Review Category : Health

Family Blows Out Birthday Candles for Daughter with Fatal Sanfilippo Syndrome

O’Neill Family(NEW YORK) — The O’Neills huddled by the window with 5-year-old Eliza to sing “Happy Birthday,” but she was so busy watching people sing to her from across the street that she didn’t seem to mind when her brother blew her candles out for her.

Eliza and her family haven’t left their South Carolina home in six months in the hopes of keeping Eliza virus-free for the magical day that she gets into a clinical trial to cure her rare and deadly disease: Sanfilippo syndrome. The family has raised nearly $2 million to fund the trial.

“Her big brother helped her blow out the candles as we all made our wish,” her father, Glenn O’Neill, wrote on the Saving Eliza GoFundMe page. “A wish for LIFE for Eliza and other kids. A wish to stop this disease Sanfilippo syndrome in time.”

Eliza was diagnosed in July 2013 with Sanfilippo syndrome, a genetic disorder that means she lacks an enzyme to break down heparin sulfate, which naturally occurs in cells, causing it to build up over time. This buildup renders cells unable to function properly and can affect everything from sleep to speech to movement.

Sanfilippo is terminal and has no treatment. The disease affects about 1 in 70,000 live births, said Doug McCarty, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who has been working on a cure with his colleague Haiyan Fu.

So the O’Neills launched a fundraising campaign to help McCarty and Fu fund a clinical trial for a gene therapy they hope will cure Eliza. They’ve already raised 1.3 million on a GoFundMe.com page and another $400,000 elsewhere. They hoped to raise an additional $500,000 on Eliza’s birthday, Nov. 16.

And they’re close. A donor Sunday contributed $30,000. They’ve already raised more than $10,000 this morning alone.

“We have been in tears several times today thanks to your kindness,” Glenn O’Neill wrote on the Facebook page. “This is really happening.”

The O’Neills aren’t the first family to raise funds for the disease. “A Cure for Kirby” and “Ben’s Dream” are the nicknames for two other Sanfilippo foundations set up by families to raise money toward a cure over the years. Ben Siedman died earlier this year just shy of his 18th birthday. Kirby Wilson is in her early 20s, but wheelchair-bound and unable to speak.

The O’Neills had said they expected Eliza to lose her ability to speak by this birthday. She still talks, but she’s sometimes slower to find the words, and the O’Neills have noticed she’s not learning new things anymore.

There’s no guarantee McCarty and Fu will get government approval to do their clinical trial or that Eliza will get in, but the family said they had to do something, Glenn O’Neill said. There’s also no guarantee it will be a cure.

“If we don’t get the trial funded, and we don’t get it up and running,” Glenn O’Neill said, “the guarantee is that she has no chance.”

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Coffee May Decrease Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and now new research shows a cup of coffee a day may help keep type 2 diabetes away.

The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee says new research shows three to four cups of coffee each day lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent, compared to those who drank two cups or less.

But wait, there’s more. For every additional cup of joe consumed, a person earns another seven- to eight-percent reduced risk.

Researchers still don’t know why coffee lowers the risk, but it may be connected to antioxidants. The researchers note that our bodies appear to have a better glucose tolerance with high coffee consumption. And it has little connection to caffeine because decaf appears to have a greater protective effect than regular coffee.

There are 29.1 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes and an estimated 8.1 million Americans undiagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases and is linked with obesity and physical inactivity. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthy food choices, physical activity, weight loss, and now possibly coffee.

The study was published in Medical Daily.

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A Romantic Kiss Is a Bacteria Nightmare, Say Researchers

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Despite what the song “As Time Goes By” claims, a kiss is a lot more than just a kiss.

Researchers in the Netherlands analyzed the oral bacterial profile of 26 couples before and after an intimate kiss and found that 80 million bacteria are transferred during the average 10-second smooch.

The researchers also found that the saliva of couples have more similar bacteria than non-couples, and couples who kiss more frequently share the most oral bacteria.

A side note: 75 percent of the men involved in the study reported higher kiss frequencies than their female partners, suggesting that guys over-report their sexual behaviors.

The study was published in the journal Microbiome.

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New Tool May Predict Your Risk of Heart Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Most people would want to know if they have an increased risk of a heart attack, and now researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have developed an online tool that may help individuals predict their risk as well as help them learn how lifestyle choices influence the danger.

The researchers examined health data from approximately 100,000 people over 20 years to develop a risk model. They then developed a 5-minute online assessment tool called The Healthy Heart Score to illustrate how a person’s diet, exercise level, and habits play a role in heart disease risk.

The tool asks users a series of questions about their lifestyle, such as “Do you smoke cigarettes?” and “During the past year, how often, on average, do you eat a serving of fruit?” Users receive a risk score of low, moderate, or high, along with tips for improvement.

The score is based on nine critical diet and lifestyle factors that can impact a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 20 years. The factors include smoking, weight, exercise, and intake of alcohol, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, sugary beverages, and red and processed meat.

Medical observers note this is the first tool of its kind designed to help otherwise healthy individuals and their doctors determine long-term risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The study was published online Nov. 14 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Workplace Bathrooms Are Beehives of Activity

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you thought your workplace bathroom was being used only for what it was designed for, you’d be wrong, according to a new survey by SCA, a Swedish global hygiene company.

The company’s “Hygiene Matters” survey asked 13,000 people from 13 countries, including 1,058 people from the U.S., about their bathroom habits at work.

Here are the results:

  • 25 percent of Americans head to the stalls to text, while a slightly lower number, 23 percent, go to make a phone call.
  • Five percent visit the bathroom to smoke, while another five percent go there with the intention of napping.
  • Seven percent manage to exercise in the restroom.
  • Eight percent admit they head to the restroom to eat.
  • 10 percent of respondents visit the company restroom to cry. Broken down by gender, 14 percent of women and six percent of men admitted doing so.
  • 23 percent of the women surveyed say they go to the workplace restroom to “deal with the frustration of everyday work life,” compared to 17 percent of men.
  • 21 percent of guys use “the space to spend a moment alone or get space from colleagues,” compared to 18 percent of the women.
  • 10 percent of Americans only “sometimes” wash their hands after taking care of business. One percent says they never do. More than 40 percent of the U.S. respondents also say they don’t clean their hands at all after getting to work.
  • 87 percent of Americans expressed general satisfaction with workplace washrooms, with 13 percent claiming they’d rather use their employer’s bathroom than the one they have at home. According to the survey, folks in China, Italy, and Russia are the least thrilled with their bathroom conditions at work.

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National Unfriend Day: Why It’s OK for Facebook Users to Slim Down Your Friends

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — What started as a silly holiday by Jimmy Kimmel a few years ago has turned into an annual occurrence every Nov. 17, when participating Facebook users take a good hard look at their friends list and choose people to unfriend.

If the idea of getting rid of that guy you went to camp with 14 years ago and never talk to or your over sharing aunt gives you pause, know that you have a social media etiquette expert’s blessing.

“Just because you unfriend someone doesn’t mean that it is a negative move,” Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert author and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, told ABC News. “Sometimes we just need to cull our list or redirect to them to another site or venue.”

With more than 1.3 billion users on Facebook, many users have had the experience of receiving a friend request from an old elementary school classmate or a college ex-boyfriend, making friends lists even more bloated.

“Relationships change,” Gottsman said. “Not that you’re being ugly but there just sometimes is not a reason to continue that relationship or let them have a window into the world.”

When it comes to nixing relatives from your friends list, Gottsman said it’s best to “use your judgement.”

“You have to weigh the annoyance. Is it going to be worse when you unfriend? Will it be more drama than its worth?

If hiding their posts won’t suffice and they’re still annoying you — it’s OK to unfriend them, she said.

When it’s all done, you’ll be left with a slimmed down friends list full of people with whom you actually care to stay connected.

“It’s like a bite,” Gottsman said. “A little cat bite it will hurt for a second but they will get over it.”

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Court Rules Canadian Girl Cannot Be Forced to Have Chemotherapy

VILevi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) — A Canadian court has ruled that the family of a 11-year-old girl with cancer cannot be forced to treat her with chemotherapy.

The girl is a member of the Six Nations tribe of American Indians and has been suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In September, the girl’s mother stopped treatment after just 10 days and took the girl to a holistic healing center in Florida.

McMaster Children’s Hospital, which was treating the girl in Ontario, Canada, asked Brant Family Children’s Services to intervene and bring the girl back from Florida for treatment.

When BFCS refused, the hospital took the organization to court in an effort to force it to bring the girl back to Canada.

McMaster Children’s Hospital President Dr. Peter Fitzgerald said with chemotherapy the girl had a 90 percent to 95 percent chance for survival.

Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward ruled Friday that the girl could not be forced by BFCS to be treated with chemotherapy, the Toronto Star reported.

Edward ruled Friday that the court could not intervene due to the family’s aboriginal rights under the Canadian constitution.

Andrew Koster, the family’s attorney, said it was the family’s right to choose their daughter’s treatment.

“This wasn’t a one-time blood transfusion such as in a Jehovah Witness situation,” Koster said. “This was going to be two years of chemo. Does that mean we take this child away for two years and suppose she didn’t make it?”

Chiefs of tribal reserves neighboring the girl’s applauded the decision.

“It reaffirms our right to be Indian and to practice our medicines in the traditional way,” said Chief Bryan Laforme of the Mississaugas of New Credit, which is a neighboring reserve.

After the ruling, Hamilton Health Sciences, the medical group that oversees McMaster Children’s hospital, said in a statement they remained “committed to support this child’s treatment with compassion and respect.”

“Our motivation has always been and remains that this child receives life-saving medical treatment in a timely manner,” read a portion of the statement.

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Bret Michaels Returns to Performing After ‘2-Week Painful Ordeal’

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (NEW YORK) — Bret Michaels has resumed his tour.

The singer had been sidelined after undergoing kidney surgery and being hospitalized six times in two weeks.

“Jacksonville here I come! I’m going to try and gives y’all I got!” he wrote Thursday on his website. “Thanks to everyone for all your well wishes and prayers and to all the great medical staff that helped me through a two week painful ordeal. Got more in my right kidney, but let’s deal with that later. Again thanks to all!”

Michaels, 51, had two stents put in his body recently, according to his friend and guitarist, Pete Evick, but hurt himself by performing immediately after the procedure. As a result, he was hospitalized and was forced to miss a charity event where he’d planned to perform. Luckily, he healed quickly, and was able to resume his tour in time to make his concerts in Florida.

“Bret Michaels survived the first show back and although in obvious pain he rocked the party, stating he was happy to be there in Jacksonville!” his team added on his website.

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Why It May Be Dangerous to Bundle Kids Up in Carseats

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Experts say bundling up children with puffy jackets and thick blankets in carseats can be a bad idea because they can leave them loose in an accident.

Phyllis Larimore with Children’s Mercy in Kansas City says babies should be tucked in with a blanket, but not near the head, to avoid obstructing air flow around the face.

Larimore also said down-filled coats can be dangerous if they leave a gap between the harness and the baby.

“What will happen in a crash is that crash force will collapse that, compress it, and the babies will be loose,” Larimore said.”

According to Larimore, better options are an extra layer of clothes, a blanket, or a Thinsulate jacket.

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Elisabeth Hasselbeck Reveals She Had an Abdominal Tumor

ABC(NEW YORK) — Elisabeth Hasselbeck returned to her post on Fox and Friends Friday after a month away. She also revealed the surprising reason for her absence.

“I had a tumor in my abdomen,” Hasselbeck explained. “[The] doctor said, ‘Look, you’ve got to get it out by the end of the month. We don’t like how it looks.’ I was facing something that potentially could have gone either way.”

“I did what they said, had a phenomenal surgeon, and I had a scary week where we didn’t know what the results were, but I’m okay,” she went on. “Everything came back okay. Surgery’s not fun, but it is necessary to find out if you have something really terrible in you or not. And thankfully I had the blessing of it not being cancer.”

Along with thanking Fox, the former View co-host thanked her husband, Tim, for his support and for being her “hospital buddy.”

She added, “I’m not a person who thinks or believes that I take a lot for granted, but I certainly don’t take it for granted now.”

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