Review Category : Health

Study Finds Hope for Potential HIV Vaccine

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A vaccine to help protect against HIV may be closer to reality than previously though, one study indicates.

The study, published in the journal Science, found that one potential HIV vaccine can be used to protect rhesus monkeys from the disease. Fifty percent of the monkeys given the vaccine were protected, researchers say, when exposed to the virus in a manner that infected all of the monkeys in a control group.

The Daily Mail reports that the results could prompt Johnson & Johnson to test the vaccine in humans.

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Texas Child Saves Woman Who Had Seizure in Pool

iStock/Thinkstock(TYLER, Texas) — A 7-year-old Texas girl responded with grace under pressure, reportedly saving a woman who had a seizure from drowning in a pool.

Dasia Wessner was visiting the Glascow Trails Community mobile home park swimming pool in Tyler, Texas, Wednesday when she noticed a family friend in trouble, ABC News affiliate station KLTV reported.

Natalie Foster, 34, was lying face down in the water and not moving.

“At first I thought she was playing with me,” Dasia said, “but then I turned her around and I knew she was having a seizure.”

By her account, Dasia jumped into the pool to help Foster, who was floating in the pool’s deep end. Dasia said she put Foster’s arm through the pool rack so she wouldn’t slide back down.

Unable to turn on Foster’s cellphone to get help, the girl ran to her aunt’s house nearby, and Foster eventually received aid. Foster told KLTV that she is at home and recuperating.

Dasia said she was never afraid during the ordeal. “I knew if she died she would be in heaven and she would be happy,” the girl said. “And she wouldn’t be sick again, but if she stayed here she would also be OK.”

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Texas Child Saves Woman Who Had Seizure in Pool

iStock/Thinkstock(TYLER, Texas) — A 7-year-old Texas girl responded with grace under pressure, reportedly saving a woman who had a seizure from drowning in a pool.

Dasia Wessner was visiting the Glascow Trails Community mobile home park swimming pool in Tyler, Texas, Wednesday when she noticed a family friend in trouble, ABC News affiliate station KLTV reported.

Natalie Foster, 34, was lying face down in the water and not moving.

“At first I thought she was playing with me,” Dasia said, “but then I turned her around and I knew she was having a seizure.”

By her account, Dasia jumped into the pool to help Foster, who was floating in the pool’s deep end. Dasia said she put Foster’s arm through the pool rack so she wouldn’t slide back down.

Unable to turn on Foster’s cellphone to get help, the girl ran to her aunt’s house nearby, and Foster eventually received aid. Foster told KLTV that she is at home and recuperating.

Dasia said she was never afraid during the ordeal. “I knew if she died she would be in heaven and she would be happy,” the girl said. “And she wouldn’t be sick again, but if she stayed here she would also be OK.”

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Sunburn Art is Trending and Doctors are Speaking Out

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A social media trend is leaving dermatologists burned up this summer.

Many people who see their skin as a blank canvas for art get a tattoo, but what about getting something else that may be just as permanent?

A new social media trend called #sunburnart has people showing off their burned skin after strategically placing sunscreen or fabric in artsy patterns and letting the sun work its magic.

Naturally, dermatologists and medical professionals are not interested in the craze.

The Skin Cancer Foundation released a statement urging people to find another creative outlet because of the irreversible damage sunburn can cause.

“Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin aging, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk,” said the statement. “In fact, sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent. On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.”

The statement also said a “complete sun protection regimen” is recommended and sun-worshippers should be using sunscreen daily.

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Sunburn Art is Trending and Doctors are Speaking Out

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A social media trend is leaving dermatologists burned up this summer.

Many people who see their skin as a blank canvas for art get a tattoo, but what about getting something else that may be just as permanent?

A new social media trend called #sunburnart has people showing off their burned skin after strategically placing sunscreen or fabric in artsy patterns and letting the sun work its magic.

Naturally, dermatologists and medical professionals are not interested in the craze.

The Skin Cancer Foundation released a statement urging people to find another creative outlet because of the irreversible damage sunburn can cause.

“Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin aging, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk,” said the statement. “In fact, sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent. On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.”

The statement also said a “complete sun protection regimen” is recommended and sun-worshippers should be using sunscreen daily.

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Fargo, North Dakota Man Sums It All Up in Two-Word Obit

kzenon/iStock/Thinkstock(FARGO, N.D.) — A North Dakota man who wanted to keep his obituary short and simple chose to communicate the news of his death in just two words.

Doug died.

The 85-year-old Douglas Legler died on June 27. His daughter Janet Stoll told ABC affiliate WDAY-TV “he just wanted it short and sweet. He came up with it. He said ‘all i want is “Doug Died.”‘ We were just trying to follow his wishes.”

Stoll said her dad didn’t try to be charismatic or funny, he just was. And despite having a bit of a gruff exterior at times, Stoll said he had a kind and tender heart.

And while Legler didn’t want to go on and on about details of his life, the public might now know more about him than they ever would have had he just run a typical obituary. The news outlet that ran the obit also ended up running a news story about the obit, and about Legler.

“He was very lighthearted and had a great sense of humor,” Stoll said. “He was very quick-witted, and funny. He was one of a kind, he really was. Everyone loved him that met him.”

ABC US News | World News

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Hilary Swank Puts Career on Hold to Care for Dad

Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hilary Swank is taking a break from her work to care for her dad, who recently had a lung transplant.

“My dad is living with me,” the 40-year-old Oscar winner revealed to HuffPost Live on Thursday. “I’m his sole caretaker right now.”

Swank said she has even put work on hold in order to care for her father, Stephen Swank, as he recovers.

“It’s a certain amount of time [to serve as a caretaker], but in a lifespan it’s a blink of an eye,” Swank said. “There’s been job opportunities I’ve passed on, and things that I said ‘I can’t,’ but really what we’re here for is our family.”

Making the decision to do so wasn’t hard, she said.

“There is nothing I want to do more other than being with my dad in this time of need,” the Million Dollar Baby actress said. “And if it wasn’t me taking care of him, I think I would always look back and regret that opportunity to be able to care of him and help him through this extraordinary time.”

She called it a “true honor.”

The time spent together has also brought Swank and her father closer together. The pair weren’t always so close, especially during Swank’s younger years.

“We’re super close,” she said. “The bond that we’ve made in this time, might make up for some of that time we didn’t have. We didn’t have that one-on-one time together. It’s actually kind of healing.”

Meanwhile, father and daughter are making new memories.

“He’s good-natured and giving. He has a great sense of humor. It’s easy to be with my dad,” she said. “It’s easy to hang out. He’s an easy guest to have in my home.”

On Father’s Day, Swank posted a photo of her and her dad on the beach.

“#HappyFathersDay to my dear Father!” she wrote. “And, to all the Fathers out there! Today and always we cherish you!!”

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Jim Carrey Apologizes for Posting Photo of Autistic Boy

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Jim Carrey has apologized to the family of a young child with autism after posting pictures of the boy without their permission during an extended Twitter rant about California’s new vaccine legislation.

The Truman Show star tweeted his mea culpa Thursday night, apologizing to the family of Alex Echols of Eugene, Oregon.

It all began Tuesday, when the 53-year-old actor and comedian went on a tirade about California’s new law that eliminates vaccine exemptions for personal or religious reasons.

Although the scientific consensus is that vaccines do not cause autism and well-known autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks, has been urging parents to vaccinate their children, Carrey remains part of a group of people who feel the ingredients in vaccines are potentially harmful.

In one of his tweets Wednesday, Carrey wrote, “A trillion dollars buys a lot of expert opinions. Will it buy you? TOXIN FREE VACCINES, A REASONABLE REQUEST!” and attached photos of distressed-looking children, including one boy crying with his arms behind his head.

That boy turned out to be Alex Echols, and his family was not at all happy to see it included in Carrey’s anti-vaccine rant.

The boy’s mother, Karen Echols, and aunt, Elizabeth Welch, responded on social media after seeing Alex’s photo.

Posting a copy of Carrey’s tweet on Instagram, Welch explained that although Alex does have autism, he was diagnosed with it before receiving any vaccinations. Alex was born with tuberous sclerosis or TSC, she said, which can cause benign tumors to grow all over the body, including the brain. Many children with TSC have autism.

“I’m very disgusted and sickened that a celebrity would use a photo like this that was used in the first place to spread awareness of Tuberous Sclerosis to mock him and and my sister for vaccinations,” Welch wrote on Instagram. “Even if that was not his intended outcome, it is what happened. Please spread this, and let’s try to get this tweet removed.”

Carrey did remove Alex’s picture and apologized, which was noted by the boy’s mother.

In a way, the actor did bring attention to tuberous sclerosis, even if that wasn’t his intention.

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Tired EMS Workers a Prescription for Danger on the Roads, Experts Say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The emergency medical services industry is trusted to save lives, but all of that can change when a worker dozes off behind the wheel.

A Good Morning America investigation discovered that EMS driver fatigue is an issue causing increasing concern in the EMS industry, with some calling for federal standards limiting shift lengths or addressing the problem of EMS worker fatigue.

Jeffrey Johnson’s case illustrates the problem. Johnson was driving to work in March 2013 when he began to have car trouble. Pulling into the emergency lane, Johnson turned on his flashers and waited for a roadside service provider, but seemingly out of nowhere, an ambulance slammed into the back of the 2001 Porsche 911 Carrera.

“I was just pushed and hit,” Johnson, 44 of Los Angeles, said on GMA. “I felt all this blood and everything coming down over my face.”

Video later recovered from inside the ambulance showed an EMS worker apparently dozing off right before crashing into Johnson’s car.

Johnson’s lawyer, Brian Kabateck, claimed the accident occurred because the EMS worker was fatigued.

“What you see leading up to the actual impact is a driver who is classically sleep deprived,” Kabateck said on GMA. “You see that he is trying very hard to keep his eyes open.”

In another case that was caught on camera, an EMS worker in New York can be seen appearing to doze off behind the wheel while driving in the Bronx before hitting and injuring a pedestrian and driving into several parked cars in October 2012. That driver declined to comment to ABC News.

In a statement to ABC News, the company said: “Safety is our highest priority, our professionals receive continuous training. Our work rules limit the amount of consecutive hours worked and ensure time off between shifts. Drivers who exhibit any sign of fatigue do not work their shift.”

Both of these accidents led to lawsuits that were later settled without the ambulance companies admitting any wrongdoing.

Accidents like these are adding to growing concern that the people who are entrusted to save lives could actually be putting themselves and others at risk because of fatigue.

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration referenced a study in which 50 percent of EMS workers surveyed suffered from fatigue.

“EMS workers across the entire industry are working in sleep deprived and fatigued states — a very dangerous situation,” the NHTSA said in a statement.

While this may sound shocking, Dr. Daniel Patterson, senior scientist of emergency medicine at Carolinas HealthCare System and a member of the National EMS Advisory Council, is not surprised. Since 2008, Patterson has surveyed hundreds of EMS technicians to determine how fatigue impacts the performance and well-being of EMS workers.

“Our research we’ve done so far does point to this being a national issue,” he said on GMA. “The bottom line is that greater than half of EMS clinicians and physicians appear to suffer from mental and physical fatigue while at work.”

Patterson also noted that extended shifts, which are frequently long and demanding, are one reason for on-the-job fatigue, along with lack of rest between shifts, work-related stress and multiple jobs.

Former EMS worker David Powell Jr., 23, of Philadelphia knows all too well about the dangers of driver fatigue. In an interview with ABC News, Powell admitted that he dozed off while driving his ambulance and crashed it into a utility pole before it overturned.

“You know I just feel blessed that what I got here was just a couple of scratches on me,” he said. “It could have been way worse from something like that.”

Now that they’ve identified EMS worker fatigue as a problem, the NHTSA says it plans to announce the name of the research team that will be helping them develop fatigue management programs at the local level in order to improve ambulance safety on the road as early as July. In the meantime, it’s mainly up to the states and EMS employers to take care of their workers.

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Your Body: Understanding Allergies

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Allergies can be so frustrating — and scary if they’re severe. But can they go away? Or worse, can they develop later in life?

Some say your immune system changes every seven years, and some don’t even know where most allergies come from.

I developed a life-threatening food allergy out of the blue when I was 37 years old. All of a sudden, I became deathly allergic to nuts.

There are several theories as to why allergies may be on the rise. Some point to dietary changes, others suggest food processing is at play, and of course, there’s a genetic component to everything.

So if you suspect you have a new allergy, see an allergist right away for formal testing. It may very well save your life.

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