Review Category : Health

How Researchers Are Using Google to Find Chickenpox Seasons

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers have found that the chickenpox virus may actually be a seasonal disease, with more cases reported in the spring, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To identify chickenpox rates, the researchers turned to an unconventional source: Google Trends. The search engine has actually successfully been used by researchers before to estimate and examine influenza rates. For this study, researchers wanted to see if chickenpox was a seasonal disease in the same way the common cold or the flu is.

They looked at Google search data from 36 countries over an 11-year period and then validated that data with information from published clinical cases. Researchers found that the virus appears to peak in the spring globally, though in countries where vaccines are used the association was much weaker.

The results of the study were somewhat limited since the only countries that were studied were in temperate regions where there was internet access and the population had enough education and literacy to search for information about the disease online.

However, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who was not involved in this study, said the findings may be especially useful in countries where the chickenpox vaccine is not common and where the rate of the disease is not tracked.

“Data can instruct a ministry of health, where they don’t have any idea about chickenpox [rates],” Schaffner told ABC News. He said it was also interesting to see how chickenpox searches were different in countries where vaccines were readily available.

“In countries where we immunize routinely, the seasonality is much more muted and the inquiries themselves aren’t about disease and symptoms and treatment [but] about vaccines,” he said, noting that those people doing online searches may have heard about a chickenpox infection in their community and become concerned their child was exposed.

Kevin Bakker, lead author of the study and a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, explained that he wanted to use the Google data after seeing how google searches appeared to match known seasonal peaks for childhood infectious diseases.

“I think digital epidemiology, which is using Google trends or Twitter trends … is a complement to clinical data,” said Bakker, explaining the drawback of getting traditional reported clinical data is that it takes a long time until it reaches the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“You take your child to the doctor and the doctor sends the case report to state health officials and the CDC compiles it all,” Bakker said. “If I go to Google Trends you can see the top trends in data anywhere in the world.”

He emphasized Google data is being used as a supplement to traditional clinical data, which he and his co-authors used to verify the Google data.

Dr. Amy Edwards, pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, said more research is needed to verify the findings but that Google data may become extremely helpful in the future as medical officials plan where to allocate resources during an outbreak of a particular disease.

“It has the potential to be extremely interesting particularly in unreported and under-reported diseases,” Edwards said, explaining that information about the start of a flu outbreak can help medical staff start to screen people earlier for the virus and take protective measures.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Heart Attack Survivor Crosses Race Finish Line 50 Days Late

WRIC-TV(RICHMOND, Va.) — A Virginia man celebrated Sunday after crossing the finish line to a race he started 50 days earlier.

Bill Hughes participated in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K last month, but never made it to the finish line after going into cardiac arrest about halfway through the race, according to ABC affiliate WRIC-TV.

The 60-year-old runner was immediately given CPR first from his daughter and then from bystanders.

“I feel like he grabbed my arm and then he hit the floor, hit the ground, face planted,” Hughes’ daughter, Bethany Gordon, told WRIC-TV of his cardiac arrest.

In spite of the severity of his condition, Hughes survived after being rushed to the hospital. But rather than just give up on the 10K, Hughes said he didn’t want to give up on completing the race.

“When I start to do something I want to finish it and I just felt bad that I hadn’t finished,” Hughes told WRIC-TV.

This weekend, Hughes decided to finish the race while drawing attention to the importance of learning CPR. He took to the same 10K course along with his daughter and others who helped him during his cardiac arrest. This time, Hughes finished to cheers and was even given a finisher medal.

Members of the Richmond Ambulance Authority joined in the run to encourage everyone to learn CPR and become a potential life-saver.

Heart attack survivor crosses finish line 50 days later @8NEWS@8NEWS #BillsStory @hp_ems @tbouthillet https://t.co/TrcQXIvouP

— Richmond Ambulance (@RAAEMS) May 30, 2016

Hughes said he was motivated not just by his own story but by the death of his brother.

“I think back to five years ago when my brother died from a heart attack,” Hughes said. “If more people had of known how to do CPR back then, could he have been rescued?”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Woman Reveals Diagnosis She Says Led to 50-Pound Weight Loss

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Debbie Savage said she struggled to lose weight for 15 years, dating back to middle school, before she went to five different doctors to finally get the diagnosis that would change her life.

Savage, of Maryland, played sports in middle school but still continued to gain weight. She said she kept active as she aged and maintained a healthy diet but still could not shed the pounds.

“I would go to the doctor once a year and every year he would tell me, ‘Your weight has gone up,’” Savage said in an interview that aired Monday on Good Morning America. “And I would tell him, ‘I am trying,’ and he’d say, ‘Oh, you’re just not trying hard enough.’”

Savage said it took visits to five doctors before she finally got a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome.

“I was so frustrated that years had gone by and this went unnoticed, but at the same time I felt so refreshed that I had an answer to what it was,” Savage said.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an imbalance of a woman’s sex hormones, according to the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms of PCOS are diverse but may include infertility, irregular or absent periods, excess facial hair, acne and obesity.

“The exact cause may not be known,” said Dr. Neil Horlick, the obstetrician-gynecologist who definitively diagnosed Savage.

He added: “Women certainly could go undiagnosed for many years … we think that there is some genetic component.”

Savage switched to a Paleo diet after her diagnosis and was prescribed medication to help with insulin resistance, a symptom of PCOS.

Savage said that after her diagnosis, she lost 50 pounds within six months.

“Our lives are so much fuller now because I have an answer and I’m so thankful for that,” she said.

Savage said the diagnosis also resolved her struggle with infertility.

“I was able to get pregnant [and] my husband and I now have twins, that was a surprise,” she said. “We wouldn’t have these two precious boys if it weren’t for that.”

Savage hopes sharing her story can help others who are going through a similar struggle to recognize the symptoms, in the event that they, too, could have PCOS but may not have received a diagnosis.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: The Kylie Jenner Lip Plump Trend

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

Ever since Kylie Jenner came on the scene with noticeably fuller lips, enviers everywhere started looking for anything to get that trademark lip plump.

But some methods proved to not be the safest.

Jenner’s supposed trick for temporarily puffing your lips involved sucking the air out of a glass until the vacuum effect swells your mouth. This became an unfortunate Internet trend in 2015, and videos have shown that this method can lead to serious injuries.

According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2015 was also the biggest year ever for lip augmentation procedures and buttock lifts.

Now, while I firmly defend our right to change our appearance if we wish, remember that trends come and go. Always go to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon if you’re considering any cosmetic procedure, and remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Boy Bitten by Shark in Florida, Suffering ‘Severe’ Lacerations

iStock/Thinkstock(NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla.) — Some swimmers saw their worst fear come true during the holiday weekend at the beach.

A boy likely between 11 and 13 years old suffered “severe” lacerations when he was bitten by a shark in Neptune Beach, Florida, Sunday, officials said.

The boy was in water about waist-high — roughly 2.5 feet — when he was bitten in the lower right leg by a shark that was 5 to 6 feet long, Neptune Beach Police Sgt. Liam Toal said.

“Nothing appeared to be life-threatening,” Toal said, but he said the boy suffered two or three “severe” lacerations, potentially all the way to the bone.

Witness Lou DeMark said when the boy was carried out of the water “he had a huge gash in his calf.”

“It was pretty shocking,” he said.

The boy was stable and taken to the hospital, Toal said.

Police said lifeguards pulled all beach-goers out of the water for about 30 to 45 minutes after the incident.

There was also news of a possible shark attack on Sunday in Newport Beach, California, where officials reported a woman suffered from “possible animal bite wounds.”

“We don’t know what kind of animal. We have sea lions. We have sharks obviously. We don’t have any inclination of what type of animal at this point and time,” lifeguard Rob Williams told ABC News.

In 2015, the U.S. saw a record 98 shark attacks, which included six deaths. Experts are predicting there will be another hike in shark attacks this summer as well.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Make-Up Artist’s Lip Art Was ‘Stress Reliever’ While Fighting Brain Tumor

iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) — Jazmina Daniel is more than just a pretty face.

Sure, the whimsical, elaborate, ornate lip art designs she creates are astounding, but the reason she began using her face as a canvas is even more inspirational.

“In 2006 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which forced me to leave school,” Daniel, 24, of Sydney, Australia, wrote to ABC News. “I spent most of my days inside and focused on art for happiness. From canvases I began working on my own face, which then led to doing a few makeup courses during the time I was unwell and working then as a makeup artist.

“After that I became unwell again and had to have surgery to remove my tumor, and it was shortly after that I started to get creative with my lips instead of just glamour makeup,” she added. “Lip art brings me happiness. I find joy in it and it definitely is an amazing stress reliever.”

Daniel’s more complex lip art designs can take hours to complete, often needing to re-do them multiple times until she’s happy with the final product.

“It can be very frustrating at times and I do feel like just throwing the idea out but I persist and keep trying until I get it,” she explained. “I think any artist is the same way. They like to keep trying and get it close to perfect or until they are happy with it.”

The designs range in rainbows of colors, to glitter ombre to even focusing on a specific movie character or scene.

“I can’t even pick a favorite design. They are all special to me as they all represent something I love and I just hope that the joy and happiness that it brings me, brings the same to anyone else that sees them,” Daniel said.

You can follow all of Daniel’s beautiful lip art on her YouTube acccount.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Babies Born Behind Bars Can Stay with Their Mothers in Jail’s Nursery

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What happens when a pregnant woman is arrested and sent to prison?

The vast majority of inmate moms are separated from their infants once they are born. But a few of the new mothers are able to keep their babies with them in prison nurseries, some until they are 18 months old.

The oldest prison nursery program is run at New York’s Bedford Correctional Facility for Women, north of New York City. Seven other women’s prisons have similar programs.

In 2014, ABC News’ Nightline spent nine months following Jacqueline McDougall and her son Max at Bedford Correctional Facility.

McDougall said she believed it was a help to her. “I think seeing his little face every day and know that I have to take care of him is going to be a big incentive for me. Definitely,” McDougall told Nightline.

Dr. Janet Stockheim, a pediatrician who comes every two weeks to check up on the babies in the prison, including Max, said it can benefit a baby, too, to be raised behind bars.

“The babies aren’t aware. They get excellent care,” Stockheim said. “They are very well bonded to the mothers.”

“Bonding gives a baby trust in the world that they will be taken care of,” she added. “The babies do better here than they would on the outside, with some of these mothers.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Meet The Baby Who Looks Like A Pint-Sized Gordon Ramsay

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(LONDON) — Do you see the resemblance?

His name is Arlo-Blue, and he’s the baby that the internet is calling Gordon Ramsay’s miniature doppelganger.

After Claire Dempster tweeted a picture of her baby, jokingly claiming that the celebrity chef could be the father, the internet agreed.

“@GordonRamsay this is our baba – have you been in Wales for any reason around 10 months ago,” the Cardiff, Wales mother wrote, complete with two laughing emojis.

@GordonRamsay this is our baba – have you been in Wales for any reason around 10 months ago 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/yLesQ6qEpe

— Claire Dempster (@Claire8ball) May 26, 2016

Ramsay, 49, responded on Twitter saying, “Yes about 11 months ago.”

Since then, the chef — known for his no-nonsense style in the kitchen — has been chiming in on claims that he and baby Arlo-Blue look alike.

“I feel sorry for the baby !!!!” he said, before later adding: “Poor kid.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Teen Escorts Terminally Ill Mom to High School Prom

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An Idaho teen escorted his mom to prom last month, after she feared she’ll miss his future wedding day.

Kerry Huffaker of Twin Falls, Idaho, was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer on Feb. 18 with a nine to 20-month prognosis. So, her son Dylan, 17, brought her as his date to the Canyon Ridge High School prom on April 30.

“That was the most beautiful I think I’ve ever seen her,” Dylan Huffaker told ABC News. “I thought about it and I can look back after years and years and remember who I went to prom with. I’ll know it was someone I loved who meant something to me.”

Weeks before the prom, Dylan showed up to where his mom Kerry was receiving radiation treatment with a box of donuts in tow. Written in icing was a message that rad: “Will you go to prom with me?”

“I was taken by surprise, that’s for sure,” Kerry told ABC News. “I try not to focus too much on the future. I try to live today as best as I can, but [thought], ‘Who’s going to dance with my son when the mom is supposed to dance with the groom at his wedding day?'”

She added: “My reaction was, ‘You don’t want to go to prom with your old, bald mom. You’ll be embarrassed.’ And he said,’No I won’t. I’ll have the prettiest date there.'”

The prom was held in Dylan’s high school gym on a Saturday.

The best part about the night was sharing a special dance with his mom to “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, he said.

“[The D.J.] cleared the dance floor and let us dance the first half, just me and my mom,” Dylan said. “I put her through 17 years of hard times, so it’s worth it to take her to prom. I love that my mom is as caring as she is. No matter what your going through, she’s willing to help — no matter what hard times she’s facing.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Window Washers Dress Up as Superheroes to Delight Young Hospital Patients

University of Missouri Healthcare, Women’s and Children’s Hospital(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) — The young patients at the University of Missouri Children’s hospital were thrilled Thursday when they looked out their windows and saw superheroes flying in the air, washing their windows.

The window washers from Class Glass in Springfield, Missouri, dressed as Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America and Batman when they showed up for work, to wash the windows of the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital, bringing absolute delight to the young patients.

“No matter what they were there for their faces lit up once they saw them through the windows,” Stephanie Baehman of MU Healthcare told ABC News Friday, “We had one little boy who got to go home yesterday morning, he was 5, but he said ‘Not before I meet those superheroes.'”

Baehman said that before the workers went out to do the windows, the kids met with the superheroes in the playroom, and for those who could not leave their beds, the superheroes came to their rooms, so no kid was left out. The superheroes signed autographs and took pictures with the kids.

“They were thrilled, their faces just lit up. It was for the kids but you could see the relief on the parents’ faces when the kids were loving it.”

Baehman said that they initially approached the fire department, whose members were hesitant, but when they brought the idea to Class Glass, they ran with it.

“We approached them with it and the window washers were just as excited and thrilled to do it,” Baehman said, “They ordered their own costumes from the internet.”

Justin Hess, owner of Class Glass, told ABC News Friday, “I’ve always been a comic book geek…. It didn’t take much convincing.”

Hess added that all the kids faces “lit up” when they saw Hess and his crew.

“Some were bashful, some were a little skeptical. They would peak around corners and stuff, which was cute, but I told them I had x-ray vision and I could see through the walls, so they better just come up and talk to us,” Hess, who dressed as Superman, said.

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