Review Category : Health

Your Body: Over-diagnosis in breast cancer patients

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

A new study out of Denmark is sparking more debate as to whether mammography can lead to unnecessary treatments in some women.

Researchers found that one in three breast tumors discovered through a mammogram may be “over-diagnosed” — meaning they’re identified as more life-threatening than they really are, which leads to unnecessary treatment.

Mammograms are not perfect. They sometimes miss cancers or detect cancers that are already advanced. But they are largely helpful and an important part of screening.

All the news and controversy on breast cancer screening exist because we’re always reassessing data in medicine in search of better clinical advancements.

I feel strongly that this is not a one-size-fits-all issue for women, so talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Famine declared in South Sudan

iStock/Thinkstock(UNITY STATE, South Sudan) — Parts of South Sudan are experiencing a famine as the United Nations says some 100,000 people are facing starvation, according to a BBC News report. The famine affects part of Unity State in the northern region of the country. It marks the first time in six years a famine has been announced in any part of the world.

BBC News reports a combination of civil war and economic collapse are to blame. Humanitarian groups warn the crisis could spread if they do not receive help in the affected areas of South Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Unicef report 4.9 million people are in urgent need of food. That marks over 40% of South Sudan’s population.

BBC News adds that Joyce Luma, who heads the WFP in South Sudan, says the famine was “man-made” with crop production stifled while conflict grew across the country. When South Sudan fought for independence from Sudan in 1998, it also experienced famine from civil war. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

Yemen, Somalia, and north-eastern Nigeria have been warned of the possibility of facing a famine, but South Sudan is the first to declare.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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64-year old gives birth to twins

iStock(BURGOS, Spain) — A 64-year old woman in northern Spain has given birth to healthy fraternal twins.

The mother had undergone fertility treatments in the United States. Both babies are in good health. The boy and girl weigh 5.3 lbs. and 4.8 lbs. respectively.

She delivered the babies by Caesarean section at The Recoleatas Hospital, the BBC reports.

The unnamed-woman gave birth to a girl in 2012. The child was later taken away from her care amid welfare concerns. No decision has been made regarding who will care for the twins.

Despite her age, she is not the oldest woman to ever give birth. According to the Guinness World Records, Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara have birth to twin boys at the age of 66.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Grandma on bed rest delights social media with her stunning paintings

Courtesy of Jill Sobocinski(NEW YORK) — This grandma is delighting the internet with her stunning, colorful paintings.

Joan Holland, 83, has been on bed rest in her assisted living facility in Cranford, New Jersey, for one year, and admitted she gets bored. But recently, she rediscovered her love for Paint by Numbers, a painting kit for adults.

“I’ve been busy,” she proudly told ABC News of her handiwork. “I’ve been confined to bed rest only for a year. And you get tired of laying around in bed. I tried knitting and was good for a while, and I tried reading. But the Paint by Numbers, the painting is perfect. It was easy to set up, easy to clean up and didn’t make a big mess. And I had good results from it.”

An adorable photo of Holland showing off her masterpieces has gone viral, with more than 3,000 likes after her granddaughter, Jill Sobocinski, tweeted it.

“It was really, really beautiful to me,” Sobocinski said of her grandmother’s talents. “It brings her a lot of happiness. She loves to show them off.

“Being stuck there, she does get cranky sometimes,” Sobocinski added. “This is her outlet and her getaway. It brings her joy. Being there and seeing her do this, it’s an inspiration to me and my family. Maybe we need to take up watercolors, too.”

Sobocinski shared the photo because of Holland’s radiant smile in the photo, a rare occurrence since her grandmother has been stuck in bed.

“She doesn’t look that happy all the time, but this brings it out in her,” she said.

After Holland completes a painting, she gives them away to her nurses or family members.

“I could be in an art gallery but I don’t like to be surrounded by them,” she explained. “They’ve served my purpose and now someone else can enjoy them.”

The average painting takes her about 10 days to complete.

“I enjoy it very much,” she said. “I enjoy seeing them go along as they get more and more interesting.”

And this creative grandma has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

“I’m here for a while longer, so you’ll see more,” said Holland. “I’m already thinking about my next painting.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Woman suffering diabetic shock airlifted by Coast Guard from Royal Caribbean cruise ship

USCG(NEW YORK) — A 75-year-old woman experiencing diabetic shock was airlifted by the U.S. Coast Guard Saturday morning from a cruise ship located approximately 100 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The Coast Guard said its 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, was notified at about 9:55 a.m. that a passenger in distress was on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas.

Coast Guard Lt. Courtney Wolf, the command duty officer for the case, said, “Cases like this highlight the importance of cooperation between the Coast Guard, cruise ship personnel and local hospital staff. Today’s hoist went seamlessly due to the coordination between all involved parties, and as a result we were able to transport this individual quickly and safely.”

Diabetic shock — or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) — is a diabetes complication that can lead to unconsciousness, during which the individual has dangerously high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Couple reveals pregnancy by pretending to take photos of family to capture ‘authentic reaction’

Barry Page(ATLANTA) — One Atlanta couple had a novel way to reveal that they were expecting their first child.

Erika and Kareem Hall pretended to take photographs of their family, and instead of yelling, “Cheese!” they yelled, “New baby girl due in March!”

While some family members immediately understood what the couple was trying to say, for others it took a while for the news to sink in.

In the heartwarming video shared Friday on Facebook, one family member asks, “You hear that? Did you hear that?” while another exclaims, “We’re having a what?”

Erika Hall, 31, told ABC News that they decided to tell their family this way in order to “get their authentic reaction.”

“We knew we wanted to do something exciting because it was our first,” she said. “We did not tell our family that we were pregnant until we were three months pregnant, so we had been keeping a secret in for a while.”

Kareem Hall, 33, added that their reveal was perfect because “we were able to capture their actual, genuine response without them knowing it. So that was fun.”

The couple, who have been married for five years, will welcome their first child, a baby girl, next month. Before then, however, they’re looking forward to becoming parents.

“I am most looking forward to making her smile … and dancing with her, and just really trying to make every day special for her in some way,” Kareem Hall said.

“I’m looking forward to teaching her new things, teaching her about the world and … introducing her to life,” Erika Hall said. “That’ll be exciting.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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China battling bird flu surge

Image Source/Thinkstock(BEIJING) — China is experiencing a surge in H7N9 “bird flu” infections.

According to the New York Times, on Friday, officials have confirmed eight deaths and 77 new diagnoses in February.

Authorities have closed live poultry markets across the country in an attempt to slow down the spread of the deadly virus.

The ban was implemented after a woman in her twneties and her young daughter both died after coming in contact with live poultry, the New York Times reported.

Experts fear that the virus could mutate into one that can easily pass between people.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Hundreds of DC Zika virus tests to be re-examined after ‘technical issues’

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Officials at a Washington D.C. public health lab confirmed to ABC News that they are retesting hundreds of samples from people in the area for Zika virus over concerns about the accuracy of the original test results.

Already, samples taken from two pregnant women, who originally tested negative for the virus, have now tested positive for likely Zika infection.

The District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory has tested hundreds of people, mainly pregnant women, for the Zika virus since last year.

Yesterday, officials from the lab announced that after identifying “technical issues” with the Zika tests in December and a subsequent review of the tests, they would be retesting hundreds of specimens for signs of the virus collected during the second half of last year.

A spokesperson for the lab clarified to ABC News that “calculation and formulation errors” led to officials stopping and reviewing the Zika tests.

In total, 409 specimens that originally tested negative, including 294 from pregnant women, have been sent for retesting. The specimens from pregnant women were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and those from men and non-pregnant women were sent to public health labs approved by the CDC. It often takes two to three weeks to receive test results that could indicate a likely Zika infection. Currently, two of 62 samples that were sent to the CDC for additional testing, and then further confirmation testing, were positive for antibodies that would indicate a possible Zika infection.

The test looks for antibodies that indicate a current or past infection from a flavivirus, a family of viruses that includes Zika. The CDC is treating the patients who tested positive as though they tested positive for the Zika virus out of caution and for monitoring.

Currently, only specimens obtained between July 14, 2016 and December 14, 2016 will be reexamined, since those collected before that date were already tested by the CDC.

Dr. Christopher Zahn, vice president of practice activities for The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), called the testing issue a “very unfortunate situation” and said it is critical that patients get updated results quickly in case they need to get extra prenatal or post-partum care.

“The CDC has prioritized these lab retests and, as they are completed, it is critical that patients are informed of the updated results so they can follow-up appropriately based on current clinical recommendations,” Zahn said in a statement. “ACOG and the CDC have been in contact and continue to consult and collaborate and will issue any additional necessary information.”

The issue should serve as a reminder that “Zika is still a very serious public health crisis,” he said, and that the public, as well as doctors and health officials, should remain vigilant.

“ACOG will continue to work closely with obstetric providers and offer the most up-to-date clinical guidance,” he added.

Lab officials said they expect to have all retested sample results back in the next four weeks.

Zika infection in adults often has mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC, and approximately one in five people infected with the virus shows symptoms. Severe complications from Zika that require hospitalization are rare, and most people are over the worst of the symptoms after a week, according to the CDC.

In pregnant women, the virus has been found to be associated with fetal development issues and can cause birth defects including microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Grieving mom meets little girl whose beating heart came from her daughter

Amber Travaglio | Ashlyn Richardson(CLEVELAND) — A grieving mother has met the child whose life was saved thanks to the donation of her little girl’s heart.

Mothers Amber Travaglio and Ashlyn Richardson embraced in a tearful first meeting Feb. 8, one year after the heart of Travaglio’s late daughter, Melody Kashawlic, 7, was donated to Peyton Richardson, 5.

“It was an overwhelming sense of peace, which may sound strange,” Travaglio told ABC News of meeting Richardson and Peyton. “There’s so much emotional turmoil in losing a child and curiosity in organ donation. Who has a piece of my child? What is the family like? Is their life better because of this?”

“Getting to see how much Ashlyn loves Peyton and seeing how she’ll do anything for her child brought me some peace. There’s never a complete closure in something like this; there’s a shadow of sadness but for one moment in time. I got to feel like my child was there because I know a part of Melody lives on in Peyton,” Travaglio said.

Travaglio of Cleveland, Ohio, said Melody was a vibrant little girl with an old soul who enjoyed fostering pets and knitting hats for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“She had an innate desire to help people,” Travaglio said. “[I’ll miss] cooking and baking together; we’d always make up silly songs and sing and play. We called her a little Punky Brewster with her purposely mismatched clothes. Thankfully, we built a lot of memories.”

But one particularly painful memory is from June 7, 2015, when after Melody woke up to use the bathroom, Travaglio said she heard a “bang” and found her daughter collapsed on the floor. Her daughter, who had a minor case of asthma, had suffered an unexplained asphyxic asthma attack, Travaglio said.

Travaglio, a nurse at the time, administered CPR and called 911. Melody was transferred to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland where her lungs failed and she died.

Seven hundred miles away in Conyers, Georgia, and five months earlier, on Jan. 15, 2015, Richardson was getting Peyton, then 3, ready for school.

Richardson, a mom of two, noticed Peyton had a fever and took her to a hospital emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a stomach virus and sent home with anti-nausea medication.

Richardson said her mother, a nurse, kept Peyton with her that night. “I wanted her to stay with her in case something happened,” she said.

When Peyton’s health didn’t improve, Richardson’s mother, Theresa Rainey, brought her to another hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

Richardson was on her way to work when she learned her daughter’s heart stopped at the hospital.

“We had no idea that she had heart issues at all,” Richardson said. “They performed CPR on her for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, which brought her back.”

Peyton was hooked up to a machine to support her heart’s function and days later doctors told Richardson that her daughter would need a brand new heart.

“They told us that it had to be a child around her age, size and blood type, which was so devastating because I knew for a transplant to happen, a child had to die. I know I wanted my child to recover, but I didn’t want another child to have to pass away in order for that to happen,” Richardson said.

Peyton had dilated cardiomyopathy, said one of her cardiologists, William Mahle, M.D., who is co-chief of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that usually starts in the heart’s main pumping chamber, or the left ventricle, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Peyton Richardson turned 4 on the day that Melody Kashawlic died, June 9, 2015.

All of Melody’s organs were donated with the exception of her lungs, which were sent to medical research, her mother, Travaglio, said. She said she hopes her daughter’s story will inspire others to be open to organ donation.

Patti DePompei, president of the Cleveland hospital where Melody died, said, “The profound generosity and compassion of Melody’s mother during such a painful time is an inspiring reminder of the importance of organ donation. Melody’s legacy endures as her heart continues to beat and provide life in Peyton.”

Three days after Melody’s death, Peyton received her heart through a transplant.

“Everything went very, very well,” Richardson said of the surgery. “She did not reject the heart at all. They said that everything looks perfect.”

Afterward, Richardson said she was given a pamphlet explaining she could write a letter to the donor’s family but would have to wait six months to allow the family to grieve. But at the beginning of January 2016, she got a letter from Travaglio. The letter, sent through an organ-donation service, omitted last names to protect the identities of both families.

But Travaglio found Richardson on Facebook, and the mothers corresponded, Richardson said.

The two families finally met in Georgia earlier this month where Travaglio could see for herself the child who got her daughter’s heart. Peyton is now in kindergarten and thriving.

Before their meeting, Richardson gave Travaglio a stuffed lamb which has inside it a recording of the heartbeat that both girls shared.

“I was so happy to be able to put my arms around the person who allowed my daughter a second chance at life,” Richardson said of Travaglio. “It was a dream to be able to meet them.”

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Animal-loving friends come together to save sick cat

Leave No Paws Behind(NEW YORK) — What would have been a routine visit to her local animal shelter turned into an emotional experience for Elaine Seamans.

A stray cat that had recently been brought to the shelter stopped Seamans in her tracks as she walked past his cage.

“I saw about four dogs who needed help, and then I saw him,” Seamans, who runs the At-Choo Foundation, a nonprofit that provides dogs with medical care, told ABC News. “We don’t normally help cats but there’s no way I could walk past him.”

The emaciated cat somehow managed to muster a “meow” and turn toward Seamans.

“He reached out and so I picked him up,” she said. “He was so thin and he was so weak and he just put his little head on my shoulder.”

What Seamans didn’t know at the time was that the cat was suffering from a highly contagious sarcoptic mange, a condition that requires handlers to wear protective gloves. She said she doesn’t regret the risk she took that day.

“There was no way I could leave him here to not get help,” Seamans said.

Seamans knew the cat, named Valentino, was in bad shape. She texted her friend Toby Wisneski, CEO of Leave No Paws Behind, a nonprofit that specializes in extreme medical cases and terminally-ill animals.

Wisneski immediately responded and arrived at the shelter shortly after. She promised Valentino would receive the best care possible.

“I heard his tiny little meow and that sealed the deal,” Wisneski told ABC News.

Thanks to these women, Valentino is now recovering under 24-hour care. In addition to the sarcoptic mange, Valentino was suffering from low glucose levels, infections that left his eyes swollen shut, dehydration and possible gastrointestinal bleeding. However, Dr. Michelle Dulake, a veterinarian at The Pet Doctors of Sherman Oaks who has been overseeing Valentino’s care, said he is on the road to recovery.

“I do think we are optimistic, and as long as his glucose goes up and his bacterial infections go away, I think he’ll have a really good life,” Dulake told ABC News. “He’s the sweetest, sweetest cat. I think it was a really great find for Leave No Paws Behind. They did a great job finding a cat that has the potential to live a long and happy life.”

The support Valentino has received from the public after she began sharing his story has been overwhelming, Wisneski said.

“The people have been just amazing,” she remarked. “We’ve received donations from people in Sweden, Australia, Austria. Who knew? We were just doing what we normally do — help those that can’t help themselves and the ones that nobody wants.”

She continues to post updates on Valentino’s status on her foundation’s Facebook page, garnering even more support.

“He’s the sweetest little guy,” Wisneski, who named the cat in honor Valentine’s Day, said. “He’s an internet sensation, he’s got a fanbase that is unbelievable, and we’re taking it one day at a time.”

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