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Two Women Receive Experimental Ebola Vaccine in Fast-Tracked Trial

Two Women Receive Experimental Ebola Vaccine in Fast-Tracked Trial

iStock/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Maryland) — The first two doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine have been injected into human subjects in the National Institutes of Health’s fast-tracked clinical trial.

A 39-year-old woman was the first person to receive the vaccine, which had previously only been tested in monkeys. She received the injection Tuesday at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A 27-year-old woman was given the shot Wednesday, the agency said.

The trial will test the safety of the vaccine, which was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It was expedited because of the burgeoning Ebola outbreak in West Africa, where more than 1,900 people have died from the infection, according to the World Health Organization.

The vaccine, which is designed to prevent Ebola, is different from the experimental drug ZMapp, which is designed to treat the infection.

“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, said in an earlier statement.

Although Fauci said the vaccine has “performed extremely well” in primate studies, this is the first time it has been tested in humans.

The phase 1 clinical trial will involve 20 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50, according to the NIH. Researchers will use the study to determine whether the vaccine is safe and see whether it prompts an immune response necessary to protect against Ebola.

No human subjects will be infected with Ebola.

A $4.7 million grant will also go toward additional Ebola vaccine trials in September at the University of Oxford in England, as well as centers in Gambia and Mali, according to GlaxoSmithKline. In all, 140 patients will be tested.

Though Ebola was discovered nearly 40 years ago, it was so rare that drug manufacturers weren’t interested in investing in finding a vaccine for it, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Its rarity also made it impossible for scientists to conduct field studies.

“There’s always the layperson’s query of ‘Why don’t they rush this?’ ‘Why don’t these guys work a little later at night?’” Schaffner told ABC News in July. “It’s a little more complicated than that.”

GlaxoSmithKline became involved in the Ebola vaccine because it bought Swiss vaccine company Okairos AG in 2013. Okairos, originally a Merck spinoff, had been working on the vaccine with the NIH since 2011, a GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman told ABC News.

Although Fauci said in July that it would take until late 2015 for a vaccine — if successful — to be administered to a limited number of health workers, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that the grant will also enable it to manufacture 10,000 doses of the vaccine while the trials are ongoing. If the vaccine trials are successful, it will be able to make stocks available immediately to the World Health Organization.

The NIH said it should have initial data from the trial in late 2014.

The trial for a different vaccine is set to begin at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. This vaccine was a collaboration between the federal Department of Defense and Iowa pharmaceutical company NewLink Genetics Corp.

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Co-Workers Donate Sick Days to LA Teacher Fighting Breast Cancer

Co-Workers Donate Sick Days to LA Teacher Fighting Breast Cancer

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) — One California teacher is happy to simply be back in the classroom as the new school year kicks off.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Carol Clark was forced to stay out of the classroom for nearly the entire year due to treatments and complications.

Eventually she was gone for so long, her health insurance and salary were threatened. But Clark’s benefits were saved after multiple colleagues donated their sick days to the 6th grade teacher.

Clark, 56, a teacher at Jaime Escalante Elementary School in Cudahy, California, ended up receiving an additional 154 sick days from co-workers or other teachers as part of a program run by the Los Angeles Unified School District to help teachers in Clark’s situation, according to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Before the donation Clark had been struggling to keep her salary and benefits. For many teachers in the Los Angeles area, once they use up their sick days and their vacation days they can start losing both their salary and health benefits.

Last year Clark missed nearly all of the school year except for just two months. Clark originally thought she would be able to come back for the spring semester, but she ended up needing major surgery after complications arose.

“I finished chemotherapy. Within a week I developed complications,” said Clark. “I couldn’t come back to school at all.”

To cover her time off, Clark used her vacation days and another 120 sick days that she had accrued over 16 years of teaching. But it wasn’t enough.

At the end of last year, she had no more sick days and was still too sick to teach. Clark had one other option. Her husband, also a teacher at Jaime Escalante Elementary School, was able to rally co-workers and other teachers to donate their sick days as part of the “Catastrophic Illness Donation Program.”

“We get paid for 180 days in the school year. So she got 154, so almost a whole year,” Dave Clark told KABC-TV.

Gayle Pollard-Terry, deputy director of communications for the Los Angeles Unified School District, told ABC News that the program helps around 20 to 25 teachers every year.

“When you run out of all of your sick paid leave…if you run out, you [can] lose your health benefits and your income,” she said.

Pollard-Terry said the program can help fill the gap for sick teachers or school district employees.

She said although most donations are not as extreme as Clark’s tally, there have been at least two other donation drives where more than 150 days were raised for a teacher.

For Carol Clark the outpouring of donations from co-workers both past and present was surprising and emotional. She now has extra days to help her through new surgeries scheduled for this year.

“Other people ask me ‘What do you say to people who donate?’” said Clark. “I don’t know what to say to them. I say thank you. But that doesn’t seem like enough. It was really a tremendous thing that they did.”

Clark said she tried to thank her co-workers in a staff meeting but was too “choked up” to speak. Instead she ended up writing them an email to thank them.

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Doctors Chastise UN over Ebola Response as Third American Tests Positive

Doctors Chastise UN over Ebola Response as Third American Tests Positive

iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) — Another American doctor has tested positive for Ebola in Liberia amid news that aid workers have chastised world leaders for not doing enough to contain the outbreak.

“We cannot cut off the affected countries and hope this epidemic will simply burn out,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, told the United Nations. “To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building.”

The virus has already killed 1,552 people in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. In fact, a little more than half of all Ebola deaths recorded since the discovery of the virus in 1976 have occurred in the last five months, according to WHO data.

Liu had some strong words for the United Nations on Tuesday, urging its member states to do more to curb the outbreak than protect their own borders.

“Doctors Without Borders … has been ringing alarm bells for months, but the response has been too little, too late,” Liu said, declaring that the world was “losing” the battle with Ebola.

Doctors Without Borders is “completely” overwhelmed despite doubling its staff over the last month, she said, urging United Nations member states to deploy disaster response teams well versed in bio-hazard containment.

“Health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers,” Liu said. “Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled.”

She said it is the U.N.’s responsibility to take action.

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Massachusetts Doctor Infected with Ebola in West Africa

Massachusetts Doctor Infected with Ebola in West Africa

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A Massachusetts doctor has been identified as the third U.S. health worker to be infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Rick Sacra, 51, was treating pregnant women in the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, when he was infected, according to missionary group SIM.

Sacra was not treating Ebola patients in the hospital’s separate Ebola isolation facility, the group said, adding that it was unclear how he contracted the virus.

All infected U.S. health workers were working at the ELWA hospital when they contracted the virus.

“My heart was deeply saddened, but my faith was not shaken, when I learned another of our missionary doctors contracted Ebola,” SIM president Bruce Johnson said in a statement.

Sacra “immediately isolated himself” after showing symptoms of Ebola and has since been transferred to the ELWA Ebola ward where he is “doing well and is in good spirits,” according to SIM, an international, interdenominational Christian organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sacra specializes in family medicine and practices in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

SIM is the same missionary group for which Nancy Writebol had been working when she contracted Ebola in July. Writebol and fellow U.S. Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who worked for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment and later declared virus-free after treatment.

Writebol was discharged Aug. 19 and Brantly went home two days later.

Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people and sickened 1,517 others, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

The virus has sickened at least 240 health workers, half of whom have died, according to WHO.

“Ebola is taking its toll in many ways. It directly kills many who it infects, but indirectly it’s killing many more,” said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who just returned from Monrovia, Liberia. “Emergency rooms are closed, many hospital wards are as well, leaving people who are sick with heart disease, trauma, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, malaria and all the everyday health emergencies with nowhere to go.”

“I worry that this latest case, an American doctor contracting Ebola while caring for a maternity patient, will lead overseas groups that are providing non-Ebola support to question whether they can safely do so,” Besser added. “These countries need more medical support. Any further reduction would be disastrous.”

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Parents Who Sought Son’s Cancer Treatment Speak Out After Release from Jail

Parents Who Sought Son’s Cancer Treatment Speak Out After Release from Jail

iStock/Thinkstock(SEVILLA, Spain) — Brett King said he could hear his wife crying as he sat helplessly in a separate Spanish jail cell, arrested for taking their cancer-stricken son out of the United Kingdom for a treatment they say their doctor refused to offer.

The Kings were arrested for taking 5-year-old Ashya out of the country for proton beam therapy, which they said the Southampton University Hospital refused to discuss following the initial surgery to remove Ashya’s tumor.

“When we were in prison, there wasn’t a minute that went by without our hearts hurting to see Ashya,” King told reporters Wednesday. “Being locked up, you can’t do anything.”

He said Ashya wasn’t allowed to have any visitors since their arrest in Spain on Saturday. British prosecutors dropped their arrest warrant on Tuesday, and the couple spoke to the media upon their release Wednesday.

“My heart is still up here,” he said, grabbing his throat. He said he looked forward to reuniting with his son.

“We want to help my son get through this bad time because he hasn’t got too many months to live,” Brett King said.

Ashya was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor located in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that controls motor functions. Ashya had a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of surviving five years, according to a statement from Southampton University Hospital, where Ashya was being treated before the family left for Spain.

After surgery to remove the tumor, King said he wasn’t satisfied with hospital’s treatment plan, which he called “trial and error.” So he researched treatments on the Internet and came up with what he thought was a better approach: proton beam therapy, a type of focused radiation therapy that uses protons rather than X-rays.

“Proton beam is so much better in children with brain cancer,” he said in a YouTube video, holding a nearly motionless Ashya in his arms. “It zones in on the area whereby normal radiation passes right through his head and comes out the other side, destroys everything in his head.”

Though King said he pleaded with his doctors to help him get the therapy for Ashya, they told him Ashya wouldn’t benefit from it because of the kind of tumor he had. But King said his research told him the opposite.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute considers proton beam therapy “under investigation” for tumors like Ashya’s.

King said when he questioned the doctors’ plans, they threatened to take Ashya away from him via a protection order.

“We couldn’t take it anymore, not knowing and not being able to question anything,” King said. “We couldn’t be under that system anymore.”

So on Friday, they took Ashya to Spain, where King intended to sell his property there to pay for the proton beam therapy himself. They planned to take Ashya to the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic.

The family stayed in a hotel room as police searched for them.

“We’ve decided to try and sort it out ourselves, but now we’re refugees,” King said. “We’re not neglecting him. He has everything that he had in the hospital.”

He said he bought syringes, intravenous nutrition and other hospital equipment online.

“Call off this ridiculous chase,” he said. “We just want to be left in peace. …I’m not coming back to England if I cannot give him the treatment that I want.”

The video was shot minutes before King and his wife were arrested, their son Naveed said in a follow-up YouTube video. They faced extradition back to England, but British prosecutors withdrew their arrest warrant Wednesday.

New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan said there isn’t much evidence proton beam therapy would work, but if the family found a legitimate hospital willing to treat Ashya, they have the right to take him there.

“As long as it’s a legitimate place, I think they should be able to do that without being chased all over the globe,” Caplan said.

According to Southampton University Hospital, Ashya “went missing” on Friday, prompting hospital officials to involve police, the hospital’s medical director Dr. Michael Marsh said in a statement.

“We very much regret that the communication and relationship with the King family had broken down in this way and that for whatever reason they have lost confidence in us,” Marsh said, adding the hospital discussed proton beam therapy with the family and concluded there wasn’t evidence to suggest it would work.

But Tuesday, after the Prague center said it would take on Ashya as a patient, Southampton University Hospital said it was “willing to support the family’s transfer” and was “of course open to discussing this.” But now those decisions are up to a judge.

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Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol Recalls Dark Days with Deadly Disease

Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol Recalls Dark Days with Deadly Disease

Bethany Fankhauser/SIM(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Nancy Writebol said she’s “thankful to be alive” and getting stronger each day after surviving Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa.

It’s been nearly a month since the 59-year-old American was evacuated from Liberia, where she had been working at an Ebola ward with the missionary group SIM.

“My job…was to make sure that doctors were suited up properly in their personal protective gear,” Writebol told ABC News, describing how she would also “decontaminate” the doctors as they left the isolation unit. “I was the mama bear.”

Writebol said she has no idea how she contracted the virus, which spreads through contact with body fluids. She remembers leaving work early one day with a fever, which she blamed on malaria.

“I had had malaria once in this past year, and so I knew what that felt like. And it was just the same symptoms,” she said. But doctors tested her for Ebola “just to set everybody’s mind at ease,” she said, and the test came back positive.

Her husband, David, had to deliver the news.

“How do you tell the love of your life that they’ve contracted a deadly disease?” he said, adding that telling the couple’s two sons was “equally difficult.”

Writebol was swiftly isolated and visited by doctors wearing the same protective suits she once helped them put on. She was also given ZMapp, an experimental Ebola drug that had only been tested in monkeys.

She was evacuated by plane on Aug. 4 to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she spent two weeks in isolation.

“It’s a really lonely place to be,” Nancy Writebol said. “When you’re not able to be with people that you love, to be able to touch your husband, or to be able to reach out to your children even.”

“Part of the hellishness of this disease is to be isolated and completely cut off from that contact with ones that you love,” said David Writebol, who was also placed in isolation just in case he had contracted the virus.

More than half of those infected in the Ebola outbreak have died from the disease, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

“I wondered at times whether I would live or die,” Nancy Writebol said, explaining how she turned to God for strength. “His presence really was with me — and I knew that, I could sense it. …I am so thankful for His mercy and His grace.”

But she also credits the experimental drug ZMapp, though doctors have noted that there’s no way to know for sure whether it helped or hindered her recovery.

“I think it was the booster,” she said. “But I also believe that the supportive care was just as important as the serum.”

Dr. Kent Brantly, another American Ebola survivor, also received the drug. Brantly worked for Samaritan’s Purse, a different missionary group.

Writebol said her thoughts are with a third American Ebola patient, a doctor with SIM who contracted the virus while working in a maternity ward.

“We just continue to pray for God’s mercy,” she said.

Despite having walked through “the valley of the shadow of death,” Writebol said she’s not ruling out a trip back to Liberia.

“We’ll see,” she said. “We continue to pray for our friends in Liberia and ask God to be merciful in that situation and to give them all that they need.”

“We pray that this Ebola contagion would be contained, and would be stopped,” she said.

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ADHD Drugs Shown Not to Affect Children’s Height

ADHD Drugs Shown Not to Affect Children’s Height

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents who are concerned that drugs taken to treat their children’s attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shouldn’t worry that these medications will stunt their youngsters’ growth.

That’s according to a new Mayo Clinic study, which contradicts previous findings that were limited by either too few participants or spotty data.

Researchers say the new data looked at hundreds of children with ADHD who used Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta along with kids diagnosed with the condition who took no drugs and youngsters who did not have ADHD.

After a follow-up 26 years and 23 years later of kids with and without the condition, respectively, researchers found no difference in height between the two groups.

Katusic went on to say that there was also no link between the length of time ADHD drugs were taken and adult height. Still, doctors were advised to monitor children’s height regularly whenever medications are administered.

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Time Running Out to Stop Ebola Outbreak, Health Experts Warn

Time Running Out to Stop Ebola Outbreak, Health Experts Warn

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(NEW YORK) — Leading international health officials warned Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak could become impossible to stop without immediate specialized aid from wealthy nations.

Just back from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters that the deadly virus is spreading faster than anyone anticipated and said “the window is closing” if anything is to be done to contain the disease.

Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders gave a grim assessment of the situation in West Africa where the latest outbreak was first diagnosed last April.

DWB President Joanne Liu admitted that her organization is completely overwhelmed by the numbers of people sickened and dying from Ebola.

Pointing to a growing number of infectious bodies left to rot in streets, Liu said that specialized biological disaster response teams are needed to help stop Ebola from spreading from the five countries where cases have turned up.

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Meet the Conjoined Twins Awaiting Surgery to Lead Separate Lives

Meet the Conjoined Twins Awaiting Surgery to Lead Separate Lives

Allen Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital(HOUSTON) — Elysse Mata and her husband John already had one child, 5-year-old Azariah, and now were expecting conjoined twins.

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston was ready for this delicate case. On April 11 at 3:41 a.m., the identical conjoined twin girls were born, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith at 31 weeks, weighing 3 pounds, 7 ounces each.

The girls share a liver, diaphragm, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart) and intestines. Their health was so fragile it was a week before their mom could hold them.

The twins now weigh 10 pounds and 4 ounces, and are still in the level IV intensive care unit at Texas Children’s Hospital, where doctors are waiting for the girls to gain enough weight for the surgery to separate them.

Dr. Stephen Welty, chief of Neonatology at Texas Children’s Hospital, says the outlook for these girls is very good: “The way they are conjoined holds the most promise for a successful separation, and we have a very good team in place when they are ready.”

Elysse Mata says she believes the surgery will be successful. The girl’s middle names are Faith and Hope. “You can’t have faith without hope and hope without faith.”

She doesn’t let the statistics scare her. She says watching her girls smile gives her confidence the surgery will be successful and next year her girls will be back home in Lubbock. “My family has been so blessed, and these girls are our special miracle,” she said.

Doctors said the surgery is expected to be done when the girls are eight months old.

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Teen Diagnosed with Cancer Looks for Cure as Researcher

Teen Diagnosed with Cancer Looks for Cure as Researcher

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — After being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 14, Lauren Bedesky has been fighting the disease as a patient for most of her teen years. It wasn’t until this summer that Bedesky got to fight cancer on an entirely new front — by working in a cancer research lab.

As an intern at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, Bedesky was able to run experiments and explore potential new cancer treatments.

Under the direction of cancer researcher Dr. Dean Lee, Bedesky, she was able to research the same kind of tumor — a type of brain cancer called neuroblastoma, she was diagnosed with in 2012.

“I thought it was really cool, we actually drew my own blood,” Bedesky told ABC News of her experiments. “We grew cells and could see how well my own cells were able to kill the tumor.”

Bedesky said she wanted to work in a cancer research lab after seeing firsthand how many pediatric patients had received treatments made for adults patients.

“In the last 20 years there’s only two drugs designed specifically for pediatric patients,” said Bedesky. “A lot of kids have adult types of toxic [cancer] treatments.”

Lee invited Bedesky to the lab after seeing her work as an ambassador for the St. Baldricks Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research and treatments.

“She’s accomplished enough in the four weeks she’s been here that we have important pieces of data from the experiments she did,” Lee told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.

Bedesky was already a bit of an expert in cancer treatments after undergoing multiple rigorous chemotherapy treatments, stem cell transplants and radiation treatments after her diagnosis.

She said even though she was an expert in cancer treatments as a patient, it was a different experience to see the cancer fight from a researcher perspective.

“I thought it would get redundant,” said Bedesky of working in a lab. “But every day…it was really interesting because all the data [was new.] I didn’t realize how much research and work goes into one new medicine.”

Last October, after years of treatments Bedesky was declared to show “no evidence of disease” meaning there is no sign of the deadly cancer in Bedesky’s system. However, Bedesky’s cancer has a high chance of reoccurrence, so as the teen plans for the future she also remains committed to finding a cure and new treatments for her cancer.

Next year Bedesky said she hopes to go back to Lee’s lab and spent another two months working on new experiments.

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Another American Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in West Africa

Another American Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in West Africa

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Another American doctor working for the missionary group SIM has tested positive for Ebola in Liberia.

The doctor was treating pregnant women at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, according to SIM. But he was not treating Ebola patients in the hospital’s separate Ebola isolation facility, the group said, adding that it was unclear how he contracted the virus.

“My heart was deeply saddened, but my faith was not shaken, when I learned another of our missionary doctors contracted Ebola,” SIM president Bruce Johnson said in a statement.

The doctor “immediately isolated himself” and has since been transferred to the ELWA Ebola ward where he is “doing well and is in good spirits,” according to SIM.

SIM is the same missionary group that Nancy Writebol had been working for when she contracted Ebola in July. Writebol and fellow American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who worked for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment and declared virus-free. Writebol was discharged on Aug. 19 and Brantly went home two days later.

Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people and sickened 1,517 others, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

The virus has also sickened at least 240 health workers, half of whom have died, according to WHO.

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Low-Carb May Be Better Than Low-Fat in Diet Debate

Low-Carb May Be Better Than Low-Fat in Diet Debate

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new medical study found that low-carb diets may be more effective for losing weight than low-fat diets.

Researchers at Tulane University, funded by the National Institutes of Health, compared 73 individuals who embarked on a low-fat diet and 75 who took on a low-carbohydrate diet and studied their daily food intake for one year. Each participant also received individual and group diet counseling sessions.

According to the study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, those who cut out the carbs saw significant benefits in weight loss, decrease of fat mass, decrease in waist circumference, lower triglycerides and increase good cholesterol when compared to those on a low-fat diet.

On average, those in the carb-cutting diet lost about eight pounds more.

The study also indicated that a low-carb diet may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

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Ancient Cookbook Reveals Hangover Cure from 1,000 Years Ago

Ancient Cookbook Reveals Hangover Cure from 1,000 Years Ago

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re hungover, you’ll do anything to make it stop: anti-inflammatory meds, greasy food, even more alcohol.

Here’s one you probably haven’t tried, though — eating an ancient Iraqi stew.

That’s what Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq claimed as the ultimate hangover cure in his 10th century Baghdadi cookbook, helpfully translated by Iraqi scholar Nawal Nasrallah in her book, Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens.

“There were things you take before, things you take while you are drinking, and of course after when you wake up in the morning,” Nasrallah told ABC News of the advice in the ancient cookbook. “For example, cabbage before drinking will slow down intoxication. They also encouraged having mezze [appetizers] and alternating between having them and drinking. Take a sip and have, for example, roasted nuts.”

Al-Warraq was especially specific in his post-drinking advice.

“You need to know that drinking cold water first thing in the morning is recommended only for people suffering from…hangovers,” he wrote. “However, they should avoid drinking it in one big gulp. Rather, they need to have it in several small doses and breathe deeply between one dose and the other.”

So, start by taking deep breaths and sips of cold water, and then follow it up with kishkiyya, a meat and chickpea stew, which al-Warraq included as the best hangover food, citing an even older poem about the dish as evidence.

“The nourishing dish to have when in the gripes of a hangover one craves some food. …Having eaten it intoxicated one will be all anew and the hangover will itself renew,” the poem stated.

“They used to think it was easy to digest and alleviated the symptoms of the hangover,” Nasrallah explained. “It’s a simple dish. They cook the meat with onions, some vegetables, some spices like coriander and cumin and they let it boil. Then they add kishk [pictured above], which the dish gets its name from, which are clumps of dried yogurt and bulgur.”

To make kishkiyya for your next wild night, click here for the recipe.

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Parents Arrested for Trying to Override Doctor’s Cancer Treatment for Son

Parents Arrested for Trying to Override Doctor’s Cancer Treatment for Son

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A British family’s arrest following a flight to Spain to get their cancer-stricken son an experimental therapy highlights the delicate balance between when parents should advocate for their children and when doctor knows best.

The King family was arrested for taking their 5-year-old son out of the country for proton beam therapy, which they said their hospital refused to offer. Ashya King had already undergone surgery to remove the tumor, but was not on any medication at the time his family removed him, they said.

“The line usually is when there’s a proven treatment that a parent is withholding, the state steps in to protect the child,” said New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan. “This family is on the other end of spectrum. They’re saying not that they’re trying to withhold anything that works, but that ‘we want to chase something that might work.’”

Ashya was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor located in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that controls motor functions. Ashya had a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of surviving five years, according to a statement from University Hospital Southampton, where Ashya was being treated.

After surgery to remove the tumor, the boy’s father, Brett King, said he wasn’t satisfied with hospital’s treatment plan, which he called “trial and error.” So he researched treatments on the Internet and came up with what he thought was a better approach: proton beam therapy, a type of focused radiation therapy that uses protons rather than X-rays.

“Proton beam is so much better in children with brain cancer,” he said in a YouTube video, holding a nearly motionless Ashya in his arms. “It zones in on the area whereby normal radiation passes right through his head and comes out the other side, destroys everything in his head.”

Though King said he pleaded with his doctors to help him get the therapy for Ashya, they told him Ashya wouldn’t benefit from it because of the kind of tumor he had. But King said his research told him the opposite.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute considers proton beam therapy “under investigation” for tumors like Ashya’s.

King said when he questioned the doctors’ plans, they threatened to take Ashya away from him via a protection order.

“We couldn’t take it anymore, not knowing and not being able to question anything,” King said. “We couldn’t be under that system anymore.”

So on Friday, they took Ashya to Spain, where King intended to sell his property to pay for the proton beam therapy himself. They planned to take Ashya to the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic.

The family stayed in a hotel room as police searched for them.

“We’ve decided to try and sort it out ourselves, but now we’re refugees,” King said. “We’re not neglecting him. He has everything that he had in the hospital.”

He said he bought syringes, intravenous nutrition and other hospital equipment online.

“Call off this ridiculous chase,” he said. “We just want to be left in peace. … I’m not coming back to England if I cannot give him the treatment that I want.”

The video was shot minutes before King and his wife were arrested, their son Naveed said in a follow-up YouTube video. They faced extradition back to England, but British prosecutors withdrew their arrest warrant Tuesday.

Caplan said there isn’t much evidence proton beam therapy would work, but if the family found a legitimate hospital willing to treat Ashya, they have the right to take him there.

“As long as it’s a legitimate place, I think they should be able to do that without being chased all over the globe,” Caplan said.

According to Southampton University Hospital, Ashya “went missing” on Friday, prompting hospital officials to involve police, the hospital’s medical director Dr. Michael Marsh said in a statement.

“We very much regret that the communication and relationship with the King family had broken down in this way and that for whatever reason they have lost confidence in us,” Marsh said, adding the hospital discussed proton beam therapy with the family and concluded there wasn’t evidence to suggest it would work.

But Tuesday, after the Prague center said it would take on Ashya as a patient, Southampton University Hospital said it was “willing to support the family’s transfer” and was “of course open to discussing this.” But now those decisions are up to a judge.

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Action Flicks May Fuel Mindless Munching, Study Finds

Action Flicks May Fuel Mindless Munching, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) — We’ve all been there before. You hunker down by the TV with a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream or perhaps your very own pizza pie, and before you know it, the credits are rolling, and the food is gone.

Were those pepperoni slices extraordinarily tasty? Or did the title of that Hunger Games movie have a subliminal effect on your appetite? Something made it much easier to eat while you were on that couch, but what exactly?

A new study from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University asks that very question. What it finds is that it’s not TV itself that makes the cheesy puffs go “poof,” but certain shows or movies may stop you from realizing just how much you’re consuming, until it’s too late.

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, was led by Aner Tal, a Ph.D. in consumer behavior at Cornell. Tal hypothesized that distracting, action-packed programming was a key factor.

“If I go to the cinema and I’m really engrossed in the movie, I find myself with an empty bucket of popcorn 10 minutes later,” Tal said. “In a previous study, people would even eat stale popcorn if they weren’t paying attention.”

Accordingly, he chose a 20-minute segment from a film that was bound to capture attention: Michael Bay’s action movie The Island. For a less distracting option, he chose an excerpt from the interview program Charlie Rose.

Tal and his colleagues then recruited three groups of about 30 college students each. One group watched the clip from The Island, while another group watched the same clip without sound. The third group watched the Charlie Rose segment. Meanwhile, these students were supplied with as many M&M’s, cookies, carrots and grapes as they liked.

The results? The students who watched the action movie ate nearly twice as much of all the snacks than those watching the comparison show, which had far fewer camera cuts and fluctuations in sound. Even the students who watched the soundless version of the action movie ate more than the control group.

This, Tal said, was a surprise.

“We expected the action movie to get people to eat more than the laid-back talk show,” he said. “What had never been shown before is that even without sound, you could still get higher levels of engagement, which is relevant if you think about contexts where TV is on in the background, like at bars and restaurants.”

The study’s findings also suggested that the flashy film with jarring camerawork had a bigger impact on male subjects than female subjects. Regardless, the students consumed all snacks in increased amounts in the action film group, suggesting that eating was indiscriminate and based on what was close at hand.

Tal clarified, however, that the findings of the study do not necessarily mean that television is inherently harmful.

“It has been associated with increased BMI and sedentary lifestyle, but ‘everything in moderation’ applies to TV as well as food,” he said. “We’re also interested in how online content influences consumption. In theory, it should work the same way.”

More studies might be needed to confirm these findings, however. Dr. Kelly Pritchett, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said this study, while interesting, was not conclusive.

“It’s hard to infer what this means for the general population,” said Pritchett, who was not involved with the study. “It’s just one group. We don’t know how this would apply to middle-aged Americans. We also don’t know anything about these students, about their families or socioeconomic status.”

Doctor’s Take

A growing body of evidence suggests that the factors that lead to obesity and unhealthy eating habits have to do with much more than simply what is on our plates. This study is the latest to demonstrate how distractions in our environment can affect our behavior when it comes to food.

“We’re trying to help people avoid mindless eating traps,” Tal said. “More distracting content is more dangerous.”

So what can you do to counter this tendency? Tal says the solutions are simple.

“If you have to snack, you can pour out a reasonable portion and put the rest in the kitchen,” he said. “Getting up for more would require conscious engagement. If you have to have endless snacks, instead of chips or candy, you can have baby carrots.”

As for those who prefer to settle in for a quiet evening with Charlie Rose, Tal said he did not intend the study to diminish the importance of in-depth talk shows.

“I was constantly thinking about that when I wrote the paper,” he said. “If he found out about it, I would have to say, ‘nothing personal.’”

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Breastfeeding May Influence Kids’ Eating Habits at Age 6

Breastfeeding May Influence Kids’ Eating Habits at Age 6

Polka Dot/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — What you feed your child in his or her first year of life could very well predict their health habits at age 6, according to a new report from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings provide a lens to understanding childhood obesity rates, which have more than doubled in the past 30 years.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,500 mothers and concluded that children who were breastfed for longer periods as infants tended to eat more healthily at age 6 — drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, and indulging in fewer sugar-sweetened beverages.

Moreover, the children whose parents introduced them earlier to healthful foods between 6 months and a year of age tended to continue to enjoy a healthier diet later on. For example, when mothers fed their children sugar-sweetened beverages or juice during the first year of life, their children were twice as likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages at age 6.

The study was published Tuesday in a special supplement of the journal Pediatrics.

“Seeing these relationships between early feeding and later health really emphasizes the importance of following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said Kelly Scanlon, one of the CDC researchers who authored the study.

These recommendations urge exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed by continued breastfeeding until the infant is a least 1 year old. They also suggest that parents introduce complimentary foods starting at six months that are healthy and nutrient rich.

The findings underscore a simple fact that is gaining traction in the field of childhood nutrition: preference for flavor in a child begins early. And it can even begin in the womb, some research suggests.

Scanlon said that breast milk, too, exposes infants to a variety of flavors, which studies have shown makes them more accepting than formula-fed infants of various flavors.

Childhood nutrition experts not involved with the study said the findings provide additional weight to the importance of shaping a child’s diet early. Dr. David Katz, editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity and director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said the findings serve to underscore the long-established relationship between breastfeeding and health in mothers and children.

“The question we need to be asking is not ‘Why should mothers breastfeed?’ but, ‘Why shouldn’t they?’” Katz said. “For all mammals, our first food is breast milk.”

The study also points to other benefits of breast feeding. Kids who breast fed for longer in infancy tended to have a lower risk of ear, throat and sinus infections at age 6. The study also noted that mothers may have much to gain — or lose, in this case — as obese mothers who adhered to breastfeeding recommendations retained about 18 pounds less than obese women who did not breastfeed once their children reached the age of 6.

Doctor’s Take

This new study is only the latest in a growing body of research that suggests that there are things that mothers (and fathers) can do when their children are still very young to set them on the right path to healthy behaviors later. For women, this means breastfeeding your child if possible according to AAP guidelines. And for both parents, it means introducing your child early to the nutritious foods that will benefit their health both now and later on in life — while avoiding the ones that are likely to lead to obesity and other health problems.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

School Lunches Don’t Skimp on Fruits and Vegetables

School Lunches Don’t Skimp on Fruits and Vegetables

XiXinXing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As much as kids resist eating healthy, most can’t say that their schools aren’t giving them the opportunity to do so.A national survey from the School Nutrition Association finds that 63 percent of the 1,110 school dis…

Anticipation Is Half the Fun of Any Experience

Anticipation Is Half the Fun of Any Experience

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What do you look forward to more: a new tablet hitting the market or an upcoming vacation?

Researchers at Cornell University and the University of California in Berkeley and San Francisco say if you’re like most people, you value the anticipation of an experience rather than something you can touch.

The researchers called their study “Waiting for Merlot,” a clever play on words about the title of a famous play.

Based on a series of experiments built on previous studies, it was found people get a bigger kick out of waiting for an experience, such as a concert, rather than the anticipation of buying something concrete, such as new furniture.

Meanwhile, the researchers discovered that there’s something about waiting in line to make a purchase that also gives people a bit of an adrenaline rush.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Plants Are Key Ingredients to Better Work Environments

Plants Are Key Ingredients to Better Work Environments

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — That colleague of yours who likes adorning his or her work area with all kinds of plants is on to something.

Marlon Nieuwenhuis from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology in Wales says that a plant-enriched workplace make everybody happier in the short and long run.

And here’s something that should make the boss happier: Nieuwenhuis’ study claims that productivity jumps by 15 percent when plants are added to the office.

Previous studies have demonstrated that green offices appear to enhance workers’ attention spans while lowering stress.

By comparing and contrasting green offices to so-called “lean” workplaces, that is, without plants, Nieuwenhuis and his team concluded that quality of air, level of concentration and workplace satisfaction were better wherever vegetation was prominent.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Human Trial for Ebola Vaccine to Begin This Week

Human Trial for Ebola Vaccine to Begin This Week

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The first human trial for an investigational Ebola vaccine is set to begin this week.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompted the National Institutes of Health to expedite safety testing for several vaccines already in the works. Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people, according to the World Health Organization, which predicted last week that the virus could infect 20,000 people in the next six months.

An Ebola vaccine is different from the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which two Americans received last month and is designed to treat an existing Ebola infection rather than prevent one.

“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

The NIH is developing the vaccine with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Although Fauci said the vaccine has “performed extremely well” in primate studies, it has not yet been tested in humans.

The phase 1 clinical trial set to begin this week at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will involve 20 human subjects between the ages of 18 and 50, according to the NIH.

Researchers will use the study to determine whether the vaccine is safe and see whether it prompts an immune response necessary to protect against Ebola. No human subjects will be infected with Ebola.

A $4.7 million grant will also go toward Ebola vaccine trials in September at the University of Oxford in England, as well as centers in Gambia and Mali, according to GlaxoSmithKline. In all, 140 patients will be tested.

Though Ebola was discovered nearly 40 years ago, it was so rare that drug manufacturers weren’t interested in investing in finding a vaccine for it, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Its rarity also made it impossible for scientists to conduct field studies.

“There’s always the layperson’s query of ‘Why don’t they rush this?’ ‘Why don’t these guys work a little later at night?’” Schaffner told ABC News in July. “It’s a little more complicated than that.”

GlaxoSmithKline became involved in the Ebola vaccine because it bought Swiss vaccine company Okairos AG in 2013. Okairos, originally a Merck spinoff, had been working on the vaccine with the NIH since 2011, a GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman told ABC News.

Although Fauci said in July that it would take until late 2015 for a vaccine — if successful — to be administered to a limited number of health workers, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that the grant will also enable it to manufacture 10,000 doses of the vaccine while the trials are ongoing. If the vaccine trials are successful, it will be able to make stocks available immediately to the World Health Organization.

The NIH said it should have initial data from the trial in late 2014.

The trial for different vaccine is set to begin at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. This vaccine was a collaboration between the federal Department of Defense and Iowa pharmaceutical company NewLink Genetics Corp.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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