Review Category : Health

Mom of Child Who Died from SIDS Pens Blog to New Baby

Courtesy Jenna Brandt(BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) — In a moving blog post, Jenna Brandt addressed her now 9-month-old daughter on the same day her son passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) two years ago.

“Nicole: today you are 8 months, 26 days old – the same age your brother, Dylan, was when he passed away from SIDS,” she wrote. “He never reached 9 months old, so I pray and hope you will make it past this day.”

“You’re not supposed to have your child pass before you,” Brandt told ABC News.

In her post, the Bakersfield, California mom opened up about her fears of losing her daughter just like her son.

“Sometimes, I am consumed by my fear that lightening can strike twice. I watch you sleep and touch your arm just to see you move to prove to me that you’re still breathing,” Brandt wrote. “I want to live free from the burden of fear, but losing Dylan was the worst moment of my life and I can’t fathom going through it again if something should ever happen to you.”

SIDS affects 3,500 children in the U.S. yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). SIDS is often the result of health issues that affect infants while they sleep or conditions around their sleeping area, such as soft bedding, pillows, objects or becoming entangled in cribs.

But the deaths are often listed as unexplained. Such was the case for Brandt’s son.

The mother said she was “naive” about the ordeal.

“You think, ‘Oh, that’s not going to happen to me.’ You hear these stories of people who’ve lost children and you think, ‘That won’t be me,'” Brandt said. “But now I’m very aware that you can lose a child.”

“It literally is the worst feeling in the world,” she added.

Brandt has found comfort in the positive reactions to her posts, some of which have been read by thousands of people, and her online community.

“I had such a huge response [from] it,” she said. “No one talks about infant loss. They’re afraid people are going to be uncomfortable.”

Since losing her son two years ago, the mother of three daughters said she’s changed how she parents. Although her son Dylan didn’t die because of his crib conditions like most SIDS deaths, Brandt still said she now uses a sleep monitor for her daughter and has removed blankets and toys in Nicole’s crib. Instead, she dresses her in a wearable sleeping blanket.

“It’s just changed my perspective,” Brandt continued. “It sounds so cliche, but I take in every moment more and I look at it like this could be my last moment with them.

She said that even in moments of frustration, she stops to think. “I say, ‘But what if it’s the last thing I say to them? I want it to be, “I love you, have a good day.'”

Brandt credits her faith and counseling with helping her to overcome her fear while parenting her newborn daughter. She and her husband decided to have another child through in-vitro fertilization, but she says it wasn’t because she was trying to replace Dylan.

“I always say she didn’t erase the pain, but she helped ease it. When I look at her and she smiles and she giggles and I’m playing with her, it makes me happy,” Brandt added.

“I’ll be honest, there’s always a twinge like, ‘Oh now she’s doing things he didn’t do,'” she said. “It sounds funny, but holding her and focusing on her, it really helps ease the loss of him.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Preemie Babies Are Totally Twinning in Whimsical Photos

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — How’s this for double the fun?

Precious 8-month-old preemie twins, Leia and Lauren Lok, are ruling Instagram with their whimsical photos, one colorful creation at a time.

Their parents, Peter Lok and Amber Yong, said they were inspired to start documenting their growing babies in the adorable outfits from a young age because “honestly, this is the only period of time they allow you to dress them up, they grow up so fast!”

The baby girls were born prematurely at only 32 weeks and spent their first month in the hospital.

“They are called the ‘Momo’ twins because they are Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, which are identical twins that develop in a single, shared placenta and amniotic sac in the mother’s womb,” the family from Singapore wrote to ABC News. “They share the placenta but have two separate umbilical cords.”

The proud parents started the twins’ creative Instagram account 7 months ago and they’ve already amassed 167,000 followers.

“As avid travel photographers, both my wife any myself enjoy documenting our journey through images,” Peter wrote. “I am a passionate photographer by leisure and my wife loves styling and playing with concepts. We like to have fun with the girls.”

As for how they come up with such imaginative ideas for each photo, “We would brainstorm together while browsing through their outfits, though most times ideas come rather impromptu during a shoot,” he added. “Photo sessions usually happens after their nap time and takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Leia and Lauren are very jovial babies and they are not camera-shy therefore it’s not tough for us to capture a moment.”

Take a look at the girls totally twinning in these perfect photos.

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FDA Takes Action For Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

iStock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) — In an effort to curb the widespread abuse of opioids across the nation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a plan of action in the attempt of reducing the dependence and overdose of the drug.

The guidance plan includes the pursuit of abuse-deterrent formulations (ADF) hoping to make generic ADF opioids “no less abuse-deterrent than the brand-name drug.”

The FDA guidance plan is encouraging other companies in the industry to create medicines that would make it harder for patients to abuse.

In a press release, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. states, “For the millions of Americans who suffer from significant pain, and the health systems that serve them, generic opioids can be an appropriate and affordable option for patient care.” He adds that they realize abuse-deterrent technology is still growing, but that they still strongly encourage an increase in innovation to overcome the issue of opioid abuse.

A public meeting will be held later this year to generate more input from external sources such as experts and the public. The outcome and feedback will be taken into consideration when the FDA puts together its final guidance.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Doctors Reveal Shrapnel Removed From Victims in Brussels Attacks

LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) — Two days after the Brussels attacks, doctors at a hospital that treated some of the bombing victims revealed the shrapnel removed from some of the patients.

The shrapnel — bits of metal, screws and nails — was shown to the Belgian king and queen when they visited the Campus Gasthuisberg UZ hospital in Leuven, outside Brussels.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde came to the hospital to visit with victims and the medical staff who worked to save their lives after the attacks.

Some of the shrapnel was reportedly from nail bombs, according to Getty.

Witnesses to the attacks described people with severe injuries from shrapnel. Dr. Laura Billiet, an internal medicine physician from America who was at the Brussels airport at the time of the attack, said she saw many people with shrapnel wounds underneath their clothes.

“The first airport employee I saw — all her hair had been singed off on one side, she had shrapnel in her face and blood all down her shirt and her pants were soaked in blood,” Billiet told ABC News. “I cut the pants off her and she had lots and lots of shrapnel wounds in her leg that were bleeding. A lot of people looked like that, some kids — that was the hardest thing to see for us.”

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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Shake Products Expands

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The Salmonella outbreak linked to Garden of Life’s RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products has expanded, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday.

Nine more people have become ill, bringing the total number of cases to 27 since the outbreak was announced early last month. The number of states involved also expanded to include five more: Alabama, California, Hawaii, Michigan, and West Virginia. That total is now up to 20 states.

The CDC says the recalled products “have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported.”


Customers who are affected by the recall are advised to stop using the products and throw them away.

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Baby Lambs in UK Receive Knitted Jumpers from Anonymous Donor

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Newborn lambs at a U.K. wildlife park are staying warm thanks to the generosity of an anonymous knitter.

The Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park in Bristol, England, says it received an anonymous package Monday filled with eight hand-knit jumpers for the park’s eight 2-week-old lambs.

“The jumpers were left outside the park with a note to say they were for the baby lambs,” the park’s marketing manager, Kim Pounsberry, told ABC News.

The lambs needed the extra warmth from the jumpers because they are orphans and it helps their survival, according to Pounsberry. Before the sweaters, the lambs had been wearing plastic “lambing jackets.”

Pounsberry said park officials believe the knitted jumpers came from someone locally but do not have any leads.

When asked what she would want to tell the donor, Pounsberry said, “A big thank you.”

“The lambs love them and they all look so sweet,” she said. “We’re always grateful for those who want to help us out.”

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Tips on How to Talk to Kids About Terror Attacks

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The deadly attacks in Brussels have produced another wave of frightening headlines, videos of the bombing and new stories about victims injured or killed in the incidents.

The effect can be traumatizing for children or adolescents who are trying to make sense of what has happened, but experts said parents can help to ease the shock of confronting such devastating news.

Russell Jones, a professor of psychology at Virginia Tech and a trauma expert, said a key thing to remember is that children will mimic the behavior and attitudes of adults around them.

“First of all parents need to be calm and in control of themselves. Oftentimes, children will model the behavior of parents,” Jones explained. “If parents lose it, children will do likewise.”

He recommends parents tell children about the events but keep it at a “developmentally appropriate level,” since a 15-year-old can handle far more details than a 5-year-old.

“Only give information that child needs and understand,” Jones said.

The American Psychological Association advises adults to both limit how much news they’re watching and to be careful if their children are the in the room with the news on for long periods of time.

“Try to be particularly sensitive to your children’s exposure, and be prepared to answer questions they may have about how or why this traumatic even occurred,” the APA advises on its website.

There are also concrete things parents can do to help children cope with frightening events, Jones said, noting that making a plan for the family on what to do in the event of a similar attack will help kids feel less frightened and more in control.

These kinds of events can also cause children to feel destabilized and unsure of their place in the world, Jones said.

“Many times following these unexpected traumatic events, it shatters their world view,” Jones explained. “They feel things will never be the same and good things don’t happen to good people.”

Parents can point out that the community is there to help them and that “there are moms and dads and police and firefighters in community who are here to help,” Jones said.

Parents who want to bring up the terror attacks without frightening children can use subtle prompt questions and let the child lead the conversation, he said.

“You can say things like ‘Have any kids talked anything about what’s on TV recently?'” Jones said. “See where the child is. Sometimes children will jump right in. … Let them go at their pace.”

Parents can also stand back and see if children start to exhibit signs of stress, including nightmares, trouble sleeping or wetting the bed, he said.

“You want to watch children over time,” Jones said. “They are very common. If they persist beyond a three- to four-week period of time,” parents can seek a specialist.

Children who have been through previous trauma such as a hurricane, car accident or child abuse are at increased risk of showing signs of being traumatized, Jones explained.

If children become afraid of going on the subway or to the airport after hearing about the attacks, Jones said parents can gently reassure children so that they feel safe again.

“Normalize it,” Jones said, adding that parents can tell children, “‘It’s okay to be fearful.’ It’s a reaction to these kind of events.”

Parents can then point out the likelihood of terror events affecting the family is very low, Jones said, and point out safety precautions taken to diminish the likelihood of an attack.

“I’m always going to be here with you,” Jones recommended parents tell frightened children.

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Your Body: Can You Have a High BMI and Be Healthy?

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

Your body mass index, or BMI, is one of the measurements we use to decide who needs to lose weight for their health. It can also be used by health insurance companies to adjust premiums.

But BMI has been under fire as a less than accurate measure of health compared to one’s physical abilities, weight circumference, or even body fat percentage.

Remember: BMI doesn’t account for muscle mass — it’s merely one of the many criteria we use in medicine to assess health or risk factors.

Also, in terms of the numbers on the scale, even losing just 5 percent of your body weight can pay off big time in terms of your health.

And regardless of your BMI or weight, if you smoke, stop — being a slim smoker puts you at risk, too.

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How Much Is Your Kidney Worth?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s illegal to charge for a kidney donation. But, could that ever change?

Right now, there are more than 100,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant. Between 2013 and 2014, over 63,000 of those awaiting kidney transplants died or became so ill that they were no longer transplant candidates.

A new study, published in JAMA Surgery by researchers at the University of Florida, evaluated the beliefs of U.S. voters on their willingness to donate a kidney, as well as their thoughts on paying living kidney donors in an effort to increase the availability of transplantable kidneys.

The study looked at 1,011 U.S. voters, and it found that most voters viewed kidney donation positively. When presented with the hypothetical incentive of $50,000 in cash, there was more than a 50 percent increase in willingness to donate a kidney among the study participants.

The researchers concluded that laws and regulations that currently prohibit donor compensation should be modified to allow pilot studies of financial incentives for living kidney donors. Researchers said this would ultimately increase the number of available kidneys that can be life-saving for patients with end-stage renal disease.

It’s important to note that the study population was made up of U.S. voters that the authors claim represents the U.S. voting public. 43 percent of the participants were between the ages of 45 and 64 years.

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Bad Doctors’ Punishment Depends on Where They Practice

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study from the University of Michigan shows that disciplinary action against doctors varies widely by state, with Delaware having the highest rates of punishment and Massachusetts having the lowest.

Researchers gathered national data on disciplinary action taken against doctors between 2010 and 2014. Their analysis showed that the rates of discipline toward doctors and malpractice claims varied up to fourfold between states.

According to the researchers, this variation among states is due to differences in state regulations, procedures, and resources.

This study indicates the need for standards for disciplinary action across state medical boards.

It’s important to note that this was the first nationwide evaluation of this topic. As a result, data was adjusted for reliability, physician supply, malpractice environment and year. It is unknown whether the doctors are actually worse behaved in these states. The research only shows that the doctors are reported and/or action is taken against them more often. In addition, the data does not capture cases that did not proceed to disciplinary action or unreported misconduct.

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