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Rare Medical Condition Is Secret to Contortionist’s Ability

Rare Medical Condition Is Secret to Contortionist’s Ability

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- He’s been called a medical mystery, but Daniel Browning Smith just calls himself “Rubber Boy.”“I can dislocate both arms, both legs, turn my torso 180 degrees and all kinds of crazy stuff,” Smith, 35, told ABC News’ 20/20.Smith holds the Guinness World Record for most flexible person and the record for fastest time passing through an unstrung tennis racket three times. He is also a stuntman, breaking his arms and legs in movies, and performs at NBA halftime shows.The secret to his extraordinary flexibility, Smith said, is a rare medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).“It’s a collagen disorder, and it makes me very, very flexible,” said Smith.The syndrome can cause extreme elasticity of the joints and skin.“Probably one in 1,000 people have it,” Dr. Michael Holick, a physician at Boston Medical Center and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, told 20/20. “Most can show that they are double-jointed so that they could increase mobility of their joints.”“My ribs actually dislocate and poke out of my chest, and I do have some muscle pain, but it’s very minor, so I’ve been very lucky,” Smith said.But despite the negative side effects, there are also numerous upsides to having EDS, Smith said.“I joined a circus when I was 17, and I’ve traveled the entire world,” said Smith. “It’s just been absolutely phenomenal.”

Watch Daniel Browning Smith’s story on ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, March 13, at 10 p.m. ET.

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Produce Is Main Culprit in Foodborne Illnesses

Produce Is Main Culprit in Foodborne Illnesses

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — You can try your best to avoid a foodborne illness but the odds are high it can happen to you anyway. An estimated 48 million people suffer food poisoning every year while 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.

Although most Americans believe that meat and dairy are the primary sources of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and Listeria, the truth, according to the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, is that produce is the main culprit.For instance, seedy vegetables that include tomatoes or zucchini are responsible for 18 percent of Salmonella cases, ahead of fruits, eggs, chicken, beef, pork and sprouts.Symptoms, which can last up to a week, include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.Fruit was cited in 50 percent of Listeria cases, compared to 30 percent traced to dairy. Symptoms lasting one to four days include fever, chills, severe headache, vomiting, and other influenza-type symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, which conducted the study, is partnered with the USDA, CDC and FDA.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Many Lose Their Cool When the Worlds of Work and Home Collide

Many Lose Their Cool When the Worlds of Work and Home Collide

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Finding the perfect balance between work and family life can be as tricky as walking a tightrope, but many Americans do the best they can, often under very trying circumstances.Now, a new University of Michigan study is among the first to examine what happens when demands at home interfere with the job.Specifically, co-author Chu-Hsiang Chang says that when pressures of taking care of the family puts a strain on work performance, it can result in people becoming mentally worn out, which in turn often makes them verbally abusive to people at home as well as co-workers and even supervisors.Chang reached these findings by surveying 125 employees of various info-tech businesses for four days a week over three weeks.What might help to mitigate the problem is having a boss who understands the importance of work-family balance, thus putting fewer demands on employees, especially during their down time.Chang adds that workers might also help themselves by taking breaks outside the office or just simply stretching to ease tension.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

One Employee Possibly Exposed to Bacteria Released at Louisiana Monkey Lab

One Employee Possibly Exposed to Bacteria Released at Louisiana Monkey Lab

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An employee at the Tulane National Primate Center Research facility may have been exposed to the bioterror bacteria that escaped from the Louisiana lab earlier this month.According to a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, initial blood tests indicated the possibility of current or prior exposure to the Burkholderia pseudomallei in one employee. The amount of antibodies found in the test was "just at the threshold for a verified positive result," the statement noted, indicating that the exposure is not definitive.The CDC says the employee is showing no signs of illness and additional tests are expected next week.Additional testing also found one additional monkey which tested positive for the bacteria. There is, however, no evidence that the bacteria was released into the surrounding environment, meaning no one outside the facility is likely to be threatened in any way.

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Feds Approve Powdered Alcohol But Several States Remain Opposed

Feds Approve Powdered Alcohol But Several States Remain Opposed

markusblanke/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's sort of like Tang, but instead of being a powdered fruity drink, it's powdered alcohol.Now, that's a kick in a glass, to borrow Tang's old slogan.The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, part of the U.S. Treasury Department, approved a product Wednesday called Palcohol, a powdered alcohol that can be stirred into liquid to create mixed drinks.It's hardly the first time anyone has tried to market such a product, but it's the first time one has been approved.Though it's not yet on the market, here are a few of the questions the company has already answered. The company said it hopes to start selling Palcohol this summer.

How do you use it?You stir a packet of Palcohol into six ounces of liquid, according to Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol. To dissolve, it takes a minute of constant stirring, so it wouldn't be easy to spike someone's drink without them knowing, according to the company, which noted that the product may appeal to people who do not want to carry around heavy bottles, such as people who are going camping.

Does it come in flavors?Yes. It comes in vodka, rum, cosmopolitan, "Powderita" (a margarita flavor) and lemon drop. Four varieties were approved Wednesday, but it's not clear which ones.

What's the alcohol content?When mixed with six ounces of water, you get the alcohol content of a normal mixed drink, according to Lipsmark.

How about the calorie content?It's 80 calories per bag, but some are sweetened, Lipsmark said. So a completed drink's calories depend on the mixers added to it.

Is anyone against it?

Yes. Several states including Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia want to prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol. They fear that people will sneak the packets into venues and other places that don't allow alcohol, for example.Lipsmark said the 4-by-6-inch packet would be larger than a small bottle of liquid and therefore harder to sneak in. But they acknowledge when there's a will, there's a way -- but that's the case with any alcohol, not just the powdered variety.

Can you snort it?Lipsmark says Palcohol would be hard to snort. Not only does it have the burn of alcohol, but it would take an hour to snort a "shot" of vodka, according to Wednesday's release addressing concerns about the product.

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New Bionic Heart Doesn’t Beat and That’s Why It Could Revolutionize Transplants

New Bionic Heart Doesn’t Beat and That’s Why It Could Revolutionize Transplants

janulla/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scientists at the Texas Heart Institute say the perfect bionic heart is within their reach, but it doesn't beat.The average human heart has to beat 42 million times a year, which means that if it were replaced with a machine with a lot of moving parts, it would quickly wear out, said Dr. William Cohn, chief medical officer of BiVACOR, the company working on the new bionic heart.Instead, BiVACOR, headquartered in Houston at the Texas Heart Institute, is developing the first device of its kind to have only one moving part, which propels blood through the body instead of pumping it."The device has performed in many respects better than any artificial heart anybody has come up with in the last 50 years," Cohn said, adding that he and his colleagues consider it the "first legitimate shot on goal for a permanent mechanical replacement for the failing human heart."When Australian researcher Daniel Timms came to him three years ago looking for a new home for his project, Cohn said he knew it was something special, even though Timms didn't have a working prototype at the time. Researchers around the world had been working on the project for Timms without pay, and they all relocated to Houston, Cohn noted.Now, the BiVACOR team has developed a working prototype and put it into large animals, he said. They're able to walk on a treadmill and live for a month before the team culls them to examine the heart's effect on their liver, brain and other organs."Kidney function, lung function, everything works beautifully throughout," Cohn said.The heart is about half the size of a soda can, Cohn said. It has a spinning disk with fins suspended by two magnetic fields so that it's never touching anything.- It spins 2,000 to 3,000 times a minute.- The disk micro-adjusts 20,000 times a second to keep the disk spinning flat.- Because the right side of your heart works harder when you cough, and the left side of your heart works harder when you exercise, it also adjusts the balance 20 times a second.There are 4,060 people currently awaiting heart transplants in the United States and 39 more awaiting heart-lung transplants, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Overall, there are 123,289 people waiting for organs in the United States, and an average of 21 people die each day waiting for transplant.

A video explaining how the device works is available on the BiVACOR website.

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Sugar Industry Had Significant Role in Shaping Government’s Cavity Advice in 1970s

Sugar Industry Had Significant Role in Shaping Government’s Cavity Advice in 1970sYelenaYemchuk/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the National Institute of Health was aiming to reduce dental cavities in the 1960s and 1970s, the sugar industry may have helped push researchers towards prevention strategies instead of reducing sugar...

Coconut Craze: Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Coconut Craze: Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It seems people can’t get enough of coconuts, including self-professed fans such as Rihanna, Jessica Alba and Heidi Klum. Coconut water, coconut oil and coconut milk are huge hits.With people talking up the health benefits of coconut, is it all it’s really cracked up to be?"It's good in some cases, not really in others," said Dave Zinczenko, ABC News’ nutrition and wellness editor. "If you're doing cold dishes or salads, olive oil is so superior."Both olive oil and coconut oil have about 120 calories per tablespoon, but while olive oil has only 2 grams of saturated fat, coconut oil has 12 grams.If you consume coconut products to quench your thirst, here is something you should know: One cup of coconut milk has 552 calories and 51 grams of saturated fat. One cup of whole milk has 146 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat."Coconut milk is great if you're vegan," said Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet. "It's easy to digest. It's great if you have a milk allergy or if you're lactose intolerant.""That being said, coconut milk packs calories," she said.As for coconut water, one cup contains 46 calories.Zinczenko recommends choosing coconut water over water only if you are exercising a lot.“It's the electrolytes and the hydration and getting a lot of potassium into your system quickly," he said of coconut water's appeal for gym-goers.Drayer says coconut food and beverages can be part of a healthful diet but people should be aware.“These foods and beverages can contain a lot of calories and this can quickly add on some unwanted pounds," she said. "So you want to make sure to read labels."

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Blind Golden Retriever Warms Hearts as Therapy Dog

Blind Golden Retriever Warms Hearts as Therapy Dog

Joanne George/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- A golden retriever named “Smiley” is living up to his name as a therapy dog who brightens the days of patients and nursing home residents in the small town of Stouffville, Canada.Smiley was born without eyes, but is still able to work as a St. John’s Ambulance service dog in Ontario. The dog’s owner, Joanne George, rescued the dog from a puppy mill, when he was about 1 or 2 years old.“He was very scared, [the dogs] had never been out of that barn,” George recalled, adding that Smiley quickly bonded with another one of his dogs, a deaf Great Dane named Tyler.“Tyler was so bouncy and crazy and happy go lucky and [Smiley] turned into the same dog,” George said. “He came out from underneath the tables where he was always hiding.”George said seeing Smiley interact with crowds made her realize he would be a perfect therapy dog. She now brings the dogs to hospitals and schools in the area and says the dog almost always brightens people’s days.She said at one nursing home, she realized how even a small visit with Smiley could make people happy.“There was this man Teddy, [he had] no speech, no communication at all,” George said of one memorable nursing home resident. “[The staff] had never seen Teddy smile before.”But once Smiley came up to Teddy, George said the staff was amazed. “[Teddy] smiled when Smiley got into his vision,” George said.George said after caring for Smiley for 10 years, she has learned a lot about how to care for blind dogs.“Somebody through St. John’s Ambulance is wanting to adopt a dog that’s blind,” George said. “I told her all those things don’ t be his eyes, don’t run his life, don’t’ keep him in a bubble.”She said it's key for Smiley to figure out how to get around on his own. George said Smiley is mostly able to get around on his own without too much difficulty."Does he bump into things? Of course, he does. But he does it very carefully," George said, noting the dog’s "high" steps when he walks. "He’s feeling with his feet."

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Pregnant Model Sarah Stage Defends Her Tiny Baby Bump

Pregnant Model Sarah Stage Defends Her Tiny Baby Bump

sarahstage/Instagram(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Stage's teeny, tiny baby bump is causing a huge uproar on the Internet, but the 30-year-old model says she is trying to tune out the haters and let the experts guide her on what's healthy.“As long as the baby is healthy I don’t think anything else matters," she told ABC's Good Morning America. "That should be the most important thing.”Like many moms-to-be, Stage has been documenting her pregnancy on Instagram. But Stage isn’t carrying her baby like most women. Even as her due date approaches, her belly has remained small, her abs seemingly as toned and tight as ever.“Eek officially 81/2 months... And he's now 5lbs,” she posted on one of her latest Instagram pics.

A photo posted by 🍔SARAH STAGE🍔 (@sarahstage) on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:48pm PST

Her 1.2 million followers are divided on whether her barely-there pregnancy belly looks fit or famished.“Check this out...almost 9months pregie and look at that tummy!!!” commented one admirer of a modeling shot depicting Stage in lingerie.”Hope I look like this when im 8 months pregnant,” wrote another on a post that has garnered more than 10,000 comments.But just as many followers posted negative comments.“Where's this baby hiding at?? Definitely not her tummy!!" one wrote, while many others suggested she was somehow harming a baby and should seek medical attention.Stage told Good Morning America a lot goes through her mind when she reads those criticisms.“I don’t know how someone could say something like that to a pregnant woman," she said. "I think that is so rude. My baby is healthy and we are happy.”Stage said she has gained about 20 pounds so far. And that’s exactly where she needs to be at this stage in her pregnancy, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News medical contributor and a practicing Ob/Gyn.“The fact that she looks skinny on Instagram does not mean her baby growth is restricted or too small,” Ashton said. “It has nothing to do if you can see her muscles if her uterus is the perfect size and she has gained an amount of weight that is acceptable.”Women should gain between 20 and 40 pounds throughout their pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Because she is young, tall and slim, and it is her first baby, her small bump size is not all that unusual, Ashton said. And her tummy will no doubt grow larger in the coming weeks since most women gain about half a pound a week in the last month of pregnancy.Ashton is also supportive of Stage’s twice-weekly workouts.“Pregnancy is an incredible physical feat and labor and delivery are athletic events so training for them isn’t such a bad idea,” Ashton said. “Having stamina, strength and muscle tone are good for both mom and baby.”Besides, pregnancy is not a disease, Ashton said, and if Stage is following doctor’s orders, she should be fine.

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Scientists Unlock Secret to How Chameleons Change Colors

Scientists Unlock Secret to How Chameleons Change Colors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If a chameleon's striking ability to change colors seems like a magic act of smoke and mirrors, that's because their skin is quite literally made up of special mirrors, scientists have discovered.The panther chameleon has tiny crystals under its skin called iridophores that contract or expand when the animal is excited or feels threatened, a new study shows, explaining how the reptile can quickly shift between green, yellow and red.Depending on the position of the reptile's skin, the crystals then reflect different levels of light that allow the animal to shift colors, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.The crystals are arranged in a triangular lattice and are made from guanine, one of the building blocks of DNA, according to the study. Scientists used spectroscopy, the study of the interaction between matter and light, to observe changes in the skin of the reptile species that is native to Madagascar.What they found was the ability of the chameleon to go from its natural camouflaged green color to red and yellow hues in a matter of two minutes thanks to the efficiently organized crystals. When the animal becomes excited, the crystal lattice stretches, allowing the iridophores to reflect different wavelengths of light."They are like selective mirrors," Michel Milinkovitch, a co-author of the study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, told the BBC. "Light will bounce on them only for specific wavelengths. ...The other wavelengths will not bounce on these cells."

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Chicago Facial Bar Adds Breast Milk to List of Add-Ons

Chicago Facial Bar Adds Breast Milk to List of Add-Ons

Mud Facial Bar(CHICAGO) -- A just-opened Chicago facial bar plans to add breast milk to its list of skin-care add-ons in the coming months.

Mud Facial Bar founder Shama Patel said moms inspired her to find a vendor so she could offer the purported benefits of breast milk to her clients."I always want to think outside the box," she said. "Moms are using breast milk for more than feeding their babies. They also use it on skin."Indeed. A quick search for "breast milk facials" revealed a BabyCenter message board thread from 2011 where several moms talked of using breast milk to reduce redness and get acne under control. Mom Mary Haddad said she used breast milk "on everything" for her little one, from eye crust to diaper rash.But Patel admitted the benefits of breast milk for skin benefits are anecdotal as opposed to scientific.The breast milk add-on will cost $10 on top of the $40 treatments Mud Facial offers. The breast milk is mixed with a white clay so it can be applied to the face and dried.The breast milk comes from milk banks in the Chicago area. Moms are screened by the banks before becoming donors, and Patel gets the milk from the approved women. She thinks it'll be a big hit come summer when women might be looking for a possible way to reduce redness in the face from too much sun.For the squeamish, Alexis Wolfer, editor of The Beauty Bean, said the purported benefits of breast milk can be mimicked at home with whole milk and honey.

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Ashton Kutcher: We Need Diaper-Changing Stations in Men’s Restrooms

Ashton Kutcher: We Need Diaper-Changing Stations in Men’s RestroomsSlaven Vlasic/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Ashton Kutcher would like to call your attention to an issue that's near and dear to his heart: the absence of diaper-changing stations in men's public restrooms. Kutcher, who has a five-month-old daughte...

Friends Get Organ Transplant from Same Donor

Friends Get Organ Transplant from Same Donor

Courtesy Spectrum Health Systems(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) — Fred Nelis and Gordon Veldman consider themselves "organ brothers" because they each received an organ from the same donor.They've known each other for more than a decade, but only learned of their mutual organ donor after their families bumped into each other in the waiting room at Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during their transplants."Fred's heart and my lungs spent 32 years in the same body, powering the person that owned them," said Veldman, 67. "And now, they're on separate missions in separate bodies. When we get together, we can bring them together to be close one more time. It may sound hokey, but to us, it's a very emotional thing."Veldman was diagnosed with a genetic disease in 2007 that by February 2014 had reduced his lungs to 15 percent capacity. He said he was gaunt, blue and couldn't walk more than 15 feet. Soon, he was listed for a lung transplant."When I would be talking to my friends before surgery, I could see in their eyes that they thought this was going to be the end of me talking with them," he said. "They knew there wasn't any time left for me."Nelis, 60, was diagnosed with an idiopathic cardiomyopathy, a progressive heart disease that caused his heart to become enlarged, when he was 39. He was healthy enough to stay active and out of the hospital for nearly two more decades, but developed an irregular heartbeat a few years ago, sending him into declining health. After getting a blood clot in his left ventricular assist device and battling an abdominal infection, he was listed for a heart transplant in 2014.But on June 18, they both got the call: doctors had found a match.Soon after his lung transplant, Veldman's lungs were working at 96 percent capacity, he said. When he called to tell people the good news back home, they almost didn't recognize his voice. One friend -- Nelis' brother-in-law -- told Veldman he already knew about his lung transplant because he was in the waiting room for Nelis' heart transplant."That's our our saga of organ brothers started," Nelis said.Now, Nelis and Veldman meet regularly because they share a special bond, Nelis said."We compare progress and bemoan...how many medications we're on," Nelis said with a laugh.They hope one day to meet their donor's family to say thank you. They say they're now among those who owe their lives to people who said "yes" to being organ donors.There are currently 123,296 people on the organ transplant waiting list nationwide, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. An average of 21 people die each day waiting for transplants, according to the organization.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Suicides of Young Adults in Rural Areas Far Surpass Those in Cities

Suicides of Young Adults in Rural Areas Far Surpass Those in Cities

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Americans ages 18-24 are at far greater risk of committing suicide if they live in rural areas as compared to their counterparts from urban areas.A study conducted by Ohio State University researchers and published in JAMA Pediatrics says that almost twice as many young people in rural areas killed themselves from 1996 through 2010 than their city peers.Study co-author Cynthia Fontanella explains the reasons may have to do with isolation, lack of mental health care facilities and greater availability of guns.Suicide rates per 100,000 were 19.93 for rural males and 4.40 for rural females. In cities, the rate was 10.31 per 100,000 for males and 2.39 for femalesOverall in the U.S., 66,600 young people took their own lives in the 15-year period that was studied, the third leading cause of death in this demographic. Guns were used in just over half the suicides and a third died from hanging or suffocation.

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FDA Advisory Committee Approves Treatment for Double Chin

FDA Advisory Committee Approves Treatment for Double Chin

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Kythera Biopharmaceuticals announced on Monday the approval of an injection to improve the appearance of a double chin by an FDA Advisory Committee.According to a press release posted to the company website, the FDA's Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee approved ATX-101 by a unanimous 17-0 vote. If approved by the FDA itself, the drug would be a "first-in-class submental contouring injectable drug," the company notes."We are pleased that the FDA advisory committee recognized the importance of providing patients with a clinically-proven treatment option specifically developed to contour submental fullness, a much-cited yet undertreated facial aesthetic complaint," Kythera's Chief Medical Officer Frederick Beddingfield said in a statement.The company adds that it could launch the drug in the second half of 2015, were it to gain FDA approval.

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FDA Adds Alcohol, Seizure Warnings to Quit-Smoking Pill

FDA Adds Alcohol, Seizure Warnings to Quit-Smoking Pill

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced the addition of alcohol and seizure warnings on the quit-smoking drug Chantix.According to an FDA safety announcement, the drug could limit patients' ability to tolerate alcohol. Other patients suffered seizures, including some who had no history of seizures. As a result of those findings, the FDA updated the warnings and precautions on Chantix labels to warn about the risks. The FDA says that most cases involving seizures occurred within the first month of starting the drug, and that anyone who has a seizure while taking Chantix should stop taking the medicine and seek medical help immediately.The FDA previously released statements on the possible neuropsychiatric side effects of Chantix in both 2009 and 2011. Pfizer, the company that manufactures Chantix, is conducting a clinical safety trial to investigate the risks and results from the FDA's study. Results of Pfizer's trial are expected in late 2015.

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Novelist Describes Spending 416 Days at a Treadmill Desk

Novelist Describes Spending 416 Days at a Treadmill Desk

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Novelist Neal Stephenson has to spend a lot of time at a desk, but that doesn't mean he's sitting still.Stephenson, author of the New York Times bestseller Anathem and considered one of the pioneers of the cyber punk genre, blogged that he's been using a treadmill desk for years, but only recently started logging his mileage in a spreadsheet. Now that he's amassed 416 days worth of data, he said he had some thoughts on it."While its beneficial effects certainly outweigh its downside, it would be less than honest to claim that use of a treadmill while working is completely benign," he wrote.He began experiencing pain in his left leg in the first part of 2014, but he only felt it when he was walking on the treadmill. Walks outside didn't hurt, he said, so he reduced his speed to half a mile an hour."I could walk in a normal stride outdoors for many miles without having any trace of this problem, but even a short stint on the treadmill brought it back," Stephenson wrote.A physical therapist informed him that he was walking too slowly and rocking from side to side, so he's since changed his posture and nearly quadrupled his speed, he wrote.Recently, Stephenson said he averages about 2.5 to 3 miles a day. He doesn't walk every day, and some days he walks more than 6 miles, according to the graphs he posted."People who do this a lot need to pay attention to gait, posture, shoes, and other factors that have a bearing on joint and muscle health," he wrote. "This seems like common sense, but anecdotally I've heard from a number of people who overlooked it."Still, a little pain shouldn't dissuade people from trying standing desks, said sports medicine expert Rob Truax of University Hospital Case Medical Center in Cleveland, who hasn't treated Stephenson. He said pain can alert you to a muscle imbalance but doesn't mean you're injured. And a trip to a sports medicine doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor can be a big help."Walking is normal. Walking is natural," he said. "We want to avoid telling people, 'Don't engage in normal physical activity.'"Truax said sitting at a desk eight hours a day can negate conditioning from even an hour of physical activity beforehand. And walking at a pleasant pace for hours on a treadmill can strengthen muscles, improve musculoskeletal endurance, and decrease caffeine intake by keeping you awake, he said.To start, start slow and only aim to go half a mile or a mile, especially if you're not getting a lot of physical activity beforehand, Truax said. Then increase distance and speed gradually.Stephenson was not available for comment.

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Girl, 7, ‘Breaks’ Kidney After Tripping over Shoelaces

Girl, 7, ‘Breaks’ Kidney After Tripping over Shoelaces

KGO-TV(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A California girl is recovering after a simple trip and fall left her kidney so badly injured that one-third of the organ might be irreparably damaged, according to her father, Dominic Angelini.Sophia Angelini, 7, was simply trying to go inside her school during lunch to get a jacket, when she tripped and fell.“I tripped on my shoelace and fell on the curb and I hit my side on it,” Sophia told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco.The seemingly minor fall resulted in serious consequences with Sophia needing to be hospitalized for eight days. After the fall, Sophia first went to the nurse at her Bay Area school and then was sent home with her mother. Sophia's father said when his wife picked up Sophia, she realized immediately that she was sick."She was very pale and was vomiting," Dominic Angelini said of Sophia. But she "didn’t have a scratch on her or even a bruise."Sophia ended up at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, where doctors were able to find the source of Sophia's problem: an injured kidney that would require surgery.“She had a lacerated kidney,” Angelini told ABC News. “When they showed us, the lower third [of the kidney] looks broken into pieces.”Dr. Jonathan Ross, a pediatric urologist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said children can be at a higher risk for kidney injuries."What protects our kidneys is the [abdominal] muscles and fat," said Ross, who did not treat Sophia. "Kids don’t have nearly as much fat" or muscle.Ross said one thing doctors might consider in cases similar to Sophia’s is whether there is any kind of underlying condition, such as a partial blockage to the kidney. Ross said if the urine can’t drain properly, because the kidney has a malformation, it can mean the organ is more prone to being damaged.He cautioned, however, he did not know whether this was an issue in Sophia’s case.“They would know based on the CT scan; it would definitely be apparent,” he said.To fix Sophia's “broken” kidney, doctors were able to apply a stent connecting the bladder to the kidney and essentially repairing much of the damage, according to KGO. The stent helped remove liquid from around the injury and helped keep the important pathway open, so that it didn't close as part of the healing process.Sophia's physician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Dr. Hsi-Yang Wu, told KGO the stent would help keep any urine from surrounding the kidney as the organ healed.Angelini said Sophia is now recovering at home and will likely not notice any lingering issues from her injury.“It’s something [she] won’t notice,” Angelini said. “As she grows the kidney will grow a little bit.”

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Redesigned Scopes Failed to Prevent ‘Superbug’ Outbreaks

Redesigned Scopes Failed to Prevent ‘Superbug’ Outbreaks

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- The endoscopes allegedly responsible for a wave of "superbug" outbreaks had been redesigned in recent years in the hopes of making them easier to clean and less likely to spread bacteria from patient to patient, ABC News has learned, but the modifications might have created different challenges as the scopes continue to transmit antibiotic-resistant bugs.Patients undergoing procedures with duodenoscopes at hospitals in Los Angeles, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Illinois have come down with antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections over the last two years, according to local health authorities and the Journal of the American Medical Association.All three manufacturers of these scopes had redesigned them within the last decade, enclosing a complex area at their tips to minimize contact with patients' bacteria, ABC News has learned.While the tip is enclosed, it is not "sealed like a bubble or a can" because tiny tools need to emerge to perform biopsies and complete other tasks, said Dr. J. Todd Weber, chief of the prevention and response branch in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of healthcare quality promotion."That presents cleaning challenges because it is not an open surface," Weber said. "There's a mechanism inside there. It's not easy to get the appropriate brushes into that space."Duodenoscopes are inserted through the mouth to access a patient's small intestine and ducts in the liver and gallbladder. They contain a light, a camera, a catheter and other tiny equipment used in 500,000 procedures a year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Unlike scopes used in colonoscopies and upper endoscopy procedures, duodenoscopes used a complex elevator wire channel to access the tiny ducts.It's this complexity that makes them tough to clean, the FDA said in its latest safety communication since an outbreak of CRE, an antibiotic-resident bug, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center left two duodenoscopes patients dead and infected five others undergoing procedures. (It’s unclear what role the bug played in the two scope patients’ deaths.)

The hospital said it traced the bacteria back to two duodenoscopes that were new models and had only been in use since June. Local health officials added that the scopes were cleaned in accordance with manufacturer guidelines."For example, one step of the manual cleaning instructions in device labeling is to brush the elevator area," the FDA communication said. "However, the moving parts of the elevator mechanism contain microscopic crevices that may not be reached with a brush. Residual body fluids and organic debris may remain in these crevices after cleaning and disinfection. If these fluids contain microbial contamination, subsequent patients may be exposed to serious infections."Older duodenoscope models have exposed elevator wire channels at the tips so the manufacturers -- FujiFilm, Olympus and Pentax -- each decided to enclose these channels in their newer models. Fujifilm was the first to do this in 2004, followed by Pentax in 2009. Olympus, the manufacturer named in the UCLA outbreak, was the last to do this, and had filed paperwork with the FDA only last fall, initially thinking it wasn't necessary to get clearance for the change, ABC News has learned."The elevator wire channel port is now sealed so separate cleaning is no longer necessary," Olympus said in a product brochure announcing the change. "The result is faster, easier cleaning that makes scope reprocessing more efficient."When 39 duodenoscope patients became infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria at one Illinois hospital in 2013, researchers at the CDC determined that the scopes had been cleaned properly but they found antibiotic-resistant E. coli and another bacteria around the enclosed channel two months after the scopes were last used. A manufacturer was not named in the study."The complicated design of duodenoscopes makes cleaning difficult," the researchers wrote in the discussion section of the study. "It appears that these devices have the potential to remain contaminated with pathogenic bacteria even after recommended reprocessing is performed."Since the UCLA CRE cases were announced in February, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has had four patients test positive for CRE, and Hartford Hospital in Connecticut has announced that 300 of its patients were exposed to E. coli. Both exposures were linked to duodenoscopes.Still, neither doctors nor health officials want to pull the scopes because these infections are rare, and the devices allow doctors to treat patients with deadly diseases and infections without surgery, increasing their chances of survival.Duodenoscope procedures are not elective, and usually necessitated by a serious symptom, Weber said."The value of the procedures performed utilizing these devices far outweighs the unfortunate events that have occurred," said Dr. Michael Kochman, who chairs the American Gastroenterological Association's Center for GI Innovation and Technology.FujiFilm declined to comment, and neither Olympus nor Pentax were immediately available for comment.Olympus said in a prior statement to ABC News that it is aware of reports involving its duodenoscopes, and it is working with the FDA, medical organizations and customers to address concerns. It is also making supplemental educational materials available to customers."While all endoscopes, including duodenoscopes, require thorough reprocessing after patient use in order to be safe, the Olympus TJF-Q180V requires careful attention to cleaning and reprocessing steps, including meticulous manual cleaning, to ensure effective reprocessing," the company said.

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