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Kim Painter

Health and wellness writer

Location icon United States of America

I'm a veteran health journalist, a former USA Today staffer turned longtime contributor. I'm also a freelancer, working for clients including AARP, Bottom Line Health and CAPTRUST's VESTED magazine.

The rise of medical abortions in the US

In a contentious political environment with severe restrictions a real possibility, Kim Painter finds that the future of abortion may be in pharmacies, online, and in the mail.

Life after cancer: More survivors living longer, facing new health challenges

When Susan Leigh finished treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma back in 1972, she says, "no one knew what was going to happen." Certainly, no one knew that the Arizona woman would develop three more cancers and heart damage, all likely linked to the aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments that helped save her life.

Advice for cancer patients: plan on surviving

David Cranmer, 70, is a patient advocate and 20-year-cancer survivor from Williston, Vermont. (Photo11: Provided by David Cranmer.) When you're going through cancer treatment, it can be hard to think about the future. But since more than two thirds of patients today survive their cancers for at least five years, David Cranmer says, it's important to do that right from the start.

Strength in Numbers | Kim Painter | VESTED Magazine

A group can drive us to work out harder-perhaps because we want to measure up or do our part for the team. It's an example of the well-known Köhler effect, seen in everything from business to mountain climbing. When working on a task with others, many of us will put in extra effort.

Emergency rooms open new paths for opioid overdose survivors

Jeanmarie Perrone (Photo: Penn Medicine) Nicole O'Donnell has experienced two opioid overdoses. She has never forgotten the way she was treated at the hospital emergency room. "They were awful," the Philadelphia area woman says. "They were mean, just very cold." Once she was stable, she says, "I was just told to leave.

Unplugging from the Noise | Kim Painter | VESTED Magazine

For journalist Catherine Price, the moment of truth came one night when she was feeding her infant daughter. She realized that her baby was gazing at her-but she was gazing at her smartphone, glued to a shopping website.

Sexual assault and harassment linked to health problems in middle-aged women

A history of sexual assault or workplace sexual harassment can have a major effect on the mental and physical health of a middle-aged woman, a new study suggests. Victims of sexual assault suffer high rates of depression, anxiety and sleeplessness; victims of harassment have elevated rates of high blood pressure and sleep loss, according to the study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Boxers or briefs? Men who wore boxers had higher sperm counts, study says

Boxers or briefs? Men who choose boxers have higher sperm counts than those who favor briefs, according to the largest study ever to look at a long-suspected link between tight underwear and lower sperm production. The study of 656 men, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, adds to evidence that underwear choices really do matter.

Swedish Death Cleaning 101 | Kim Painter | VESTED Magazine

Margareta Magnusson gets right to the point: "Let me make your loved ones' memories of you nice-instead of awful." That's how the Swedish artist turned author opens her recent book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.

Teens take fewer risks with sex and drugs but face new challenges

Today's high school students have less sex and take fewer drugs than those of decades past, but they face some newly recognized risks, including misuse of pain pills. The findings paint a picture of teen life that is safer than it used to be, but still fraught with risks.

Just Say No to Retirement | Kim Painter | VESTED Magazine

For most of human history, there was no such thing as retirement. Life was short, and most workers kept on working until they could not work any longer. Then came the 20th century. Social Security, pension plans, and a growing leisure industry helped invent retirement to move aging workers out of the way of their younger and, presumably, more productive colleagues.

Start colon cancer screening at 45, not 50, American Cancer Society urges

Most people should start screening tests for colon and rectal cancers at age 45, rather than waiting for age 50, as long recommended, the American Cancer Society said Wednesday. The group said the initial test does not have to be a colonoscopy, a procedure that typically requires a day off from work and an often-unpleasant bowel cleansing routine.

Harsh flu season has finally passed its peak but remains deadly

A record-breaking flu season has clearly passed its peak, with visits to doctors for flu-like illnesses plunging over the past three weeks, federal health officials reported Friday. Still, another five children have died, bringing the total to 119, and the flu rages on in many areas of the country, according to the latest report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VESTED Magazine
Get Your Best Night's Sleep

More than one-third of U.S. adults habitually get less than the recommended nightly minimum of seven hours of sleep, raising risks for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, vehicle crashes, injury, and mistakes at work, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VESTED Magazine
Cash is Still King

While predictions that we are on the verge of a “cashless society” date from at least 1969—when the New York Times opined on the growing clout of credit cards—we are not there yet.

The flu has killed 17 more kids, bringing the toll to 114 children this season, but experts say...

The most intense nationwide flu outbreak in a decade appears to be losing steam, but it killed an additional 17 children, bringing the total to 114 pediatric deaths, federal health officials reported Friday. The flu remained widespread in 45 states in the last full week of February, down from 48 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Flu vaccines just 25% effective against worst strain this year, CDC says

This year's flu vaccines reduce the chance of getting the flu by about one-third but are just 25% effective against the nasty strain causing the most misery, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday. The findings, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), come as no surprise to flu experts tracking the worst influenza season in a decade.

Is Tamiflu the answer for your flu? Here's what you need to know

The most intense flu season in a decade has millions of Americans looking for relief - and wondering whether a prescription drug best known by the brand name Tamiflu is the answer. The antiviral drug has been around for nearly two decades, but many consumers still may not know much about it.

This flu season is the worst in nearly a decade - and it's not getting better

Flu is now sickening and hospitalizing Americans at rates not seen in nearly a decade, and the season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. In the latest update, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 10 new child deaths and the highest flu hospitalization rate seen since the agency started keeping comparable records in 2010.

Got the flu? Here's what works to lessen the misery

Flu deaths and hospitalizations are surging in one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. The outbreak is far from over and 53 children have died, health officials say. But if you or a family member gets the flu, there's no reason to panic.

Deaths and hospitalizations rise as flu season hits full swing

With flu season now in full swing - causing widespread illness in 46 states - health officials across the country are reporting waves of misery, rising hospitalizations and some deaths. It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but there are troubling signs in some places.

Life expectancy is down for a second year. Drug overdoses are a big reason why.

Health researchers have some grim news for Americans: We are dying younger, and life expectancy is now down for the second straight year - something not seen in more than half a century. One undeniable culprit is the opioid epidemic, which is cutting down young adults at alarming and increasing rates, the researchers say.

'Scary' prediction for U.S. kids: 57% could be obese by age 35

A whopping 57% of the nation's children and teens will be obese by age 35 if current trends continue, according to a sobering new study out Wednesday. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , goes beyond previous studies suggesting unhealthy childhood weights often lead to adult obesity.

VESTED Magazine
Not-So-Traditional Retirement

Here's what a typical work history used to look like: You got an education and training, took a job, and stuck with it. If you moved up, it was often with the same employer. A few decades later, when you were 65 or so, you retired to a life of leisure-or at least a life without paid work.

New health guidelines say you might have high blood pressure

Thirty million Americans are getting some bad health news: they have high blood pressure and need to do something about it, according to new, more aggressive hypertension treatment guidelines released by heart doctors Monday.

Kids are spending more time staring at phones, tablets than ever before

Small children, like the rest of us, have gone mobile - tripling their time on devices such as tablets and phones in the past four years, according to a new survey. Kids ages 0-8 still spend an average of about two hours a day on various screens, as they did in 2011 and 2013, says the survey of 1,454 U.S.

U.S. scientists fix disease genes in human embryos for 1st time

For the first time, scientists working in a U.S. lab have used gene editing to correct a disease-causing mutation in viable human embryos, according to scientific paper published Wednesday. The work, reported in , could be a step toward genetically modified babies.

Study: Even moderate drinking might be bad for aging brains

Here's one more reason to think before you drink: even a modest amount of booze might be bad for aging brains. A new study published Tuesday in the medical journal BMJ says moderate drinkers were more likely than abstainers or light drinkers to develop worrisome brain changes that might signal eventual memory loss.

6 Common Myths About the Aging Brain

A new report debunks common myths about how to keep your brain healthy as you age. From brain games to training programs, learn what really works.

Next Avenue
Help for Pets of Dying Owners Brings Peace of Mind

Roland Carter, 78, of Stafford, Va., has advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suffers from dementia and spends most of his time in bed. Missy, one of his four dogs, usually is there with him. "Missy stays on his bed all the time - she protects him," says Carter's wife, Barbara, 72.

VESTED Magazine
Find Your Tribe

Take a walk alone and you get some exercise. Take a walk with a friend-or a group of friends-and you get something more. "When you walk, you talk, and you never know where that will lead," says Deborah Woller, 62, a retiree who lives in Naples, Florida.

Light at night may disrupt sleep and health

These are among the darkest days of the year - or they would be, if we lived like our ancestors, with nothing but the stars and moon to light our way between sunset and sunrise. Instead, most of us live in cities and towns illuminated by street lights and in homes lit by lamps, ceiling fixtures, cell phones, tablets, computers and TV sets.

Science: Your new fitness tracker will not work miracles

It's been two weeks since you got that new Fitbit, Apple Watch or other fitness tracker for the holidays and one week since you resolved to use it to get more active, manage your weight or reach other health goals. Congratulations - and good luck.

Most boomers infected with liver-damaging hepatitis C virus do not know it

Few Baby Boomers have been tested for the liver-damaging hepatitis C virus, despite recommendations that all members of that generation have the blood test at least once, new research suggests. The share of boomers who had the test barely budged in the two years after health authorities first recommended it for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, according to a report published Wednesday in American Journal of Preventive Medicine .

Colon and rectal cancers surge among Millennials and Generation X

Colon and rectal cancers have increased dramatically and steadily in young and middle-age adults in the United States over the past four decades, a study confirmed Tuesday. While scientists have not pinpointed an exact cause, prime suspects include obesity, inactivity and poor diets, said researchers from the American Cancer Society, reporting in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Workouts that take minutes attract fans and critics

Not long ago, Trevor Speed, 34, of Kelowna, British Columbia, was a busy professional and expectant father who never found time for exercise. Today, he has a demanding but time-efficient routine: Three times a week, he hops on his stationary bike or treadmill and powers through a 25-minute workout that includes 10 one-minute bursts of sweaty effort, broken up by one-minute rests, plus a warm-up and cool-down.

Vape debate: Can e-cigarettes fight smoking? And how safe are they?

A year ago, Ryan Standifird, 26, of Tustin, Calif., was a pack-a-day smoker who wanted to quit. He had tried and failed before. Then, as part of a magazine writing assignment, he tried e-cigarettes. The battery-powered devices heat up flavored liquids, creating vapors that users inhale.

Fermented-food lovers seek flavor and health

Americans used to find yogurt yucky. But the creamy dairy food long ago joined beer and cheese on the list of our favorite things produced by fermentation - an ancient preservation process in which bacteria transform food and drink, creating new flavors and, many consumers believe, enhanced health benefits.

Fitness resolutions are about to die. Here's how to revive them

Congratulations, fitness-resolution makers. According to some of the nation's leading fitness chains, you folks who joined gyms during the January rush are still going in droves, making the next couple of days likely to be among the busiest work-out days of the year. Not so great: it's basically downhill from here.

Many women may tune out mammogram confusion

It happened again this week: headlines implied mammograms have been oversold to women. This time it was a study from Denmark that suggested one in three breast cancers found through the screening tests are "overdiagnosed" - meaning they never would have threatened a woman's life but still led to treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Communities strive to be 'dementia-friendly' as Alzheimer's numbers grow

When Ron Grant was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he and his wife, Vicky, immediately shared the news with their church. "They are a wonderful group of people," Grant says. "But for quite some time after that, we would come to church and someone would come up to Vicky, with me standing right next to her, and ask, "How is Ron doing?"

As Debbie Reynolds reminded us, grief can make us sick

The idea that grief can kill is not new. But the recent death of actress Debbie Reynolds just a day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, was a dramatic reminder of the links between grief, health and well-being that researchers have been attempting to understand for the past several decades.

Good news, beach readers: Fiction may make you smarter, more empathetic

It's beach reading season - that time when even infrequent readers pick up or download the latest thriller, indulge in a fine romance or take a deep dive into a literary classic. That is time well-spent, a growing body of research suggests. And it's not just because reading makes us smarter, though it does.

"Elder orphans" band together for support and advice

At 55, Nanette Witmer retired from her job in Denver and, with a new husband, moved to David, Panama. Their plan was to age together in a low-cost paradise. Eighteen months later, the husband was gone and Witmer found herself contemplating a future as an "elder orphan" - someone aging without a spouse, partner or children.

Not gaining the weight beats having to lose it

Losing a lot of weight and keeping it off is hard. Just look at the 14 Biggest Loser contestants who were the subjects of a highly publicized recent study published in the research journal Obesity. The study found that most of the contestants regained most of the weight they lost through extreme diet and exercise.

Tattoos have gone mainstream, but they still carry risks

If getting a tattoo is still a sign of rebellion, then a lot of Americans are rebels: 29% of adults now have at least one tattoo, up from 21% in 2012 and 16% in 2003, a recent Harris Poll found. Millennials are especially tat-happy: 47% of people ages 18 to 35 are inked, according to the poll.

Women's heart attacks are different, deadlier

Meliah Jefferson, 36, of Greenville, S.C., and Julie Rickman, 46, of Overland Park, Kan., have a lot in common. Each has a husband, a young child, a good job and a strong family history of heart disease. And each had a heart attack without realizing she was having one.

Warning: Supplements and medications may not mix

Americans are taking more prescription medications. They also are taking more supplements - everything from vitamin and mineral pills to fish and flax seed oils. The natural result: More are combining drugs and supplements. That may be riskier than many consumers realize. Some are risking dangerous internal bleeding by combining certain supplements with blood-thinning drugs.

Doctors could tap 'shrooms to relieve pain

CLOSE Psychedelic medicine, long taboo, is moving toward the mainstream: Two new studies show the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin might relieve anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Dozens of distressed patients, treated under controlled conditions at two prestigious medical centers, saw spirit-lifting effects that lasted at least several weeks after taking the "magic mushroom" drug, according to results published Thursday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

VESTED Magazine
Caring for an Aging Brain

Contrary to the worst fears of aging baby boomers-brain aging is not synonymous with dementia. Most of us who reach our 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond will do it without developing Alzheimer's or other forms of severe cognitive impairment.

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