems was strongest in participants aged 60 to 74 years old compared to those 75 and older.

The study’s authors note that socioeconomic factors, such as education and income, may be the common links between tooth loss and poor physical and mental health.

The authors point out that the findings don't prove that tooth loss causes the physical or mental decline.

"Regardless of what is behind the link between tooth loss and decline in function, recognizing excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life," notes study lead author Georgios Tsakos, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Flu Widespread in 29 States


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Flu season is gaining steam.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity in 29 states--twice as many states as last week.

Hospitalizations are increasing and 11 children have died from the virus.

Maryland State Health Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, whose state is one of those impacted, says, "It happens every year. There's always a point where enough people get it and the virus is very infectious and it can be transmitted from person to person before the illness starts."

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App Shows What 200 Calories of Holiday Treats Look Like


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This season there's plenty of holiday cheer, but also holiday treats and goodies that can wreak havoc on any diet.

To help those trying to stay healthy while enjoying seasonal treats, the app Calorific has created a handy guide that shows what 200 calories of holiday treats look like. The weight-loss app displays pictures of a single food in the amount that would equal 200 calories.

Apparently it takes a whole plate of Brussels sprouts to equal 200 calories, but just a single glass of mulled wine.

"We saw some apps that showed how many calories are in a meal but we thought it would be useful to show the individual foods," Nic Mulvaney, the British graphic designer who designed the app, told ABC News in a November interview.

The app is free with 30 images preloaded to but to unlock all the holiday-themed foods, you’ve got to pay $2.99.

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Child Discharged from Chicago Hospital After Testing Negative for Ebola


iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A child who had symptoms of Ebola has been discharged from a Chicago hospital after testing negative for the disease.

The child, who recently traveled from West Africa, was admitted to University of Chicago Medical Center Friday after having a fever during an Ebola screening at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

On Saturday officials said the child, whose age and gender were not released, tested negative for Ebola and was discharged.

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Caramel Apples Linked to Four Deaths in Multi-State Listeria Outbreak


iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Health officials are warning consumers to avoid eating caramel apples after linking the fall treats to a multi-state listeria outbreak that has been linked to at least four deaths.

Officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that at least 28 people from 10 states, including Minnesota, Arizona and Texas, have been infected with Listeriosis due to Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can cause life-threatening illness.

Of those infected, five died and Listeriosis definitely contributed to at least four deaths, according to the CDC.

Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC warned all consumers to avoid eating prepackaged caramel apples while they investigate the outbreak alongside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health organizations.

The outbreak reported on Friday has infected people across a wide swath of the U.S. from North Carolina to California and across a large age range, from ages 7 to 92, according to the CDC.

Listeriosis is usually caused when a person ingests listeria monocytogenes bacteria and it can cause particular harm among the elderly people, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal distress, fever and muscle aches.

In severe cases, people can develop encephalitis, swelling of the brain, or bacterial meningitis, inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Of the 28 infected, three were children between the ages of 5 and 15 who developed severe meningitis symptoms, and nine cases involved either a pregnant women or a newborn infant, according to the CDC.

Fifteen of 18 sickened people who were interviewed by the CDC told investigators they ate prepackaged caramel apples before they were sickened.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the outbreak is particularly troubling because Listeriosis can have a long incubation period from three to 70 days.

“We can anticipate that more illnesses will occur over time,” said Schaffner. “Even [if] the product is removed from the market a lot of these [caramel] apples have been consumed.”

Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer based in Seattle, said listeria can be a particularly difficult bacteria to control because its growth is not inhibited by refrigeration.

“I can see caramel apples sitting in your refrigerator for a long time,” he said. “Listeria has evolved and it has evolved to grow really well at refrigerated temperatures.”

The CDC reported the caramel apples can have a shelf life longer than a month and officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said they were concerned people may eat tainted apples left over from the fall.

The outbreak was first reported by the Minnesota Department of Health, which found four people between the ages of 59 and 90 had been infected. The four patients had eaten caramel apples during the months of October and November and all four were hospitalized. Two subsequently died after being infected.

Those sickened in Minnesota bought caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried the Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brand of caramel apples, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The apples are no longer being carried in stores because they are a seasonal item.

Dr. Jay Ellingson, the corporate director of food safety and quality assurance for Kwik Trip stores, said the pre-packaged caramel apples have been off the shelves for weeks and the company has been working with state and federal authorities "to make sure public health is protected."

A spokesperson from H. Brooks and Company, which released the Carnival brand caramel apples, told ABC News the company was aware of the situation and working with local health officials during the investigation.

Officials at Cub Foods and Mike’s Discount Foods could not immediately be reached for comment. A number for the Kitchen Cravings brand of apples could not immediately be found.

Listeriosis was linked to one of the worst food-borne outbreaks in recent years when 147 people became infected after eating tainted cantaloupe in 2011. Of those infected, at least 33 died.

In 2013, the CDC estimated approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths caused by Listeriosis occur annually in the United States.

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