Review Category : Health

Calls to Poison Control Centers Linked to Synthetic Marijuana Spike

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A record number of emergency calls related to synthetic marijuana were reported this year as authorities continue to grapple with the drug sometimes called “spice.”

Calls to poison control centers related to synthetic marijuana have risen a whopping 229% compared to the same time last year, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between January and May of this year, 3,572 calls were made to poison control centers related to synthetic marijuana use, up from 1,085 the previous year, the report showed. About 80 percent of those who needed help where men and the median age was around 26, according to the CDC.

Some of the worst reactions included agitation, tachycardia — which is an increased heart rate — drowsiness and vomiting. More than 11 percent of the callers had a major reaction that was potentially life-threatening, disabling or disfiguring, according to the CDC.

Dr. Chris Hoyte, assistant professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicology at University of Colorado School of Medicine who was not involved in the CDC study, said he’s not surprised by the report.

“The high people get off of them is different,” Hoyte told ABC News. “There’s no quality control.”

While doctors know how THC — the psychoactive compound in marijuana — will likely affect the body, Hoyte said people can have different reactions to the synthetic version due in part to contaminants.

Hoyte said he’s heard of opioids, heavy metals and prescription drugs being used in various kinds of synthetic marijuana. Those making the drugs often take pure THC and make small changes so that technically the drug is slightly different and therefore no longer officially illegal. As a result of contaminated or poorly created drugs, some patients have gone into renal failure had heart attacks or seizures after using the drugs, Hoyte said.

“You don’t know what you’re getting,” he said. “People they come in agitated [or] really, really sleepy, where they have to be intubated or put on a mechanical ventilator.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Scientists Find Link Between Birth Month and Risk for Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Your birth month may be a contributing factor to your long term health.

Scientists at Columbia University have found a correlation between a person’s birth month and the risk for disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.

Using a mathematical algorithm, researchers were able to sift through the medical records of 1.7 million patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Their data found 55 diseases linked to specific months or seasons.

For example, a person born in July or October may be most at risk for asthma. Similarly, babies born in November showed an increased risk for developing attention defecit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And overall, people born in May had the lowest risk for disease, while those born in October had the highest.

However, researchers do point out that these associations are minor when compared to the effects of factors like a healthy diet and exercise. Your overall health is as much a function of your lifestyle as any association with a season or birth month.

“This data could help scientists uncover new disease risk factors,” said Nicholas Tatonetti, a senior author of the study and assistant professor at CU’s Medical Center.

Researchers now plan to replicate this study on a wider scale, incorporating data from other parts of the U.S. and the world. 

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New App Aims to Pick Your Perfect Beer Through DNA Analysis

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — “Normally you take DNA out of some species such as cats, tigers and cows, and you look at how similar the DNA is. The cat is much closer on the tree to a tiger than a cow. So if you like a cat, chances are you also like a tiger. And we want to do the same with beers.”

That’s the goal of Swiss scientist Gianpaolo Rando: To create a beer genome tree that will help people better figure out what beer to drink.

Rando got the idea out of having too many choices at Switzerland’s more than 500 microbreweries. With craft beer lists getting longer and more obscure, how does one know what to pick? You can have probable success picking a wheat beer if you know you enjoyed that style in the past, but there are so many factors in play that it’s not a guarantee.

Rando wants to change that by analyzing the DNA of as many beer varieties as possible — 1,000 to start — and saying for sure that since these are the genes, it’s similar to this, this and this beer.

“When microbreweries do their beer, there are thousands of different yeasts they can choose, 200 or more hops, the grains are more limited, but if you just do the combination there are thousands of different beer possibilities,” he explained. “So the idea is to get inside into the biochemical composition of beers, and now we can identify them. If you like one beer, you could just see on the tree what is closer to what you already like, and you have maybe high confidence to choose something you like.”

Rando and his team have so far decoded 50 beers, and are raising money on Kickstarter to fund more. They hope to turn the project, which they’re calling BeerDeCoded, into an app so people anywhere could access and use to order the perfect beer.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Movie Producer Seeks Cure for Daughters with Degenerative Brain Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Gordon Gray has spent his career producing inspirational movies in Hollywood.

His films include The Rookie and Miracle, but now his family is in need of its own Hollywood ending after Gray’s two young daughters, 4-year-old Charlotte and 2-year-old Gwenyth, were diagnosed with Batten disease.

Batten disease is an extremely rare degenerative brain disorder that “causes rapid deterioration, atrophy, and ultimately death of brain cells,” Gray said.

The girls were diagnosed in March. There is no cure for the fatal disease.

Charlotte already shows signs she’s struggling.

“She has the same heart and she still loves life, but she is having a hard time,” Kristen Gray, the girls’ mother, told ABC News in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Kristen described Charlotte as “the sweetest, sweetest most loving girl in the world,” and called Gwenyth “feisty” and a “spitfire.”

“We don’t know what tomorrow’s going to look like for Charlotte and Gwenyth,” she said.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Batten disease is so rare that it affects an estimated two to four out of every 100,000 children in the United States. Fewer than 10 children in the country are currently living with CLN-6, the specific gene mutation that affects Charlotte and Gwenyth.

Gordon Gray and his wife have turned their heartbreak into a call to action, starting the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation to Cure Batten Disease. According to its website, the foundation was created to raise the estimated $10 million necessary “to fund the urgent medical research to save the lives of all children devastated by this disease.”

The Grays’ quest led them to researchers in New Zealand.

“We believe we’ve found the scientists and the doctors who can cure our girls,” Gordon said. “The unfortunate problem for us and everyone with Batten’s disease is funding doesn’t exist.”

The Grays have also harnessed the power of celebrities including Channing Tatum, Jennifer Garner and others, all of whom are flooding social media to raise money and awareness.

“It gives us hope that not only are we going to be able to save our daughters but we’re going to be able to save these other children,” Kristen said.

Her husband says they’ll keep fighting every day for a cure.

“We’re never going to give up hope,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Why Turmeric May Be the Next Big Trend in Skincare Products

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Turmeric may be the next big thing to hit the beauty scene — making its way from your pantry into topical skincare products and onto your vanity shelf.

“It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps everything from acne to aging,” said Alexis Wolfer, certified holistic nutritionist and founder of The Beauty Bean. “[It] has antibacterial properties, great for acne, and helps control sebum production — great for oily and acne-prone skin.”

In addition to quick fixes, Wolfer said infusing turmeric in your beauty regimen may improve your skin in the long run.

“Over time, anything with anti-inflammatory benefits will help to cumulatively protect you from age damage,” she said. “And anything that helps control sebum will help to fight acne cumulatively as well.”

At New York City’s Acqua Beauty Bar, the 100-minute, $170 Indonesian beauty ritual offers a purifying experience complete with a vitamin-and-turmeric mask, according to spa owner Jamie Ahn.

“It gives the skin a really nice glow,” Ahn said. “We also use it on the body. It’s great for cellulite and tightening, so if you use it as a wrap it helps stimulate skin and detoxes.”

Ahn said the turmeric mask boasts an exfoliating agent, removing dead skin cells and boosting skin-smoothing results.

Here, a DIY anti-inflammatory mask, courtesy of Wolfer:

  • 1 Tbsp full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp turmeric

“The turmeric will help calm inflammation, the probiotics in the yogurt will help balance surface bacteria, the lactic acid in the yogurt will help gently exfoliate, the fat in the yogurt will hydrate, and the honey will help soothe, calm, and kill bacteria,” Wolfer said.

  • Mix all ingredients together and apply over entire face or as a spot treatment.
  • Let sit 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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First All-Girl Quintuplets Ever Born in US Start to Head Home

ABC News(HOUSTON) — The Busby household in Texas is about to get a lot busier.

The first two of the family’s all-girl quintuplets have been released from the hospital and the remaining three are expected to be home by the end of next week.

“Two down, three more Princesses to go! Our hearts are full… and so is our car,” the girls’ parents, Danielle and Adam Busby, posted along with a photo on their Facebook page Tuesday.

The Busby quintuplets — Olivia Marie, Ava Lane, Hazel Grace, Parker Kate and Riley Paige – were born at 28 weeks on April 8, 2015. They made history as the first all-girl quintuplets ever born in the U.S.

“Everything we are doing now is almost not a big deal,” Adam Busby told ABC News, referring to the fact that only two of the five babies – Parker and Hazel – are home. “We are very excited to have all the babies home.”

The baby’s mom, Danielle, echoed her husband in a June 1st post on the family’s blog, once they got word from the hospital that their daughters were strong enough to be discharged.

“My little heart is so full of joy and excitement that I think the ‘reality’ of having five babies home hasn’t really ‘scared’ me,” Danielle Busby wrote on ItsABuzzWorld.com. “There is nothing more that we want than to have our big ‘ol family.. all EIGHT of us.. together under one roof …. one small roof that is, lol.”

The Busbys, who also have a 4-year-old daughter, Blayke, said at the time of the quintuplets’ birth they were trying to figure out the logistics of welcoming five new family members into their three-bedroom house (not to mention changing fifty diapers a day and at least 40 bottles).

Adam Busby works full-time outside of the home and plans to take a week of vacation the first week that all five babies are home. In addition, the family is planning to rely on friends and family for help.

“We have a list of people who have already offered us to help,” Adam told ABC News.

The babies’ delivery by C-section at Woman’s Hospital of Texas in April took just four minutes.

All the girls were healthy, ranging from two pounds and 13.4 inches (Hazel Grace) to 2 pounds, 6 ounces and 14.4 inches (Olivia Marie.) Shortly after their birth, doctors discovered they all had heart murmurs, but the couple said at the time the malady could be treated with medication.

The girls have remained in the NICU until now because they were born as preemies and well before their June 29, 2015, due date. Each of the quintuplets must go five days without any issues – such as a drop in heart rate or acid reflux – in order to be discharged, Adam told ABC News.

After just one night at home, Hazel and Parker’s dad says they have already noticed a distinct personality in each girl.

“It’s funny because Parker is very mellow while Hazel has a bit of an attitude,” Adam told ABC News.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Warm Weather Brings Rare ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria to Florida Beaches

FotoMak/iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — A potentially deadly bacteria that thrives in warm saltwater has infected at least seven people and killed two so far this year in Florida, a state health official said Wednesday.

“People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish,” Florida Health Department spokeswoman Mara Burger said in a statement on Wednesday. “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.”

The bacteria are particularly prevalent in the summer and grow the fastest between the temperatures of 68 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, health officials said, noting that most cases happen between May and October.

There were 32 reported cases of people infected by the bacteria last year in Florida, including seven deaths, according to the state Health Department.

If consumed, the bacteria can cause gastroenteritis and in rare cases it can lead to septicemia, or an infection of the blood. If the bacteria infects the body through an open wound, the injury can become necrotic and amputations may become necessary to save a patient’s life, experts said. Other symptoms can be lesions or cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection beneath the skin.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following precautions to avoid Vibrio vulnificus infections:

  • Avoid exposing open wounds to warm saltwater, brackish water or to raw shellfish
  • Wear protective clothing when handling raw shellfish
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly and avoid food contamination with juices from raw seafood
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New App Aims to Pick Your Perfect Beer Through DNA Analysis

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — “Normally you take DNA out of some species such as cats, tigers and cows, and you look at how similar the DNA is. The cat is much closer on the tree to a tiger than a cow. So if you like a cat, chances are you also like a tiger. And we want to do the same with beers.”

That’s the goal of Swiss scientist Gianpaolo Rando: To create a beer genome tree that will help people better figure out what beer to drink.

Rando got the idea out of having too many choices at Switzerland’s more than 500 microbreweries. With craft beer lists getting longer and more obscure, how does one know what to pick? You can have probable success picking a wheat beer if you know you enjoyed that style in the past, but there are so many factors in play that it’s not a guarantee.

Rando wants to change that by analyzing the DNA of as many beer varieties as possible — 1,000 to start — and saying for sure that since these are the genes, it’s similar to this, this and this beer.

“When microbreweries do their beer, there are thousands of different yeasts they can choose, 200 or more hops, the grains are more limited, but if you just do the combination there are thousands of different beer possibilities,” he explained. “So the idea is to get inside into the biochemical composition of beers, and now we can identify them. If you like one beer, you could just see on the tree what is closer to what you already like, and you have maybe high confidence to choose something you like.”

Rando and his team have so far decoded 50 beers, and are raising money on Kickstarter to fund more. They hope to turn the project, which they’re calling BeerDeCoded, into an app so people anywhere could access and use to order the perfect beer.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Baby Delivered by Brain-Dead Mother on Life Support for 54 Days Leaves Hospital

Methodist Health Systems(OMAHA, Neb.) — The baby who was born to a brain-dead woman on life support has finally left the hospital and is now in his new home with his maternal grandparents in Waterloo, Nebraska.

Angel Perez was delivered via Caesarean section April 4, 54 days after his mother, Karla Perez, was declared brain dead, Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha said in a statement.

Perez, 22, who was already a mother of one and pregnant with her second child, complained of a headache in early February, collapsed in her home and was found to have suffered a brain hemorrhage, the hospital told ABC News Wednesday in a statement.

“It was then that we had decisions to make,” Dr. Andrew Robertson of Methodist Women’s Hospital Perinatal Center said. “Karla’s baby was fine, but its gestational age was too young to consider delivery. That’s when the team and Karla’s family agreed to attempt to provide somatic support and maintain Karla’s pregnancy until her baby reached a viable gestational age.”

Perez became the first person on record in the United States, since 1999, whose body was kept alive to have her pregnancy maintained, according to the hospital.

On April 4, 54 days after Perez was declared brain-dead, her status was declining and the medical team decided to deliver her infant, the hospital said.

Baby Angel arrived at 11:47 a.m. at 30 weeks and three days, doctors said, adding that he only weighed 2 pounds 12.6 ounces.

“Angel’s first cry was bittersweet – it meant he was alive, but Karla was gone,” the hospital wrote. The deceased young mother was confirmed dead April 6, and her organs were donated April 9.

“Not only does Karla’s legacy live on through Angel, but also through the four individuals who benefited from her liver, two kidneys and her heart,” the hospital said.

After months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Angel gained 4 pounds and was found healthy enough to go home Tuesday, the hospital announced.

Angel is staying with his maternal grandparents, Modesto and Berta Jimenez, the hospital added.

“Our team took a giant leap of faith,” said Sue Korth, vice president and COO of Methodist Women’s Hospital. “We were attempting something that not many before us have been able to do. I couldn’t be more proud of our medical team and the more than 100 staff who were a part of her care. Karla’s loss of life was difficult, but the legacy she has left behind is remarkable.”

ABC US News | World News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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First All-Girl Quintuplets Ever Born in US Start to Head Home

ABC News(HOUSTON) — The Busby household in Texas is about to get a lot busier.

The first two of the family’s all-girl quintuplets have been released from the hospital and the remaining three are expected to be home by the end of next week.

“Two down, three more Princesses to go! Our hearts are full… and so is our car,” the girls’ parents, Danielle and Adam Busby, posted along with a photo on their Facebook page Tuesday.

The Busby quintuplets — Olivia Marie, Ava Lane, Hazel Grace, Parker Kate and Riley Paige – were born at 28 weeks on April 8, 2015. They made history as the first all-girl quintuplets ever born in the U.S.

“Everything we are doing now is almost not a big deal,” Adam Busby told ABC News, referring to the fact that only two of the five babies – Parker and Hazel – are home. “We are very excited to have all the babies home.”

The baby’s mom, Danielle, echoed her husband in a June 1st post on the family’s blog, once they got word from the hospital that their daughters were strong enough to be discharged.

“My little heart is so full of joy and excitement that I think the ‘reality’ of having five babies home hasn’t really ‘scared’ me,” Danielle Busby wrote on ItsABuzzWorld.com. “There is nothing more that we want than to have our big ‘ol family.. all EIGHT of us.. together under one roof …. one small roof that is, lol.”

The Busbys, who also have a 4-year-old daughter, Blayke, said at the time of the quintuplets’ birth they were trying to figure out the logistics of welcoming five new family members into their three-bedroom house (not to mention changing fifty diapers a day and at least 40 bottles).

Adam Busby works full-time outside of the home and plans to take a week of vacation the first week that all five babies are home. In addition, the family is planning to rely on friends and family for help.

“We have a list of people who have already offered us to help,” Adam told ABC News.

The babies’ delivery by C-section at Woman’s Hospital of Texas in April took just four minutes.

All the girls were healthy, ranging from two pounds and 13.4 inches (Hazel Grace) to 2 pounds, 6 ounces and 14.4 inches (Olivia Marie.) Shortly after their birth, doctors discovered they all had heart murmurs, but the couple said at the time the malady could be treated with medication.

The girls have remained in the NICU until now because they were born as preemies and well before their June 29, 2015, due date. Each of the quintuplets must go five days without any issues – such as a drop in heart rate or acid reflux – in order to be discharged, Adam told ABC News.

After just one night at home, Hazel and Parker’s dad says they have already noticed a distinct personality in each girl.

“It’s funny because Parker is very mellow while Hazel has a bit of an attitude,” Adam told ABC News.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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