Review Category : Health

Experimental Cancer Treatment Erases Signs of Newlywed’s Leukemia

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A newlywed couple from the U.K. is celebrating after learning that an experimental treatment they took a chance on has erased all signs of cancer in the husband.

Mike Brandon was found to have leukemia one month after proposing to Kate Brandon in 2014. A bone marrow transplant put Brandon in remission, but last year the now newlywed couple were devastated to find that the cancer had returned, according to their online fundraising site.

Kate and Mike Brandon came to the U.S. in order to take part in an experimental cancer treatment aimed at reviving the immune system to fight cancer through modifying the body’s own T-cells to attack cancer cells. The couple began the cancer-fighting treatments soon after they were married.

“When my [leukemia] relapsed in March, we were told that it was time to plan our last days together, but Kate point blank refused,” Mike Brandon wrote on the couple’s GoFundMe page. “We would fight on, and we have.”

In an effort to find a new kind of treatment they started raising funds and eventually raised more than 450,000 British pounds or nearly $600,000 to go to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which confirmed Brandon was a patient there.

In an online update. Kate Brandon said that her husband had suffered severe side effects from the experimental t-cell treatment.

“Mikes has been in intensive care for over a week but I am pleased to say he is finally now back on the wonderful Oncology Unit,” she said. “We were told that paradoxically the sicker that people become during this treatment, the more likely they are to have a good outcome.”

After the severe illness, the couple updated with positive news: new tests showed no sign of cancer.

“Mike’s initial bone marrow biopsy test has come back clear! Prior to starting the therapy Mike’s bone marrow was almost completely made up of [leukemia] cells,” the couple wrote on their page. “28 days later there were none.”

The couple thanked those that helped them get treatment, but said there is still much to be done before Mike Brandon is out of the woods.

“This is a great first step showing that the T-Cell therapy is doing exactly what we hoped it would,” they wrote. “We still have quite some distance to go in our journey, but we are currently filled with huge relief to have cleared such an enormous hurdle.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Zika in Florida: Possible Mosquito to Human Infection Eyed as First US Case of Local Transmission

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The Florida Health Department is investigating whether a Zika virus infection in Miami-Dade County could be the first time the virus has been transmitted within the continental U.S. through infected mosquitoes.

The department is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand how the infected person could have been exposed to the virus in Miami. If confirmed to be a case of local virus transmission via an infected mosquito, it would be the first such case reported for the continental U.S.

The unnamed patient had not traveled to any country with ongoing-Zika infections, the health department said.

Puerto Rico has already been battling a widespread outbreak of the virus that is being locally transmitted.

There have been more than 1,300 people diagnosed with Zika in the U.S., but virtually all were infections contracted while abroad. A small number of cases were transmitted via sexual contact with partners who were infected abroad, according to health officials.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said if the case is confirmed as a local transmission of the virus through infected mosquitoes, it would not be surprising.

“Everyone has said from the beginning is that there will likely be introductions and then subsequent local spread that is going to be very limited,” of Zika virus, Schaffer said. “This sounds as though this may be the first instance of that.”

Schaffner pointed out that to stop any possible outbreak, the health department will ask the infected patients to remain indoors so that they cannot infect mosquitoes that might bite them — potentially leading to other infections. The CDC and Miami-Dade Department of health are also distributing Zika prevention kits and working with mosquito control to reduce the mosquito population in the area.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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High Fat Diet May Lower Cancer Mortality

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The healthiest diet in the world is high in fat — but it’s the kind of fat found in fish, nuts and healthy choices, such as avocados and olive oil.

The New York Daily News reports that a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests a Mediterranean Diet with no restriction on fat intake may protect against breast cancer, diabetes and heart attacks.

Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, the lead researcher said, “It’s OK to have up to 40 percent of your daily calories from these ‘healthy fats.”

Based on evidence collected over the past 50 years, a high-fat Mediterranean Diet was associated with lower total cancer mortality, including breast, colorectal and lung cancer, compared to other diets.

It was also linked to lower incidents of diabetes and cardiovascular events.

“Cook with olive or canola oil, limit your intake of red meat, refrain from products with added sugar or refined carbohydrates and supplement your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes,” the doctor says.

Whole dairy products like yogurt and cheese and red wine are a part of the Mediterranean diet provided they are consumed in moderation.

“The emphasis, in the United States at least for the past 30 years, has been it’s important to reduce fat, fat of all kinds, fat’s the bad thing,” she added. “It turns out that the obesity epidemic in this country is probably more due to our increased consumption of refined grains and added sugar.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Grieving Mom Pens Advice to Parents After Toddler’s Death: ‘Hold Your Babies Tight’

Courtesy Ashley Grimm(EMMETT, Idaho) — An Idaho mother mourning the loss of her 4-year-old son is sharing a message to parents in hopes they’ll soak in every moment they have with their children.

Ashley Grimm, 31, of Emmett, Idaho, told ABC News Tuesday that her advice to “hold your babies tight” was inspired by the recent car accident that took the life of her toddler, Titus.

The mom of six posted the heartbreaking note onto Facebook on July 15, where it’s since received more than 396,000 shares.

“It was my way of journaling the lessons that I had been learning and pouring my heart out in a raw, transparent way,” Grimm said. “I never dreamed that it would touch so many lives. I’m just a person and I lay in bed and cry. I’m not this superhero mom. People that have lost children, I want them to know that it’s not out of the question, that they can [get through it]. It’s one day at a time.

“My kids, they’re already lost their brother,” she added. “I said [to myself], ‘You have to get up and be strong, or they’re going to lose their mother too.’ That’s what keeps me going.”

Grimm said on June 2, she and her husband Nick were taking their seven children to Garden Valley, Idaho, for a family reunion.

Grimm drove the couple’s truck with five of the kids in the back and Nick took the couple’s motor home with the other two children.

Driving at 45 miles per hour, Grimm said a large rock rolled in her path.

“It’s a place that’s notorious for falling rocks,” she said. “It’s a dangerous highway, but I saw the rock and I thought I could clear it. I was thinking, ‘I’m going to straddle the rock,’ but the rock hit my axle and it spun us straight to the side of the cliff.”

Grimm said the impact left her trapped in the car. Titus’ body was ejected from the vehicle and he was trapped under the van. Grimm would later learn from her son Jude, 8, that Titus had unbuckled his seat belt to switch seats with his brother, she said.

“Everyone was crying and screaming,” she added. “I don’t know how, but [Titus] was out of the vehicle and I can’t even remember what part [of the van] was on him. I just tried to lift it and poor Jude was trying to help me. At this point, people were stopping and calling 911. I just rubbed his tummy. At that time, I was just in denial. I knew in my mind he wasn’t breathing, but I wouldn’t believe it. I was convinced he would be resuscitated. I didn’t know that he had died at the scene.”

Police and paramedics who arrived at the scene informed Grimm that Titus had not survived the crash. The other children were not injured and Grimm suffered from wounds caused by shattered glass. That day, Grimm said the only injury she felt was a “broken heart.”

Today, Grimm, her husband and their children — Jonathan, 12, Hannah, 9, Camille, 9, Jude, 8, Ariel, 6, and Alice, 19 months, are all attending grief counseling. They each have a journal where they write about their feelings on Titus, Grimm said.

“I had bought myself a journal, but one of the kids had lost theirs, so I gave them mine,” she recalled. “It was one of the harder days. I woke up in tears missing him. I was taking the kids to places where I was observing other children with their parents. Any little boy running around would warm my heart. I’d look at other parents and I knew they loved their kids, but they don’t know how precious that gift was and how quickly it can be taken away.”

In an effort to encourage parents to “take in every moment,” Grimm said she took to Facebook to share her story.

She wrote, in part:

“Go hug your babies right now. Soak in their smell, look at the innocent sparkle in their eyes that is lost somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Really feel how they squeeze you. Set down your phone and see them through the lens of your eyes not only the lens of your camera. Remember the feeling of their head on your shoulder, their hand in yours, their sloppy kisses on your cheeks. Nurse them one more time. Sleep is overrated….”

Since sharing her post, Grimm said she’s received upwards of 9,000 Facebook messages from mothers and fathers.

“I suppose that when you go through something like this, all the things that parents fret about sort of seem trivial,” Grimm said. “I’ve gotten so many messages from moms that say they had ice cream for dinner in honor of Titus. Those are my favorites. I do hope that something positive can come out of the loss of my son. The most incredible thing about Titus was his infectious joy and love for life. Even though he’s gone, he’s still touching hearts.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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10 Organizers for the RNC Hit With Norovirus in Cleveland

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — At least 10 organizers for the Republican National Convention (RNC) have come down with a likely case of norovirus, according to the Erie County Health Department.

Officials confirmed that of the 32 RNC organizers staying at the Kalahari resort in Ohio, at least 10 have symptoms of norovirus.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach, intestines or both. The virus is known for spreading rapidly through a large group of people.

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Some people may have low-grade fever or headaches.

“If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day,” the CDC website states. “This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.”

Two pregnant women who exhibited symptoms went to a local hospital for care. Others who are infected have been told to remain in their hospital rooms.

Samples have been sent to a lab to confirm the illness is norovirus. Health officials told ABC News they believe that the people were infected in California before they arrived in Ohio.

Five of six people who originally had symptoms were on the same flight and the roommates of the first six people infected were the next to show symptoms.

The virus can be hard to stop since it can stay on objects and surfaces for weeks. Every year an estimated 19 to 21 million people are infected with norovirus in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Construction Worker Plays Real-Life Game of “Where’s Waldo?” with Kids in Hospital

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — All work and no play is definitely not a motto construction worker Jason Haney is living by.

Haney is helping build a new wing on Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, but he’s already giving back so much more to the young patients than a new facility. As he works on the construction site, Haney plays an epic game of Where’s Waldo? with the children who try to spot the 8-foot-tall character from their hospital windows each time he hides it in a new location.

“I’ve been watching the kids run over to the window and look out for Waldo,” Heidi Prescott, the hospital’s media relations specialist, told ABC News. “On a daily basis, our pediatric stations, they look forward to going to the windows in their playrooms in their unit to try to figure out “Where’s Waldo?” It usually only takes a few minutes before they see him peering out of the big scaffolding, but it truly brightens their day.”

Haney built the red and white striped character along with his teenage daughter, who was his inspiration for the game in the first place. His family knew all-too-well what it felt like to have a child cooped up in the hospital for extended periods of time.

“My daughter, she had a stroke when my wife was carrying her in utero,” Haney explained. “When she was about 3, we noticed something wasn’t quite right. They did a CAT scan and they found out there was brain damage and were talking about her in the fact that she wouldn’t learn past the third grade level, and it just devastated us.”

Fortunately, her progress was better than expected.

“She’s 18 now and going to be starting Ball State next year,” he proudly added. “She graduated with honors. There goes that third grade level thing that first doctor told us.”

His life-size version of hide-and-seek with Waldo has breathed fresh air into the children’s hospital.

“This construction foreman is really touching lives,” said Prescott. “He’s really bringing this character to life for them and it’s so recognizable, it just makes them forget all their worries and their pain for a few minutes, which is tremendous.”

It all started this past winter when Haney built a snowman on the construction site with a hard hat and reflector vest for the children to see outside of their windows.

“It was a huge hit,” he said. “After that, it didn’t snow as much so the construction management team got some inflatable snowmen and an inflatable Sponge Bob, so I went over there and put that up. They lit up at night and would wave in the wind. As I was tying it down, one of the electricians was like, ‘It would be kind of funny if there was a ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

The idea stuck with him and Haney immediately went home to cut the plywood into the character, and he’s been hiding him for the kids since April. The Where’s Waldo? game has grown to be so popular Haney even created a Facebook page dedicated to the search, where people can tag the photos once they’ve located him.

“That’s my way of finding out if they’ve found it,” he said.

And how often does he have to find a new location for Waldo?

“It depends on how well on I hide it,” Haney joked. “He is 8-feet-tall so he doesn’t fit in the scaffolding. I put him in elevators and hide him around the hospital, too.”

Unbeknownst to the children, he’s also working on finishing up four smaller Minion characters to start hiding.

“They’re easier to carry,” he said.

When construction on the new wing is finished in March 2017 and there is nowhere left to hide Waldo, Haney and some of his fellow workers are going to sign it for the kids to keep with them inside.

“I just did it so the kids could take their mind off what they’re doing,” he explained. “So they could get out of their room and walk over to the playroom and have a little bit fun. I’m just glad that they’re enjoying it and it’s helping. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do it.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Surprise Diet Sabotage: Are Smoothies Actually Healthy?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Smoothies are a fun and quick food fix for breakfast. But when it comes to the health benefits behind the trend, the blended drinks might not be as filling or as healthful as some people think.

Nutritionist Sarah B. Krieger, of St. Petersburg, Fla., stirred the controversy after her presentation to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her hypothesis: pulverizing fruit reduces fiber and lets sugar from fruit speed into the blood stream.

She asserted that quick release of sugar spikes the blood sugar, speeds through your system and you get hungry sooner. Hello, snacking!

I decided to break down the health differences between drinking the ingredients that have been blended together as a smoothie, versus consuming them separately.

New York-based dietitian Maya Feller explained, “When you get a dump of sugar into the blood stream … it spikes the blood sugar. Then you get a drop.”

The fiber in fruit slows digestion and acts as a time release, gradually distributing fuel into the body. When fruit is blended into a smoothie, that release occurs sooner than it would with whole food.

“You could say that fiber is like a mesh-netting … it slows the sugar absorption down, so that it’s not going rushing in,” Feller said.

Do Diet ‘Cheat Days’ Really Work?

To test this, I ate the raw ingredients of a smoothie, including 4 and a half ounces of mango, 4 and a half ounces of pineapple, 2 ounces of bananas, 3 ounces of vanilla yogurt and 6 ounces of apple juice. It took me about 15 minutes to chew the ingredients. I sat down at the table and felt like I had a real meal.

Then, over the course of the next two hours, I checked my blood sugar levels every 15 minutes.

The next day I made a smoothie with the same exact ingredients and drank it. Because it was a smoothie, I could walk around while I drank it. It took me less than five minutes to drink. Then I followed the drinking of the smoothie by the same blood sugar tracking.

Drinking the smoothie caused my blood sugar to spike to 129 milligrams per deciliter within the first half an hour. But at the 1:15 mark, it dropped a lot lower, below the 80 mg/dl it was when I first woke up.

At that point I felt hungry and lightheaded. Feller explained that my body was “really trying to get itself back up to normal with a high and then a low.”

My results from the blood test after eating the fruit were very different. When I ate the fruit, my blood sugar never got above 112 mg/dl. It also stayed consistently above my waking baseline. More importantly, I wasn’t hungry for two hours and I never felt lightheaded.

Feller estimates that the smoothie was about 300 calories. Less than two hours after drinking the smoothie, I was hungry and snacking, accidentally adding more calories to the day through smoothie diet sabotage.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Diagnosing Endometriosis

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

Actress Daisy Ridley took to Instagram last month to reveal she’s been suffering from endometriosis since the age of 15. The disorder can cause chronic and severe pain, especially during a woman’s period.

In gynecology, we don’t know why some women get endometriosis but we do know that it can affect about 1 in 10 women, including teenagers.

Though the diagnosis is made during surgery, there can be some symptoms that hint at its presence. If menstrual pain is not relieved by a low-dose birth control pill and non-steroidal medication like ibuprofen, there’s a good chance of having endometriosis.

Making a diagnosis is key, so find a gynecologist whom you love that can help you with long-term management of endometriosis.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Zika Mystery: Elderly Patient Transmits Virus to Caregiver

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — A caregiver of an elderly Zika patient in Utah has been diagnosed with the disease, leaving health officials stumped about how the virus was transmitted from patient to caregiver.

The Utah Department of Health said it does not know how the caregiver, a family member of the patient, was infected with the Zika virus.

The unnamed patient died while infected with the virus and had an underlying condition, and it was unclear if the virus contributed to the death, according to the health department.

The virus has been known to spread only via mosquitoes or directly from person to person through sexual contact. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating how the caregiver could have contracted the virus even if the caregiver did not go to a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission and did not have sex with a person known to be infected with the virus.

The CDC has reported at least 1,133 cases of Zika infections in the U.S. In virtually all those cases, people traveled outside the U.S. and became infected by mosquitoes abroad. In a small number of cases, the virus was transmitted through sexual contact in the U.S.

There have been no cases of people being infected from mosquitoes in the continental U.S.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Psychology Experts on How Police Cope With Fear, Stress

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A spate of violence in recent weeks both by and against police officers has put a spotlight on the unique stressors police face across the country.

In Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a total of eight officers were killed in two separate incidents in less than a week. Just prior to those shootings, the deaths of two black men by officers in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, put scrutiny on police amid increased tensions between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve.

The scrutiny and violence have unnerved police across the country, with many police departments now having officers patrol in pairs or take other steps to protect themselves. Police psychologists say it also has drawn attention to the psychological toll of being an officer in the U.S.

Police psychologists are trained to work with law enforcement to ensure the police officers are mentally fit for duty and help them cope with the high-stress jobs. They explained that officers have to grapple with complicated work that can be emotionally taxing.

“Policing is one of the most complex jobs in the world — they have to a be a priest, an athlete, a cop, an officer, a lawyer and an enforcer,” Ellen Kirshman, a clinical psychologist who has been working with police officers for 30 years, said. “I wish the public understood what policing really entails.”

Kirshman said that police have to cope with not just violence, but the pain of seeing graphic scenes or seeing grief-stricken families, which can lead to long-term symptoms.

“Police officers and the nature of what they do and what they are exposed to are vulnerable to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” said Kirshman. “Anytime you can identify with a victim you are called to, that narrows the emotional and social distance and it makes you more vulnerable to become symptomatic.”

Kirshman said incidents like Dallas where officers are targeted or anything involving grotesque images have a bigger impact on officers.

“What makes it worse? Forms of betrayal — they are feeling betrayed by the communities they work so hard to protect,” she said. “You can also be betrayed by your department. You can feel personally betrayed by a fellow officer. Or by your family when they don’t understand what it is you do, or they aren’t interested in what they do.”

To cope, Kirshman recommends peer support and talking to families or others about the stress and anxiety associated with the job. She said police face the difficult task of being compassionate when dealing with a tragedy but not overly identifying with the victim.

“Cops are enormously self-critical — they have high standards from themselves, ‘If I had just not turned left on Elm Street, then so and so wouldn’t have happened….'” she explained. “They suffer from a lot of self-blame.”

Laurence Miller, a Florida-based psychologist, works with officers after a shooting or other major incident to determine if they are fit to return to duty. He said most officers get a few weeks off and mental health counseling after an incident.

“In most cases, it’s a nonfatal shooting. Most officers return to work, sadder, wiser, but fit to go back,” he said.

Miller said that officers’ stress at home can also impact how they cope with a job, all of which can put them under tremendous pressure.

“You’ve got to understand the personality of public safety officers: High performance, excellence, you’re only as good as your last screw-up,” he said.

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