Review Category : Health

What Future Looks Like for Youngest Dual Hand Transplant Recipient

Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS via Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — The youngest recipient of a dual hand transplant may be through his surgery, but the real test of the transplant’s success may come as he starts to recover and gain use of his new hands.

Doctors are hopeful that the new hands for Zion Harvey, 8, will hold up during his lifetime, but they also acknowledged that he is in uncharted territory.

Zion lost his hands and feet from a dangerous infection at age 2 and has largely coped with the disability through prosthetics for his feet, but his doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wanted to give him a more permanent solution.

“We wanted to really make sure that this was going to work for our patient and work for a lifetime, not just a year,” Dr. Benjamin Chang, co-director of the Hand Transplantation Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said in a video released by the hospital.

After the 10-hour surgery earlier this month, Zion has months of recovery ahead of him, but he’s already reached the record books. Before Zion’s groundbreaking surgery, hand transplants had been performed only on adult patients. Chang said because the procedure is so new, they do not know whether Zion’s new hands will last forever.

“We just don’t know,” Chang said of the transplant’s durability. “The adults that have had transplants have had a least one rejection episode after the transplant.”

Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, chairman of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, said the first successful hand transplant occurred in 1999.

“We think it can go indefinitely, but I have to tell you the longest hand transplant was performed just 16 yeas ago,” said Lee, who was not involved with Zion’s surgery. “That’s the track record.”

Other issues the boy might face include the immune system rejecting the tissue or possibly other long-term health consequences of being on immuno-suppressing drugs, Lee said. Zion was already on immuno-suppressants because he had a kidney transplant when he was younger, hospital officials noted.

“In the case of hand transplant, the problem will manifest as rejection of the transplant hand,” Lee explained of possible complications. “If the rejection is mild it can be treated with medication. If it is severe or if it happens repeatedly then it becomes more and more difficult to treat.”

As patients go through physical therapy, they can regain a significant portion of their dexterity, Lee said.

Chang said the goal is currently to get Zion to simply make a fist and open his hand. He said the therapy is complicated because Zion’s hands are completely numb as he recovers.

“We’re waiting for him to regain the ability to feel,” explained Chang. “The nerves have to grow back from his own native nerves into the transplanted hands…It will grow about an inch a month. It’s going to be six months before he gains feeling in the hands.”

Chang said that the hands were attached in a way so that the bone’s “growth plate” was left unharmed.

“The area where we [used] the metal plates to join the bones together, we don’t cross over the growth plate,” explained Chang. He said the bones would be expected to grow until Zion was through puberty.

In video released by the hospital, Zion is able to move his new hands in physical therapy and even seems to scratch an itch on his face. According to his Chang, Zion’s big goal “is to climb the monkey bars.”

But prior to the surgery, the 8-year-old said he knew he would be happy as long as he had his family.

“When I get these hands I will be proud of the hands I get,” he says in a video released by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If it gets messed up, I don’t care because I have my family.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Boys’ Second- and Third-Degree Sunburns Show Dangers of No Sun Protection

jakubzak/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Pictures of two Oklahoma boys with second- and third-degree burns have started to make national headlines after they spent hours at a water park without sun protection, according to their mother.

Shaunna Broadway was horrified to find out her fair-skinned sons, ages 5 and 7, were left without sun protection during a day care trip to a nearby water park.

Broadway said that daycare workers said that they didn’t have sunscreen for the boys and the young boys did not keep their shirts on at the park. The boys ended up in the hospital with second- and third-degree burns and were eventually airlifted to a Texas hospital for further treatment.

A video released by Broadway shows the boys screaming in pain as they receive treatment. She told ABC News she was heartbroken to see her sons injured after they spent hours in triple-digit temperatures.

“It’s been really hard to see them go through this,” she said.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services confirmed to ABC News that the daycare center has ceased operations.

Experts say this case clearly shows how dangerous a simple trip outdoors can be for those without sun protection.

Dr. Barney Kenet, a New York-based dermatologist, said the boys were likely susceptible to severe sun damage because they appear to have very fair skin.

“Those boys are very fair and [one has] red hair, they are as fair as they can be,” said Kenet. “In high-sun community and so you can get a burn … in 15 minutes when you’re this fair.”

He guessed spending an hour or more in the sun with no protection could lead to the severe burns seen on the boys in the pictures released by Broadway.

He said while the burns look severe in the pictures, the boys will likely not suffer permanent damage.
“The future however is good,” said Kenet. “Both boys will heal up quite well … it’s highly unlikely they will have scarring.”

He did warn that the boys could be at high risk for health complications in the future as a result of the severe burn.

“Unfortunately severe burns in childhood in this natures are an independent risk factor for skin cancer later in life,” explained Kenet.

Kenet said it’s key to apply broad spectrum sun block every two to three hours when in the sun and to try and avoid being outdoors during peak hours. He said if rambunctious kids refuse to stay indoors parents can double up on sun block and long sleeve rash guards to give protection to vulnerable children.

“They have pristine, very fair and unclimatized skin,” Kenet said of the two boys. “Baby skin, it’s very fair. They have no tan and no protection.“

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Historic Dual Hand Transplant Gives Boy Second Chance at Life

Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS via Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — When Zion Harvey was 2 years old, the Maryland boy developed a serious infection that resulted in the removal of his hands and feet.

On Tuesday, doctors at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announced that the 8-year-old boy had become the first child in the world to receive a dual hand transplant.

The 11-hour surgery took place earlier this month but wasn’t revealed until this week.

At a news conference Tuesday, Zion asked the many family members in attendance to stand and be recognized, telling them: “I want to say to you guys, thank you for helping me through this bumpy road.”

He said that, for him, “family means trust hope support and if you fall down they always catch you.”

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Your Body: How to Minimize Chlorine Damage While Swimming

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

Summer is the time for sunshine, sipping lemonade and swimming. But could it be risky?

Swimming puts your hair and skin in direct contact with chlorine, which can have some pretty damaging effects. If you’re not careful, it can cause your skin to get red and itchy, and your hair to get dry and brittle.

Before you dive in, wet your hair. Because your hair works like a sponge, it won’t absorb as much pool water if it’s already wet.

Also, add some moisturizers to your hair and skin before and afterwards to help stop the chlorine from stripping your good oils away.

And don’t forget your eyes. Try not to swim with contacts, and wear those goggles. Your eyes are up for the same risks as your skin and hair.

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Heroin Addiction Epidemic on the Rise in the U.S.

Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) — A top federal drug enforcement official says the heroin addiction epidemic in the United States is the worst he’s ever seen.

More deaths occur every year from overdoses than gunshot wounds or car accidents.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Deputy Administrator Jack Riley says “Heroin can be found on virtually every corner of our country and places I’ve never see it before.”

Younger users are turning to the powerful drug because it can be snorted or smoked.

The DEA says that as the cost of prescription drugs have gone up, the price for heroin has gone down as more and more people look for a powerful high.

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Kroger Recalls Four Store-Brand Seasonings

Svetl/iStock/ThinkStock(CINCINNATI) — Kroger is recalling four of its store-brand spices over fears of a possible salmonella contamination.

The spices being recalled include Kroger Ground Cinnamon, Kroger Garlic Powder, Kroger Coarse Ground Black Pepper and Kroger Bac’n Buds.

“Customers who have purchased the above products should not consume them and should return them to a store for a full refund or replacement,” Kroger said in a news release. “Customers who have questions may contact Kroger at 1-800-KROGERS.”

Kroger said in the release that a sample of its Kroger Garlic Powder at a store in North Augusta, Georgia, had been tested by the Food and Drug Administration and was found to be contaminated with salmonella.

The seasonings are sold in at least 17 US states. Kroger said it had removed the spices from its store shelves.

Kroger said there have been no reported illnesses at this time. For more information, click here.

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What You Need to Know About Outbreak Linked to Cilantro

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A surge of outbreaks related to a microscopic parasite has officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banning all cilantro imported from a Mexican state.

Cilantro farms in Pubela have been blamed for causing repeated cyclospora outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The disease is caused by a parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis and can cause intestinal illness with causes flu-like symptoms.

This year, the Texas Department of Health said there have already been 205 cases of the parasitic infection reported. Previous cases have also been reported in Wisconsin.

An investigation into multiple cilantro farms found dire conditions at some farms including “human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities,” and either “inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities, ” or “a complete lack of toilet and hand washing facilities,” according to the FDA.

In some cases the water used by workers to wash their hands was found to be contaminated with the parasite.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said tracing cases of cyclospora can be difficult because it can appear similar to other diseases and is relatively rare.

“It’s an infection that is not easy to diagnose and is one that the average physician has very little knowledge of,” said Schaffner. “Hospital laboratories will have some difficulty making these diagnosis.”

He also said the case is worrying because cilantro is not usually cooked, which would kill the parasite.

“We use it frequently in salads and it’s uncooked and so there’s no way you sterilize cilantro,” said Schaffner.

Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer, said the number of cyclospora outbreaks in recent years is worrying.

“Banning the product is probably a bit past due given the numbers of outbreaks that have occurred, “said Marler. “The fact is that cyclospora is called an emerging pathogen. It’s relatively new bug making people sick in the U.S.”

The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical regions but has caused outbreaks in exported food.

If your guacamole just isn’t complete without a dash of cilantro, don’t despair. Imports of the vegetable are still allowed from other Mexican states and the U.S. and Mexican authorities have joined forces to enhanced safety controls of cilantro farms in the area.

Cyclospora symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite,
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea

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Study: Teen Girls Face Leadership Biases

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — For the last few decades, women have been breaking professional barriers. But a new report by Harvard’s Educational School reveals there’s a hidden barrier teen girls are running up against.

“Girls are facing biases from many sources, from teen boys, from some parents, and they are facing biases from each other,” Richard Weissbourd, co-director of Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project, which conducted this study, told ABC News.

The result is that these biases could be holding girls back from succeeding.

“We have made a lot of progress in terms of gender equality but we still have a long way to go,” he added.

The study of 20,000 students showed only 8 percent of teen girls preferred female political leaders.

“Males have always led, so I guess we’re kind of used to it,” one 17-year-old girl said.

“Right now it seems to be mostly a male-dominated sphere,” added another.

What’s more surprising is that even some mothers appear to be biased, supporting school councils that are led by boys more.

The report also reveals girls tend not to support other young women saying they feel threatened by their successes in school. Weissbourd believes girls need to start working collectively to fight biases.

“Emphasizing girls’ solidarity is really important,” he said. “That is an important message for parents to send to girls.”

Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and co-founder of Girls Leadership, says these findings are amazing, but she’s not really surprised by them.

“Even in this day and age, we’ve given girls every opportunity but our attitudes still have to change,” Simmons said on ABC News’ Good Morning America Tuesday. “We’re still giving girls messages to look at each other as threats. Think about the media images of Mean Girls and cat fighting. Girls are not looking at each other for support, and they’re also feeling so insecure about how they look. Think about Instagram and social media. They’re feeling like, ‘I’m not as pretty as the next girl’ so they’re not supporting each other.”

Simmons offers ways for parents to help break these patterns of gender bias:

Change the chores.

“Research shows that chores can be distributed in really gendered ways,” she said. “That means we tell boys to mow the lawn and girls do the dishes. Change it up at home. That’s a big thing parents can do. Let boys do some caregiving because beliefs and attitudes start very early and parents can help kids change it very quickly and very early in the home.”

Words matter.

“Another thing is change the way we talk to our kids,” said Simmons. “If you have an outspoken girl, do you call her bossy, or do you say, ‘I’m so glad you spoke up’? If you’ve got guys at home who talk about doing things ‘like a girl’ as if that’s a weak thing to do, we’ve got to say ‘knock it off.’ That’s not the way to talk.”

Check your bias.

“We all have our own biases. I have a 3-year-old daughter and when she doesn’t want to wear a dress, I get a little bummed out about it,” she explained. “Again, every parent has to look at their own biases. What toys are we buying for our kids? Are we buying girls the makeup kits and boys the science kits? It’s ok to do that, but change it up a little bit.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Study: Teen Girls Face Leadership Biases

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — For the last few decades, women have been breaking professional barriers. But a new report by Harvard’s Educational School reveals there’s a hidden barrier teen girls are running up against.

“Girls are facing biases from many sources, from teen boys, from some parents, and they are facing biases from each other,” Richard Weissbourd, co-director of Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project, which conducted this study, told ABC News.

The result is that these biases could be holding girls back from succeeding.

“We have made a lot of progress in terms of gender equality but we still have a long way to go,” he added.

The study of 20,000 students showed only 8 percent of teen girls preferred female political leaders.

“Males have always led, so I guess we’re kind of used to it,” one 17-year-old girl said.

“Right now it seems to be mostly a male-dominated sphere,” added another.

What’s more surprising is that even some mothers appear to be biased, supporting school councils that are led by boys more.

The report also reveals girls tend not to support other young women saying they feel threatened by their successes in school. Weissbourd believes girls need to start working collectively to fight biases.

“Emphasizing girls’ solidarity is really important,” he said. “That is an important message for parents to send to girls.”

Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and co-founder of Girls Leadership, says these findings are amazing, but she’s not really surprised by them.

“Even in this day and age, we’ve given girls every opportunity but our attitudes still have to change,” Simmons said on ABC News’ Good Morning America Tuesday. “We’re still giving girls messages to look at each other as threats. Think about the media images of Mean Girls and cat fighting. Girls are not looking at each other for support, and they’re also feeling so insecure about how they look. Think about Instagram and social media. They’re feeling like, ‘I’m not as pretty as the next girl’ so they’re not supporting each other.”

Simmons offers ways for parents to help break these patterns of gender bias:

Change the chores.

“Research shows that chores can be distributed in really gendered ways,” she said. “That means we tell boys to mow the lawn and girls do the dishes. Change it up at home. That’s a big thing parents can do. Let boys do some caregiving because beliefs and attitudes start very early and parents can help kids change it very quickly and very early in the home.”

Words matter.

“Another thing is change the way we talk to our kids,” said Simmons. “If you have an outspoken girl, do you call her bossy, or do you say, ‘I’m so glad you spoke up’? If you’ve got guys at home who talk about doing things ‘like a girl’ as if that’s a weak thing to do, we’ve got to say ‘knock it off.’ That’s not the way to talk.”

Check your bias.

“We all have our own biases. I have a 3-year-old daughter and when she doesn’t want to wear a dress, I get a little bummed out about it,” she explained. “Again, every parent has to look at their own biases. What toys are we buying for our kids? Are we buying girls the makeup kits and boys the science kits? It’s ok to do that, but change it up a little bit.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Boy, 11, Starts Foundation to Make Sick Kids Smile

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A child’s smile can light up any room, but it may be harder to find smiling young faces in a children’s hospital.

Martand Bhagavatula, 12, of Yorba Linda, California, was determined to do something about that.

“I was playing violin for youth group at a pediatric hospital,” he said. “And what I’d noticed is that most of these kids didn’t have anything in their rooms.”

He was only 8 years old at the time, but it made such an impression on him that he founded Kids and Smiles.

According to the website, Kids and Smiles is a nonprofit whose mission is to bring smiles to hospitalized children by delivering toys, cards and other prepared crafts to them.

In just three years, Martand’s organization has organized numerous social activities and donated nearly 1,000 toys to hospitals in the Los Angeles area.

Conner Guinn, a patient at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, California, appreciates Martand’s efforts.

“I think it is wonderful how people could be so kind in this world,” Conner said.

The satisfaction goes both ways.

“For them to just see that all — it just really, you know, makes me feel good,” Martand said.

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