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New Shirt Can Measure Your Heart Rate

New Shirt Can Measure Your Heart Rate

Ralph Lauren Corp.(NEW YORK) — Most people wouldn’t leave their home naked in the morning, but it can be easy to forget your Fitbit, Jawbone UP or any other number of popular fitness trackers that tally daily steps and calories burned in a single day.What if your actual clothing functioned as a fitness tracker? That’s the thinking behind the recent collaboration between fashion designer Ralph Lauren and OMsignal, maker of “smart” apparel containing biometric sensors.The partnership has produced the Polo Tech shirt, which debuts during this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament. The shirt will be worn by ball boys during select matches and be available to consumers starting next spring.The Polo Tech shirt measures a wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate, stress level, and energy output. It also features a detachable device, a “black box,” which captures activity data and also contains an accelerometer and gyroscope. User data and metrics are accessed through an accompanying iOS app.“Over the last few years, there’s been an incredible energy and excitement around wearable technology … you’ve seen all kinds of accessories, but no major brand has figured out how to do it in apparel. So to see it in clothing, something you just put on every day, was really new and innovative, and something we felt we could bring to the forefront,” said David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising, marketing and public relations.“It’s the only wearable that you’ve been wearing all of your life,” added Stéphane Marceau, CEO of OMsignal.Beyond the familiarity of donning a shirt, Marceau added that clothing’s proximity to the body makes it easier to capture data.”With clothing, you can access biological functions wherever they may happen on the human body, so you get the strong signal and there’s so much more information contained in the strong signal than in a third, derivative signal,” said Marceau.Companies similar to OMsignal have used the same line of thinking. Sensoria smart socks are one example. When worn while running, they measure a user’s cadence and center of balance, among other metrics.The Polo Tech shirt is woven with conductive thread, which functions as a virtual sensor. Sensors are located primarily in the chest area, but the snug fit of the shirt makes it easier to capture and transmit data from other parts of the body as well.For Marceau, clothing represents the future of fitness tracking.”Activity trackers are great…but at the same time, it’s [only] about counting the number of steps that you make in a day,” he noted. “The next wave is really about physiology, about bio-sensing technology. Some of the things that you can derive from there will help you increase your performance in a fitness context, it can also help you increase your self-mastery in a lifestyle context.”
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Study: Use of Electronic Devices May Hinder Kids’ Ability to Read Others’ Emotions

Study: Use of Electronic Devices May Hinder Kids’ Ability to Read Others’ Emotions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A psychological study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles found that children may face declining social skills due to their increased use of digital media.According to a UCLA press release, researchers found that sixth graders who went five days without any use of a smartphone whatsoever were significantly better at “reading human emotions” than sixth graders who were permitted to use their electronic devices as usual. “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education,” said psychology professor Patricia Greenfield, “and not many are looking at the costs.”Greenfield notes a, “decreased sensitivity to emotional clues — losing the ability to understand the emotions of other people” as one of the primary downsides to increased use of electronic devices. She notes that increased use of those devices leads to less in-person social interaction.The study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Researchers analyzed data from two sets of sixth graders — a total of 105 students. Fifty-one of those students were sent to the Pali Institute, a nature and science camp that prohibits use of electronic devices. The second group of 54 students attended the camp after the study was completed.Students were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study to determine how well they recognized other people’s emotions in photos and videos. Those who attended the camp scored better at the end of the five-day study at reading emotions.”We are social creatures,” said Yalda Uhls, the lead author of the study and the Southern California regional director of nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, “we need device-free time.”
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More Than 250K Youths Who Have Never Smoked Used E-Cigarettes in 2013

More Than 250K Youths Who Have Never Smoked Used E-Cigarettes in 2013

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 250,000 kids who have never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013.The study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, finds that the number of youths using e-cigarettes without the intention of quitting smoking is three times higher than in 2011. The CDC cites data from the last three years of National Youth Tobacco surveys, which gathers information from middle and high school students.Youths who have never smoked cigarettes, but used e-cigarettes were nearly twice as likely to plan on smoking conventional cigarettes than those who had not used e-cigarettes. Even more concerning, of the students who said they had never smoked a conventional cigarette, but had used e-cigarettes, 43.9 percent said they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year. That same figure among students who had never used e-cigarettes is just 21.5 percent.”We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth,” Tim McAfee, Director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said, “regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products.”The CDC also noted that evidence has linked nicotine with adverse effects on adolescent brain development. Those effects, the CDC says, could result in, “lasting deficits in cognitive function.”The CDC study also found that teens who were exposed to tobacco advertisements were more likely to intend to smoke than those who reported not being exposed.
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Proof that You Can’t Sleep Through an Earthquake

Proof that You Can’t Sleep Through an Earthquake

ABC News(NAPA, Calif.) — A 6.0 magnitude earthquake is enough to jolt most people awake — and here’s proof.Jawbone, the maker of a fitness tracking bracelet, analyzed data from its tech savvy users to create an infographic showing how the earthquake impacted sleep patterns.The earthquake’s epicenter was located about six miles south-southwest of Napa, California, and 51 miles west-southwest of the state capital, Sacramento.
Jawbone looked at data from cities that are less than 15 miles from the epicenter and found that 93 percent of users in those cities woke up abruptly when the quake struck at 3:20 a.m. Sunday.

93% of Napa, Sonoma, Fairfield and Vallejo residents woke up during this morning’s earthquake. See more data here: http://t.co/OewwIMorqz
— Jawbone (@Jawbone) August 25, 2014

Not surprisingly, many residents took a while to drift back to sleep, while 45 percent of wearers less than 15 miles from the epicenter opted to stay awake for the rest of the night.The earthquake was so strong that 55 percent of wearers in San Francisco and Oakland, even farther from the epicenter, were woken up by the vibrations.It was the largest one to shake the Bay Area since the 1989 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta Earthquake.
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This Nail Polish May Fend Off Sexual Assault

This Nail Polish May Fend Off Sexual Assault

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pretty nails may be the newest way to foil date rape.Undercover Colors, a nail polish that changes color when it’s exposed to date rape drugs, has won this year’s Lulu eGames, a North Carolina State University competition for student projects aimed at solving real-world problems.”Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime,” the team behind Undercover Colors — a group of four male chemistry students — explained on their Facebook page.When a woman uses her manicured finger to stir a drink laced with a common drug like rohypnol or Xanax, sometimes described as “date rape” drugs, the polish will alert her that her drink has been spiked.The team said they were inspired to invent the product because an estimated 18 percent of American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, according to National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, a study commission by the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense.”They are our daughters, they are our girlfriends, and they are our friends,” they wrote on their Facebook page.The polish is still in the early stages of development, according to Stephen Gray, one of the company founders. And it isn’t the first product idea aimed at putting the power to thwart date rape at a woman’s fingertips.In 2011, Israeli scientists developed a straw that analyses a small sample of a drink and lights up when it detects the presence of a date rape drug. And last year, the company DrinkSavvy invented a glass that changes appearance when a drink is spiked with a potentially harmful substance.Dr. Nathaniel Finney, the university’s expert on indicator development — the type of technology used in the polish — is advising the company, according to the Undercover Color Facebook page.The Undercover Color team is currently accepting donations to fund research and development.
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Baby Born Right Before Earthquake Rattles Hospital

Baby Born Right Before Earthquake Rattles Hospital

Courtesy Connie Navarro and Angel Sanchez(NAPA, Calif.) — A healthy baby boy was born right before an earthquake shook a northern California hospital — and the newborn’s parents say they’re just glad everyone is OK.“We’re grateful that our baby son and all of us are safe, and for our doctor and the hospital staff who cared for us before and after the earthquake,” parents Connie Navarro and Angel Sanchez said in a statement.Baby Ismael Sanchez was born at 2:37 a.m. local time Sunday, weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches long, at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck the area around 3:20 a.m.The parents were by the baby’s side when the earthquake hit, and staff immediately made sure the family was safe.The South Napa Earthquake was the area’s strongest quake in 25 years, destroying homes and buildings and injuring dozens and stranding thousands without power or water.At least 120 people were treated at the medical center where Ismael was born, hospital officials said.
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How Parents of Kids Without Allergies Can Be Mindful of Kids with Allergies

How Parents of Kids Without Allergies Can Be Mindful of Kids with Allergies

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With back-to-school comes tricky situations: lunch tables, birthday parties — and food allergies.
Even if your child doesn’t have food allergies, it’s often a sensitive topic for parents.  Parents of kids with allergies want to make sure their children are protected, and parents of kids without allergies often have no idea what the proper protocol is when it comes to sending food to school.”Allergy parents,” as they’re sometimes called, are well-aware of foods that may pose a danger — as well as foods that aren’t in themselves harmful to their kids, but may be contaminated by foods that are, made in the same facility.What’s more, even if their kid is aware of what they can and can’t eat, there’s always the possibility of error, especially in the younger grades, and in schools that don’t have an official policy when it comes to potentially dangeous foods.However, parents of kids without allergies can help.  While some may say it’s not their problem, it’s in everyone’s best interest that both the school and all parents understand the problem, and are sensitive to the needs of children with food allergies.
ABC News asked Kara Corridan, Health Director at Parents magazine, for her top tips for parents of kids without allergies to help protect their kids’ classmates: 

First, teach your own children to respect the way other kids eat, whether they’ve been diagnosed with an allergy or not, says Corridan. At least one-third of children with food allergies are bullied for their allergies, so educating your children that their classmates’ food may look different and that their food choices need to be respected is a good first step.

Communication is key. If your school doesn’t have an official policy on foods your child can bring to school, ask to speak to the nurse or an advisor to find out if there are any products they’d prefer you not send to school, such as peanut butter. Corridan says restrictions may be on a case-by-case basis, so it’s best to find out if there are kids in your child’s class with an allergy.

If you’re hosting a party, be proactive and send a text or email to let a parent of a child with allergies know what you’re serving. Consider asking what a safe alternative is and offer to bring that option for their child. If you’re providing a classroom snack or treats, ask the teacher if anyone has a food allergy and what is safe for that child to eat.

When having a child to your home, make sure you have an over-the-counter antihistamine on hand — such as Benadryl or Zyrtec — in case of a reaction, Corridan suggests. If you suspect a food has caused a mild reaction — such as a few hives or nasal congestion — give a dose of antihistamine and call the doctor. For a more severe reaction, call 911.

Corridan says the most common foods to which that kids are allergic are peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, fin fish, wheat, and soy. When sending a treat or snack, consider a healthy alternative to processed foods and go with fresh fruit, popsicles, or veggies with dip.

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Coffee Could Lower Risk of Gum Disease, Reseachers Say

Coffee Could Lower Risk of Gum Disease, Reseachers Say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Need another reason to drink coffee? It may be good for your gums.Nathan Ng of Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine says this finding contradicts previous research suggesting the drink might have a detrimental effect on periodontal health.Ng and his team examined the dental records of 1,150 veterans over a 30-year period, taking into account various factors including coffee drinking, smoking, alcohol use, body mass index, and dental habits.According to the study’s lead author, coffee “may have protective effects against periodontal disease” at least in men, keeping the gums stronger to prevent tooth loss. The researchers said they would like the study expanded to the general population to determine if coffee similarly benefits women’s gums.
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Fewer Teens Using Sunscreen

Fewer Teens Using Sunscreen

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Teens are failing to get the message that too much sun can put them at higher risk of developing melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to a new report.Corey Basch at the William Patterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, says that in a study he conducted from 2001 to 2011, sunscreen use by adolescents dropped from about 68 percent to 56 percent.Basch didn’t delve into reasons why this occurred, though the researcher also discovered that despite warnings about the dangers of exposure to tanning devices, use among white girls only fell from 37 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2011.To lower the risk of skin cancer, Basch says teens need to be reminded again and again and again about the importance of sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, while raising awareness about the risks of tanning beds.
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Study: Proper Eye Care Improves Seniors’ Survival Chances

Study: Proper Eye Care Improves Seniors’ Survival Chances

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The importance of good eyesight can never be overstated, but the sad truth is that when people get past age 65, there is often a noticeable decline in vision, no matter how well they’ve taken care of their eyes.Purdue University researchers are also adding their own warnings about the degradation of vision in the elderly, saying that it’s associated with poorer chances of living a longer life.Lead study author Sharon Christ and her team looked at 2,500 people ages 65 and 84 to make their observations about fading eyesight and overall survival.Without proving a definitive cause-and-effect, Christ says when the elderly have problems seeing, it cuts down on basic daily tasks such as housework and shopping.Due to that handicap, their risk of death rose three percent per year for all eight years of the study. Yet, people can take simple steps to slow down dimming eyesight, including primary prevention of visual impairment, early detection of disabling eye disease and proper fitting of glasses and contact lenses.
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No Shots Could Mean No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak

No Shots Could Mean No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Unvaccinated students could be asked to stay home from school amid a mumps outbreak in Ohio, health officials said.The message comes one week before the start of the school year in Columbus, Ohio, where roughly 479 people have contracted mumps since March, according to Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health.“Typically we see only one case a year,” Rodriguez told ABC News.Mumps, a virus that causes fever, aches and swollen glands, spreads through tiny droplets exhaled during sneezes, coughs and conversations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps, according to the CDC, with two doses guarding 86 percent of kids from the disease. But some kids are excused from the shot, which is required by Ohio public schools, for religious or personal beliefs. In 2012, only 90 percent of the state’s kids received one more or doses of the vaccine, according to CDC data — down from 93 percent in 2011.While most of the Ohio mumps cases have occurred in vaccinated individuals, health officials suspect that unvaccinated people are helping to spread the virus.“We believe a few unvaccinated individuals put the whole community at risk,” Rodriguez said.To help curb the outbreak, officials are asking unvaccinated kids to stay home from school for at least 25 days after a reported mumps case in their community. The 25-day period was chosen based on the incubation period of the virus, Rodriquez said.“Some kids whose parents chose not to get them vaccinated at first have now vaccinated because of the outbreak and because of the risks,” he added. “That’s encouraging.”
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American Heart Association Says E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers to Quit

American Heart Association Says E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers to Quit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — According to the American Heart Association, e-cigarettes may actually help smokers to quit, though they should still be kept out of the hands of children.According to an AHA statement published in the journal Circulation, e-cigarettes can be helpful in the right situations. “If a patient has failed initial treatment, has been intolerant to or refuses to use conventional smoking cessation medication, and wishes to use e-cigarettes to aid quitting, it is reasonable to support the attempt.” The AHA said that e-cigarettes may even be as effective as nicotine patches for helping smokers to quit. E-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years, with the industry reaching $2 billion in annual sales. The products are banned in Canada and other countries, but legal in the United States.
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Parents of Overweight Children More Likely to Consider Kids Healthy Than in Past

Parents of Overweight Children More Likely to Consider Kids Healthy Than in Past

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents of overweight children are more likely than they ever have been before to consider their children “healthy,” despite the fact that childhood obesity has nearly tripled in recent decades.Researchers looked at data from a pair of national surveys, one conducted between 1988 and 1994 and the other between 2005 and 2010. Parents were approximately 24 percent less likely to recognize their six- to 11-year-old children as overweight in the more recent study. The figure is even more stark among low-income households, where parents are most likely to consider their overweight children “healthy.”Researchers cited the stigma attached to obesity, increased social pressures and parents’ comparing their children with their childrens’ peers.
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Researchers Say Early School Start Times Hinder Teens’ Academic Performance

Researchers Say Early School Start Times Hinder Teens’ Academic Performance

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –  A new report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that schools may be starting too early, and may in turn hinder teenagers’ education.The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, cites previous studies which showed that when teens have to wake up earlier for school, they are often sleep deprived and perform worse in school. In fact, researchers say, schools with delayed start times show better grades and fewer students being involved in car accidents.Other obstacles the researchers cited as causes for teenagers failure to get sufficient sleep include electronics, biological changes and caffeine. The AAP recommended, based on the report, that pediatricians support school policy changes that would move back school start times.

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The Answer to the Obesity Problem Might Be in the Bugs in Our Stomachs

The Answer to the Obesity Problem Might Be in the Bugs in Our Stomachs

amanaimagesRF/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Scientists conducting a series of experiments in Sweden over the past five years have made a discovery that could make a profound contribution to the fight against global obesity.The scientists, led by Fredrik Backhed of the University of Gothenburg, were studying mice that had been raised in a germ-free environment, and were thus lean and healthy. But when they were fed a “fecal pellet,” which is just what it sounds like, from an obese human the mice quickly became obese, although exercise and their food availability remained unchanged.All it took was a dose of microbes from the gut of an overweight human to make the mice prefer the fattier and sweeter morsels over the healthier foods.After analyzing that, and numerous other recent experiments, scientists from three universities have made a bold proposal:The single-celled organisms that live in our guts and help us digest our food and fight off diseases may have ulterior motives. Maybe they want to be in charge.Not just of our gastrointestinal track. They want control of our diets, even if that makes us fat and unhealthy, they want to move our lives in directions that are good for them even if bad for us, and they may even want to take over our brains.In fact, they may have already done that.Is it possible that the bacteria we depend on in the symbiotic relationship between us and them are clever enough to make us love the taste of seaweed?Well, that’s already history, at least in Japan.”That’s the science fiction part of this,” evolutionary biologist and psychologist Athena Aktipis said in a telephone interview. “But I think it’s really compelling.”Aktipis, who is now with Arizona State University, began an intriguing research project while she was at the University of California, San Francisco.Joined by colleagues Carlo C. Maley of UCSF and Joe Alcock of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, the trio set out to see if evidence in the scientific literature supports the idea that our bodies may indeed be at war with our own guts, even over control of our brains, and whether that would partly explain the obesity epidemic that is sweeping much of the world.This is new stuff. We’ve known for many years that we have good bacteria and bad bacteria in our guts, some helping and some hurting as we move through life, but recently experts have begun wondering if that’s all there is to it.Does some of that bacteria in your gut fight to serve its own agenda to meet its own needs, not those of their host — which is you?How could something that small be a threat? They may be tiny, but your gut is home to trillions. You are one individual, and their genes outnumber yours 100 to one.They have access to the vagus nerve, which connects 100 million nerve cells in the gut to the base of the brain. They can influence our sense of taste, they can produce toxins to make us feel bad, and they can put is in a good mood, wanting more of whatever they need for themselves.The researchers have put together a plausible argument, published in the journal BioEssays, suggesting that’s exactly what’s happening, even if it sounds like science fiction.But they also argue that we could turn this thing around and put ourselves back in total control, curing illnesses and making us much healthier along the way.The microbes constitute “a whole ecosystem, and it’s evolving on the time scale of minutes,” Maley said in releasing the study. Just changing the diet can alter the entire colony of microbes, called the “microbiome,” in 24 hours, he said.The scientists are building on research by others suggesting we have a war going on in our guts.- Microbes can affect behavior in vertebrates, as evidenced by research showing one species of microbe “suppresses rats’ normal fear of cat smells, often to the detriment of the rats, but to the benefit of the microbes that are ingested into their new feline host,” the study says.- Many bacteria found in the human gut can manufacture dopamine, the feel-good hormone linked to drug and alcohol addiction, so they can have a dramatic impact on moods. Other microbes can make us crave fats and sugars, contributing to obesity.- “Specialist microbes that digest seaweed have been isolated from humans in Japan,” the study notes. “African children raised on sorghum have unique microbes that digest cellulose.” So some microbes know what they need and may change their host’s taste to be sure they get it.The list goes on and on, sometimes disturbingly.It’s possible that “the obesity epidemic could be contagious as a result of obesity-causing microbes transmitted from person to person,” the study says.That might partly explain why obesity affects entire families, and close friends. The microbes might do that by generating a preference for foods rich in what the microbes are seeking, like fats and sugars.At this point, the conclusions by the researchers are still in the theoretical stage, but that may change quickly.”This has been really a blind spot because we tend to think about our bodies as made up just of ourselves,” Aktipis said, but a large amount of work in the last five years has been devoted to the possible split-personality of the human microbiome.We have known for many years that the universe of tiny critters in our guts play an important role in human health, both for good and bad, “but the idea that it would be playing an active role where there would be different interests in different species of microbes competing with us is a new way to think about the nature of our bodies,” Aktipis added.It may not take much to nail this down. The contents of the human gut can be determined through several non-invasive techniques. A mouth swab tells which microbes are at work there.For researchers who want the “big picture,” a stool sample would work, although as Aktipis noted, “some people don’t like the idea of giving up their poop.”Physicians treat obese patients all the time, so why not determine the composition of their entire microbiome at the same time? That data from across the country could be fed into a data bank telling which microbes are associated with which public health issues. In time we would have a much better idea of who the enemies are.After all, this is warfare.
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California Officials Issue Arrest Warrant for Tuberculosis Patient

California Officials Issue Arrest Warrant for Tuberculosis Patient

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — Officials in Santa Barbara, California, are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a 24-year-old man who poses a “serious health risk” to the public.Law enforcement issued an arrest warrant for Agustin Zeferino, who has a contagious case of tuberculosis. Zeferino is a threat to those who come in close contact with him, officials said in a statement Friday. The warrant comes after he received “extensive information and medical consultation about his health condition,” but still discontinued treatment. “With appropriate treatment tuberculosis can be cured. Without treatment, it is often fatal and poses a public health threat due to airborne transmission,” said Health Officer Dr. Charity Thoman. “This is particularly true for drug-resistant cases. If Mr. Zeferino is contagious and he is out in our community, it is a public health emergency.” Individuals with information on Zeferino are asked to contact local law enforcement and avoid close contact.
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Why There’s No Viral Fundraiser to Help Fight Ebola

Why There’s No Viral Fundraiser to Help Fight Ebola

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — During the worst-ever Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a viral fundraiser has encouraged people to donate millions to combat another deadly yet rare disease.That disease is Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gerhig’s disease.For Ebola there has been no massive influx of donations to help respond to the outbreak that has infected 2,615 and killed 1,427 in four West African countries.Compared to past natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, relief agencies say the response to the Ebola outbreak has been much more tepid.“We’ve raised a tenth of donations we received following the typhoon in the Philippines,” said Kevin Allan, the senior vice president at the U.S. relief organization AmeriCares. “More resources are needed to do our work.”One reason for the lack of donations is that images of an Ebola outbreak aren’t as visually striking as scenes of destruction from natural disasters.Jana Sweeney, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said historically natural or man-made disasters usually lead to a high influx of donations.“You see a lot of donor interest when you see something that is very visual,” said Sweeney. “Natural disaster threatens everyone. A disease that has been confined to Africa doesn’t [affect] people in the U.S. as much.”Sweeney said people may also be less inclined to donate because they do not realize the countries affected have a severe lack of medical infrastructure.“I think for Americans [with] health issues, they would think of as being handled by a ministry of health or a government,” said Sweeney.Sweeney said the organization will let people donate to specific causes when they see an interest from people to do so. Due in part to the lack of interest and lack of need, Sweeney said the American Red Cross has no plans to create a designated donation page for Ebola.If people want to donate specifically to the Red Cross response to the Ebola outbreak, they can download a form that allows them to specify where they want their money to go.In addition to the Red Cross, one of the biggest international relief agencies on the ground in West Africa, Doctors Without Borders, is not accepting donations solely ear-marked to Ebola relief because it could hurt their ability to respond to disasters.Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders (also known by its French initials MSF), said earmarked donations can slow down their disaster response as they have to wait for specific funds to come in rather than drawing from an overall pool of funds.“We want to be able to have sufficient cash flow to respond to an emergency right away and not wait to have earmarked funding to come,” said Delauney.In rare cases, Delaunay said the organization will set up a donation page for a specific event due to overwhelming interest, but even then the money can cause problems.After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Delauney said MSF received more than 110 million euros in just a few days. However, the organization quickly realized they could not use all of the money in response to the disaster, so they painstakingly contacted each person who donated to make sure the funds could be used elsewhere.Delauney said part of the problem with the Ebola outbreak is that just raising money isn’t enough. It is a complicated problem spanning multiple countries and governments. While the MSF have 1,000 people on the ground, they’re working on finding more people and supplies to treat the patients that are now overwhelming existing treatment centers.“As soon as we expand our activity we need to be able to ensure the appropriate level for human resources there,” said Delauney. “I’m not worried about financial resources, I think we will get the support financially. From a human point of view, it’s more complex.”Not all organizations have shied away from raising funds for Ebola. The University of California San Francisco is working to raise $100,000 for medical supplies to be sent to a clinic in Sierra Leone that was started by a UCSF professor.An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations more than $250 and up to $50,000.In addition AmeriCares, the U.S. based non-profit emergency response and global health organization that distributed medical and humanitarian aid, is accepting donations pegged specifically to helping treat to treat the Ebola outbreak.Donations to Doctors Without Borders can be made here.Donations to the American Red Cross can be made here.
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Ebola Outbreak Enters Sixth Month with No End in Sight

Ebola Outbreak Enters Sixth Month with No End in Sight

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Though two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola, the outbreak continues to spread in West Africa with no end in sight.At last count, the virus had killed at least 1,427 people and sickened 1,188 more — numbers thought to “vastly underestimate” the outbreak’s true toll, according to the World Health Organization.The outbreak emerged in March and quickly became the deadliest on record. An estimated 46.5 percent of all Ebola deaths recorded since the virus’s discovery in 1976 have occurred in the last five months, according to WHO data.
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Toxic Tea Victim Continues to Improve

Toxic Tea Victim Continues to Improve

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) –  The Utah woman who burned her mouth and throat drinking iced tea made with a toxic cleaning agent is improving.Jan Harding, 67, is slowly recovering at a Utah hospital, now able to speak, less than two weeks after nearly dying from a simple sip of ice tea, unknowingly laced with toxic industrial cleaner.
Now, Harding’s attorney Paxton Guymon is claiming this wasn’t the first such incident, alleging an employee at the Utah restaurant, Dickie’s Barbeque Pit, also burned her tongue a month earlier on the same substance, a degreaser made up of sodium hydroxide or lye.Guymon says the company could be held accountable, saying, “To me it means that the company was on notice that there was a hazardous substance that wasn’t properly labeled, that wasn’t properly controlled.”
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Walgreen’s Prescription Database Back Up After Temporarily Glitch

Walgreen’s Prescription Database Back Up After Temporarily Glitch

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Walgreen’s pharmacies nationwide were unable to fill prescriptions for part of the day Friday due to a technical problem.A spokesman says Walgreen’s was performing a maintenance update of the prescription database when they encountered a technical problem.   They were forced bring the retail pharmacy system offline, impacting all 8,200 pharmacies nationwide.The company didn’t say how many customers were impacted while the problem was being fixed.  The Illinois-based drug store announced after 1pm CT that all the pharmacies were back up and running.
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