Review Category : Health

Dad’s Photo of Baby’s Swollen Toe Raises Awareness of Rare Syndrome

Scott Walker(WICHITA, Kan.) — One dad’s photo of his baby’s swollen toe is sparking conversation among parents across the Internet.

Scott Walker, 32, of Wichita, Kansas, told ABC News that he posted a picture of his infant daughter’s foot after finding a strand of hair wrapped tightly around one of her toes.

“I was pretty freaked out,” Walker said. “I was lucky to have my wife Jessica there because she handles these situations like a pro. It’s never fun to see your child in pain, but for something like a hair tourniquet, it was a different feeling than the other [injuries] your kid may go through. It was something I’ve never seen before, so that helplessness kind of sunk in.”

Walker said it was the afternoon of Jan. 21 when his daughter, Molly, 5 months, was crying uncontrollably.

“Molly was screaming, crying and we just went through the normal checklist of feeding, changing, pacifier,” Walker recalled. “We noticed her right sock was wet and her left sock was dry. Her foot was sweating. Once we removed the sock, we immediately saw her toe was swollen.”

Walker said a hair tourniquet was attached to Molly’s foot, causing it to swell up.

Walker’s wife Jessica, who works as a registered nurse, was present during the incident and used a magnify glass and a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the hair from her daughter’s toe.

“The sooner you can find it the better chances you have to keep your kid from being injured or having to go through surgery or anything,” Walker said. “I’ve been researching non-stop.”

In an effort to raise awareness of hair tourniquets, Walker shared a photo on Facebook of Molly’s toe 45 minutes after the hair was removed.

In two weeks, the post was shared over 24,000 times.

Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director of Child Protection and Advocacy at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, told ABC News that hair tourniquets, or acute digital ischemia, are “pretty rare” occurrences.

“You see on it on toes more than on fingers because a lot of parents have long hair and the baby will pull on the hair,” she said. “A lot of hair tourniquets that you see on feet my be strings from socks. “When you see a baby and the baby may be truly inconsolable, you may want to undress them to see if there’s something constricting that’s really upsetting to the baby.”

She continued: “What can happen is you can cut of the blood supply…so you could end up losing that toe. What parents can do is if they have it, try to take something very small and break it, but if it’s been there for a while and there’s swelling around it, you’ll want to head to to the emergency room, where somebody can actually get it off.”

Walker said Molly’s toe healed in less than a week.

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Painful Symptoms Persist After Zika Virus Infection, Virginia Woman Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Virginia woman recounted her painful ordeal with the Zika virus and said she still has some lingering symptoms related to the earlier infection.

Heather Baker told ABC News that she is still dealing with health issues after being diagnosed with the Zika virus earlier this year.

Baker was diagnosed after going on a mission trip to Guatemala in November, according to ABC affiliate WHSV-TV.

“After I got home from my trip, I discovered as swollen lymph node on this side of my head and so I just knew immediately that my body was fighting something,” Baker told WHSV-TV.

She was tested for multiple diseases, including the tropical disease Chikungunya, but none of those tests turned up positive. She then heard about the Zika virus and was tested for that virus.

“When [the Chikungunya test] came back negative, by that point, I had heard the name Zika, and I was like, ‘I think that’s what it is,’” Baker said.

While the symptoms of the Zika virus generally last less than a week, Baker said some of her symptoms have persisted for nearly eight weeks.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now and we are just doing the best we can with what we have, and my hope is that there’s someone out there somewhere who has studied this,” Baker told WHSV-TV.

Baker declined to speak in detail to ABC News, due to feeling ill. She did say she wanted to share her story to encourage other people to take precautions when visiting Zika-affected countries.

The Zika virus usually results in mild symptoms including fever, rash and fatigue that rarely last longer than a week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has been associated with a worrying rise in a birth defect called microcephaly in Brazil.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said there may be multiple reasons that Baker has continued to have symptoms weeks after the virus. He explained that she may have unknowingly had a complication or a secondary infection that caused her symptoms to worsen.

“I haven’t heard of anything like this,” Schaffner said. “I’m not sure how long and which symptoms have persisted. But everything is possible and some things are very common and some things are unusual.”

He said another possibility is that Baker had an inflammatory immune response where she felt symptoms long after the virus has left her body.

“We don’t know if the virus can persist or if it can set up an inflammatory response that can continue to make you ill for a period of time,” he explained.

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New Book Examines Quarterbacks’ Attractiveness

Scott Clarke/ESPN(NEW YORK) — When Super Bowl 50 kicks off Sunday in California, all eyes will be on the competing teams’ quarterbacks: Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterbacks like Manning, Newton and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady are the face of the NFL and often seen as the most attractive, and powerful, players on the field.

“It’s Tom Brady at the highest level but it’s also the good-looking high school kid who is dating the cheerleader,” Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated’s executive editor, told ABC News.

Wertheim joined with Sam Sommers, a professor of psychology at Tufts University, to examine why quarterbacks are seen as the most attractive players on the football field.

The pair used a photo experiment to answer the question in their new book, This Is Your Brain on Sports.

“We took media photos of all the quarterbacks and had a random sample of people who weren’t big football fans look at them,” Wertheim said.

The pair had the sample group judge the quarterbacks’ attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. They then repeated the same experiment using photos of defensive backs and wide receivers.

Wertheim and Sommers also ran the same experiment using photos of college football players.
The results, for many football fans, may sound surprising.

“The quarterbacks didn’t come out on top,” Sommers said. “If anything, they came out at the bottom.”

Sommers and Wertheim concluded that quarterbacks benefit from what is called the “halo effect.” The quarterback’s perceived power, leadership and success on the field amplifies their attractiveness.

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Kate Hudson Spills the Secrets Behind Her Fit Body

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kate Hudson has a body that most people would covet, but the 36-year-old actress says she is more focused on how she feels inside than how she looks outside.

“I have fluctuated [in weight] my whole life,” the star told People in a new interview. “I fluctuate at least five pounds every month. I really want to reach people that are asking, ‘How do I get there?’ A lot of people are quite discouraged by the process of getting healthy because one, they think they can’t afford it, and two, it’s daunting. I wanted to start a dialogue. Because you won’t be able to even get there until you actually accept yourself and start connecting with yourself.”

That dialogue is part of her new lifestyle book, Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body, which, she said, is “not meant to be a tell-all, but rather a tell-true” about how to become “healthy, strong and beautiful from the inside out.”

“I think we’ve put so much focus on the results that everybody is forgetting to enjoy the process,” Hudson told People. “And really the only way you can get there in a way that is meaningful is if you enjoy it. And everybody has a different way of finding out what that is.”

Hudson credits dancing for helping her find body confidence and end years of yo-yo dieting.

“It’s about health and mindfulness,” she added. “Because you can have the greatest body and you can be really unhappy if that’s all you’re working toward.”

In fact, Hudson believes in indulging ever now and then. Her weakness?

“Pizza,” she said. “Like Hawaiian pizza. I’m always the person that orders the pizza that everybody goes, ‘Why did you order that?'”

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Your Body: Over-the-Counter Birth Control

Fuse/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Big news for women and birth control in Oregon.

In an attempt to increase access to contraception for women, an expert panel of doctors has recommended that birth control pills be available without a doctor’s prescription in the Beaver State. The change will also be implemented in California later this year.

In these states, women can simply see their local pharmacist to get the pill.

While there is no question that the pill is generally safe, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is against this new policy, stating that putting another person between a woman and her birth control does not help women’s health.

While pharmacists are definitely great resources for how medications work and interact with each other, they are not women’s health specialists.

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Study: Body Mass Index Readings Not Accurate Picture of Health

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a study just published Thursday in the International Journal of Obesity, UCLA psychologists have declared that using BMI (Body Mass Index) to gauge health actually incorrectly labels more than 54 million Americans as “unhealthy.”

The BMI is not only used by personal trainers and diet shows like The Biggest Loser: of late health insurance companies have used it to adjust premiums for those they cover.

However, the study supports criticism that BMI alone shouldn’t be used to judge health, as it doesn’t take into account a person’s physical abilities, blood pressure, waist circumference, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, percentage of body fat, and other health markers.

Indeed, the researchers noted more than 30 percent of those studied who have “good” BMIs had other problematic health markers that would have gone unnoticed if BMI was the only method used to determine health.

Likewise, the study found close to half — 47.4 percent of Americans who are considered “overweight” because of their BMI readings — some 34.4 million people — are healthy. Same went for nearly 20 million whose BMI labeled them “obese.”

Many people see obesity as a death sentence,” said A. Janet Tomiyama, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of psychology in the UCLA College. “But the data show there are tens of millions of people who are overweight and obese and are perfectly healthy.”

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“Screenagers” Documentary Examines Impact of Screens and New Tech on Kids’ Development

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Navigating a child’s access to screens and technology has become one of the most difficult parenting issues today, and the mother of teenagers is examining the issue in a new documentary called Screenagers.

Dr. Delaney Ruston struggled with the dilemma facing many American families: How much tech was too much for her children, Tessa and Chase. She explores the issue in her film, telling ABC News, “I was completely struggling with how to get my kids to not be on screens all the time.”

In the film, Ruston asked her daughter, Tessa, what she would do if she had a smartphone.

“I’d be cool … and be able to look busy in awkward situations,” the girl replied.

Tessa said all her friends had smartphones and she’d feel more connected.

The film explores the science of how use of the devices affects young minds.

“When you are distracted by a device, you can’t have the conversations that would lead to the development of empathy and a sense of self,” Sherry Turkle, a professor of psychology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in the film.

Nicholas Carr, author of the book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, said in the film studies indicate that dopamine — a pleasure-producing brain chemical — seems to be released whenever people find or seek out new information.

“If you carry around a smartphone, you are always pulling it out and glancing at it because you want that release of the pleasure-producing chemical,” he said.

Children spend an average of nearly 6.5 hours per day on screens, not including screen time for classroom or homework, and Screenagers finds plenty of parents who share Ruston’s struggle; from parents who are frustrated by teen selfie culture to those who think their children spend too much time playing video games.

Ruston found the best way to manage her own family’s screen use was having boundaries, including a contract designed by the entire family to govern screen use.

“We don’t have cellphones in our bedrooms at night. Not at the dining room table. And also when we are in the car,” Ruston told ABC News.

It isn’t always easy. Tessa says she wishes she had unlimited access but understands that the rules are there for a reason.

Ruston said it’s “still a struggle at times,” but added, “Now we feel like a group that is doing this together. And that’s been really helpful.”

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Meet the Make-A-Wish Kids Attending Super Bowl 50

The Make-A-Wish Foundation(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Among the thousands of people inside Levi’s Stadium during Sunday’s Super Bowl games will be 14 kids whose dreams are being fulfilled thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Matthew Vega is one of those kids who will sit in the Santa Clara, California, stadium to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos.

Vega, 19, of Anaheim, California, is a devoted Denver Broncos fan who is in remission from osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“[While] I was getting treatment one of the things that kept me going was the Broncos. That was my team,” Vega, a college student, told ABC News. I kept track of them and would watch every Sunday when I was in the hospital.”

Vega first told Make-A-Wish his wish was to go to the Super Bowl in 2014. His team, the Broncos, made it to the Super Bowl that year but Vega was put on the waiting list due to the high number of kids whose wish is to attend the Super Bowl.

Two years later, Vega is no longer in treatment and he will be going Thursday on his first-ever airplane flight to watch his first-ever NFL game, the Super Bowl with his favorite team playing.

“My whole family are Broncos fans. I was born into it,” said Vega, who will go to the game with his parents and two brothers. “I’m just really happy and thankful that I’m going and that my wish was granted.”

Also attending his first-ever NFL game thanks to Make-A-Wish will be Triston Prince Walton, a 5-year-old born with an interrupted aortic arch.

The condition — described as an “uncommon congenital anomaly” by the National Institutes of Health — has required Triston to undergo five open heart surgeries, including his first at 10 days old.

“He is my miracle baby,” Triston’s mom, Kourtney Walton, of Chicago, told ABC News.

Walton says Triston, who likely has at least two more surgeries in his near future, is a football-loving boy who will use any chance or material he has to set up his own football game.

“Anywhere we go to lunch or dinner, he’ll take a paper from straw and tear it into pieces to have men to play football with, or if he has crayons he cuts them in half,” Walton said. “He’ll watch any games and he’s there watching with whatever toys he has to make his own football game.”

Walton says Triston doesn’t yet understand that he’ll be attending the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl. The young boy does know that he, his mom, his grandmother and his aunt will fly to California to watch his favorite sport played by his grandmother’s favorite player, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“He’s been rooting for Cam and he says, ‘That’s my granny’s boy,'” Walton said. “But he just knows he’s going to see football and that’s all that matters.”

In addition to Matthew and Triston, some of the other children attending Sunday’s Super Bowl with their families include Adam Crognale, 17, Christian Davis, 10, Christopher Ross, 18, Conor Doyle, 15, Eugene Williams, 15, Gabriel Bartlett, 13, Justin Poitras, 16, Ryan Lohan, 19, Thomas White, 17, Trevor Thomas, 18 and Zahari Andrews, 5.

The young football fans and their families will travel to the San Francisco area from 12 states and Canada. They’ll spend Super Bowl weekend visiting the NFL Experience, touring Levi’s Stadium and meeting surprise guests, according to Make-A-Wish.

Super Bowl tickets for Make-A-Wish kids are donated by the NFL and individual donors. Make-A-Wish has sent at least one kid to every Super Bowl since 1982.

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Rare Genetic Mutation Pinpointed as Cause of Vibration-Induced Hives

Tharakorn/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — When a person breaks out into hives, the annoying rash is usually blamed on skin care products, new foods we’ve eaten, or cute animals we’ve touched. But some people get hives from something much more unusual: vibration.

These folks suffer from a condition called “vibratory urticaria,” and they can break out into hives from activities like running, hand clapping, snoring, towel drying, or even bumpy bus rides. Researchers released new information Wednesday that could help unlock why some people develop this rare allergy.
Scientists have pinpointed a specific mutation in the ADGRE2 gene that runs in some families with this rare disorder, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health who published findings Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

All of the families originate from a small area in Lebanon, suggesting common ancestors, the findings show.

Hives occur when immune system cells called mast cells release the chemical histamine, usually as an allergic response. The release of histamine brings on the red, itchy and bumpy hives.

Mast cells usually release histamine when allergic signals come from the immune system, but this research suggests that the hive-causing cells are sensitive to physical vibration as well.

Even people without vibratory urticaria release some histamine in response to vibration, according to the lead investigator in the study, Dr. Hirsh Komarow of the NIH Laboratory of Allergic Disease. However, in that case it isn’t strong enough to be noticeable or cause hives. For those with the disease, the reaction to vibration is much stronger. The hives develop within a few minutes of the vibration and usually subside within an hour.

“It’s more of an annoyance,” Komarow said of the condition in the families they studied. “Since they have it since birth and since other family members have it, they accept it as the standard and there are certain things you don’t do. It’s not so bad because your brothers and uncles and niece don’t do it either.”

This discovery doesn’t mean that every person with the condition will have this same genetic mutation, but it sheds new light on how this disease can be passed on through generations. This research may help scientists learn more about how mast cells function in the skin and deepen their knowledge of how allergic reactions work.

Dr. Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explains that this research could help doctors work with the small group of patients suffering from this disease, where the exact genetic mutation remains unknown.

“You know there has to be a physiologic reason behind it but nobody has found it,” he said of similar conditions. “This is great.”

Sampson said he has only had one patient develop the disease, which appeared after he started playing the trumpet and the instrument’s vibrations caused hives.

But it wasn’t all bad. “He hated playing the trumpet, so it was a huge relief to him not to have to play anymore,” Sampson said.

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Boy With Rare Disorder Raises Money for Sick Kids Instead of Seeking Birthday Gifts

Courtesy Chris Baker (NEW YORK) — A boy with a rare form of dwarfism is asking for donations for his local children’s hospital rather than birthday gifts.

“I think this is just Brenden,” dad Chris Barker of Avalon, Texas, told ABC News Wednesday. “This is just him doing what he does. He cares more about other people than he does himself. That’s what amazes me about this kid. He’s got such a big heart. For most kids on their birthdays, they just want their presents. Not him. He’s just different.”

Barker said Brenden, 13, was born with Desbuquois syndrome.

“He’s 27-and-a-quarter inches long and he weighs 24 pounds,” Barker said. “It’s a rare form of dwarfism and he’s one of 34 in the world that’s got it. He knows he’s short and really doesn’t care. He doesn’t let the world bother him at all. I’ve never seen him have a sad day in his life.”

Barker said Brenden decided before his Dec. 31 birthday that he’d give up presents in lieu of donations to a children’s hospital. He started the “Children Miracle Network Fundraiser” on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding site, after his grandfather gave him the idea.

“He wanted to help other kids,” Barker said. “He’s all on-board. We’re shooting for $3,000 donation.”
Brenden told ABC News that he would like to help the children at the hospital “feel better and give them toys” to make them happy.

Brenden has acquired some fame after a video of him dancing at a local theater event was circulated around the Internet, according to Barker.

Barker said he hopes Brenden’s small group of online fans can help him reach his fundraising goal.

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