Review Category : Health

‘Wounded Warrior’ Poised to Make Motocross History on Prosthetics

Warrior Built(NEW YORK) — Off road in the California desert, Jesse Williamson is getting ready for the Baja 500, a grueling 500-mile dirt bike race that takes place on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

But Williamson also faces an additional challenge.

Unlike the other racers, he is attempting to become the first double-amputee to compete in the race.

The retired Marine lance corporal, currently living in Wildomar, California, lost his legs below the knee from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in August 2009. All his buddies in the vehicle died.

It transformed his life in a flash.

When he came back home, as he tried to recover, he got hooked on pain medications, slipped into depression and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The things I was doing up there — not too proud of. I got into doing heroin,” Williamson, 23, said.

His friend 1st Sgt. Nick Hamm, a fellow Marine also from Wildomar, California, who was also wounded twice in combat, came to the rescue.

Hamm recruited Williamson to join Warrior Built, a foundation he created to provide new motivation, camaraderie and support as veterans transition back to life after war.

The foundation provides vocational therapy in the Warrior Built Garage, a space devoted to off-road biking in Lake Elsinore, California. It is staffed entirely by combat veterans.

“Every time I am able to help someone else, I get a little piece of myself back,” Hamm, 37, said.

Thirty-five combat vets work at the garage rebuilding bikes and their lives. The foundation aims to help 100 veterans by the end of the year.

“We just start talking among the other,” Hamm said. “The good, the bad, the ugly.”

The Baja 500, which is Thursday to Sunday, will be the third race for Williamson, Hamm and friend and combat veteran Eric Nolan.

In November, Williamson was the first double-amputee to compete in the Baja 1000, a 1,000-mile motorcross race. In the Imperial 250, the team came in second place in their class despite a sandstorm so bad two-thirds of the riders were unable to finish.

The sandstorm was not a problem for the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. They took the brutal conditions in stride, sleeping outside in tents and sleeping bags.

“You know there’s a lot of sports that are hard, but ours the ultimate consequence is death,” Williamson’s trainer, Ryan Hughes, said.

For these wounded warriors, motocross offers a new mission, a reason to soldier on.

“Continue to stay in the fight no matter your struggles,” Williamson, whose birthday is Saturday, said. “Just keep pushing on.”

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Family Finds Teen’s Secret Message Days After Cancer Death

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Days after 13-year-old Athena Orchard died from cancer, her family discovered a hidden message on the back of her mirror.

“Happiness depends on ourselves,” she wrote. “Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story.”

Athena was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, after discovering a tiny lump on her head in December, according to Caters News Agency.

She collapsed at home around Christmas, and doctors found the cancer in her spine, left shoulder and head. After undergoing a seven-and-a-half-hour surgery to remove the spinal tumor, she started chemotherapy.

Though Athena had once been athletic and enjoyed boxing, soon she was too weak to leave her bed, her mother Caroline Orchard, 37, told Caters.

Athena died May 28 in the United Kingdom.

As her parents went through her belongings in the days that followed, they discovered the mirror’s message.

“She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do,” Athena’s father, Dean Orchard, 33, told Caters. “I started reading it, but before long I had to stop because it was too much. It was heartbreaking.”

Athena wrote about love, happiness and illness. The Orchards say they’ll never get rid of the mirror.

“Every day is special, so make the most of it,” Athena wrote. “You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow, so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad.”

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Third Grader’s Heimlich Saves Choking Friend

iStock/Thinkstock(EDINA, Minn.) — A Minnesota third grader is being hailed the “Heimlich Hero” by the Edina School District.

During an end-of-the-year school picnic, Zach Furman and Aiden Roberts, both 9 years old, looked to their friend Fletcher Dypwick sitting by himself, wanting him to join the rest of the class. But something was wrong.

Roberts ran to alert their teacher, Colin Friden, while Furman realized Dypwick was actually choking on his lunch.

Remembering a technique his father taught him two weeks earlier, Furman grabbed his friend, went behind him, and started performing the Heimlich maneuver. After five or six thrusts, little by little, chunks of food started coming out of Dypwick’s mouth.

It appears he was choking on a French fry.

“The situation went from scary, to nerve-racking, and then he was kind of a celebrity with his friend Zach,” mom Nikki Dypwick told ABC News.

Mom had the boys over at her house for a play date to celebrate and to say “thank you so much for being there for him” on that sunny afternoon on May 22.

“The boys were so concerned about him, it was unreal,” she said. “They were looking to invite him over…my son literally just wanted to eat, so he sat down and started eating, it was really that simple. He wasn’t running around. He just choked, which is kind of scary.”

Both teachers and the administration could not be more proud of the trio.

“They’re a very caring group of people who will help a friend in need,” Friden, 50, told ABC News. “If anything happens, you can tell the compassion that they have, especially for 9-year-olds, it’s pretty amazing when it comes out.”

Friden has been teaching third grade for 13 years at Concord Elementary and says, “I think that’s why it’s so much fun to be a teacher. Every day is a little different.”

Among his third grade classmates, Furman is seen as a little hero at Concord Elementary School. “The kids told him when he came back the next day what a great job he did and patted him on the back,” Friden said.

“I was amazed at Zach’s courage to act. It was great, really how the boys worked together to keep their friend safe,” Principal Rick Sansted told ABC News. “It speaks to the community that we are trying to build here at Concord.”

“I’m really very proud, proud of their actions and caring for one another,” Sansted added.

The boys have their last day of third grade on Friday.

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‘Plus-Size’ Has Fashionistas Fuming

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Support is mounting for fashionistas who want to ban the word “plus-size.”

The term is offensive and outdated, according to models like Robyn Lawley and Tyra Banks. Their point is that models are models — no matter what their size.

And the term is less important as more full-figured models get gigs typically reserved for “straight-sized” models.

“You’re going to see a lot of crossovers happening where girls with curves are working for mainstream [brands],” Becca Thorpe, a former model and now an agent at Muse Model Management in New York, told ABC News. “I’ve seen the transition happen over the past couple decades — from, ‘I’m in the plus division’ to just, ‘I’m a model.’”

“Real-sized” model Robyn Lawley recently told Clique magazine she hates the term.

“I don’t think anyone should be called plus-size,” she said. “I think it’s derogatory to anyone — it’s a label. I’m a model; I don’t think I need ‘plus-size’ in front of it.”

Banks has said she prefers to call girls with curves “fiercely real” and Queen Latifah once told Women’s Wear Daily that plus-size is “a word that we need to bury.”

Body image expert Robyn Silverman said the word on its own isn’t a problem, it’s how it’s perceived.

“On the front side, there’s nothing wrong with it,” she told ABC News. “However, what’s happened is that the term has morphed. Instead of describing clothing size, it’s describing a body size with this negative connotation.”

Not everyone has such vitriol for the term “plus-size.”

Thorpe said it’s still a useful descriptor in the modeling industry to help find clients the type of model they want for a job.

Writer Nicolette Mason pointed out that when it comes to clothes, plus-size remains an important distinction.

“Especially when you’re shopping for clothes and need to find your size,” said Mason, author of Marie Claire’s popular fashion column, “Big Girl in a Skinny World.” “Until plus-sizes are more readily available to satisfy the two thirds of American women who wear a size 14 or higher, there does need to be some terminology.”

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More People Losing Sleep over Their Pets

iStock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, Minn.) — It seems that more people are complaining that their furry companions are making it harder for them to get a restful sleep, based on new figures from the Mayo Clinic.

More than a decade ago, only 1 percent of those who went to the Mayo Clinic’s sleep center blamed their dog, cat or bird for disrupting their sleep. By 2013, that figure increased to 10 percent.

So what changed? Lead author Dr. Lois Krahn explains it could be that more households in the U.S. now feature multiple pets.

Kahn says some of the complaints of pet owners are that their animals snore, whimper, wander around the house or need to go outside.

This latest study indicated “that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation,” according to Kahn.

As a result, she recommends that “sleep specialists should ask about companion animals and help patients think about ways to optimize their sleep.”

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High School Principal Comes Out to Students at LGBT Event

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Woodrow Wilson High School principal Pete Cahall stunned many of his D.C. students when he came out during the school’s gay pride celebration.

“That was so unexpected,” gay school senior Tao Marwell told ABC News affiliate station WJLA-TV in Washington. “I had no idea. I have so much more respect for him now.”

His hands trembling, his voice shaking, his speech stuttered, Cahall confessed something Wednesday he said he had waited many years to say publicly.

“I am a proud gay man that just happens to be the principal of Wilson High School,” he said as students cheered and clapped, according to WJLA.

It all unfolded at the school’s second annual gay pride celebration during Wednesday’s lunch hour. When Cahall was handed the microphone, he looked overwhelmed and uneasy, WJLA reported.

He said he had only told a small circle of friends about his sexuality, not even his family.

“I have been in the shadows, but I am liberated today,” Cahall told the audience. “I have not made this declaration before, because I did not want my kids [the students] to think differently, or not respect me.”

Cahall said the fears were obstacles in his mind because of the culture of when and where he grew up, not providing any details.

After the announcement at the LGBT event, Cahall was still shaking as students walked up to offer him hugs, WJLA said.

Cahall has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Human Rights Campaign director Ellen Kahn said, “What he did was very bold and courageous.”

LGBT students are consistently bullied because of their identifies, both verbally and physically, she said. “He is in a high school where some students probably already find themselves to be attracted by the same sex, or have claimed to be a group of LGBT,” Kahn added. “When an adult comes out, it delivers a very powerful message.”

But not everyone welcomed the news.

Westboro Baptist Church, a Topeka, Kansas, organization known for anti-gay picketing at military funerals, plans to protest Wilson’s Pride Day Monday.

“You should be hanging your heads in shame for such a thing,” the church declared on its website regarding the gay pride event. “Since your teachers haven’t taught you the basic lesson of why God destroyed Sodom, we’ll help you out.”

Nearly 1,000 Wilson students have signed up for a peaceful counter-protest Monday.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who tweeted that the school has his full support, called Westboro church “backward thinking” and its message “a disgrace.”

“In my best biblical reference,” Gray said, “they can go straight to hell.”

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Get Fit for Summer: 16 Daily Tips to Shape Up, Slim Down

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The official start of summer is June 21, but it’s not too late to shape up and slim down before you hit the beach.

Fitness guru Harley Pasternak, the celebrity trainer behind the bikini-perfect bodies of stars like Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, Megan Fox and more, shared 16 quick diet tips to help you reach your fitness goals and stay motivated each of the 16 days until summer and beyond.

“It doesn’t require any surplus of money and it doesn’t require a drastic amount of exercise or drastic amount of dieting,” Pasternak, the author of The Body Reset Diet, told ABC’s Good Morning America.

  1. Drink caffeinated tea or coffee. Studies show that 250 mg of caffeine consumed with a meal can increase the calories spent metabolizing the meal by 10 percent. Another study showed a 5 percent increase in daily calorie burn when consuming three cups of tea.
  2. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  3. Add some avocado to your meals. Research shows healthy fats, like those found in avocados, can help keep you full between meals.
  4. Spice it Up! Hot peppers, as well as chili peppers, contain capsaicin, which will cause the body to start expending more energy as heat, increasing your total calorie burn.
  5. Behold, the power of protein! The addition of protein to your meal can increase your metabolism, according to research.
  6. Sleep more to burn more. Studies have shown a link between poor sleep and higher body fat. A study from Brigham Young University found that people who get less than 6.5 hours of sleep and more than 8.5 hours of sleep have higher body fat.
  7. Get fit with fiber. Make sure you have at least 10 grams of fiber with each meal (and 5 grams with each snack). Fiber will make you feel fuller longer and lowers your body’s insulin response to sugar.
  8. Get back! Focus on strengthening the muscles on the back of your body to create the illusion of a longer leaner body. See Pasternak’s Fierce Five workout, which consists of four sets of 20 reps each of these: reverse lunges, single arm dumbbell rows, stiff leg dead lifts, lying dumbbell tricep extensions, plus four sets of minute planks to strengthen the core.
  9. Take the stairs. Using an activity monitor, you should strive to stride a total of 14,000 steps a day, he says.
  10. Call your friends on the go. Instead of sitting down to chat, take a walk and burn some calories at the same time.
  11. Exercise while entertained. A study out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found watching a video while doing cardio significantly lowered your rate of perceived exertion, making it feel easier to exercise. And the more distractions, the better: Another study found those who exercised while listening to music and watching a personal TV completed longer exercise sessions than those who only listened to music or only watched TV.
  12. Reign in your alcohol consumption, but not for the reason you think. Believe it or not, it’s not only the extra calories from alcohol that make people gain weight. It’s also because alcohol diminishes your ability to burn fat and weakens your inhibitions.
  13. Got milk? Studies show that people who add more dairy to their diet can actually burn more fat. Try some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
  14. Get up and walk. Get off the subway one stop earlier or park your car a block away.
  15. Stop eating when you’re three-quarters full.
  16. Burst away your belly. Research shows that adding a few bursts of high-intensity cardio bouts through the day can increase your total calorie burn.

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Students Petition to Rehire Guard Who Beat Wheelchair Teen

A security officer is seen in surveillance footage beating a student in wheelchair at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif. (KGO)(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Students at a California high school are petitioning for a security guard to get his job back after he was fired for attacking a special needs student in a wheelchair.

The petition comes as a second security guard was disciplined for having an altercation with the student on the same day.

Some teens at Oakland High School say the student, Francisco Martinez, who is 17 and has cerebral palsy, is a troublemaker.

School security guard Marchell Mitchell, 23, was dismissed by the school May 19 after he was caught on video beating Martinez after the student argued with the guard, slapped the guard’s hand and spit on him.

“There are some students that like [the guard] and were sympathetic,” Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint told ABC News. “I think part of the response stems from the fact that many of the students view the attack as a peer to peer situation and they are thinking about what they would have done in that situation.”

But students are “overlooking the fact that the security guard is both an adult and a school employee with higher responsibility,” Flint said.

He confirmed some students had signed a petition for Mitchell to get his job back.

Some students claim Martinez provoked the attack by spitting on the guard and that the student often runs over people’s toes with his wheelchair, KTVU reported.

The school district maintains that Martinez is the only victim in the case.

A second video recently emerged showing another school security guard in an altercation with Martinez on the day that Mitchell was fired. That guard, Shalandra Cotton, has been placed on paid leave as the school investigates, Flint said.

There is no consideration of reinstating Mitchell, however, despite the petition, Flint said.

“We’re not giving it any consideration,” Flint said. “There is no conceivable scenario under which Marchell Mitchell will work for Oakland Unified School District again. His fate rests with the judicial system now.”

Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony corporal injury to a child. He’s scheduled for a pretrial hearing on June 16, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The incident began when Mitchell tried to get Martinez to go to class, officials said. A scuffle ensued when Martinez resisted and slapped Mitchell’s hand away from his wheelchair. Mitchell handcuffed Martinez, who then spat at the guard, prompting the guard’s attack, video shows.

Martinez could not be reached for comment.

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As More Live to Be 100, More Needs to Be Done to Care for Them

Randy Faris/Fuse/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Living to 100 years old is an impressive feat, but it’s not all that unusual anymore.

With the number of centenarians expected to reach 3.2 million by 2050, health officials are undertaking a serious examination about how to better care for the 100-plus crowd.

Most people 100 years and older usually die from frail health or pneumonia rather than diseases like heart disease or cancer, which befall people in their 70s, 80s and even 90s.

What has study author Catherine Evans of King’s College London most concerned is where centenarians should live since only ten percent die at home with the vast majority passing away in either long-term care facilities or hospitals.

Evans say the goal is to allow more 100-year-olds to live their final days in places that are familiar and familial, which means “a greater emphasis on anticipatory care with contingency planning that details treatments and interventions when an unanticipated, or sentinel, event occurs.”

In other words, managing some illnesses at home rather than hospitals. Evans also recommends increasing the number of beds in long-term care facilities for those with extreme longevity.

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Yoga Won’t Necessarily Make Asthmatics Breathe Easier

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Yoga seems to provide a remedy for many ailments but researchers say it’s not a cure-all, particularly for asthma sufferers searching for relief from their symptoms.

Holger Cramer, director of Yoga Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, says he and others poured over 14 studies about yoga in the possible treatment of asthma. Unfortunately, Cramer says “yoga can’t be considered a routine intervention for patients with asthma at this time.”

The conclusion came after studying 824 asthma sufferers who practice yoga on five continents. Cramer says that there’s only slight evidence that these exercises for mental and physical health provide actual relief.

Dr. Michael Foggs, an allergist-immunologist from Chicago, agrees that yoga shouldn’t be recommended as treatment for asthma.

However, he doesn’t believe it will hurt either, adding, “If yoga helps them to feel better and breathe better, patients should by all means practice it.”

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