Review Category : Health

Joe Biden Vows to ‘Mow Down’ Impediments to Moonshot and ‘Fundamentally Change’ Cancer

Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(NEW YORK) — Vice president Joe Biden vowed to “mow down” any bureaucratic impediments to the work of the Cancer Moonshot, saying it was “truly a bipartisan issue.”

Biden heads the “moonshot,” which is the $1 billion initiative that aims to improve cancer treatments and find a cure for the disease.

“We’re going to get this done,” he said, speaking in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts that aired Wednesday. “We are going to fundamentally change the face of cancer. It’s going to become a chronic disease. We’re going to cure a hell of the lot of it that’s not chronic.”

President Obama announced the effort during his State of the Union address in January, and he placed Biden in charge of it.

“One of the things the president did when he asked me to head this up, he gave me authority over all the federal agencies that have anything to do at all with cancer,” Biden said. “And what I promised I would do, I’ve gone around the country. I’ve met now with over 200 and — almost 300 oncologists.”

In those meetings, Biden, 73, said he has asked the oncologists how the initiative could help them and how the federal government was not accommodating their needs.

“So I’ve committed, and I promise before we leave we will mow down any of the impediments that exist bureaucratically in the federal government that slow up the process,” he added.

Funding is key to the success of the initiative, Biden said.

“And we will get a billion dollars,” he said, adding: “This is a truly bipartisan issue. So the leaders in this effort in the House and Senate are Republicans as well as Democrats.”

For Biden, the initiative is personal. His eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer last year at the age of 46.

Calling Beau “the finest man I’ve ever known,” Biden said his son died “with great courage.”

“And you know, his concern was, ‘Dad, promise me, promise me you’ll be OK. Promise you’ll be OK,’” he said, noting that Beau was always focused on taking care of others.

“That’s why he volunteered to go to Iraq,” Biden said, adding that his son won the Bronze Star for his service. “When he came back, for example, he wouldn’t put on any of his medals. His commanding general made him put them on … so I guess my point is that, I think the measure of a woman or a man is in part that they die with as much courage and valor as they lived.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How the Pain and Shame of Dyslexia Almost Destroyed a Promising Young Actor

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — “American Horror Story” actor Ameer Baraka’s own mother called him “dumb and stupid.” His teachers humiliated him. And his dyslexia, which made it difficult for him to read, turned the young man into a “street thug” and a killer. Now an accomplished actor, Baraka was only a few words away from a life in prison, all because he couldn’t read.

Baraka’s turning point came in the sixth grade.

“It was the first week of school. We were in English class and the teacher called upon me to read out loud,” he recounted to a Senate committee Tuesday at a hearing to raise awareness for dyslexia. “My palms began to sweat and it was like drops of blood from my forehead. I couldn’t pronounce any words and the teacher made me continue knowing I couldn’t read.”

He continued: “Some students laughed while others looked in amazement. From that day forward, I knew that school wasn’t the place for me…. The streets became my classroom and the lessons I learned looking back were shameful. I shot and killed a young person because the streets told me that is how you resolve conflict.” A juvenile at the time, Baraka served a year in prison for manslaughter and was released when he was 15.

The Senate halls of Washington, D.C., are a long way from the projects of New Orleans where Baraka grew up. But he joked with the senators that he might be one of them — if not for the fact that he couldn’t read. “I could have been sitting where you are had someone caught me early on,” he said.

Neither his mother nor his teachers could diagnose Baraka’s problem. “Having my mother and siblings call me names like ‘stupid and dumb,’ using names like these can cause any child to feel hopeless and lost,” he remembered.

“So, I chose to succumb to my environment while both brother and sister excelled in school,” Baraka continued. “I didn’t care about my future or anyone else because I thought I was a dummy like my mother and siblings said. I became a street thug and full of anger because I felt cheated out of an education. I went to school just because I had to as a kid. Many Fridays I would ‘malinger’ because I couldn’t pass the spelling test. Or I would sleep in a project hallway until school was out just to avoid embarrassment. I pushed myself into a hole that I couldn’t get out of.”

Without an education, Baraka turned to drugs. Even after serving his time for killing someone, he would find himself back behind bars. “I got back into the drug game still never reading and ended up doing prison time as an adult,” he told the senators. “At age 23, I entered into a prison correctional facility reading at a third-grade level. I didn’t feel so bad because many of the men there were just like me. We all read poorly.”

Today, Baraka believes the key to success is being able to read. “It gives you encouragement,” he said. “It gives you motivation to say, ‘You know what, I can read.’ I think that’s one of the most powerful things in the world, to read.” He added that he thinks it’s important for parents and teachers to diagnose dyslexia early so that young people can get the proper schooling.

Baraka was inspired to turn his life around after he managed to read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” while in prison. Malcolm X was kicked out of school in the seventh grade.

“I thought for the first time in life that I could accomplish something too,” he said. “I worked hard, writing down each word I had trouble pronouncing. I just kept memorizing words and writing letters and reading small books.”

It worked. Baraka has become a successful model, actor and author, and starred on season 3 of “American Horror Story.”

He said Tuesday, “I always felt as though I was someone.” But it was teaching himself to read that helped his dreams come true.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Slow Down Time With These 5-Minute Anti-Aging Fixes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With just 24 hours in the day, the crunch is on to find time to give your skin the attention it needs.

Allure magazine is here to the rescue with anti-aging fixes you can do in just five minutes.

Sophia Panych, Allure‘s deputy digital beauty director, shared her tips on Good Morning America.

Try an Eye Mask
Eye masks, which can be left on for more than five minutes, will hide wrinkles caused by dryness and also reduce under-eye bags. “It doesn’t take any time to put them on, you can do something else while you’re wearing them and then you take them off and your eyes look just infinitely better,” Panych said.

Use a Dry Sponge

After applying makeup, spray your face with three to four sprays of water or a facial mist and then tap a dry sponge across your face to prevent makeup from settling in your wrinkles.

Lower Your Head
Panych says putting your head between your knees for just one minutes will mimic an after-exercise glow.

Style a Ponytail
Pull your hair up, leaving the face-framing layers down, and then flip the remaining strands to one side and pin them behind your ear without flattening the hair. “By getting the hair up and kind of adding the volume it just kind of opens up your face and makes you look a little bit more awake,” Panych said.

Bonus Tips:
Panych recommends using primer before applying makeup in order to keep your skin looking extra-dewy. The beauty expert also advises using a peel meant for sensitive skin, even if you don’t have sensitive skin, in order to brighten your skin without irritating it.

Dr. Whitney Bowe, a board-certified dermatologist, said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America that women can also use at-home chemical peels to revive their skin. Your goals for the at-home chemical peel should dictate what kind of ingredients you look for in the peel.

In order to target signs of aging like fine lines and brown spots, Bowe recommends looking for ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid.

If you are trying to rid your face of acne, Bowe recommends looking for peels with salicylic acid.

Bowe also advises looking for a blend of acids in an at-home peel in order to avoid irritation.

Choosing foods like cinnamon, sauerkraut and red wine can also rejuvenate one’s skin from the inside, according to Bowe.

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Dating Apps Could Be Spiking STDs

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Reported cases of three sexually transmitted diseases — syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea — have increased for the first time since 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the rise of online dating could be to blame.

“Public health succeeds by tracking the partner and getting that person treated,” Dr. Peter Beilenson, CEO of Evergreen Health tells WBFF-TV. “And with online dating and people not even knowing who the person is, if you come down with chlamydia or gonorrhea, let’s say, and you want to make sure you treat the partner, there’s no way of knowing who the partner is.”

In short, a hook up from a dating app is like a contagious box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.

The CDC recognized that people between the ages 15 to 24 account for nearly half of the 20 million new cases of STD’s each year. The spike has boosted the bill for the United States to the tune of an annual $16 billion in treatment.

Incidentally, syphilis saw the biggest spike — a 14 percent increase in just three years.

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Chart Uses CDC Data to Show What Might Cause Your Death

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As one might expect with a name like the agency has, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains volumes of data about when and how people in this country kick the bucket.

Its aptly named Underlying Cause of Death Database was compiled using cause of death data based on death certificates, and now the Cause of Death list has come to life, thanks to the number crunchers at FlowingData.

Based on the CDC stats from between 1999 and 2014 — and using a slider for age, and fill-in fields for gender and race — Flowing Data’s visually charts your color-coded cause of your shuffling off this mortal coil.

For example, dragging the slider into your 20s reveals you’re much more likely to die from “External Causes” — jet ski accident, beer pong mishap, etc. — than you will in your 80s. Cancer begins to rise in women in their 20s and peaks — at about a 40% probability of death — in their 60s. Men, depending on their race, on the other hand, see cancer diagnoses peak later in life.

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Parents Recreate Scene from ‘Lion King’ for Newborn Daughter

Timilehin and Maria Wusu(BOSTON) — One Boston couple took a cue from The Lion King to celebrate the birth of their daughter.

Timi and Maria Wusu, both resident physicians in the Boston area, welcomed daughter Kaiori to the world last month, and created a hilarious Lion King-inspired video to introduce their new baby to friends and family.

The hysterical video quickly went viral, and has been viewed nearly 60,000 times on the Wusu’s YouTube page.

“I’m excited that the video has brought so many smiles to so many people,” Timi told ABC News.

The Wusus’ baby-introduction video mimics the scene from The Lion King where Rafiki lifts a baby Simba up to introduce him to the other animals.

In the Wusus’ video, Timi acts as Rafiki, performing the “ritual” in front of Maria and Kaiori as “The Circle of Life” plays in the background. Friends of the couple, as well as members of the nursing staff, appear in the video as the animals, cheering and dancing for the new baby.

Timi, 32, revealed that the video was filmed the day after Kaiori was born, and none of his friends were surprised that he and Maria, 33, went the extra-mile with their baby-introduction announcement.

“Finally our wonderful, healthy, child was born, and I had been itching to show her off,” Timi said. “The ‘Lion King’ theme had been in my mind for months, and I just knew that Kaiori needed to be introduced with similar grandeur and hilarity.

“The whole thing turned out really great,” he added. “We had a ton of fun filming and editing, and I knew it would be a hit amongst my friends and family.”

Watch the Wusus’ hilarious baby-introduction video below:

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12-Year-Old Saves Dad’s Life Using CPR She Learned Months Ago in Gym Class

iStock/Thinkstock(FRISCO, Texas) — A Texas dad is crediting his 12-year-old daughter and her middle school physical education curriculum for saving his life.

Joe Thomas, 46, of Frisco, about 30 minutes north of Dallas, reportedly fell unconscious on April 9 after doing some yard work at home.

“I just heard this odd gasp and that’s when he was gone,” his wife, Angela Thomas, told ABC News. “I ran back into the bedroom and he wasn’t breathing.”

During the tense and frightening moment, she said she attempted CPR while their daughter, Aerin, called 911.

“I heard her saying, ‘You’re not doing it right,'” Angela Thomas said. “She kind of pitched me out of the way and took over.”

The CPR training that the sixth-grader received about three months ago in P.E. class at Cobb Middle School came in handy — very handy.

“Honestly, I think we would have had a different outcome had it been just me there,” said Angela Thomas, who works as a school teacher. “So, I am grateful.”

“She was incredibly calm. She wasn’t panicking. She wasn’t freaking out,” Thomas added.

Aerin reportedly performed CPR for five minutes until the paramedics came and took over.

“I was hoping it was going to be OK,” Aerin told ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

Paramedics said had it not been for Aerin’s life-saving efforts, her father could have died.

“You are a hero for saving your dad,” an official with the Frisco Fire and Police departments told Aerin during a school ceremony on May 5 to honor her.

Doctors said Joe had a 100 percent blockage of an artery, which came as a surprise since he suffered no discomfort or known symptoms. He is currently in cardiac rehabilitation and is expected to recover fully. The lucky dad is resting at home and going at a slower pace than he is used to, his wife said.

“Never take a day for granted,” Joe Thomas told WFAA-TV.

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FDA Re-Evaluates Labels for ‘Healthy’ and ‘Natural’ Foods

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will now allow KIND Healthy Snacks to label its products as “healthy and tasty,” revising a former decision that the company’s snacks did not meet the criteria for a “healthy” food.

The FDA announced Tuesday that it will allow KIND to label its products as “healthy” in a way that is “clearly presented as its corporate philosophy,” but “isn’t represented as a nutrient content claim,” FDA spokeswoman Lauren Kotwicki told ABC News in a statement. In other words, “healthy” is allowed to be on the KIND wrapper if it’s part of an overall company philosophy, but not part of the Nutrition Facts.

The FDA has strict guidelines about what can be labeled “healthy” in terms of nutrient content. Currently, the definition involves falling below a certain threshold of total fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol, while containing a particular amount of “beneficial nutrients.”

FDA’s Guidelines on Which Foods Can Be Labeled ‘Healthy’

“We’re all about whole ingredients, about what foods people are putting into their bodies — as opposed to fat levels and sodium levels,” Justin Mervis, general counsel for KIND Healthy Snacks, told ABC News. “We received a warning letter in March 2015 stating that KIND shouldn’t be putting ‘healthy’ on our labels or our website because of the fat content of the nuts in our products — but these are some of the best ingredients people can eat.”

While not everyone may agree that rigid cutoffs of fat and sodium levels are the ideal criteria for “healthy,” some nutrition experts worry that the distinction between a “healthy” philosophy and “healthy” nutrient content may be lost on consumers. This war of words in nutrition labeling is the latest in an ongoing negotiation of what constitutes a healthy diet — and who should get to decide.

“Terms like ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ are really loaded,” said Keith Ayoob, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “When science and government do not agree with the popular culture, you get this kind of a risk.”

Defining ‘Natural’

Consumer Reports released Tuesday what it calls a recent “nationally-representative phone survey” of 1,001 U.S. adults, which it says also highlights the salience of the issue of labeling. The report found that the majority of consumers surveyed buy foods labeled as “natural” (73 percent), exceeding the 58 percent who buy “organic” food.

The word “natural,” though, has no clear definition, and is a topic of active debate at the FDA. Tuesday also marks the final day of the “open comment” period in which the FDA is soliciting input from the public and the industry regarding the use of the term “natural” on labels, and what the definition of “natural” should be.

Historically, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.

“Without a formal definition, people read into it what they want to read into it,” Ayoob emphasized. “And that can be misleading.”

Re-Evaluating ‘Healthy’

In addition to direct conversations with FDA officials aimed at adding “healthy” back to its packaging, KIND launched a citizen’s petition that helped to nudge the FDA to re-think its categorization of “healthy” foods in general. For example, company officials said they believe foods that are nutritious but high in fat — like almonds or avocados — should earn the “healthy” label.

“We really firmly believe that if we as a community focus on the real foods, everything else is going to sort itself out,” KIND founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky told ABC News. “Obsessively thinking about the macronutrient guidelines in an artificial functional form results in perverse incentives for the food community to manufacture ‘Frankenfoods’ rather than to celebrate real foods.”

The FDA has been very receptive to re-evaluating the definition of “healthy,” said Kotwicki, the agency’s spokeswoman.

“Consumers want to make informed food choices and it is FDA’s responsibility to help them by ensuring labels provide accurate and reliable nutrition information,” Kotwicki said. “In light of evolving nutrition research, forthcoming Nutrition Facts Labeling final rules, and a citizen petition, we believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term ‘healthy.’”

She said the FDA plans to solicit public comment on these issues.

Ayoob said some clarity on the definition of “natural” ingredients and “healthy” foods would go a long way toward easing some of the confusion among consumers.

“No definition is going to satisfy everybody, but it would help to have a definition,” he said. “Otherwise, people use the term indiscriminately, and it becomes the Wild West — everything becomes ‘natural,’ which means the term has no power anymore.”

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Teen Entrepreneur Raises $100K to Create First-Aid Vending Machine

Courtesy RecMed First Aid Kits(OPELIKA, Ala.) — What started as an eighth-grade project could soon turn into a multi-million-dollar company thanks to a 14-year-old entrepreneur from Alabama and his diligent work ethic.

A decade of playing baseball as a first baseman and pitcher inspired Opelika High School freshman Taylor Rosenthal to create a first-aid vending machine.

“No one could find a Band-Aid when someone got hurt,” Rosenthal said.

When the Young Entrepreneurs Academy — a program designed as a class for students interested in learning how to start their own small businesses — asked his class to brainstorm ideas for a company, Rosenthal’s mother and father, who both work in the medical industry as an x-ray technician and sports medicine trainer, respectively, helped him develop his idea for the machine, which they called RecMed.

Rosenthal’s RecMed pitch went on to win first place in his class, which earned him assistance from startup incubator Roundhouse to develop the pitch for a regional competition in Boca Raton, Florida, where he won third place last year, Rosenthal said.

“Have you ever been to an amusement park, and your child falls to the ground and scrapes their knee?” Rosenthal asked in his original pitch. “Then, you had to walk all the way to the front of the park to get a Band-Aid?”

From there, the red, black and white machines, which Rosenthal modeled off his high school’s colors, took off. Rosenthal has earned a total of $100,000 in investments and even turned down a $30 million offer for his idea, he said, but was unable to discuss who offered him the deal due to a nondisclosure agreement.

The vending machine allows consumers to purchase first-aid packages to treat ailments such as cuts, sun burns, bee stings and blisters that run from $5.99 to $15.95 or buy individual supplies like bandages, gauze pads and rubber gloves from $6 to $20.

In January, Rosenthal went on to win second place in the Techstars competition at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He will be featured tomorrow at TechCrunch Disrupt, a startup conference in New York, where he is the youngest person to ever be accepted to the event, he said.

Rosenthal’s mentor at Roundhouse, Kyle Sandler, said he is the youngest entrepreneur at the company, where the average member is in his or her 30s. Rosenthal spends all his free time at Roundhouse, where he even has an office, he said.

“We had to throw him out of Roundhouse on Christmas Eve because he wanted to keep working,” Sandler said, describing Rosenthal as “analytical, professional, determined” and an “exceptional young man.” Rosenthal is even a local celebrity, with the mayor of Opelika declaring Dec. 16 as “Taylor Rosenthal Day.”

The straight-A student says he sees a need for RecMed in any “high-traffic areas where children can get hurt,” such as amusement parks and sports stadiums. So far, Six Flags has ordered 100 machines, which cost $5,500 each, and several more “major” companies are interested, he said.

The first working prototype for RecMed has been created, and Rosenthal said he plans to begin deploying the vending machines in the fall. When asked what his favorite subject in school is, he replied, “That’s a hard one,” but ultimately decided on math.

Rosenthal plans on attending the University of Notre Dame and focusing on either medicine or business. But, he admitted to leaning toward business, following in the footsteps of his father, Terry, who has an MBA and runs a medical office in Opelika.

“It’s been amazing to watch him through this whole process,” Terry Rosenthal said. “A lot of people think maybe it was someone else’s idea. He came up with the idea, and he’s done the work. He’s been involved every step of the way.”

Rosenthal said although it’s “difficult” to balance school, baseball and running a business, all of the hard work is “worth it” in the end.

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Top Researchers Take Aim at Bullying

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While the subject of bullying and how to curb it has been an issue of increasing interest in recent years, many might be surprised to hear that research on bullying has been hampered by a number of factors — not the least of which is the lack of a solid definition of what actually comprises it.

Now, a committee of top researchers is hoping to change this.

The committee is composed of members of various top health groups: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Institute of Justice (HIJ), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to the goal of defining the problem with a consensus definition of bullying, which they hope will lead to more accurate surveillance data to determine bullying prevalence, the committee also hopes to set forth a plan to implement evidence-based prevention programs and offer methods to evaluate the progress.

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