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Obama Says Climate Change’s Impact on Health Is Personal for Him

Obama Says Climate Change’s Impact on Health Is Personal for HimKevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama says that climate change became a personal issue for him when his older daughter Malia, now 16, was rushed to the emergency room with an asthma attack when she was just a toddler.“Well you know Malia had asthma when she was 4 and because we had good health insurance, we were able to knock it out early…,” the president told ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, in a one-on-one interview yesterday. “And if we can make sure that our responses to the environment are reducing those incidents, that's something that I think every parent would wish for.”Besser, who met with the president Wednesday at Howard University's Health Sciences Simulation Lab, asked the president why people should care about the impact of climate change on public health when there are so many other pressing health problems.“Keep in mind that climate change is just one more example of how the environment will cause health problems, and I think most people understand that,” the president responded.Obama said that when he went to college in 1979 in Los Angeles, he could feel his lungs burn after about five minutes of running outside because the smog and pollution were so bad."We took steps to deal with it, and today, it's not perfect, but it's a whole lot better,” Obama said. “And the same thing is true with climate change.”The science of climate and its effect on health is indisputable, the president said. More severe wildfires that send more particulates into the air and longer-lasting allergy seasons will lead to higher rates of asthma. Higher temperatures could also mean that heatstroke in cities will become a severe public health problem.“So the idea here is that by having doctors, nurses, public health officials who've come together highlighting the consequences of warmer temperatures, not only can communities start thinking about adapting and planning around those issues but individual families can also recognize that there is a link here, and collectively we can start doing something about it,” he said.Besser’s interview with the president comes on the heels of a White House announcement earlier in the week setting out a series of initiatives to deal with the impact of climate change on the well-being of Americans. The actions include the upcoming White House Climate Change and Health Summit featuring the surgeon general and a challenge later in the year that invites tech experts to use government data to help resolve unanswered questions about climate change's impact on public health.See the interview in its entirety Wednesday on Good Morning America.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Walk Your Work Stress Away During Lunch

Walk Your Work Stress Away During Lunch iStock/Thinkstock(PERTH, Australia) — So it’s been a rough morning at work and your lunch break can’t come soon enough. Are you going to spend it at your desk to pour out your troubles on social media?An Australian researcher warns that’s the last thing you should be doing.Curtin University psychological scientist Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani says the best way to relieve stress is to get out in the open air and walk around -- really walk around.After conducting an experiment with university colleagues who ordinarily got less than 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise, Thogersen-Ntoumani and her team discovered that the group that was sent on three half-hour group-led walks at lunch over the course of several months noted a marked improvement in their work attitudes.The walkers felt less stress, less tension, more relaxed and, perhaps most significantly, believed that their work performance improved.The study compared their brightened outlook following walks to what’s known as the “runner’s high,” which comes from the release of endorphins that produces a mild sense of euphoria and helps to relieve stress and depression.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Married Teens May Be at Greater Risk of Having Children with ADHD

Married Teens May Be at Greater Risk of Having Children with ADHD iStock/Thinkstock(TURKU, Finland) — Here’s another reason for young people to postpone marriage until they at least reach their 20s: marrying in your teens might greatly increase the likelihood of having a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.In fact, researcher Roshan Chudal of the University of Turku, Finland says that even if one parent is younger than 20, the risk of childhood ADHD jumps by 50 percent.The findings of Chudal’s study were based on examining data from 50,000 Finnish people.Chudal explains that teens who get married are often the product of young parents, which may come with the genetic risk of ADHD, particularly if there is a history of family psychiatric problems.What further boosts the risk of having this disorder characterized by lack of concentration and impulsive behavior are physical and environmental factors such as the mother’s social and economic status and whether she smoked during the pregnancy.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cigarette Warning Labels Pack More Punch with Graphic Images

Cigarette Warning Labels Pack More Punch with Graphic Images iStock/Thinkstock(PULLMAN, Wash.) — Powerful anti-smoking public service announcements on TV that depict sick or dying people are believed to have had a powerful effect on many viewers, convincing some, in fact, to give up the habit.However, the written warning labels on packs of cigarettes, while certainly stark, might not deliver the same punch as the TV spots since the visual consequences of smoking’s side effects are missing.As a result, Washington State professor of psychology Renee Magnan surveyed young people ages 18-25 who were both smokers and non-smokers as well as students and non-students. They were asked their opinions about simple cigarette warning labels and those that were enhanced with graphic images.By and large, the respondents felt that the text-image combinations helped them to better understand the long-term effect of cigarettes by presenting them with more knowledge about various consequences such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and even impotence.They also admitted that these enhanced labels made them worry more about what might happen if they smoke and, as a result, acted as better deterrents than just a written warning.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most Young Adults Find Birth Control Morally Acceptable

Most Young Adults Find Birth Control Morally AcceptableFuse/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The availability of birth control has become something of a hot-button topic since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.But the Public Religious Research Institute had a different, more fundamental question that it posed to 2,315 young adults ages 18 to 35 -- namely, is birth control morally acceptable?An overwhelming majority of respondents, 71 percent, answered yes, it is. Just nine percent felt birth control is not morally acceptable.Although the Roman Catholic Church preaches against birth control, 72 percent of white Catholic millennials and 68 percent of Hispanic Catholic millennials said it's morally acceptable to use contraception.Meanwhile, 81 percent of survey respondents say that all women should have access to contraception.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Blue Bell Creameries Expands Ice Cream Recall

Blue Bell Creameries Expands Ice Cream Recall Marzia Giacobbe/iStock/Thinkstock(BRENHAM, Texas) – Blue Bell Creameries said on Tuesday it is expanding the recall of products produced at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, manufacturing plant where ice cream contaminated with a deadly strain of listeria was traced last month.The company announced on its website the recall now includes Banana Pudding Ice Cream pints that tested positive for listeria, and additional products manufactured on the same line.The products being recalled were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores, and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.The company said the items have the potential to be harmful to young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. No illnesses have been confirmed to date from the recently recalled products.Last week, Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily suspended operations the Oklahoma plant to inspect the facility. The company announced in a statement that it was taking the action out of an “abundance of caution” to determine what caused the initial contamination. After eating ice cream products from Blue Bell Creamery at a hospital in Wichita, Kansas between January 2014 and January 2015, five people were sickened. Three of the patients who were sickened at the Wichita hospital later died, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a warning last week, recommending that people not eat any Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma production facility.A full list of the recalled items is available on Blue Bell’s website. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

More Teens Would Require Cholesterol Medication if Treated Under Pediatric Guidelines, Study Says

More Teens Would Require Cholesterol Medication if Treated Under Pediatric Guidelines, Study Says Zoonar RF/Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teenagers are a medication gray zone for many pediatricians, straddling both the child and adult guidelines. When it comes to high cholesterol, a well-recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease that often emerges during adolescence, doctors will often use adult’s guidelines. However, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics examines what would happen if the pediatric guidelines for cholesterol were used for teens. Researchers found that doing so would put more than 400,000 individuals ages 17 to 21 into a category for which medication would be required. The reason? Pediatric guidelines figure in other risk factors such as high blood pressure or obesity, according to researchers. Even though these teens would not require any cholesterol medication under the adult guidelines, under the pediatric guidelines they would. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Is Breast Milk Sold Online Really Breast Milk?

Is Breast Milk Sold Online Really Breast Milk? Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People sell human breast milk on the Internet, but there’s no oversight when it comes to quality. Now, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics further examines Internet-purchased breast milk. Researchers anonymously purchased 102 breast milk samples online from U.S.-based websites and used DNA markers specific to cow or human DNA to determine the source. All of the samples contained breast milk, testing positive for human DNA, but 11 percent also tested positive for cow DNA, according to the study.  In 10 of the 11 mixed samples, at least 10 percent of the milk was cow’s milk, perhaps to increase the quantity levels for sale, researchers said. Milk that contains any form of cow’s milk might be harmful to babies with an allergy. The study’s researchers say parents should bear that in mind before purchasing breast milk online. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl Gets Facial Deformity Fixed Thanks to Anonymous Donor

Girl Gets Facial Deformity Fixed Thanks to Anonymous Donor Dr. Gregory Levitin/Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital (NEW YORK) -- Just hours before a 3-year-old was supposed to have lengthy surgery on a facial malformation, the pint-size patient told her doctor how the operation would make her feel. “Feel pretty,” Kaitlin Nguyen told her surgeon Dr. Gregory Levitin, director of the Vascular Birthmark Center at Mount Sinai Roosevelt in New York. Kaitlin is undergoing a procedure Tuesday funded by an anonymous donor to remove a large lymphatic malformation that has left part of her face bulging out. “She’s not shy,” Levitin said of Kaitlin. “She’s walking around here charming all the nurses and pushing the wheelchairs.” Kaitlin was born with a large lymphatic malformation on her face, meaning lymphatic tissue was growing under the skin on her face similar to a cancerous tumor. While the growth wasn't cancerous or life-threatening, Kaitlin's mother was eager to get it removed. "I know kids are very cruel at school," Kaitlin's mother, Thuy Nguyen, told ABC News. The family from the Los Angeles area had tried to have Kaitlin's malformation removed before, when she was just a year old. But in that case the surgeon came back unable to remove much of the tissue due to the complicated placement of growth, according to Kaitlin's current physician, Dr. Levitin. "It’s projected and droopy and kind of unusual appearance. They grow in a very deforming way," he said of lymphatic malformations. Levitin is planning to remove the malformation in a possibly lengthy surgery. Removing the growth may seem simple, but Levitin said it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish due to the facial nerves. "We want to remove abnormal tissue but preserve normal tissue including that nerve," said Levitin. "It’s a needle of hay in a haystack.” Levitin said the operation could go for three to six or even more hours if they run into complications. He refuses to remove any part of the growth until he identifies the facial nerves. Comparing it to a “wedding,” Levitin said of the operation, “You know when it starts but not when it ends.” Levitin said it is key to do this surgery when a child is younger because it means it will be easier to manage over time. While the growth could come back as Kaitlin goes through puberty, it will be unlikely to reach the same size it is now. “If you operate at an early age such as now, there’s only 20 percent left,” said Levitin. The surgery is being funded by an anonymous donor. Levitin went to the donor, who he had worked with before, when he found out Kaitlin's family was searching for a way to cover the cost of the operation. “Just by the pictures he fell in love with this girl. He’s happy to do this,” Levitin said of the donor. Nguyen said she was “thrilled” when she heard the news about the anonymous donor who could help her daughter have the surgery. “I wanted to say thank you to the donor who made this happen for Kaitlin, I would love to thank him,” she told ABC News. Levitin said patients with these kind of vascular birthmarks are doubly special to him after his own daughter went through a surgery to have her facial malformation removed 14 years ago. After Kaitlin told her doctor Monday she wants to "feel pretty" after surgery, Levitin kindly disagreed with the toddler. "We're going to do our best, but you're already pretty aren't you?" Levitin told the girl. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why Some Think Lowering Salt Intake May Do More Harm than Good

Why Some Think Lowering Salt Intake May Do More Harm than Good iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For years, Americans, especially those with high blood pressure, have been told that too much salt is bad for their health. But a growing chorus of medical and nutritional experts has begun to push back on that claim.“We have been stuck in a time warp with this advice,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, the chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "There is no solid evidence to support the current recommendations."Nissen pointed to several recent studies that chip away at the American Heart Association guidelines calling for people with high blood pressure to limit their salt intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams daily.One such study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011. Examining the sodium intake of nearly 30,000 people, Irish researchers found that those with a very high intake of salt -- 6,000 to 7,000 milligrams daily -- were at higher risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke. But they also found that those with low salt intake were equally at risk.This finding is important because it raises questions about whether someone with an average American intake of about 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day would benefit from making any reduction, Nissen said. More and better investigations should be done to determine if someone with high blood pressure would be helped or harmed by the current recommendation, he added.It could be that subjects with low sodium intake in studies have health problems that skewed the results in the Irish study and others, according to Alice H. Lichtenstein, the director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University and an AHA spokeswoman.“When we looked at studies for the National Institutes of Medicine, we couldn’t rule out the strong possibility that people with lower sodium intake were sicker subjects and had a greatly diminished food intake in general, and might have been misreporting their intake,” she said.But Lichtenstein admitted that, while the data supports lowering sodium intake down to about 2,300 milligrams daily, there isn't yet much evidence for going down to 1,500. Like Nissen, she said there needs to be more research to get a definitive answer.The current government recommendation on sodium intake for a healthy person is no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, or about a teaspoon. People over 50, African Americans and anyone with high blood pressure or kidney problems should limit their intake to 1,500 the guidelines state. The majority of sodium in the American diet comes from processed foods, the AHA says.Those sodium intake guidelines, followed by millions of Americans, were recently scrutinized by a panel of health and nutrition experts known as the “2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee” with an eye towards possible revision.But Nissen said he doesn’t expect the recommendations to change any time soon.“These ideas are so entrenched it will be difficult to get people to let go of such long-held beliefs,” he said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Boy Develops Potentially Deadly Food Allergies After Blood Transfusion

Boy Develops Potentially Deadly Food Allergies After Blood Transfusion iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When an 8-year-old boy had two surprise allergic reactions in a week to foods that had never bothered him before, his doctors were baffled. Then they learned that the boy had undergone a blood platelet transfusion in the days before the reactions, and that the donor had severe food allergies, according to a case study published on Tuesday. "Right away, we wondered what has happening that was different," Dr. Julia Upton, the boy's allergist and the study author, told ABC News. "Why would he all of the sudden react to a food that he clearly has eaten for years?" Less than two weeks after undergoing transfusions of several blood products as part of his treatment for a brain tumor, the Canadian boy, who is not named in the study, ate salmon and had a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, though he'd eaten it before without problems, according to the study. His lips swelled, his face turned red, and he felt like something was stuck in his throat, Upton said. Emergency room doctors also noted that his blood pressure was low, she said. Four days later, he had another reaction, this time to a peanut butter cup. Again, his face turned red, but this time, he vomited, according to the study. That's when the boy's oncologists called in Upton, a clinical immunology specialist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She knew about "passive transfer" of allergies from blood products and reported it to the hospital transfusion team, who contacted the Canadian blood bank, and learned a donor had several food allergies. "It jut so happened that one of the blood products that the child received contained a lot of plasma from that donor," Upton said. "The plasma is where the antibodies are." Antibodies fight off viruses and harmful bacteria, but in people with allergies, they act up and cause problems when presented with things like peanuts and salmon. But unlike a person who is truly allergic to a food, the boy wasn't making the antibodies on his own. They were simply in the plasma he'd received. As a result, they went away within a few months and he could eat fish and nuts again, Upton said, stressing that this is very rare. Dr. Stacy Dorris, an allergist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who was not involved with the boy's treatment, said blood products are often pooled, meaning several donors contribute to each bag. “There had to be a high enough concentration from a single donor” to produce enough antibodies to cause these reactions, she said. “I think it’s exceedingly rare,” Dorris said. Upton said the boy has since been doing well. "He eats everything now," Upton said. "The last time I spoke to him with the family about this case was around 6 months ago, and his mom told me everything was great." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Deadly Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: How You Can Protect Yourself

Deadly Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: How You Can Protect YourselfiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The deaths of eight family members in Maryland has brought attention to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.Every year 400 Americans die from exposure to carbon monoxide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 4,000 hospitalized and 20,000 ending up in the emergency room as a result of exposure to the colorless, odorless gas. Winter can be an especially dangerous time since space heaters, generators and other portable heating devices can leak carbon monoxide.The signs and symptoms of exposure can be subtle, leading people to try and sleep it off instead of heading straight for the emergency room. So here's the information you need to know to stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.Sign and SymptomsCarbon monoxide can be deadly but its initial symptoms can be mild, starting off as just a headache and sleepiness.Dr. Jerri Rose, a program director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, said early symptoms, including fatigue, headache, nausea and short of breath, can often appear to be an early flu.In severe cases, a person can become confused or faint due to the effects. In rare cases, death is possible.Doctor may also notice a slight redness in the face or lips of a person with CO poisoning in rare cases, Rose said."In actual reality, few physicians ever see that," Rose said of the red face symptoms. "Generally there’s not really anything you can look at by telling someone."Carbon Monoxide SafeguardsThe CDC recommends that everyone have a carbon monoxide detector in their home. Rose suggests that people who live in a multilevel home have detectors for every floor of their home, similar to their smoke detector.Common sources of carbon monoxide are internal combustion engines or heating sources. Every year, doctors hear stories of people killed by carbon dioxide as they tried to heat their homes, Rose said.To protect against carbon monoxide poisoning, the CDC recommends that heating systems that have chimneys be checked by a technician every year. Make sure gas appliances are vented properly and never use a generator, camp stove or oven as a heater indoors.The Maryland family killed on Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning were using a generator to heat their home, according to authorities.A full list of advice from the CDC can be found here.How Does Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Work?When the body absorbs carbon monoxide, hemoglobin cells can start to attach to those molecules instead of oxygen molecules. As a result, the blood cannot deliver vital oxygen to organs and muscles.There is no "safe" level of exposure to carbon monoxide, Rose said, and acute symptoms can occur in minutes or days depending on the level of CO exposure.TreatmentDoctors usually treat carbon monoxide by giving the affected person oxygen through a mask, according to Rose.In extreme cases, doctors can rush a patient to a hyperbaric chamber, which can help raise blood oxygen levels more quickly since the oxygen is pressurized, Rose said.Early treatment is critical, according to Rose, who said patients shouldn't be afraid to get help for symptoms that may appear minor."It’s important for people to be aware if they have any symptoms at all, they should come in and get checked out," she said. "If they suspect that they could be [exposed] it could be very life-threatening to not seek medical attention, especially in winter time.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Green Tea May Slow Memory Loss in the Elderly

Green Tea May Slow Memory Loss in the ElderlyiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Green tea, anyone?Japanese researchers suggest this venerable beverage’s properties put people 60 and older at lower risk for dementia and decline in cognitive thinking.The researchers asked hundreds of participants how often they drank green tea, black tea, and coffee. Those who enjoyed green tea daily or drank it between one and six days a week earned higher grades on thinking and memory tests than people who don't consume any green tea.Black tea and coffee drinkers didn't do as well on memory and thinking tests.While green tea may contribute to sharper thinking among the elderly, no definite cause-and-effect link could be established, since the researchers didn’t ask how long any of the participants had consumed the beverage of their choice.Furthermore, those who showed a decline in thinking skills generally exercised less, had fewer hobbies, and were less educated than the sharper thinkers.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fifteen Very Good Reasons to Exercise

Fifteen Very Good Reasons to ExerciseiStock/Thinkstock(ORANGE, Calif.) — Better weather means gradual shedding of your winter clothes, which means you'll be revealing more of yourself to the world.Is there any better reason to get yourself in shape than through exercise?Frank Frisch, PhD and director of kinesiology at Chapman University in Orange, California, has drawn up a list of 15 benefits of exercise that may seem obvious enough, but that obviously bear repeating, as published in Health.com:1. Exercise gives you more vim and vigor.2. Exercise jump-starts your sex drive.3. Exercise keeps your skin soft and glowing.4. Exercise improves your posture.5. Exercise improves your flexibility.6. Exercise boosts your mood.7. Exercise helps you sleep soundly.8. Exercise keeps your metabolism high.9. Exercise slows cell aging.10. Exercise reduces belly fat.11. Exercise relieves stress.12. Exercise enhances your memory.13. Exercise makes your heart more efficient.14. Exercise protects you from heart disease.15. Exercise improves your blood flow.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Little Scientific Evidence Behind Most Weight-Loss Programs, Study Finds

Little Scientific Evidence Behind Most Weight-Loss Programs, Study Finds george tsartsianidis/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for swimsuit season, a new study has come out saying there's very little scientific evidence to prove most diet and weight-loss regimens actually help people lose weight and keep it off. After reviewing more than 4,200 studies to evaluate various weight-loss programs -- from large, commercial programs to self-directed regimens -- researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that only a few dozen of these studies were "scientifically rigorous and reliable" and even fewer showed at least modest evidence of sustained weight loss over one year. "I had hoped that more rigorous scientific studies of these programs had been done," said lead study author Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, assistant professor of medicine and weight loss specialist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Gudzune's review showed that there were at least some studies showing long-term evidence for weight loss, she and her team wrote in the study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Though many, if not all, weight-loss programs have their shortcomings, most of them have at least some benefit when compared to forgoing weight-loss regimens altogether, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. "There is clearly some weight-loss benefit to a structured program as opposed to no program," said Katz, who was not involved in the study. "The larger commercial weight-loss programs have funded trials. Others that may be as good or better [than commercial programs] cannot afford [the research], so we tend to keep hearing about the same players again and again." Although Gudzune pointed out that there wasn't enough substantial research to support most of these programs, she was pleased to learn that studies of these products, services and programs have increased over the last 10 years. Gudzune said good research behind weight-loss programs is important because doctors recommend them to help patients lose weight. "It's critical to understand whether these programs might be a good fit," she said. "I see them as an adjunct to the other care that I provide." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

After Daughter Dies From Brain-Killing Amoeba, California Mom Wants ‘Amoeba Awareness’

After Daughter Dies From Brain-Killing Amoeba, California Mom Wants ‘Amoeba Awareness’ Courtesy Sybil Meister (TEMECULA, Calif.) -- A Temecula, California, mother is raising “amoeba awareness” after her newlywed daughter died last October from a brain-killing amoeba called Balamuthia. Sybil Meister started what she’s named the “Team Koral Reef Amoeba Awareness” campaign on Facebook after losing her daughter Koral Reef Meister-Pier to amoebic meningoencephalitis, a brain infection, she told ABC News Monday. “My daughter was someone who had a contagious laugh, who was so generous and always cooked for everyone,” Meister said. “And now she’s gone. It’s been less than six months since my daughter died, and her family, friends and I want to raise awareness about these deadly amoebas.” But despite what they see as good intentions, doctors said they’re worried about unnecessary public paranoia, considering that amoebic brain infections are very rare. Meister said her daughter Koral began experiencing symptoms in the fall of 2013. “She started complaining about headaches, stiff neck nausea, blurry vision, vomiting sensitivity to heat and light,” Meister said. “Koral also started having personality changes and mood swings.” Koral, who was known to be a happy, energetic and healthy gal, became lethargic, emotional and unwilling to work, Meister added. Despite her worsening state, Koral tried to hide what was wrong because she was scared of going to the doctors, her mother said. “By June 2014, we had to take her to the ER,” Meister said. “Her headaches and sensitivity to light were so bad that her husband had to constantly keep her in a dark room, and she started having twitching on the left side of her body.” Doctors thought Koral was just suffering from birth control withdrawal since she had just got off her pills recently, and she was discharged, Meister said. Koral kept suffering from the same symptoms, but she kept cancelling appointments her mom made for her because she didn’t want anyone to worry and thought she could fix it herself, Meister said. “But on September 29, we had to take her back to the ER, and she never came out,” Meister said. “Her vision got so bad she would almost be completely blind at times, and her twitching just got worse.” Doctors discovered a huge mass in her brain, inflammation and dead tissue, which they eventually figured out was being caused by Balamuthia ameba, Dr. Navaz Karanjia, who treated Koral, told ABC News Monday. Karanjia directs neurocritical care and the neuro-intensive-care unit at University of California San Diego’s Health System. Based on Koral’s symptoms and history, Karanjia said she believed Koral contracted the amoeba in 2013. Meister believes Koral contracted the Balamuthia ameba when they vacationed as a family at Lake Havasu in Arizona. However, Karanjia believes this isn’t the case. “I think it’s dangerous to put a name and place to blame for an infection when you aren’t sure,” Karanjia said. “It’s easy to sensationalize the story, but this particular amoeba has almost always been contracted through inhalation of dust. It’s possible she got it through water, but it’s highly unlikely.” Karanjia added that amoeba brain infections are rare, though they can be highly fatal. And because Balamuthia ameba are primarily found in soil and dust, doctors and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not currently believe there’s much that can be done in terms of prevention, Karanjia said. “There is about a 13-percent chance of survival,” Karanjia said. “However, there have only been 94 cases reported to the CDC [since 1974], and there were only six cases last year.” “We don’t want people to stress trying to avoid something so ubiquitous,” Karanjia said. “And these free-living amoebic infections are definitely not at the level of an epidemic.” This is a different variety of amoeba than Naegleria fowleri -- the one that Louisiana officials found in a local water supply last summer. Balamuthia causes more chronic symptoms, while Naegleria fowleri tends to be acute and kills much quicker, doctors said. The best bet for treating Balamuthia ameba brain infections is early detection, Karanjia said, adding that you’re more likely to develop a brain infection from bacteria or viruses. “If you’re experiencing constant headaches, lethargy, nausea and these early general signs, it’s best to go to your doctor right away, so you can figure out what the cause of the problem is,” she said. Still, Koral’s mom said she hopes more people will take amoeba and their killing potential more seriously. “People think it’s just this cute little fish-like creature that can bite you,” she said. “But it’s not like that. It can kill you.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mississippi Hospital Treats More than Two Dozen for ‘Spice’ Overdoses

Mississippi Hospital Treats More than Two Dozen for ‘Spice’ Overdoses EyeMark/iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Miss.) -- More than 30 people have been treated at a Mississippi hospital since Thursday for "spice" overdose symptoms, health officials announced Monday.The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, saw at least 33 people over the Easter weekend for symptoms of “spice” overdose, a potent synthetic drug which is meant to recreate the high that comes with marijuana. The synthetic drug is suspected as the cause of one death in Jackson, Dr. Alan Jones, chairman of the UMMC Department of Emergency Medicine, said in a news conference on Monday, according to a report by ABC News affiliate WAPT-TV. Most of the patients are in their 20s or 30s, according to Jones, but there have been younger cases seen at the hospital over the weekend. Hospital officials said in a news release the number of patients at the hospital is likely to go up, as additional suspected overdose patients entered the hospital’s emergency room on Monday.   Number of patients seen at our ED since Thurs. due to the synthetic #marijuana "spice" is now over 30, and rising: http://t.co/7hhxX1VeI2 — UMMC News (@UMMCnews) April 6, 2015 "The problem is we don't know the potency of what we're dealing with," Jones said in a release. "Everybody will have a different reaction. I would say one puff could be bad enough to put someone in a coma." "Spice" is a catch-all name for a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences that are sometimes similar to what a person feels after smoking marijuana. Symptoms of the synthetic drug include agitation, sweating, hyperactivity, hallucinations and acute psychosis. Heath officials say that in some cases, the user can fall into a coma.   Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Canine Flu Outbreak Hits Chicago, Sickens More Than 1,000 Dogs

Canine Flu Outbreak Hits Chicago, Sickens More Than 1,000 Dogs igorr1/iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A rare epidemic of canine flu is spreading throughout the Chicago area, veterinary experts warned. In an advisory issued by the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, officials said more than 1,000 cases had been identified over the past month, and five dogs have died from the disease. The Chicago Park District began posting warning signs at dog parks last week advising dog owners to keep their pets away from any place where there is close contact with other dogs, a spokeswoman for the organization said. Over the weekend the group canceled their annual doggy Easter egg hunt held at a local dog park to prevent the spread of the illness. “We’ve seen a significant increase in respiratory cases over the past month, about 50 to 100 between all of our partner hospitals,” said Dr. Anne Cohen, an emergency and critical care specialty veterinarian at Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. Canine flu symptoms are a lot like human symptoms and include fever, cough, nasal discharge and lack of energy, Cohen said. And just like human flu, it can be caught from sneezes and coughs, nose-to-nose contact or from infected surfaces. Symptoms last for about two weeks until the virus runs its course. Canine flu is actually somewhat rare but highly contagious when it does strike, Cohen said. Dogs that spend a lot of time socializing at parks, day care or the groomers are the most likely to get sick. A canine flu shot exists but Cohen said not all dogs need it. The two-shot vaccination spaced about three weeks apart may not ward off the illness altogether, but can reduce its length and severity. Animals need a booster shot every year for full protection, Cohen said. “This isn’t a typical vaccination we give but because of the outbreak we’re recommending it for all high-risk dogs,” Cohen said. Thankfully, canine flu is rarely fatal, veterinarians said. Anyone concerned about their furry friend catching a case should consult with their veterinarian. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Utah Teen Diagnosed with Rare Water Allergy

Utah Teen Diagnosed with Rare Water Allergy Alexandra Allen(MAPLETON, Utah) -- When Alexandra Allen was a little girl, she wanted to be a marine biologist and live on a sailboat. After being diagnosed with an allergy to water, the 17-year-old from Mapleton, Utah, said she realizes that dream isn't likely to come true.Allen said she had her first severe reaction to water when she was about 12. While on vacation with her family, she went swimming in a hotel pool and later that night woke up itching and covered in hives, she recalled. "I remember sitting in the bathroom trying so hard not to scratch myself and make it worse until my mom came back with the Benadryl," the high school senior told ABC News.She said she assumed at first that she was allergic to chlorine or some other harsh chemical, so she avoided swimming pools. But she knew the problem was much larger when she broke out into hives after swimming in a lake known for having very clean water.When Allen was about 15 she came across a medical site that highlighted aquagenic urticarial, a condition defined by a painful reaction from skin contact with water as well as dry skin and dry eyes, she said, noting that it described her symptoms perfectly. And when she took it to her dermatologist, he agreed."He brought in a few other doctors and they just sat around in awe," she recalled, adding that the test to confirm the diagnosis, which involved soaking in a tub of water, felt "like being tortured."Aquagenic urticarial is so rare that only about 50 cases have been described in medical literature, said Dr. Barney J. Kenet, a dermatologist with the Cornell Medical Center."It's a real thing. We learn about it in medical school, though I have never seen a case in my practice," Kenet said.While not a true allergy, it causes severe allergy-like reactions, even after exposure to rain, snow, sweat or tears, according to an article in the Journal of Allergy Immunological Practice, one of the few studies to describe the disease. It tends to affect women more than men and usually first appears during puberty.The cause of aquagenic urticarial is not well understood, Kenet said. One theory is that the sweat glands within the skin produce a toxin that triggers the allergic response, he said. Or it could be that antigens that cause the immune system to produce antibodies are absorbed in the skin after dissolving in water to trigger the allergic reaction.Finding ways to avoid water has definitely been a challenge, Allen said. Obviously swimming is out. She has become a vegetarian to reduce the oils in her skin, avoids sweating and can only take two to three very short, cold showers a week, she said. Even humid climates can bring on a reaction, as she found out last year during a trip to Cambodia with a humanitarian aid group.Her condition is thought to be degenerative, meaning that it gets worse with time and repeated exposures, Allen said. She expects at some point that drinking water may become a problem. Last year, she spoke to a British woman with the same diagnosis who told her she can now only drink Diet Coke.But Allen said she remains positive. She tries to focus on the upside of her situation."At least I'm not allergic to dogs -- and it does get me out of doing the dishes," she said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wife Refuses to Give Up on Husband in Coma – Then He Awakens

Wife Refuses to Give Up on Husband in Coma – Then He Awakens iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Danielle Josey Davis had been married only seven months when a devastating motorcycle accident left her husband on life support and in a coma.Doctors recommended letting Matt Davis die because there was a 90 percent chance he would never wake up, but Danielle told ABC News she decided it just wasn't time yet. Then, one day, he woke up."I'm sure glad I married her," Matt Davis told ABC News Monday, though he doesn't remember Danielle from before the 2010 crash that caused his traumatic brain injury.Danielle was 24 when the accident happened, and had only started dating Matt, then 23, two months before their wedding.Matt's father had died two years before the accident, and his mother was too ill to take care of him, Danielle said. But Danielle made the decision to keep him on life support and eventually fought to get him into rehab and to take him home, moving back into her mother's house."If we've got to bring him home, let's make sure he has the best view in the world," she remembered telling her mother. "If he's going to be a body in a bed, let's give him something to look at."Soon, Matt started following them with his eyes, and then he started communicating, Danielle said.Three months after the accident, Danielle was holding Matt up in his bed trying to emulate what his therapist had done in rehab by asking him to reach out and grab a toy motorcycle. He'd never done it before, but this day, he did it, Danielle recalled. It was a start.The moment Danielle really felt that her husband's personality was still intact was when they asked him what he wanted to eat, and he responded in a barely audible whisper. "I kid you not, he says, 'buffalo chicken wrap from Cheddar's,'" she said, explaining that it had been his favorite food. "We all whipped around because we all knew what he said."They eventually got him to another rehabilitation program for two and a half months. And he left on his own two feet with a walker, Danielle said.It's taken some time for Matt to regain his sense of humor and his long-term memory, but he doesn't remember dating or marrying Danielle. He's gotten to know her all over again. She calls him "Mattie" or "cake," and he calls her "baby" or "doughnut."They play scrabble and enjoy going to yoga classes together, and he's recently started driving a stick shift car for fun because he loves cars, she said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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