Review Category : Health

School Takes Away Blind Boy’s Cane as Punishment for Acting Up

iStock/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — A school took away an 8-year-old blind boy’s cane as punishment for acting up and replaced it with a pool noodle, his father told ABC News on Thursday.

Dakota Nafzinger, who was born with no eyes, was listening to his music on the school bus when the driver took it away from him, his father, Donald Nafzinger said. Dakota often taps his cane to the music, but this time, his father said he threw it in the air. Nafzinger said school officials told him they thought Dakota was getting violent.

Then they gave Dakota a foam pool noodle in its place and sent him home with it, Nafzinger said.

“It is his eyes,” Nafzinger, 35, told ABC News. “He said he was upset because that’s something he needs to get around with.”

Dakota was born with a rare condition called bilateral anophthalmia. Nafzinger said Dakota’s mother chose to call the local news media because she feared that “there weren’t caring people left in this world.”

“They shouldn’t treat my kid any different than the kids that have eyes,” said Nafzinger, who works in Kansas City, Missouri, as a stage hand. “My kid is normal except he doesn’t have eyes.”

The school district, North Kansas City Schools, admitted to the mistake and has since given Dakota his cane back. Nafzinger said not only was that a good outcome, but sharing the story has shown his family how many supporters they have.

“The District has reviewed the situation,” North Kansas City Schools wrote in a statement. “We regret that a mistake was made in making sure the student was in possession of his cane when he boarded the bus Monday evening. The District has apologized to the family and is working to rectify the situation. When we were made aware of the mistake, corrections were made. It is always the District’s policy when we become aware of situations like this, we thoroughly and immediately investigate to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.”

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Plus-Size Blogger Asks Beauty Editors to Transform Her Photo

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When blogger Marie Southard Ospina sent a photo of herself with no makeup and no clothes to photo editors in 21 countries around the world and asked them to Photoshop her, she said she was surprised by one thing most of the experts did not do to her image.

“I was surprised that only three out of 21 altered my weight and my bone structure,” Ospina told ABC News’ Juju Chang. “So that was nice to see.”

“[I thought] that the majority of the editors would slim me down and just make a very obviously airbrushed miniature version of me,” Ospina said.

The Manchester, U.K.- and New York City-based writer gave the beauty editors the instructions to simply “make me beautiful.”

“That was the tagline of the whole experiment,” said Ospina, who wrote about it on Bustle.com.

Ospina was inspired to do the experiment after seeing another journalist, Esther Honig, do something similar earlier this year. Honig sent her selfie to 25 countries around the world, asking people to make her beautiful using Photoshop.

“I was just fascinated by just how much people actually changed her bone structure and her weight, and she was already quite a slender woman,” Ospina said.

When it came to Ospina’s experiment, the results varied widely according to each country. Canada gave her a new hairdo while Jamaica gave her a darker tan.

Ospina said her favorite result came from Italy, where the editor glammed her up with some heavily Photoshopped makeup.

“I think, through these images, what I most saw is that beauty isn’t definable,” Ospina said. “It varies so much, not just from nation to nation but from person to person.”

“The biggest point of the experiment was to see and prove that people’s perception of beauty is very individual rather than just one basic norm,” she said.

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Santa’s Heartwarming Surprise for Deaf 6-Year-Old Girl

iStock/Thinkstock(WESTMINSTER, Mass.) — For one 6-year-old girl in Westminster, Massachusetts, the best Christmas gift she received didn’t come in the form of a perfectly wrapped box with a bow under the tree. Instead, the special surprise came personally delivered from Santa himself — in the form of sign language.

For the first time in her life, Sadie Adam sat on Santa’s lap and the jolly-old-guy knew exactly what she was sharing, with no interpreter needed.

“I am glad I was able to communicate with Sadie,” Westminster’s police chief, Salvatore Albert, who has played Santa for 15 years, told ABC News. “It was amazing to see the smile on her face and her eyes wide open with joy that Santa knew sign language. I am going to try to learn more for next year.”

Sadie’s mom, Ronelle, taught Santa all the sign language he needed to know in order to prepare for her daughter’s visit on Dec. 6.

“She sat with me for about an hour,” said Albert. “I practiced it for three days.”

As Santa signed “Merry Christmas” to an unsuspecting Sadie, “her eyes were bright, wide open,” he told ABC affiliate WCVB.

“Santa knew my name. He knew how to sign it,” an ecstatic Sadie signed. “I told him what I wanted — a kitchen and a baby.”

“I knew she’d be surprised, so I was just so happy,” her mom said. “I instantly started tearing up.”

For little Sadie, who has been deaf most of her life, this is certainly a Christmas she’ll never forget.

“This is the first time anyone has had any special request of any kind,” said Albert. “I was very happy to be able to do it.”

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Iowa Spa ‘Makeover’ Lifts 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient

Blush Salon & Spa/Facebook(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) — An Iowa spa catered to a very special client when it gave a full “makeover” to a young cancer patient Wednesday.

Taryn Oberthein, 4, has spent much of the past year dealing with doctors and hospitals after she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer, according to ABC News affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells in different areas in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Taryn was surprised with a very special day at the Blush Salon & Spa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The spa is a member of the Hello Gorgeous! non-profit that provides free makeovers and pampering to cancer patients.

Salon owner Susan Livingston told ABC News the girl started out a little “shy,” but quickly warmed up as she enjoyed a free manicure, facial and pedicure.

“Her mom said [later] that she wanted to do it every day,” Livingston said of the makeover day.

The day of pampering comes after a difficult year, when Taryn underwent chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and radiation to treat her cancer, according to KCRG-TV.

“It just think it would make her feel so special to have a day where she can just feel pretty,” Taryn’s mother, Tara Martin, told KCRG-TV.

The full pampering also included a special red carpet entrance, bouquet of flowers and even a little session with photographers, where Taryn was able to pose in her new look. She was even given her own wig specially made for pediatric patients.

“When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, all she wanted was for her hair to grow back,” Martin told ABC News.

Martin said when the wig came out Taryn was initially a little afraid, but ended up enjoying her new accessory.

“She called it strutting her stuff,” Martin said. “She’s a pretty special little girl, she’s always got a smile on her face.”

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The Couple that Tries to Lose Weight Together May Not Lose Weight Together

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two brains are better than one when it comes to tackling certain things, but a new study indicates that when it comes to weight loss, a person’s chance of shedding pounds is greater when they don’t team up with a partner.

In a study published in the journal Eating Behaviors, researchers assessed 50 overweight duos who made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, and found those who dieted together generally failed separately.

The researchers found that when a person was successful in regulating his or her diet and was able to eat healthier, that made their partner less confident in controlling his or her own food portions.

According to study author Jennifer Jill Harman, people “feel less confident achieving their goals when they see others succeeding at the same goals.”

For heterosexual couples, comparing weight loss can be even more frustrating, especially for women. Research at the Mayo Clinic has found that men tend to lose weight and keep it off easier than women because guys have more muscle, which helps burn off more calories and increase their metabolism.

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Parents Should Buy Teens Newer, Safer Cars

dolgachov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents buying their teenage children cars should open up their wallet and opt for a new car instead of a used one, researchers say.

A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and published in the journal Injury Prevention, looked at national data on drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 and drivers aged 35 to 50 who were killed in car accidents. The biggest difference, the study found, was the age of the cars.

An overwhelming majority — 82 percent — of the teenagers killed in crashes were driving vehicles that were more than six years old. Even more striking, 48 percent were driving vehicles 11 years old or older.

Those older cars, researchers say, were less likely to have safety features, such as electronic stability control and side air bags, which might have cut the rate of teens killed in crashes. In fact, researchers say, the rate of fatal crashes for teens is about three times that for adult drivers.

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Report Names Most, Least Prepared States for Infectious Disease

Spotmatik/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new report named the most and least prepared states in the country when it comes to infectious disease.

The report, put out by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, used ten indicators of preparedness to judge the states. At the top of the list of best prepared states? Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. On the other end of the spectrum, Arkansas finished at the bottom of the list.

Among the indicators used in the report are preparation for emerging threats, vaccinations, healthcare-associated infections, sexually-transmitted infections, food safety, core capabilities, integration of health care and public health and leadership and accountability. A state successful in a given indicator would receive one point.

The top five states, TFAH said, received just eight out of 10 possible points, while Arkansas received just two.

Among the biggest problems, the report indicated, were that just 14 percent of states vaccinate at least half of their population and only 16 states performed better than the national standardized infection ratio for central-line-associated bloodstream infections.

The full report can be found here.

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What to Know About European Union’s Obesity Ruling

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Europe’s highest court ruled on Thursday that obesity can, under certain circumstances, be considered a disability, taking a step forward against obesity discrimination, experts say.

The European Court of Justice heard the case of a child-care worker identified in the ruling as “Mr. Kaltoft,” who claimed he had been fired from his job because of his weight. The court ruled that although obesity was itself not a disability, it can cause certain hindrances that can be considered a disability.

“In the past, employers have said with respect to obesity, ‘Well, this is their fault,'” said Ted Kyle, chairman of the nonprofit Obesity Action Coalition, which is headquartered in Florida. Until now, employers did not feel obligated to accommodate obese employees in the workplace because they deemed that being obese was a personal choice, Kyle noted.

He said various genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to obesity, and that employers are realizing they can’t discriminate people based on weight.

The European Court of Justice ruled that it was for the national court to determine whether Kaltoft’s obesity qualifies as a disability — analogous to the U.S. Supreme Court tossing a case back to a lower state court to hash out the details.

Though we have the Americans with Disabilities Act in the United States, Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said obesity only meets the definition of disability in some cases. In most cases, it does not meet the definition and the legal cases that hinge on obesity as a disability are generally not successful.

“The plaintiff must prove that his or her obesity is disabling or perceived to be disabling by others,” Puhl said.

Kelly Brownell, a professor at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy, said although some people may not want to be labeled as having a disability, he thinks the move is positive and puts Europe ahead of the United States.

“My perspective on this is that it’s a good idea because there’s very clear research showing that overweight people are discriminated against in most settings where there have been studies,” Brownell said, pointing toward studies in education, health care and employment.

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Medical Miracles that Happened in 2014

Second Sight(NEW YORK) — Modern medicine has always been capable of amazing things, but 2014 was an especially remarkable year.

Much of what happened over the past 12 months wasn’t even possible just a few short years ago. Some occurrences, like the ones that follow, might even qualify as miracles:

Bionic Eyesight

In October, a North Carolina man became one of the first people in the world to receive a bionic prosthetic eye implant. After being blind for over 30 years, doctors were able to restore a limited amount of his sight.

The wireless device works by picking up light through a tiny camera and transmitting the light into the nerves of the retina which then send signals to the brain. The University of California researchers who developed the technology call it basic but “a huge leap forward.”

Robokick

The 2014 World Cup soccer tournament began with a kick by a paraplegic man in a mind-controlled exoskeleton.

“As we go after the world cup, we would like to examine a number of other movements,” said Miguel Nicolelis, one of the 100 researchers who helped develop the robotic suit as part of the Walk Again Project.

3D Printed Body Parts

This was the year print-on-demand body parts became a viable reality. From the prosthetic hand printed for under $10 by high schoolers to the custom “bionic arm” 3D printed for a 6-year-old boy, scientists and citizens alike printed up a substitute for just about every joint in the body. Scientists also experimented with bio-printing organs as well.

Miracle Babies

This was a banner year for miracle babies. Conjoined twins survived and thrived in Dallas, a rare “Ghost Baby” born without 80 percent of her blood was saved, and there was a breakthrough stem cell treatment in the so-called “bubble baby disease,” a rare condition that leaves its young victims without a workable immune system.

Miracle Moms

When a 40-year-old woman’s heart stopped beating for 45 minutes during labor, doctors were about to call her time of death. Suddenly they spotted a blip on the heart monitor.

“I remember seeing a spiritual being who I believe was my dad,” Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro said of the incident which happened in November. “I remember the light behind him and many other spiritual beings.”

Incredibly, her heart started again on its own, doctors said. She successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, Taily, by cesarean.

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Medical Miracles that Happened in 2014

Second Sight(NEW YORK) — Modern medicine has always been capable of amazing things, but 2014 was an especially remarkable year.

Much of what happened over the past 12 months wasn’t even possible just a few short years ago. Some occurrences, like the ones that follow, might even qualify as miracles:

Bionic Eyesight

In October, a North Carolina man became one of the first people in the world to receive a bionic prosthetic eye implant. After being blind for over 30 years, doctors were able to restore a limited amount of his sight.

The wireless device works by picking up light through a tiny camera and transmitting the light into the nerves of the retina which then send signals to the brain. The University of California researchers who developed the technology call it basic but “a huge leap forward.”

Robokick

The 2014 World Cup soccer tournament began with a kick by a paraplegic man in a mind-controlled exoskeleton.

“As we go after the world cup, we would like to examine a number of other movements,” said Miguel Nicolelis, one of the 100 researchers who helped develop the robotic suit as part of the Walk Again Project.

3D Printed Body Parts

This was the year print-on-demand body parts became a viable reality. From the prosthetic hand printed for under $10 by high schoolers to the custom “bionic arm” 3D printed for a 6-year-old boy, scientists and citizens alike printed up a substitute for just about every joint in the body. Scientists also experimented with bio-printing organs as well.

Miracle Babies

This was a banner year for miracle babies. Conjoined twins survived and thrived in Dallas, a rare “Ghost Baby” born without 80 percent of her blood was saved, and there was a breakthrough stem cell treatment in the so-called “bubble baby disease,” a rare condition that leaves its young victims without a workable immune system.

Miracle Moms

When a 40-year-old woman’s heart stopped beating for 45 minutes during labor, doctors were about to call her time of death. Suddenly they spotted a blip on the heart monitor.

“I remember seeing a spiritual being who I believe was my dad,” Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro said of the incident which happened in November. “I remember the light behind him and many other spiritual beings.”

Incredibly, her heart started again on its own, doctors said. She successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, Taily, by cesarean.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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