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Study: Energy Drinks Dangerous for Young Children

Study: Energy Drinks Dangerous for Young Children

Mauro Matacchione/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association found that energy drinks may be extremely dangerous for young children.According to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than 40 percent of reports about energy drinks to U.S. poison control centers involved children younger than six years old. The brain and heart were most frequently affected organs.Steven Lipshultz, M.D., and chair of pediatrics at Wayne State University said that "energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets."The data showed 5,156 cases of energy drink exposure, 40 percent of which involved young children who were not expected to be drinking the drinks.

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Court Rules Canadian Girl Cannot Be Forced to Have Chemotherapy

Court Rules Canadian Girl Cannot Be Forced to Have Chemotherapy

VILevi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) -- A Canadian court has ruled that the family of a 11-year-old girl with cancer cannot be forced to treat her with chemotherapy.The girl is a member of the Six Nations tribe of American Indians and has been suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In September, the girl's mother stopped treatment after just 10 days and took the girl to a holistic healing center in Florida.McMaster Children's Hospital, which was treating the girl in Ontario, Canada, asked Brant Family Children's Services to intervene and bring the girl back from Florida for treatment.When BFCS refused, the hospital took the organization to court in an effort to force it to bring the girl back to Canada.McMaster Children's Hospital President Dr. Peter Fitzgerald said with chemotherapy the girl had a 90 percent to 95 percent chance for survival.Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward ruled Friday that the girl could not be forced by BFCS to be treated with chemotherapy, the Toronto Star reported.Edward ruled Friday that the court could not intervene due to the family's aboriginal rights under the Canadian constitution.Andrew Koster, the family's attorney, said it was the family's right to choose their daughter's treatment."This wasn't a one-time blood transfusion such as in a Jehovah Witness situation," Koster said. "This was going to be two years of chemo. Does that mean we take this child away for two years and suppose she didn't make it?"Chiefs of tribal reserves neighboring the girl's applauded the decision."It reaffirms our right to be Indian and to practice our medicines in the traditional way," said Chief Bryan Laforme of the Mississaugas of New Credit, which is a neighboring reserve.After the ruling, Hamilton Health Sciences, the medical group that oversees McMaster Children's hospital, said in a statement they remained "committed to support this child's treatment with compassion and respect.""Our motivation has always been and remains that this child receives life-saving medical treatment in a timely manner," read a portion of the statement.

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More than 30 Cases of Viral Meningitis Documented at University of Maryland

More than 30 Cases of Viral Meningitis Documented at University of Maryland

UmerPK/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) -- More than 30 cases have been documented in an outbreak of viral meningitis at the University of Maryland since mid-October.According to the University of Maryland Health Center, the school is aware of 31 confirmed or suspected cases of the disease among their 37,000 students. About 19 of those 31 have been hospitalized for treatment. The outbreak began in October, the school says. While being careful to note that the outbreak is confirmed to be viral meningitis and not bacterial meningitis -- which is more dangerous -- the school's statement urged students to frequently wash their hands, stay home and rest if feeling unwell, clean surfaces that are touched frequently and avoiding kissing and sharing glasses and utensils.Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, light sensitivity and a stiff neck.

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‘Extremely Ill’ Ebola Patient Expected to Arrive in Nebraska Saturday

‘Extremely Ill’ Ebola Patient Expected to Arrive in Nebraska Saturday

Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images(OMAHA, Neb.) -- Martin Salia, the surgeon being flown from West Africa to Nebraska for treatment for Ebola, may be in worse shape than the previous patients successfully treated in the United States, the hospital says.Salia will be the third Ebola patient treated at Nebraska Medical Center since the summer. He is expected to arrive there on Saturday afternoon. According to a statement from the hospital, the medical flight crew that is transporting the patient has evaluated him and determined that "although he is extremely ill, his condition was stable enough for him to make the lengthy flight to Omaha." "We immediately started preparing the unit and notifying staff members of this possibility," Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit said. "We've obviously been through this a couple of times before so we know what to expect...Our staff has had a break since treating our last patient, so I know we're ready to go."Dr. Rick Sacra and NBC journalist Ashoka Mukpo were previously treated at Nebraska Medical Center. Both have since recovered.

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Why Some People Are Always Late

Why Some People Are Always Late

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio is notorious being for constantly being late, but the politician's chronic tardiness made headlines this week when he was so late to a memorial service for 265 people who died in a plane crash that they held the moment of silence without him.The mayor later apologized and blamed a "rough night" and fog that slowed his Police Department boat that took him to Queens for the anniversary of a 2001 plane crash, but he left people irked with his persistent lateness.De Blasio's inability to be on time mirrors many other people with lower profiles than the mayor of the country's largest city.Time management expert Julie Morgenstern told ABC News there are two main types of perpetrators: people who are routinely 10 or 15 minutes late, and people whose lateness varies.If people are always late by the same amount of time, the problem might be psychological, said Morgenstern, who is not a doctor but has extensive experience studying time management."If you think about it, they're precise," she said. "They always arrive exactly 10 minutes late. If you're always late by the same amount of time, you have to realize you're arriving at the exact time you want to. There is some sort of fear or discomfort of down time. There's a lot of anxiety about sitting around and doing nothing."

The fix? Set a goal to be early -- instead of just on time -- and give yourself an incentive. If you're 10 minutes early to dinner, that time can be spent browsing Instagram or shopping online on your smartphone, for example.The other group of latecomers has a bigger problem with managing their time, said Morgenstern, author of "Time Management from the Inside Out.""It typically means you're really bad at estimating how long things take," she said. "You think, maybe I'll do this quick thing or take this call, and you end up running over."This type of person doesn't necessarily mean to be late. They just think a quick stop by the post office won't make them late to lunch, when in reality it's out of the way and there could be a long line, for example."I've had clients tell me, 'Even when I'm on time getting somewhere, I find myself adding something and then I'm not on time anymore,'" she said.Morgenstern said those people need to pay attention to how long things really take, and also learn how to say no."If the phone rings when you're walking out the door, just keep going and don't stop," she said.

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How Rules May Loosen for Gay Blood Donors

How Rules May Loosen for Gay Blood Donors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A ban that has prohibited gay men from donating blood in the United States may be loosened after more than three decades, although not enough to totally satisfy all gay rights activists.The Department of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommended Thursday changing the policy that bans men who have had sex with other men since 1977 from donating blood.The committee voted 16 to 2 to recommend allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have abstained from sex with men for at least one year.Gay and bisexual men have been banned from donating blood by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1983 after doctors realized the AIDS virus could be transmitted through blood transfusions.The news was cheered by major blood banks and transfusion medicine associations including the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and AABB, a nonprofit representing institutions and individuals in the transfusion medicine field.In a joint statement, the three organizations said the ban is “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”“We believe all potential donors should be treated with fairness, equality and respect,” a portion of the statement said. “And that accurate donor histories and medically supported donor deferral criteria are critical to the continued safety of blood transfusion.”The recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability will be presented at the FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee on Dec. 2, which will discuss making changes to the policy.The new recommendations come after years of mounting pressure from both medical groups and gay rights groups criticizing the ban as being outdated and focused too much on sexual orientation rather than actual risk.The American Medical Association voted last year to oppose the FDA ban and recommended evaluating gay men on an individual level for blood donors rather than lumping them together in a high-risk category."The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said in a statement at the time.Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, said even if these new screening rules are approved, they are still problematic.“While this represents a change in how donors are currently screened, it still strikes me as discriminatory and not based on risk,” Besser said. “Why should gay men who are not engaging in high-risk sexual activities be forbidden from donating blood? Prospective donors should be screened for risky behavior, not sexual orientation.”Ryan Yezak, the founder of the National Gay Blood Drive, which has fought the ban with annual protests since 2013, said he was heartened by the changes but said there was more work to do.“I think yesterday’s voting in favor of a one year deferral instead of lifetime ban is a huge step in the right direction,” Yezak said. “Our whole goal is eliminating sexual orientation from the blood donation process altogether.”

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Why It May Be Dangerous to Bundle Kids Up in Carseats

Why It May Be Dangerous to Bundle Kids Up in Carseats

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Experts say bundling up children with puffy jackets and thick blankets in carseats can be a bad idea because they can leave them loose in an accident.

Phyllis Larimore with Children's Mercy in Kansas City says babies should be tucked in with a blanket, but not near the head, to avoid obstructing air flow around the face.

Larimore also said down-filled coats can be dangerous if they leave a gap between the harness and the baby."What will happen in a crash is that crash force will collapse that, compress it, and the babies will be loose," Larimore said."

According to Larimore, better options are an extra layer of clothes, a blanket, or a Thinsulate jacket.

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Bret Michaels Returns to Performing After ‘2-Week Painful Ordeal’

Bret Michaels Returns to Performing After ‘2-Week Painful Ordeal’

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (NEW YORK) -- Bret Michaels has resumed his tour.

The singer had been sidelined after undergoing kidney surgery and being hospitalized six times in two weeks.

"Jacksonville here I come! I’m going to try and gives y’all I got!" he wrote Thursday on his website. "Thanks to everyone for all your well wishes and prayers and to all the great medical staff that helped me through a two week painful ordeal. Got more in my right kidney, but let’s deal with that later. Again thanks to all!"

Michaels, 51, had two stents put in his body recently, according to his friend and guitarist, Pete Evick, but hurt himself by performing immediately after the procedure. As a result, he was hospitalized and was forced to miss a charity event where he'd planned to perform. Luckily, he healed quickly, and was able to resume his tour in time to make his concerts in Florida.

"Bret Michaels survived the first show back and although in obvious pain he rocked the party, stating he was happy to be there in Jacksonville!" his team added on his website.

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Fifth Birthday Bittersweet for Girl Losing Ability to Speak

Fifth Birthday Bittersweet for Girl Losing Ability to Speak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The O'Neills' birthday celebration for their 5-year-old will be bittersweet this weekend. When they launched their fundraising campaign to find a cure for her disease nearly a year ago, they said they expected her to lose her ability to speak by this birthday.Eliza can still talk, her father Glenn O'Neill told ABC News, but sometimes the words don't come as easily to her. And she seems to have stopped learning new things in the last three months. Some days, she can rattle off her numbers and the "Happy Birthday" song. Others, she can't."It's the disease beginning to catch up with her," he said. "This disease just kind of taunts you. You don't know when things are coming but you see them happening."Eliza was diagnosed in July 2013 with Sanfilippo syndrome, a genetic disorder that means she lacks an enzyme to break down heparin sulfate, which naturally occurs in cells, causing it to build up over time. This buildup renders cells unable to function properly and can affect everything from sleep to speech to movement. The disease affects about 1 in 70,000 live births, said Doug McCarty, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who has been working on a cure with his colleague, Haiyan Fu.So the O'Neills launched a fundraising campaign to help McCarty and Fu fund a clinical trial for a gene therapy they hope will cure Eliza. They've already raised 1.3 million on a GoFundMe.com page and another $400,000 elsewhere. They hope to raise an additional $500,000 on Eliza's birthday.There's no guarantee the treatment will get approved or work -- or that Eliza will get into the clinical trial -- but Glenn O'Neill said he and his family had to try."If we don't get the trial funded, and we don't get it up and running, the guarantee is that she has no chance," he said.The family has remained in their home for the last six months to keep Eliza from getting sick. They're afraid a virus will prompt a decline in Eliza's condition or disqualify her from the clinical trial when it starts, so Eliza's mother, a pediatrician, left her job, and Eliza and her brother were taken out of school.Glenn O'Neill said the birthday celebration will be in their Columbia, South Carolina, backyard, where he plans to dress like a clown and juggle. He said the family will "turn inward" to cherish Eliza's good days. The future is uncertain, he wrote on the campaign's GoFundMe page."We're trying to do everything we can to keep her as happy and as healthy and as sharp as she can be," he said. "For the next however many months it takes to get to the point where, hopefully, she can be treated."

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Seniors Look for Love Through Speed Dating

Seniors Look for Love Through Speed Dating

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many of Janice Ledtke’s friends thought she had lost her mind when the 78-year-old New Yorker decided to try out speed dating.“My friends said, ‘What, are you crazy? Why would you do that?’” the Rochester woman recalled.But at her age, Ledtke said she finds it harder and harder to meet new people.“I’m kind of a bit adventurous and I thought that was a new adventure,” she said of trying out speed dating.Ledtke wasn’t the only senior in town looking for love and companionship. At least 29 other people signed up for the speed dating event.All the subjects were followed in a new documentary called The Age of Love. Directed by Steven Loring, the film follows all 30 seniors as they try out speed dating at a special event designed solely for those between the age of 70 and 90.The film was inspired by Loring’s seeing an elderly uncle fall in love for the first time at 79.Loring followed the seniors for months as they prepared to try out speed dating. For some, the event would be the first time they had been out on a “date” with a new person in decades.“Everybody just came to life,” Loring said of the subjects as they prepared for speed dating, some with the same worries about dating as people half their age.“The idea of ‘What if I’m rejected? How do I look? What if they find me boring?’” Loring said of common worries.Dr. Phillip Dines, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said when people lose a partner they may want to immediately search for another person to have companionship and love in their lives again.“This is a very significant issue,” Dines said. “They want to have meaning in their life.”But Dines said he warns his patients to be thoughtful in how they go about meeting new people and dating, especially if they just lost a lifelong spouse or partner.For Ledtke, she was able to get three dates from her first round of speed dating and said she’s happy she tried it out.“You know five minutes isn’t very long, but it’s amazing what kind of a judgment you can make,” Ledtke said. “There were a lot of really great guys there.”As for details, she didn't want to elaborate more on what happened. “I don’t want to take the mystery out of the movie,” she said.

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Elisabeth Hasselbeck Reveals She Had an Abdominal Tumor

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Reveals She Had an Abdominal Tumor

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Elisabeth Hasselbeck returned to her post on Fox and Friends Friday after a month away.  She also revealed the surprising reason for her absence."I had a tumor in my abdomen," Hasselbeck explained. "[The] doctor said, 'Look, you've got to get it out by the end of the month. We don't like how it looks.' I was facing something that potentially could have gone either way.""I did what they said, had a phenomenal surgeon, and I had a scary week where we didn't know what the results were, but I'm okay," she went on. "Everything came back okay. Surgery's not fun, but it is necessary to find out if you have something really terrible in you or not. And thankfully I had the blessing of it not being cancer."Along with thanking Fox, the former View co-host thanked her husband, Tim, for his support and for being her "hospital buddy."She added, "I'm not a person who thinks or believes that I take a lot for granted, but I certainly don't take it for granted now."

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Why People Cry When They’re Happy

Why People Cry When They’re Happy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — Crying is a normal response when something terrible or sad has occurred. Yet, crying also happens during times of joy or pleasant surprises. Who hasn’t shed tears during a dramatic movie or TV show that ends on an upbeat note? The same can happen to a parent when a child returns from college or the military or to an athlete whose performance turns a certain loss into a shocking victory.Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon decided to investigate why people display negative reactions such as crying at positive events. In one experiment, she discovered that people who pinch cute baby’s cheeks, which is certainly not pleasant for the infant, are usually the type who also cry during graduations.Aragon concluded that these negative reactions “seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”Clearly, people who cry when they’re happy probably don’t know why they do it but as Aragon explains, it likely helps them avoid more extreme forms of emotion.

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Genetic Experts Still Puzzled by Longevity of World’s Oldest People

Genetic Experts Still Puzzled by Longevity of World’s Oldest People

iStock/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) — Since there are fewer than 75 supercentenarians in the world, scientists want to know the secret of their longevity.Alas, they’re going to have to keep searching for the answer even after the genes of 17 people older than 110-years-old were sequenced.It turns out that despite a painstaking decoding effort, scientists were unable to find genes that are associated with an extremely long life span.Stanford University genetics expert Stuart Kim, the study’s co-author, says nonetheless there’s likely a strong genetic component to longevity.He and co-author Stephen Coles from the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles went ahead and published the results anyway in the event that others doing similar research might be able to unlock the secret of supercentenarians.

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Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent than Men?

Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent than Men?

iStock/Thinkstock(SURREY, England) — Its been demonstrated throughout history that women are generally more emotionally intelligent than men. But why?Scientists from the University of Surrey believe the answer lies in how parents communicate with their children as your emotional intelligence is largely formed when you're a small child.Specifically, lead author Dr. Harriet Tenenbaum says that mothers use more emotional words such as “happy,” “sad” and “worried” when they speak with their daughters as compared to their sons.  According to Tenenbaum, mothers also converse in more emotional terms than fathers do.Tenenbaum adds, “This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions then boys” although it also reinforces gender stereotypes.Nevertheless, Tenenbaum says emotional intelligence has been shown to be more and more valuable in the workplace “when it comes to positions such as sales, teams and leadership.”

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Doctor Contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone, to Be Flown to Nebraska for Treatment

Doctor Contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone, to Be Flown to Nebraska for Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A surgeon from Sierra Leone and a permanent resident of the United States who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa will be flown to the U.S. to receive treatment for the deadly virus, according to a government official.

Dr. Martin Salia is expected to arrive in the United States on Saturday and will receive treatment at Nebraska Medical Center, the official told ABC News.

It is unclear how he contracted Ebola, but the official said he was in Sierra Leone at the time.

A hospital spokesman would only say that he would soon be evaluated for possible treatment. He would not give any other details.

In a statement, Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said they were working "in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" and were in touch with the family of a U.S. legal permanent resident working in Sierra Leone who has contracted Ebola.

"His wife, who resides in Maryland, has asked the State Department to investigate whether he is well enough to be transported back to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for treatment," the statement added.

This comes two days after Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted Ebola treating patients in West Africa, was discharged from a New York City hospital Ebola-free.

Spencer, 33, who treated Ebola patients in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders, spent 20 days in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after testing positive for Ebola there on Oct. 23.

Spencer was the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the ninth Ebola patient to be treated in this country. Only Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who was diagnosed in Dallas, Texas, in late September, has died of the virus in the United States.

More than 5,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak that is ravaging parts of West Africa, the World Health Organization reported on Wednesday.

This is the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded -- the vast majority in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

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How Eating Raw Cookie Dough Led to One Mom’s Death, Son Recalls

How Eating Raw Cookie Dough Led to One Mom’s Death, Son Recalls

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- His mother died an agonizing death, possibly because she ate a few bites of raw cookie dough years earlier.Richard Simpson, of Las Vegas, recounted his mom's painful battle with E. coli Thursday at an FDA hearing about stricter regulations on food production.Linda Rivera died last summer, four years after she ate a few spoonfuls of prepackaged cookie dough that was later found to be contaminated with a dangerous strain of E. coli. First, her kidneys stopped functioning and she went into septic shock. Over the years, she became sicker as more organs failed and she was in and out of the hospital for operations.

"There were moments of hope -- and of despair," Simpson, 22, said Thursday. "She fought very hard. We knew she didn't want to give up."Rivera died in July 2013 from medical complications that appeared to stem from the E. coli she was infected with years earlier, her son said."Eventually, her body just couldn't take it," said Bill Marler, Rivera's friend and the attorney who handled her claim against Nestle, which manufactured the contaminated cookie dough in 2009.

"She was probably the most severely injured E. coli victim I have ever seen," he added. "She suffered brain injury. She had quite a large section of her large intestines removed. She suffered so many infections while hospitalized it was incredible. She was on a ventilator for several months in a coma. She was a very sick lady.""I remember the first time I met Linda, she was vomiting and retching and she was really sick, but she would apologize -- 'I am so sorry, please sit down, do you need anything to drink?'" Marler said. "That's just the way she was. She was just the most graceful, caring person you can ever meet."Simpson, who recently got married, said he's fighting for stricter food regulations so another son doesn't have to testify about his mother's eventual death after she ate contaminated food."She wanted as much peace in this world as possible," he said of his mother. "I feel like I was put here in this position, for some reason, to help other people."The panel was to discuss proposed changes to the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, including updates that could help prevent the spread of bacteria including E. coli.Nestle recalled its pre-made Toll House cookie dough in 2009 after dozens of E. coli illnesses were reported.Rivera's claim against the company was settled for an undisclosed amount, Marler said. ABC News has reached out to Nestle for comment.Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, said Rivera's long battle with E. coli is rare, but pointed out that it's not the bacteria that ultimately killed her."She never really recovered completely from her initial illness, and then developed a series of medical complications," he said.Simpson, who recently bought a house with his new wife, said he knows his mom would be proud of him if she were alive today."I know she's looking down and guiding me," he said. "Emotionally, she's here with me and I see signs everywhere. Like right now, I just saw a cup on a table that I have at my house that my mom had bought me two and a half years ago. That's the exact same cup my mom bought me. I see that all the time.""I was always a mama's boy," he added.

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Hair Masks for Winter-Damaged Hair

Hair Masks for Winter-Damaged Hair

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hair masks are making their way out of the salon and into your home. And with the cold weather rolling in, one expert says that moisturizing treatments can help beat the damage.“When we are living, working and sleeping in heated environments, the dry air causes hair to become dehydrated,” says Marie Robinson, a hairstylist who said she has worked with celebrity clients, including Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson. “Hair masks can be either moisturizing or strengthening.”Here are hair mask suggestions for combating your winter hair woes:

Dry hair:Indoor heating can pull the moisture from your hair, causing breakage and dead ends.“If you find your hair is unusually dry in winter, avoid washing your hair every day as it can strip hair of its moisture,” Robinson says. “Once a month intensive hair treatments also help a lot.”Hydrate your dehydrated locks with a moisturizing mask. (L'Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Power Moisture Moisture Rush Mask, $6.99 lorealparisusa.com.)Limp hair:Winter winds can cause your hair to look limp and flat."Wearing any kind of hat can also make hair limp, especially something that keeps us warm since it can cause a little perspiration," Robinson says.Give your hair lift and height with a lightweight, volume-active mask. (J.F. Lazartigue Soy Milk Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Mask, $47 jflazartigue.com.)Dull color:The dryness of your hair can zap the life out of your color. Using a mask with Vitamin A will protect hair against dryness and restore its vibrancy.“Hair will hold onto hair color better when it's nourished and healthy,” Robinson says. (Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa buriti Hair Mask, $15.99 shopsuryabrasil.com.)

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Vegan Mom Accused of Child Neglect Regains Custody of Infant

Vegan Mom Accused of Child Neglect Regains Custody of Infant

Mark O'Mara Law Group(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A Florida mother accused of child neglect after a doctor found her infant to be malnourished has regained custody of her son, according to her lawyer.Sarah Markham, 24, of Seminole County, Florida, lost custody of her child five months ago after a doctor directed her to a hospital because her infant son was malnourished and she didn’t immediately show up.She told ABC News affiliate WFTV-TV in Orlando, Florida that she was “ecstatic” to have her son back.“I'm just so excited ecstatic and about getting him back this whole thing was a nightmare,” Markham told WFTV-TV. "I can go back to being a new mom and bonding with him. I am just very happy.”She regained custody of her 5-month-old son after she and her lawyer settled her case with the Florida Department of Children and Families on Wednesday. Markham will have to meet with a state-approved pediatrician to keep custody of her child, according to her lawyer.Markham declined to speak directly to ABC News through her lawyer.The Seminole County Sheriff's Office, which oversaw the case through the Seminole County Child Protective Services, told ABC News it cannot speak on the outcome because of state privacy laws.Markham was arrested on June 24 after a doctor examined the infant and ordered her to go directly to a hospital, according to a public information officer at the Casselberry Police Department.When Markham did not show up at the hospital, her doctor called police, officials said. Markham was arrested at her apartment and charged with child neglect without bodily harm, police added. She was accused of refusing to give her infant non-vegan formula even though he was dehydrated.Markham's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, told ABC News her doctor directed her to the hospital after she said she did not want to use an animal-based formula to supplement breast feeding because she was vegan and wanted to raise her son vegan. He said Markham immediately bought vegan formula and was feeding her child to supplement breast milk when she was arrested.O’Mara confirmed in a statement on his website that his client is a vegan and Seventh Day Adventist, but said his client was just trying to help her child when she was arrested. O'Mara said Markham had been trying to breastfeed but that her son had difficulty feeding, leaving him underweight.As a result, O’Mara said the infant had a condition called “failure to thrive, which means the baby had lost more of its birth weight than was ideal.”Markham has been fighting to regain custody of her child for five months. The criminal charges of child neglect are still pending, according to court records.

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Meet the Men Having Sex with Strangers to Help Them Have Babies

Meet the Men Having Sex with Strangers to Help Them Have Babies

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Once upon a time, when single women and infertile couples wanted a baby, they would pay a sperm bank to help them. Sometimes it costs thousands of dollars for a successful pregnancy.

But now, those services have gone online, and at the click of a mouse, donors make their sperm available by offering to have sex for free. It's a surprising -- and some say unconventional -- method of making a baby called "natural insemination."Donors connect with women on the Internet who want to become mothers "the natural way," because the recipients believe having sex maximizes their potential for getting pregnant.ABC News' 20/20 talked to one sperm donor who calls himself "Joe" and says he's fathered more than 30 children.“I’m not having intercourse with these women when there’s no chance of pregnancy,” he said.Joe, a married man with three teenage children, asked 20/20 to hide his identity because of the double life he said he leads online as a "natural" sperm donor. He said his wife doesn't know about his extracurricular activities, but he has written a book about his experiences entitled, Get Pregnant for Free on the Internet with a Private Sperm Donor.“I have a Clark Kent life. Then, I have the Superman life,” Joe said. “People might want to have millions of dollars in the bank, and then, you know, some of us might want to have dozens of children out there.”When he is not working as an Internet entrepreneur, Joe travels around the country to impregnate women from every walk of life. Sometimes Joe ships his sperm for artificial insemination, but he often donates by having sex.After seven years, Joe said he has slept with over 100 women for natural insemination.“I'm unable to have as many children as I want in my relationship, and that would be unreasonable to ask a woman to give birth to 30 children,” said Joe.When asked how many children he expected to have over his lifetime, Joe's answer was surprising.“The World Health Organization said I can get up to 2,500, but I don't think that will happen in my lifetime. The other donors I know who have a lot [of children] are up there around the 100 range. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants.”“I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have another descendant out there,” Joe said. “It’s not the road. It’s how we get there, if we actually get there.”Kyle Gordy is also a donor. In addition to pursuing his master’s degree in accounting, he offers his sperm for free to women who want a baby.“I don’t do any drugs. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t drink caffeine. I eat only sperm-friendly food: wheat, brown rice...fruit and vegetables,” Gordy told 20/20.The 23-year-old said he has what it takes to be anyone’s father.

“Right now I’m attending university. Both siblings are engineers. The nuclear engineer is my twin. My grandpa was a scientist,” said Gordy.On his online advertisement to be a sperm donor, Gordy posted photos of himself as a child and as an adult and information about himself, including his hair color and IQ.No question is off limits for prospective sperm recipients who contact Gordy, who's been asked: “‘Is your sperm good? Have you had success in the past? How do I know you’re going to get me pregnant? How do I know you won’t flake?’”While he doesn't get paid for donating his sperm, Gordy said his purpose is not about sex, but about creating new life."I’m passing on my legacy and giving these people kids,” Gordy said.In fact, Gordy said his first child was born recently. “I feel like, wow, I did it,” said Gordy.One of Gordy's sperm recipients, 44-year-old Serena, asked 20/20 to conceal her identity. She recently drove two hours to be naturally inseminated by Gordy at his home. Serena said she’s never been married and longs for a child.“Always, since I was a very young child, and sometimes career and life just gets in the way,” the insurance broker told 20/20. “Then oops, I’m 38. Oops, I’m 40.”Though she’s thought about going the traditional route and getting married, Serena said dating is difficult.“I don’t care if I have a husband or a man, I just want the child,” said Serena.Serena was also unable to afford the fees at a sperm clinic. Sperm banks such as California Cryobank have strict standards screening for disease, genetic history and even physical characteristics. A vial of sperm costs about $700.After turning to the Internet for help, Serena said the words “free sperm” led her to Gordy.“[I felt] that there’s maybe no other alternative for me. My clock is obviously ticking loud and louder every day,” she said.Serena will also soon find out if she’s a mother at last. She said she’s prepared for what she will say to her child about his or her father.“Kyle and I like to think of ourselves as friends too,” Serena said. “My friend is my donor.”Serena is just one of many other women online eager to become pregnant. Another natural insemination recipient already has a 4-year-old son, but wanted another child. After she split from her boyfriend, she began searching for options.“I think just always growing up thinking I’d find the right man and always had that fairy tale growing up,” the woman told 20/20. “Hopefully, I find the right man, eventually, but maybe he won’t be the biological father of my children.”Three tries with artificial insemination where she inserted donor sperm herself failed, so she tried natural insemination.“I had read a couple of books that talked about fresh semen being a lot more effective than frozen sperm,” the woman said.She said she found hundreds of men online to choose from, but she chose a man who advertised his “intelligence.” The two met at a local coffee shop.“I thought he was cute,” the woman said. “But, yet, I had to keep reminding myself, ‘This is a donor, not a date.’”They had sex only once, but she is still deeply affected by the memory as she waits to find out whether she is pregnant.“I felt it was sad, at least for me, but it’s the route I’ve chosen,” the woman said. “And I want my son to have a sibling, most of all.”

Watch the full story on ABC News' 20/20 on Friday, Nov. 14, at 10 p.m. ET.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

When an Obsession with Healthy Eating Becomes a Dangerous Risk

When an Obsession with Healthy Eating Becomes a Dangerous Risk

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It was 8 a.m. in Santa Monica, California, and Jenni Victor was meticulously preparing breakfast, one of the many struggles with food she will face that day.“I like my food to look pretty, which is not always the case,” she said. “If something doesn’t come out the way I want it to, or it looks unappetizing to me, I will just throw it away.”Victor was trying to fry eggs, when she got frustrated and slammed the pan back down on the stove, because she hated the way the yolks looked.“A major fail,” she said. “[The eggs are] still perfectly healthy, but I know if I eat it, it’s not going to be appetizing to me, so I’ll just do it again.”The 23-year-old’s battle with extreme perfectionism around food and compulsive attention to every morsel has morphed into a full-blown eating disorder called “orthorexia nervosa,” which means “an obsession with righteous eating.”“Orthorexia has taken a huge toll on my body,” Victor said. “I recently found out that I have adrenal fatigue and an underactive thyroid and I haven’t had a period in almost a year.”In a nation where one-thirds of adults are obese, Victor has an obsession with making sure her food is as healthy and pure as possible -- to the point where she won’t eat it if it’s not perfect.“When you have Orthorexia, every single day is full of anxiety over food,” she said. “From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, you’re thinking about food. Your day is literally consumed with thoughts of food.”For Victor, every bite causes inner turmoil.“I’m scared of gluten, I’m scared of grains, sugar has become another thing I’m trying not to eat very much of,” she said. “Even eating a sweet potato for breakfast, I’m wondering how much sugar is in it.”Victor was 17 years old when her eating disorder began taking over her thoughts. Six years later, every day is still a battle, every meal is fraught with anxiety. Her mother Tracy Victor, whom her daughter still lives with, said she found it baffling.“I remember taking her to doctors’ appointments because she stopped menstruating,” Tracy said. “They all took me aside to another room without Jennifer and was like ‘you know she’s anorexic, you know she has an eating disorder’ and I was like, ‘I’m her mother, I see her eat.’”Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a practicing OBGYN and senior medical contributor for ABC News, says there can be “confusion” with recognizing Orthorexia.“A lot of people who take this type of eating pattern to an extreme can become malnourished, can become underweight or cachectic, and therefore a lot of the signs and symptoms with anorexia nervosa or bulimia can actually overlap with Orthorexia,” Ashton said.Jenni Victor posts pictures of her meals regularly to her Instagram account, a social space that has become a support community for her.“Instagramming has been actually really amazing for me,” she said. “It’s connected me to a lot of other like-minded people, people who are also suffering from eating disorders. I’ve connected with a few girls I would have never been able to meet otherwise.”In fact, Orthorexia has taken on a life of its own on social media. The hashtag #orthorexia has over 40,000 tags on Instagram from around the world, connected to a flood of unappetizing photos of meals.But Ashton says people posting obsessively about each and every bite they eat can signal a much larger problem.“All of a sudden now you put a picture on Instagram and you have potentially hundreds or thousands of people weighing in and saying, ‘how could you eat that, that’s not healthy,’ or ‘that’s so healthy I’m so jealous of that,’ it’s like throwing gasoline on the fire for someone that really is on the edge to be tipped over into something that’s pathological,” she said.Jordan Younger became a vegan sensation on Instagram, with almost 90,000 followers to date, obsessively chronicling her meals on her blog “The Blonde Vegan,” until her restrictive diet dissolved into Orthorexia.“When it turns into an obsession rather than something that you’re doing because you’re passionate about it, and you’re excited about it, it just takes over your mind,” Younger said.Younger said she restricted her diet so much that she developed a strange rash, grew weak and, like Victor, stopped menstruating.“I started realizing that I had vitamin deficiencies,” Younger said. “I was malnourished, I was very much restricting myself through the shield of veganism.”But when she revealed her Orthorexia publicly and said she was quitting veganism, Younger said she got surprising mixed reactions from fans, including death threats.“It’s nuts, for people who are obsessed with not hurting animals, [they] can be so cruel,” she said.Victor said she saw a reflection of herself in Younger’s blog posts, and said she wasn’t surprised when she went public with her eating disorder.“I think one of the biggest signs of someone who is suffering from Orthorexia is when it’s so obvious they already have such a healthy lifestyle yet they’re constantly setting goals to be healthier,” Victor said. “I wanted to feel empty... I felt even if I was eating anything at all i had done something wrong, unless it was kale or green juice.”Both Younger and Victor said they took comfort in knowing they are not suffering alone, but the struggle is ultimately a solitary one.“There is that twisted aspect of having a disorder where you kind of don’t want to recover from it because you’ve put so much of yourself into being this way that you almost don’t know what you’re life is really going to be about without all these food rules and strict ways of doing things,” Victor said. “I think I’m almost scared to see who I am without all of the stresses I’ve placed upon myself.”Victor said she is slowly trying to stop demonizing certain foods, having found out the hard way that too much of a good thing can be bad. In the three months since she was interviewed, she said she has made major progress and is free of her old ways.“Recovery is not easy and it’s extremely easy to get down on yourself and think that it’s too hard to do, but I know that it’s not and I know I can do this, and I think just having that strength and knowing I can if I try hard enough is enough to push me to succeed,” she said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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