Review Category : Health

‘It’s Over for Obamacare,’ Trump Says of Big Hike in Premiums, Fla.) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump jumped on news that average premiums under Obamacare will jump sharply — by 25 percent in popular plans before taxpayer subsidies kick in.

“It’s over for Obamacare,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, Monday night.

Americans are going to experience “double-digit increases” in premium costs under the plan, he said.

“Hillary Clinton wants to double down and make it more expensive and it’s not going to work,” Trump said. “Our country can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.”

The GOP nominee said that his plan includes “repealing and replacing Obamacare” and would deliver “great health care at a fraction of the cost.”

“Headline rates are generally rising faster than in previous years,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Kevin Griffis. But for most consumers, “headline rates are not what they pay.”

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Changes Found in Brain After Single Season of Youth Football, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers have found evidence that even a single season of football may affect certain aspects of a young athlete’s brain, according to a small study published Monday in the medical journal Radiology.

The study suggests that the cumulative effects of sub-concussive head impacts — those that are not sufficiently forceful to cause a concussion — might lead to detrimental brain changes in young players.

Researchers from multiple institutions, including Wake Forest School of Medicine, examined the brains of 25 participants in a youth football league to see if they could find any disruption in the brain after a single football season.

The long-term effects of head trauma are increasingly being studied by researchers as more and more former professional athletes have been found after their deaths to exhibit signs of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a degenerative disease that involves a buildup of the abnormal protein called tao, which is also found in dementia patients and is associated with a breakdown of brain tissue.

It’s believed to be caused by repetitive trauma to the brain, especially concussions, according to the CTE Center at Boston University, and symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, anxiety and progressive dementia.

In this study, researchers did not focus on CTE risk and instead looked for differences in the brain before and after a football season. All of the participants were male, between the ages of 8 to 13, and none had a concussion diagnosis during the study period.

The athletes used a special helmet with sensors that helped researchers determine the kind of force the players were exposed to during the season. Both practices and games were videotaped so that researchers could verify the force documented by the helmet sensors.

The players also underwent a neurological examination both before and after their football season using special MRI screening.

Using the advanced MRI screening called diffusion tensor imaging, the researchers looked for changes in the brain’s white matter that would indicate a disruption in the brain. The imaging works by looking at how water molecules move in the brain along axons — the nerve fibers that extend out of neurons — and producing a measurement called fractional ansiotropy (FA). Healthy white matter will generally have more regular water movement, resulting in a higher FA score. If the water movement in the brain appears more random, the FA is lower, indicating disruptions in the brain, according to researchers.

The study found that the more a player was exposed to force during the football season, the more likely that person had a lower FA score, which has been associated with brain abnormalities in some studies.

“These changes had a strong relationship with the amount of exposure,” said Dr. Christopher Whitlow, co-author of the study and chief of neuroradiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “And players with biggest change [in FA score] had the most exposure.”

The study authors noted that the study is small and that more research needs to be done to verify the results. Additionally, a diminished FA score doesn’t necessarily mean that a player will have any noticeable symptoms.

“There is more we don’t know about these changes than we do know,” Whitlow told ABC News.

Whitlow said he and other researchers plan to follow players for a longer duration to see if these disruptions persist in the months to years after a person stops playing football.

Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist in the Neurologic Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, said that even though this study is small, it will be key to helping researchers understand the effects of football on the brain in coming years.

“Why do the study? Because you’ve got to start somewhere,” Wiznitzer, who was not involved in this study, told ABC News. “You have to follow [players] over time and see where the data leads you.”

Wiznitzer pointed out that it will be imperative to follow these athletes in the future to see if the imaging continues to show the diminished FA score.

“When you play football, there’s going to be some trauma to the brain whether it’s sub-clinical or clinical,” Wiznitzer said, meaning whether it’s able to be diagnosed or not. “We don’t know if [these changes] go away the following year.”

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10-Year-Old with Muscular Dystrophy Gets ‘Fantasy Fenway Park’ in His Backyard

Courtesy Make-A-Wish(WINDSOR, Conn.) — Thomas Hastings, who has Duchenne Muscular dystrophy and congenital scoliosis, knew exactly what he wanted when the wish granters from Make-A-Wish said he could have his biggest dream granted.

Thomas, 10, of Windsor, Conn., wanted a baseball field built in his backyard so he could play ball with his friends. When Make-A-Wish found out Thomas is an avid Boston Red Sox fan, they worked with more than 40 vendors in his hometown to build a “Fantasy Fenwway Park” in Thomas’s backyard in just 34 days.

“Everything happened almost like magic,” Thomas’s father, Brad Hastings, told ABC News. “It’s really insane.”

The boy wanted his own baseball field because he does not have the energy or physical ability any longer to play on a Little League team. He spends nearly 50 percent of his time in a motorized wheelchair.

“That’s one of the things that was so great about his wish, it’s giving him back the ability to compete,” Hastings said. “His love for baseball is deep.”

Thomas, who falls asleep listening to baseball games, attended his first Red Sox game at Fenway at age three and threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game in 2014. He is an honorary member of the nearby University of Hartford’s baseball team. The team donated the bleachers that sit out in the outfield of Thomas’s Fenway Park.

The head groundskeeper at Fenway Park, Dave Mellor, visited Thomas, with his World Series rings, and helped arrange details like having the sod used in Thomas’s field be donated from the same New Jersey farm that makes sod for the Red Sox.

‘Nothing Here That Thomas Cannot Do’

Thomas drew up the plans himself, specifying that he wanted a completely flat field, with no raised bases or a pitcher’s mound.

The field contains regulation bases in addition to a 15-foot baseline that the boy is able to run on his own so he can play along with his friends and University of Hartford teammates.

Volunteers from the Windsor community also built a Green Monster with a 52-foot long deck and ramp for Thomas. There is also a bullpen in right field, scoreboard, stadium lights, press box, foul poles and even the Citgo sign that Red Sox fans well know.

“This is the coolest, most impractical thing I’ve ever seen,” Hastings said of the finished project. “There is nothing here that other people can do that Thomas cannot do.”

Opening Day

The Hastings held the opening game at their “Fantasy Fenway Park” on Saturday with hundreds of friends, family, neighbors, the University of Hartford baseball team and the contractors who built the field in attendance.

Thomas threw out the opening pitch and when he went up to bat, performed the same pre-bat routine as his favorite player, “Big Papi” David Ortiz.

“He was 100 percent in his element,” said Hastings of Thomas, who spent the entire weekend on the field. “Here’s a kid who gets so tired out and so worn down so easily and he was just running on pure adrenaline, so full of energy.”

Police from the town of Windsor volunteered their time on Saturday to do traffic control and drive shuttles that brought fans to the Hastings’ home. Hastings said his home is in a “typical suburban neighborhood” that now stands out.

Hastings, a Windsor native, and Make-A-Wish Connecticut President & CEO Pamela Keough both said it was the generosity of Windsor that got the field built.

“I’ve never been through anything like this before with Make-A-Wish,” Keough told ABC News. “We decided to reach out to the local community and that’s when it really started to snowball.”

Thomas, a fifth grader, even found it hard to go to school Monday, still brimming with excitement from his new backyard.

“This morning he said, ‘Dad, I just can’t go to school knowing that there’s a Fenway Park in my backyard,’” Hastings recalled.

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Screening and Treating Young Children for Hip Abnormalities

AID/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When a doctor told GMA co-anchor Lara Spencer that she needed a hip replacement, Spencer — an active woman in her 40s — was shocked.

“It was so upsetting. I was like ‘what?'” she said, recalling her reaction to the news last year.

Spencer was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip, or DDH, which led to painful arthritis. Her doctors told her that she had probably had DDH since birth.

About 10 percent of all hip replacements are due to DDH, according to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Advances in medicine though are making hip replacements due to the condition rarer.

Today, every baby is screened for DDH. If it’s detected, early intervention helps avoid surgery later in life.

“Hip dysplasia is one of the more common congenital things that children are born with … so, it is an important part of the newborn exam. And there’s a lot more awareness and discussion of it for pediatricians and orthopedic surgeons, because it is treatable,” said Dr. Ernie Sink, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Some newborns are at higher risk for the condition, including those with a family history of DDH, babies who are born breech – that is, buttocks or feet first — or those born with a dislocated or loose hip. An ultrasound can reveal the problem.

About one to two babies per 1,000 are born with DDH in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Emily Mench was born breech and diagnosed at birth with DDH.

“The doctor at the hospital was checking (her) legs and felt like he was able to pop it out,” Sara Kim, the mother of the 1-year-old girl, told ABC News, adding: “He described it as a shallow hip socket.”

Emily was fitted with a Pavlik harness when she was just two days old. She wore it around the clock for two months to reposition her hips correctly. Doctors say she’s now on track.

“She’s got a clean bill of health,” Kim said, adding that the child’s doctor doesn’t expect Emily to have any future problems related to the DDH. “She’s not going to have any hindrances, which is a great outcome.”

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Your Body: How to Manage Fall Allergies

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

Fall means ragweed season, and this year it’s predicted to be brutal. A single plant can produce one billion pollen grains per season. It grows abundantly throughout the South, North and the Midwest, and its lightweight pollen grains can travel up to 400 miles in the wind.

So what’s the best way for a person to manage allergens?

Here’s my prescription:

  • Ask your doctor about prescription allergy medication. One called Singulair, which also comes in generic form, can prevent allergy symptoms before they start.
  • Keep those windows up and the air-conditioning on.
  • And shower before bed as pollen can settle on your hair and then get carried to your pillow making symptoms worse.

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Police in Canada Help Boy with Autism After Loss of Companion Dog

iStock/Thinkstock(WINDSOR, Ontario) — Police officers in Canada have come together to help a boy with autism who is devastated over the loss of his dog, Sasha.

Jackie Brown told CTV News that her 13-year-old son Alex has been heartbroken ever since his Golden Retriever companion dog went missing while the family was visiting relatives in Harrow, Ontario, two weeks ago.

Police and volunteers soon discovered Sasha had died alongside a road near the area.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and for the children, it’s definitely been a heartbreak,” Brown told CTV News. “She meant everything to our family. It was devastating.”

Brown said although Sasha was not trained to be a companion dog, she spent all her time with Alex and slept in his bedroom.

“He took care of her from the very beginning,” she said to CTV News.

Cst. Sean Patterson of the Windsor Police Service said police in Windsor, about 25 miles from Harrow, were touched by the story.

“It really bothered a lot of us and it struck a chord in our hearts and we wanted to do something,” he said to CTV News.

Windsor Police contacted a local breeder and raised enough money for a 7-week-old yellow Labrador pup named Jake.

“I was completely shocked that somebody would feel that much and want to help that much,” Brown said. “It’s very much an overwhelming feeling.”

The Brown family will welcome Jake into their home sometime next week, she said.

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Mom Honors Late Mother Who Died from Cancer in Heartwarming Photo Shoot

Nikki Cee/NCeePhotography(WASHINGTON) — Kristin Sampson had to tell her mother that she and her husband of three years were expecting their third child while her mom was in the hospital.

“We thought she had pneumonia; it ended up being cancer,” Sampson said of her late mother, Geraldine Joyner Morgan. “When we told her, it wasn’t a big deal because we knew she would be home but she ended up getting a surgery right after her 69th birthday and she passed away on July 16.”

Sampson’s mother would never get to meet her daughter, Kara Joy Sampson, who was born two months later.

Still, her newborn daughter’s life was heavily influenced by Morgan from the very start, Sampson said.

In fact, Morgan, who was an educator for 20 years in the Prince George’s County school system in Maryland, helped plan Kara’s baby shower. Morgan came up with the shower theme — cherry blossoms — while being treated with chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

“We were just tring to do something to lift her spirits … and get her mind off of chemo,” Sampson, 33, recalled. “She came up with the cherry blossom theme and she came up with Kara’s name.”

Sampson said she only realized after her mother passed away that cherry blossoms “symbolize fragility of life and that life is beautiful but it’s short.”

Kara Joy — her middle name is short for Morgan’s maiden name — was born on Sept. 15. It just so happened to be the same day Ernest Morgan, Sampson’s dad, celebrated his own birthday. It was a welcome birthday present for him, Sampson said.

“My parents were married for 45 years and it was his first birthday without my mom,” the Bowie, Maryland, woman explained. “So it was a real blessing to have Kara born on his birthday.”

To honor her late mother, Sampson said she tapped professional photographer Nikki Cee to do a newborn photo shoot. One photo, which went viral on Facebook, shows baby Kara touching a framed picture of Morgan. In the photo, baby Kara is also holding “the pearls that belonged to [Sampson’s] mother,” Cee, 31, added.

The photographer, who’s been staging newborn photo shoots in her Greenbelt, Maryland, studio for three years, said she also had baby Kara don an angel wings costume to make the photo complete.

“It was so hard to take that picture and not cry,” Cee admitted.

Sampson said that she loved the way Cee captured the relationship between her newborn daughter and her late mother.

“When people are working within their gift they’re making a difference — like Nikki did with her photography and like my mom did with her [school] kids,” Sampson said. “My mother had extraordinary faith and that’s kind of what helped her fight cancer and how she approached life.”

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Preemie Inspires Parents With Dazzling Smile Five Days After Birth

Lauren and David Vinje (NEW YORK) — A toddler named Freya is giving hope to preemie parents through a photo that was captured when she was just 5 days old.

Lauren Vinje, Freya’s mother, shared the smiling picture with a childbirth blog. Within days, the photo received thousands of shares on social media.

“It made me feel really good,” mom of two Vinje, of Minnesota, told ABC News. “Under the comments, I read through a lot of the stories and it’s [for] moms to know, especially mom who are going through it now … they don’t have to go through it alone.”

Freya was born to David and Lauren Vinje on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

Lauren Vinje’s pregnancy was no easy road, and at 28 weeks, she began showing signs of preeclampsia — a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“In my head, I knew what it was but my doctor was not confirming it,” Lauren Vinje recalled. “[With] preeclampsia, your body sees the placenta as being a foreign object and it’s almost like your body becomes allergic to it — [that’s] what they told me. If you’re not monitored closely, you’ll lose the baby.”

During a Nov. 25, 2014, visit, Lauren Vinje’s doctor informed her that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and she’d have to prepare to have the baby.

Two days later, Freya was born at 12:16 p.m. via emergency C-section. She weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces.

She remained in the NICU until Dec. 21.

“I didn’t get to hold her until she was about 5 hours old,” Lauren Vinje said. “David, my husband, got to hold her pretty much right away. They made sure she was able to breathe on her own because with preemies, [doctors] are always worries about lung development.”

Five days after Freya was born, Vinje snapped a photo of her daughter as she grinned from ear to ear.

“I was talking to her and I had said, ‘Should we send a picture to Daddy?’ and right when I was about to take the picture, she had this huge smile. It was a picture that I had always wanted to get out for people to see because of how it touched me [in] the way that it did. We gave a copy to the nurses, and when we went to have our second little girl, they still had it hanging up in their break room.”

Lauren Vinje shared Freya’s picture with the blog “Birth Without Fear” in hopes that it would comfort other parents of premature infants.

The site shared Lauren Vinje’s birth story on Oct. 8 and since then, Freya’s smiling face has received thousands of shares on social media. The photo also inspired parents to share their own stories about having a baby born premature, she said.

“I showed my husband David, [I said], ‘Look, there’s 2,000 likes!'” she said. “And now, I’ve been seeing it on all of these different sites. I had a feeling it would put some smiles on a few people’s faces.”

Lauren Vinje added of parents of preemies: “Hopefully everything is going to be alright, every case is different. Especially when you are in the NICU, it feels like you’re never going to get out of there. It was really hard for me. I didn’t feel like I could enjoy this new baby of mine.”

Freya’s father David Vinje agreed. “Like Lauren had said, when you’re going through it, you don’t know what to expect when it’s your first time having kids,” he told ABC News. “I think [it’s] for people going through this to have that idea of, ‘Oh, there’s other people going through this too.'”

Today, Freya is thriving and will celebrate her second birthday next month.

“Honestly, she is the best thing that has happened to us,” Lauren Vinje said. “We go to the store and she’s the friendliest little girl and she says hi to everybody. She’s so fun. She’s so happy. That picture at 5 days old, you can see her little personality and you look at her now, and she hasn’t changed. She’s still the happy little girl in that photo.”

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Dog Hailed ‘Living Miracle’ After Surviving a Month Trapped at the Bottom of a Well

Prairie Animal Health Centre(ESTEVAN, Saskatchewan) — This 7-year-old dog is being hailed a “living miracle” after surviving nearly a month at the bottom of an abandoned well in Canada, according to a veterinarian.

The chocolate lab named Bruno was rescued last Friday, Oct. 14 from the muddy well some 27 days after going missing, said Dr. Catherine Colodey with Prairie Animal Health Centre.

The vet estimated that the pup had been in the well the entire time based on its physical condition and injuries.

The dog had been taken to the animal health center’s offices in Weyburn and Estevan in the province of Saskatchewan after being found and rescued by his owner, Colodey said. Initially, doctors weren’t sure if Bruno was going to make it, she added.

“I’ll never forget what he looked like,” she told ABC News Friday. “He looked like a skeleton with skin. He was caked in mud and his skin had deep rashes from standing in that murky, wet environment for so long.”

Bruno “couldn’t even pick up his head, let alone open his eyes,” Colodey said. She added that had he lost “almost half of his body weight” and was “extremely emaciated.”

And though Bruno was “severely dehydrated,” Colodey believes he had some access to water thanks to recent snowfall in the area.

“It’s already snowed here quite a bit, I mean, it’s Canada,” Colodey said. “And a lot of us don’t like the snow all that much, but to be honest, the snow was what probably kept Bruno alive.”

Colodey and her staff “spent all weekend” starting Bruno’s rigorous plan of treatment including IV fluids, pain medications, antibiotics and physiotherapy, she said. He made slow improvements every few hours, proving “everyone who doubted him wrong” and showing that “he was a fighter.”

“He’s been such an inspiration and caring for him has just reminded of why I got into this work in the first place,” Colodey said. “It’s going to be a long road of recovery for him before he can reach that steak his family has promised him at the end, but I’m so sure he’ll get there.”

The chocolate lab is now under the care of veterinary specialists with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

“He’s begun walking, and we’re just so happy he’s doing better,” owner Cindy Billesberger told ABC News Friday.

Bruno had originally went missing on Sept. 17, when he likely fell into the well, according to Cindy Billesberger’s husband, John Billesberger.

“He just never came back home for supper one day,” John Billesberger told ABC News Friday. “We had almost completely lost all hope. We thought maybe someone had taken him.”

But in a stroke of luck a few weeks later, one of John Billesberger’s two other labradors found Bruno while they were out on a walk on Oct. 14.

“I couldn’t believe it,” John Billesberger said. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s just so great to have my friend back.”

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Woman with Cancer Fights Back with Dance, Laughter

Ana-Alecia Ayala(DALLAS) — One woman in Texas is dancing through her battle with cancer.

In a video posted to Facebook and Instagram that has since gone viral, Ana-Alecia Ayala dances while undergoing chemotherapy with her friend, Danielle Andrus, to “Juju on That Beat” by Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall.

Ayala, a 32-year-old mother, was diagnosed with a rare tumor in her uterus last December that spread to her ovaries and into the lining of her stomach. She had surgery to remove it, but in July a new tumor appeared in her spleen and she had to undergo in-patient chemotherapy for four days.

She told ABC News affiliate KVUE-TV that she wants to inspire others to “not look at cancer as a death sentence and try to make the most of bad situations.”

“I also want to encourage cancer patients loved ones to step out of their comfort zones (as Danielle did for me) and be silly, have a dance party, be present in the moment and have a great time,” she said to KVUE-TV. “Laughter is the best medicine and I hope to make people smile, even at the expense of my bad dance moves.”

As of Friday evening the video was seen by more than 7 million people on Facebook. The pair have recorded a number of other dancing videos to lift their spirits.

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