Review Category : Health

VA Hospital Grants Last Wish to Dying Vietnam Vet

Lupe Gonzalez/South Texas Veterans Health Care System(SAN ANTONIO) — A Vietnam War veteran’s last request to see his beloved horses was granted by the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio.

Roberto Gonzalez, from Premont, Texas, was drafted in 1970 and shot within four months of serving in Vietnam, Lupe Hernandez of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System told ABC News Monday. The resulting injuries left Gonzalez paralyzed.

“That did not stop Mr. Gonzalez from his passions, ranching and horses,” Hernandez said. “He was the only paralyzed race horse trainer in Texas. He trained and raced horses for 30-40 years.”

Hernandez continued: “Because he knew that the end was near and he would not be going home again, he requested through his wife that he see his horses one last time. His family brought two horses to the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital.”

Gonzalez’s horses “Sugar” and “Ringo” were able to bring comfort to the vet, who Hernandez said is in very critical condition right now.

Gonzalez was one of the first patients at the VA Hospital when it first opened in 1974, Hernandez said.

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Teen with Muscular Dystrophy Walks to Receive High School Diploma

ABCNews.com(BEARDEN, Ark.) — A 19-year-old from Arkansas who has been in a wheelchair since last year stood up and walked at his high school graduation as his classmates, friends and family gave him a standing ovation.

Doug Haynes, of Bearden, Arkansas, set walking at his school’s May 20 graduation ceremony as his top goal after a surgery last November to treat the muscular dystrophy he has had since age 12 left him unable to walk.

“Doug is a very determined guy,” his mom, Robin Doherty, told ABC News. “He faces things head on and just attacks it.”

Haynes has undergone hours of physical and occupational therapy daily since the surgery, all while maintaining his course work so he could graduate on time. He told only his family, one classmate and the school’s principal about his plan to take his first steps to receive his diploma.

“If he got scared or nervous, we didn’t want people expecting it,” Doherty explained. “When they stood him up, I thought, ‘Okay, he’s really going to do this.’”

Haynes was helped out of his wheelchair and across the stage to receive his diploma by his physical therapist. A classmate moved his wheelchair to the end of the stage.

The crowd inside the auditorium where the graduation was held gave Haynes a standing ovation. Most of them knew Haynes from when he was a boy and had watched him deal with muscular dystrophy.

“His town has rallied around him and provided so much support and become a big family for him,” said Cheryl Tucker Carlin, a family friend who captured the video of Haynes walking and posted it on Facebook.

Doherty described the moment as a “roller coaster of emotions” and said her son nearly got caught up in the crowd’s reaction as well.

“He said, ‘Mom, when they stood up I almost lost it,’” Doherty recalled of Haynes, who plans to start at a local work program now that he has graduated.

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Tortoise Burned in Fire Gets Custom 3D Printed Shell

Courtesy Animal Avengers(NEW YORK) — A tortoise has a second chance in life after a team of designers in Brazil custom-made a 3D shell for the reptile, who was badly burned in a fire.

The Animal Avengers, the animal rescue group that saved the tortoise, consists of a 3D designer (Cicero Moraes), four veterinarians (Roberto Fecchio, Rodrigo Rabello, Sergio Camargo and Matheus Rabello), and a dental surgeon (Paul Miamoto). The group combines technology with members’ love for animals to create innovative ways to help maimed creatures. They have already saved seven animals that would have been euthanized, Moraes told ABC News.

“The tortoise Freddy was found alongside a road in early 2015. It had been the victim of a fire and its hull caught fire, losing 85 percent of its structure,” Moraes said.

Freddy was taken to the vet Rodrigo Rabello, part of the Animal Avengers, in Brasilia, Moraes said.

Moraes explained that the tortoise was named Freddy because after the burn her “back looked like the face of Freddy Krueger.”

Moraes said the process for printing a 3D tortoise shell is “relatively simple.”

The 3D designers took photographs of Freddy and a healthy tortoise, and then used computer programming to design a custom prosthetic hull that was printed out, layer by layer, from a 3D printer. The prosthetic hull was then surgically attached to Freddy. An artist even hand-painted the outside of the shell so that it blended in with nature.

Moraes said his group had previously created a 3D printed toucan beak, goose beak, parrot beak and macaw beak.

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Medical Experts Warn of ‘Dormant Butt Syndrome’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s yet another reason to get up off of that couch.

Ohio State University researchers are warning of a new ailment they call “Dormant Butt Syndrome.”

“It basically refers to the gluteus-maximus — or the glute muscles — just not functioning as efficiently as they should,” says Dr. Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Kolba says the muscles in your behind are meant to support the rest of you and be a shock absorber. But when those muscles are too weak, the rest of your body tries to pick up the slack, which can cause back, hip and even knee pain.

The cure, he says, is to stay flexible and keep moving.

“Stretching the front of your thigh, stretching your hip flexor and then doing exercises to specifically activate the glutes and the lateral hips as well,” Kolba explains.

And avoid sitting too long or sleeping in the fetal position.

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Your Body: What You Can Do to Help Fight Obesity

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

Obesity has been a growing problem in the U.S. for decades, and increasingly, its effect is being felt globally, where overweight people now outnumber underweight people.

If you think you are obese, it’s never too late to start making healthy choices. Here are three things you can do right now to get on the path to good health:

Take a holistic approach. Consider medical, nutritional and social help to assist you with your weight loss efforts.

Focus on habits rather than a number. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it can be easy to get discouraged. But remember: This a marathon, not a sprint.

Stop drinking your calories. Cutting lots of extra calories by avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages pays off big time. You can drop a pound a week just by drinking water.

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#MyDepressionLooksLike: Twitter Users Share Their Stories with Hashtag

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, yet many people mask their symptoms or isolate themselves rather than share their mental health struggles publicly. But on Twitter, users are aiming to combat that isolation with the new hashtag #MyDepressionLooksLike, which is being used to share stories about depression.

Thousands of users have used the trending hashtag to share powerful stories about how their lives are affected and shaped by depression. It’s an issue that remains a problem with an estimated 15.7 million of U.S. adults grappling with a depressive episode in 2014, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Some users write they are incapacitated by deep feelings of depression or anxiety. Others write about painful moments when they masked the depression in a smiling selfie or when they were out among friends.

Mary Alvord, a Maryland-based psychologist and director of the psychotherapy practice Alvord, Baker & Associates, told ABC News social media can be a powerful tool to help combat the stigma of mental illness and to inform people.

“For the most part the message, my message to teens [in treatment] is you’re not alone,” Alvord told ABC News Monday. “I think social media platforms, while they can certainly be used in a negative way, they also have the potential to really help.”

Alvord said that even though more attention is being paid to mental disorders like depression, many people don’t understand what a depressive person looks like.

“I think people assume that depressives go around and talk about how sad they are,” said Alvord, who explained that isolation and irritability are major signs of depression that are often overlooked. “Irritability is often a sign with depression that people don’t think about. It’s often associated with agitation and anger.”

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Girl, 10, Pens Handwritten Petition Asking Magazines to Diversify Their Images

Courtesy of Glennon Doyle Melton(NEW YORK) — A mother, who says she has battled bulimia and struggled with body issues since childhood, was shocked when her 10-year-old daughter created a handwritten petition asking magazines to diversify their images.

Author Glennon Doyle Melton wrote in her now viral blog post about the moment her daughter Tish first approached her, asking: “Mama, the other girls are all skinny. Why am I different?”

Melton, 40, continued, “I stared at her and silently lost my mind. Ten is when I noticed my differentness, too. Ten is when I decided there was something wrong with me and became bulimic.”

“The funny thing is I actually speak and write and talk about this kind of stuff a lot but in the moment when I really needed to have the words, it just all escaped me for a minute,” Melton told ABC News.

Still, Melton eventually found the words and had a two-hour discussion about body image.

And after a quick stop at the bookstore, where she caught Tish staring at a magazine rack featuring thin blonde models, Melton realized that their discussion had helped Tish understand because soon Tish was yelling from her room, asking how to spell the word “petition.”

As it turned out, Tish had handwritten a petition, saying “that magazines should not show beauty is most important on the outside. It is not. I think magazines should show girls who are strong, kind, brave, thoughtful, unique and show woman of all different types of hair and bodies.”

Courtesy of Glennon Doyle Melton“All women should be treated equally,” her petition concluded.

Melton said reading the petition was a moment of “utter joy.”

“Girls either get sick or angry,” she said. “You can take it internally and feel shame and feel like it’s your problem and then get sick or you can see it as the world’s problem and then you get angry. If we can raise a generation of girls who get pissed about it, things may change.”

The mother of three also said she wants to encourage moms to talk to their daughters about the images they’re consuming from different types of media, including magazines.

“Most of the mothers I talk with have the same body image problems, which is why it’s so tricky. It’s like, ‘How do I talk to my daughter about this when I am this?’ But we don’t have to have it figured it out before we teach it,” Melton said.

Melton added that Tish already has a few handwritten signatures on her petition — five and counting.

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New Program Offers Cash Incentives for Kidney Donations

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A controversial plan to sell your organs legally is gaining momentum.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) has proposed a program that offers financial incentives to those who donate kidneys. A plan that may help 100,000 Americans who are on a waitlist anxiously awaiting a new kidney, when every day at least 12 people die in the U.S. because there are not enough donors.

“You make it something like a pension contribution, or an education fund contribution, something that is non-transferable,” he told ABC News about the cash incentives for kidneys.

The government-run pilot program would be tested for five years, and it could save Kyle McKinney, whose kidneys started failing him at age 15.

“I personally think it would be a great idea,” McKinney, now a husband and father, said to ABC News.

The National Kidney Foundation argues, however, that organ donation with any kind of financial benefit is not a good idea.

“People who are poor may think differently about giving donation of a kidney if there is a financial reward for them to do,” Dr. Jeffrey Berns, president of the National Kidney Foundation, told ABC News.

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New York Could Become First State to Ban Cat Declawing

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The state of New York may soon become the first in the nation to ban declawing cats.

A controversial legislative proposal was introduced in New York this week that would ban the procedure in the state. Some cat lovers and veterinarians believe that declawing is an inhuman procedure similar to amputating human limbs.

But one doctor tells ABC News declawing should be allowed, but as a last resort.

“There are circumstances when declawing may be indicated,” American Veterinary Medical Association President Doctor Joseph Kinnarney, a vet in Greensboro, North Carolina, told ABC News. “But our stand is that it’s really something that you really need to make sure that is warranted so you need to realize there’s a risk with anesthesia, there’s a risk of infection, there’s a risk of pain.”

When is declawing warranted?

“In the extreme circumstances where an elderly person who has a bleeding problem can’t control the cats sitting in their lap and get a little nick and then bleed, I would rather do that, than have a cat removed from her life,” he told ABC News.

Declawing is already illegal in Los Angeles and some other California cities. It’s also banned in Australia, the U.K., and several other European countries.

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Dr. Fauci: ‘Forceful Preparation’ Key to Combating Zika Spread in US

ABC News(NEW YORK) — With “well over 500” cases of the Zika virus currently in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on “This Week” Sunday that “forceful preparation” will be critical to preventing further spread in the U.S. this summer.

“We already have Zika in the United States. But it is travel related,” Dr. Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The concern is that we will have local transmission; in other words, people who get infected in the United States, get bitten by a mosquito, but who have never left the continental United States. We fully expect that that will happen as we get to the more robust mosquito season in the next month or so.”

“We need to make sure that those local outbreaks don’t become sustained and don’t become disseminated,” Fauci added. “That’s the reason why we need to have a very, very forceful preparation right now before that happens.”

The Centers for Disease Control released new figures on Friday showing that 157 pregnant women in the continental U.S. show evidence of possible Zika virus infection, all related to travel outside the U.S. President Obama has requested Congress to allocate $1.9 billion in emergency funding to combat the spread of the virus.

“This is something that is solvable. It is not something that we have to panic about. But it is something that we have to take seriously,” President Obama said Friday after meeting with Fauci and other top advisers tackling Zika. “This is not something where we can build a wall to prevent – mosquitoes don’t go through customs. To the extent that we’re not handling this thing on the front end, we’re going to have bigger problems on the back end.”

A vaccine to combat Zika would be the main focus of government funding, according to Fauci, saying “We’re right now very aggressively developing the vaccine.”

The Senate passed a $1.1 billion plan to combat Zika on Thursday, while House Republicans have advanced a separate $622 million bill that shifts previously established funds to combat the spread of Ebola. While efforts to prevent a widespread Ebola outbreak from West Africa to the U.S. were successful, Fauci called the idea of shifting those funds away from Ebola “very foolhardy.”

“We may not see it in the front page of the newspapers… but we have the danger of cropping up of Ebola,” Fauci said. “We can’t take our eye off the ball with Ebola. And that would really be robbing Peter to pay Paul and I think very foolhardy to do that.”

Asked whether concerns about Zika were being overhyped, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said greater vigilance is always needed when dealing with a new virus.

“When there’s a new outbreak, a new infectious disease, you have to go all in, because you don’t know in the long run what it’s going to look like,” he said on “This Week.”

Concern surrounding the Zika virus has even prompted some countries and athletes to consider skipping the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where the virus and potential birth defects were first spotlighted.

Dr. Besser urged pregnant women to follow CDC guidelines to not to travel to Brazil and other impacted countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, and for those who plan on attending to be proactive to prevent mosquito bites.

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