Review Category : Health

No Shots Could Mean No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Unvaccinated students could be asked to stay home from school amid a mumps outbreak in Ohio, health officials said.

The message comes one week before the start of the school year in Columbus, Ohio, where roughly 479 people have contracted mumps since March, according to Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health.

“Typically we see only one case a year,” Rodriguez told ABC News.

Mumps, a virus that causes fever, aches and swollen glands, spreads through tiny droplets exhaled during sneezes, coughs and conversations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps, according to the CDC, with two doses guarding 86 percent of kids from the disease. But some kids are excused from the shot, which is required by Ohio public schools, for religious or personal beliefs. In 2012, only 90 percent of the state’s kids received one more or doses of the vaccine, according to CDC data — down from 93 percent in 2011.

While most of the Ohio mumps cases have occurred in vaccinated individuals, health officials suspect that unvaccinated people are helping to spread the virus.

“We believe a few unvaccinated individuals put the whole community at risk,” Rodriguez said.

To help curb the outbreak, officials are asking unvaccinated kids to stay home from school for at least 25 days after a reported mumps case in their community. The 25-day period was chosen based on the incubation period of the virus, Rodriquez said.

“Some kids whose parents chose not to get them vaccinated at first have now vaccinated because of the outbreak and because of the risks,” he added. “That’s encouraging.”

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Parents of Overweight Children More Likely to Consider Kids Healthy Than in Past

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents of overweight children are more likely than they ever have been before to consider their children “healthy,” despite the fact that childhood obesity has nearly tripled in recent decades.

Researchers looked at data from a pair of national surveys, one conducted between 1988 and 1994 and the other between 2005 and 2010. Parents were approximately 24 percent less likely to recognize their six- to 11-year-old children as overweight in the more recent study. The figure is even more stark among low-income households, where parents are most likely to consider their overweight children “healthy.”

Researchers cited the stigma attached to obesity, increased social pressures and parents’ comparing their children with their childrens’ peers.

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Researchers Say Early School Start Times Hinder Teens’ Academic Performance

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that schools may be starting too early, and may in turn hinder teenagers’ education.

The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, cites previous studies which showed that when teens have to wake up earlier for school, they are often sleep deprived and perform worse in school. In fact, researchers say, schools with delayed start times show better grades and fewer students being involved in car accidents.

Other obstacles the researchers cited as causes for teenagers failure to get sufficient sleep include electronics, biological changes and caffeine.

The AAP recommended, based on the report, that pediatricians support school policy changes that would move back school start times.

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Man Hands Foul Ball Catch to Terminally-Ill Mom

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — John Oberg was amazed to catch a foul ball a Detroit Tigers game last week, and promptly handed it to his mother.

Though the catch was great, what was most surprising was that he was at a game with his mom at all. He didn’t expect her to live through the winter.

In January, Karen Oberg was given less than three months to live with stage IV lung cancer. But she was determined to fight it. So when her insurance company stopped covering her chemotherapy mid-treatment, her son launched a petition.

The confusion was eventually resolved, but John Oberg was terrified that the lapse in his mother’s care would cause the cancer to worsen.

“To just hear the doctor say the words, ‘Your results look great,’ just filled my heart with joy,” John Oberg said of his mother’s recent CT scan.

Karen Oberg, 59, had “no evidence of disease” at her August scan, according to her son. Doctors expect her stage IV lung cancer to come back eventually, but for now, the pair are enjoying their time together.

The Tigers game was the first baseball game the two had attended in the last two years, John Oberg said. Though there were more than 4,000 people in the stands, the foul ball came hurtling toward the 27-year-old, who stretched out his gloved hand and caught it.

“I handed it off to my mom immediately because I knew it would mean a lot to her,” he said.

Karen Oberg did a little wave for the cameras, and the sweet moment was declared the official “play of the game,” John Oberg said.

“I did not think that we’d be where we are now and I’m so overjoyed that we are,” he said.

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Toxic Tea Victim Continues to Improve

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — The Utah woman who burned her mouth and throat drinking iced tea made with a toxic cleaning agent is improving.

Jan Harding, 67, is slowly recovering at a Utah hospital, now able to speak, less than two weeks after nearly dying from a simple sip of ice tea, unknowingly laced with toxic industrial cleaner.

Now, Harding’s attorney Paxton Guymon is claiming this wasn’t the first such incident, alleging an employee at the Utah restaurant, Dickie’s Barbeque Pit, also burned her tongue a month earlier on the same substance, a degreaser made up of sodium hydroxide or lye.

Guymon says the company could be held accountable, saying, “To me it means that the company was on notice that there was a hazardous substance that wasn’t properly labeled, that wasn’t properly controlled.”

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Walgreen’s Prescription Database Back Up After Temporarily Glitch

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Walgreen’s pharmacies nationwide were unable to fill prescriptions for part of the day Friday due to a technical problem.

A spokesman says Walgreen’s was performing a maintenance update of the prescription database when they encountered a technical problem.

They were forced bring the retail pharmacy system offline, impacting all 8,200 pharmacies nationwide.

The company didn’t say how many customers were impacted while the problem was being fixed.

The Illinois-based drug store announced after 1pm CT that all the pharmacies were back up and running.

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Does Eating Breakfast Really Help Weight Loss?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Is breakfast still the most important meal of the day?

A recent study found eating or not eating breakfast made no difference in terms of weight loss among 300 participants over a period of 4 months.

But registered dietitian Keri Glassman says focusing on that first meal starts your day with more energy and focus and may stop you from overeating later in the day.

“When you don’t eat breakfast your hunger hormone, ghrelin, doesn’t have a chance to decrease. So when you eat breakfast, even if it’s a small tiny, like a really little breakfast, a little bit of calories in the morning tell your hunger hormone to pause,” Glassman said.

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Why American Ebola Survivor Got So Many Hugs

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Hugging took center stage at Emory University Hospital on Thursday as officials announced that American Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly would be discharged after spending three weeks in the isolation ward.

Far from fearing that they would catch the deadly virus, dozens of hospital staff members wrapped their arms around Brantly and held onto him for several seconds before letting him move on to the next person. And that’s exactly what experts say was needed to remind Americans that Ebola survivors are no threat to the general public.

“There was not a tentative hug in the group. They all went cheek-to-cheek,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. “It was exactly the right thing to do. It was wonderful.”

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor, agreed.

“The image of Dr. Kent Brantly hugging the medical staff will do much more than words in dispelling fear of contagion in the community,” Besser said.

Brantly was among two American aid workers who caught Ebola while working in Liberia. He and missionary Nancy Writebol were given doses of an experimental Ebola drug and flown to Emory earlier this month for supportive care.

Writebol was released on Tuesday. Brantly was discharged on Thursday.

“I will not forget you and all that you have done for me,” Brantly said, turning behind him to look at a gaggle of medical staff members in scrubs and white coats.

Though more than half of the 2,473 people who’ve become ill with Ebola in West Africa since March have died, those that have survived have been shunned and feared.

But Schaffner said those who have recovered from the virus are not contagious. Though Ebola virus lingers in semen and vaginal fluid for a few extra weeks, survivors are not a threat to the general public.

Still, it may take more than words to convince the public of this, he said.

“I’m reminded of Princess Diana hugging HIV-infected children,” Schaffner told ABC News. “That’s what you need. You need other validating people to grasp Kent Brantly by the hand, say, ‘Welcome home,’ and then put their arms around him.”

And that’s just what they did.

When asked about the hugs during the press conference after Brantly left, Dr. Bruce Ribner, who oversees Emory’s isolation unit, told reporters, “If the hugging translates that we don’t think it’s contagious, that’s accurate.”

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Breast Enhancement Now Available in 20-Minute Procedure

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With laser treatments, manicures and professional makeup jobs all available in half an hour or less, there’s no shortage of instant glamour these days. And now, there are instant breast enlargements.

Kali Goodwin, 27, recently got the new procedure, known as the Insta Breast.

Goodwin, who lives in the New York City area, said the occasion was her fifth anniversary with her boyfriend.

“I got this really great dress and I’m kind of hoping that, at year five, it will be a bigger night than most,” she told ABC News.

Instead of a push-up bra, Goodwin chose the 20-minute procedure that involves having saline solution injected into one’s breasts. The instant lift effect lasts for 24 hours.

“The saline gets absorbed by the body,” said Dr. Norman Rowe, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon who performs the procedure. “It’s for the women who don’t have time for implants.”

Each procedure costs between $2,500 and $3,500, he said.

Celebrity image consultant Amanda Sanders said she has had the procedure done twice.

“I wish I could do it every day, truthfully,” Sanders told ABC News. “Once I did them for an event and the second time was for a vacation.”

The procedure may be quick, but it’s not without risk, experts said.

According to ABC News’ Dr. Jen Ashton, any time a break is made in the skin, “whether it’s with a needle or a scalpel,” there are risks for infection, nerve damage or a hematoma, in which a blood vessel breaks and blood pools in tissue or muscle.

Rowe told ABC News the only side effect he has seen among his patients is bruising.

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Botox May Stop Spread of Stomach Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Botox is largely considered a vanity drug because it solves non-life-threatening problems, such as wrinkles on the forehead or crow’s feet. However, Botox could one day be a lifesaver when it comes to fighting at least one form of cancer.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, reports on a new study that involved injecting mice with Botox to stop the spread of stomach cancer.

What researchers found was that by paralyzing nerves that connect to tumors, Botox appears to stop the spread and progression of tumors while improving the odds of surviving the cancer.

Lichtenfeld admits that the results are only preliminary and it will take some time before researchers know whether Botox will produce the same results in humans.

Cases of stomach cancer have been rising in recent years due to obesity and reflux diseases. Unfortunately, they’re often not diagnosed until after the cancer is advanced, requiring either chemotherapy or surgery.

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