Review Category : Health

West Africa Demonstrators Protest Delays in Collecting Ebola Victims’ Bodies

iStock/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) — Demonstrators in West Africa protested the government’s delays in collecting bodies of Ebola virus victims, blocking Liberia’s busiest highway Saturday.

Health officials in neighboring Guinea closed land borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone to keep Ebola from spreading, but experts say hospitals in the region are not properly equipped to deal with the outbreak.

“The health system has completely collapsed,” said Dr. Frank Glover, missionary and president of health organization SHIELD in Africa. “And by that I mean, they don’t have capacity to even see patients. Every day they are seeing patients, mothers present with dead babies in their womb because there’s no one to do a C-section.”

Glover stressed the importance of giving protective gear to workers on the ground, due to the large death toll of nurses and doctors trying to treat Ebola.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international emergency. On ABC’s This Week, Robin Sanders, former U.S. Ambassador to Congo and Nigeria, said a quarantine and close quarters often make the situation worse.

“People are quarantined, they were not told in advance and therefore there are food shortages in those same areas,” Sanders said. “How the virus sometimes gets into the population is that people are food insecure, so they eat bush meat, rodents that are infected with the virus.”

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Veteran Who Lost Leg in Iraq Becomes Professional Wrestler

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Chris Melendez may have lost a leg while serving in Iraq, but the native New Yorker is not going to let the injury cut short his dream of becoming a wrestler.

Inspired by his father, a Vietnam veteran, Melendez joined the military when he was 17 years old. In 2006, when Melendez was only 23 days away from returning home after his deployment, he lost a leg in a roadside bomb at the age of 19.

“When I was able to open my eyes after the explosion, I looked across the battlefield to see what I thought was a fellow-soldier in need of help,” Melendez told ABC News. “I quickly realized it was my leg.”

Melendez was treated at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The bomb damage led to his jaw being rebuilt, the severed tendons in his left arm getting replaced and, ultimately, his left leg being amputated above the knee.

Despite the injuries, Melendez made a quick recovery. With a prosthetic leg, he was walking again within 40 days.

Melendez, a Purple Heart recipient, had watched wrestling since he was little with his grandmother, who was a huge fan. He had always wanted to become a wrestler, and the injury didn’t deter him.

After he able to walk again, Melendez began training to become a professional wrestler in 2012.

His talent was spotted by TNA Impact Wrestling, which offered him a multi-year contract. He made his debut at Manhattan Center in New York on Aug 5.

“I am very excited because there have been so many people who have not seen me perform, who are questioning my ability, whether I can go to the distance,” Melendez said. “Once I step in there, I will show the whole world what I’m capable of.”

Melendez had a few words of encouragement for other injured veterans: “Regardless of what happens, you can still succeed at whatever you apply yourself to.”

“I like to credit the fact, a lot, that I’m a New Yorker,” Melendez said of his recovery. “I don’t waste any time, and I have to hurry up.”

Although appreciative of his prosthetic leg, Melendez actually thinks that he wrestles better without it.

“I prefer to work with it off because my agility’s better, I move a little faster, I’m able to do certain things that I can’t do with it on,” he said. “It’s actually a hindrance to have it on.”

“I like that ability to captivate the audience and tell a story, not with words, but with our bodies,” Melendez said.

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Dentists Can’t Agree on Right Way to Brush Teeth

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re confused about how often, how long and the best way to brush your teeth, you’re not alone. It turns out even dentists don’t agree on recommendations.

According to a new analysis of 58 studies published in dental journals, recommendations vary on almost every aspect of brushing.

In terms of duration, 26 sources recommended brushing for two minutes, 12 recommended brushing two to three minutes and two recommended brushing for three minutes.

There are also some discrepancies regarding frequency: while 42 sources recommended twice daily brushing, another source recommended we brush our teeth three times daily.

Finally, there are different types of brushing techniques, which vary by the type and location of brush stroke — and each even has its own name. Again, dentists really couldn’t agree on which technique to use: 11 studies recommended the “Bass” technique (mostly horizontal, with some vertical and circular motions), 10 recommended “Fones” (large, sweeping, circular motions, with brush at right angle to teeth), five recommended the “Scrub” approach (horizontal motions, parallel to the gums) and two recommended “Stillman” (primarily vertical brush movements).

The analysis, published in the British Dental Journal on Friday, points to much-needed synthesis and streamlining of dental recommendations, so that both the public — and dentists — can understand how to brush.

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Tumor Blamed for Teen’s Football Practice Death

Photodisc/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) — A Pittsburgh-area teenager who collapsed during high school football practice earlier this week died of a rare heart tumor, an autopsy has revealed.

Noah Cornuet, 16, had been living with a right atrial myxoma, a noncancerous tumor that “would never be detected” during a routine checkup, Marty Coyne, a supervisor at the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner, told ABC News.

The tumor was about the size of a “small orange” and broke off, blocking blood flow between the heart’s chambers and preventing the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the body, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams said.

“He was such a good boy,” Noah’s mother, Pam Cornuet, said, addressing a crowd at a candlelight vigil at Burrell High School Thursday night, according to ABC News’ Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. “He never hurt anyone and never would have. We are so proud of the child and young man he grew up to be, and we’re just mourning the loss of the life he would have had, because all we really wanted was for him to grow up and be a successful member of society.”

Noah collapsed Wednesday night at about 6 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Allegheny Valley Hospital about an hour later, according to the report.

The teenager collapsed during conditioning training before any rigorous training started, and although paramedics were on hand, they could not save the rising sophomore, according to WTAE.

The state athletic association requires three days of conditioning drills to get high school players used to the high summer temperatures before allowing them to participate in contact drills.

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Girl Who Survived Brain-Eating Amoeba Swims Again

Facebook/Prayers-For-Kali-Le-Ann(NEW YORK) — A 13-year-old Arkansas girl, who is one of only three people in the United States known to have survived a brain-eating amoeba, is back enjoying swimming after contracting the infection at a water park last year.

“I have a swimming pool in my backyard. I go swimming in that as much as I can,” Kali Hardig told ABC News’ 20/20. “In fact I was in it yesterday for I don’t know how long.”

Hardig was swimming at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, last summer, when she became sick with a fever, nausea and severe headaches.

“I started with a real bad headache, and all of the sudden the headache just started getting worse, so I told momma,” Hardig said.

“And I knew when her eyes rolled back in her head, I knew something bad was wrong,” Traci Hardig, Kali’s mother, told 20/20.

Traci Hardig and her husband raced their daughter to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where she was diagnosed with having contracted primary amoebic meningoencephalitis — a rare form of meningitis caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

“Naegleria is an infection that you can’t get by just swallowing some water. The water actually has to get splashed up your nose,” said Dr. Matthew Linam, who treated Kali at the time. “The amoeba, when it’s out in the environment, uses bacteria as a food source. Once it gets in the brain, it doesn’t have those bacteria for food so it starts attacking nerve cells as food.”

Kali Hardig was in critical condition for weeks but eventually recovered and went home last September. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been only 133 known infections like Kali Hardig’s in the United States in the past 50 years.

After her ordeal, Hardig said she was scared to come in contact with water, even to take showers, at first.

“I was afraid to take a shower because I know that I got it from water, and I was thinking that it could be from all kinds of water, that it could be in the shower,” she said.

After undergoing treatment and intensive cognitive and physical therapy, Hardig now is looking forward to playing for the volleyball team when school starts.

When asked about whether she wishes to forget the ordeal, Hardig said, “Actually I hope I never forget it because it’s something that I’ve got to experience but never want to experience again.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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Full-Circle Transplant Recipient Says He Has His Life Back

KGO(SAN FRANCISCO) — A California man has gotten a second chance at life thanks to an organ donation from a family he helped years ago.

“Before, I didn’t have much of a life. I was really sick a lot,” Bill Millard told ABC News station KGO-TV, “but I’m feeling a lot better.”

Millard received a kidney transplant from Janice MacKinnon on July 10, and the operation was a success. The Millard and the MacKinnon families were able to help each other through the gift of organ transplantation and two lives have been saved as a result.

“They told him a few years ago he wouldn’t live to see 40,” Tish Millard, Bill Millard’s wife, told KGO, “And here it is: He’s 49, he’s still alive. They don’t know how, but now he can maybe live until he’s 70.”

Ten years ago, the Millard family lost their son, Kalem, in an ATV accident and made the decision to donate his organs. Kalem’s pancreas was donated to a then-19-year-old Petaluma, California, boy, Jake MacKinnon.

This past July, when Bill Millard desperately needed a new kidney, Janice MacKinnon, Jake’s mother, quickly offered her help and agreed to donate her organ. The two- to three-hour surgery took place at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Weeks later, Millard was reportedly doing well. Though his transplant will always have to be monitored, doctors expect he can live a normal life again.

“Simple, everyday life is so precious,” Janice Mackinnon told KGO.

Free of the dialysis machine he had been hooked to prior to the operation, Millard and his family are ready to venture out.

“We’re going to go somewhere, we’re going to do something,” Tish Millard told KGO, who added that a cruise may be on the horizon. “We couldn’t do anything like that at all because he was always hooked up to a machine.”

Both the Millard and MacKinnon families hope their story will inspire others to become donors, and look forward to reuniting once more at Jake MacKinnon’s wedding, a celebration taking place on the one-year anniversary of the latest transplant, KGO reported.

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The Reason Behind ‘Ice Water Challenge’ Trend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you keep seeing people dump buckets of ice cold water on themselves, you’re not alone.

But it’s more than just an excruciating game — the social media stunt aims to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), according to Patrick Quinn, who suffers from the disease.

It’s called the ice water challenge and videos of participants are going viral on Facebook and Instagram.

“Someone nominates you to do the challenge. You have 24 hours to do it or you’re supposed to donate $100 to your choice of ALS charity,” Quinn, from Yonkers, New York, told ABC News Thursday.

Quinn for the Win, a charity he launched to raise awareness about the disease, has been encouraging people to participate in the challenge and post the videos on social media.

“The more people who get involved, the more money will be raised, the more research we can support,” he said.

Quinn, 31, said his life changed drastically after he was diagnosed with ALS last year.

“At this point, my arms are very weak, my hands are even weaker,” he said. “I have a lot of neck pain. My legs have been pretty tough. They’re shaky, they twitch a lot. But I’m still walking, so I’m pretty lucky.”

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control movement, according to the Centeres for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause paralysis, and most people die within five years of being diagnosed.

While most of the videos mention ALS, there’s not one cause tied to the challenge. People have been using the ice water challenge to support many diseases.

The movement mirrors another similar, albeit dangerous, campaign in which people were dared to jump into freezing Lake Michigan and then post a video of the leap online. At least one death was linked to the stunt.

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Smiling Through Hard Times Not So Good for You, Say Researchers

iStock/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) — The old saying “Smile and the world smiles with you” may have some kernel of truth to it but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

University of Hong Kong researchers say there’s nothing wrong with smiling when one feels genuinely happy. However, smiling all the time even through hardships might not be the best strategy.

Marketing professor Anirban Mukhopadhyay and his team conducted a series of experiments to test this theory, which included asking participants how often they smile and whether people forced themselves to smile. Researchers also asked participants about their own level of life satisfaction.

The results show that those who smile frequently because they’re actually happy felt much better than people who did not ordinarily smile often but forced themselves to do so anyway.

Mukhopadhyay says the bottom line is that it may be best for certain people not to smile until they resolve whatever it is that’s bothering them, otherwise it could “make them feel worse, because they may interpret smiling as trying to become happy.”

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Parents and Pre-Schoolers Who Diet Together, Lose Weight Together

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — The obesity epidemic in the U.S. affects all ages, even children of pre-school age.

Parents who are concerned about their youngsters’ weight are strongly advised to do something about it. And, as University of Buffalo researchers point out, they may want to join their kids in a weight-loss program as well.

According to a study of overweight and obese preschoolers, those who went through behavioral treatment and diet education with a parent gained four pounds less on average over 24 months than children who were treated separately.

But that’s not the only advantage to a joint weight loss program. The UB researchers say that parents also lost 14 pounds over a comparable period of time. Adults who tried the same program but without kids experienced no appreciable weight loss.

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Teen with Shorter Right Leg Designs Snap-On Underwear

Courtesy Robinson Family(NEW YORK) — Charlotte Robinson has endured painful fractures and surgeries since she was a toddler, but when the then 13-year-old needed to wear a massive brace to lengthen her right leg, there was one thing that bugged her:

A nurse told her the only pants she would be able to wear for her first year of high school were tear-away sweatpants — the ones with snaps up the sides so basketball players can rip them off. She waited until she and her mother got to the car before she said anything.

“‘I’m not going into high school wearing boys’ pants,’” Sarah Robinson said, mimicking her daughter with a laugh.

So Charlotte Robinson learned to make her own skinny jeans with snaps up the sides so she could get them on and off easily without having to resort to sweatpants. And now, she’s making clothes for other people with similar medical devices.

“It’s nice to know you can have a pair of underwear that you can put on after surgery that’s not too bad,” she said, arguing that surgery and healing is stressful enough without having to deal with itchy Velcro underwear.

Robinson, 17, was born with a hemangioma, a rare disorder that caused vascular tumors to grow in her right tibia, creating holes in her bones and damaging her joints and growth plate. By the time she was 13 years old, her right leg was 2.5 inches shorter than her left and turned at an odd angle.

“Blood vessels have taken over the bone of her right leg,” said her doctor, Dr. David Feldman, the chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Because of the disorder, Robinson’s bone had grown “honeycombed,” making it extremely fragile. But with drugs, the leg brace — called a Taylor Spatial Frame — was designed to lengthen the damaged leg and allow it to grow normally.

The cylindrical metal frame around Robinson’s leg was attached to pins that reached into her bone. For months, her mother turned the pins a little bit each night to help the bone lengthen.

“It really is similar to wearing braces on your teeth,” Feldman told ABC News. “Every time you move a tooth in your jaw bone…it fills in with bone behind it. That’s why it stays there. If you cut a bone and lengthen it slowly — a millimeter per day — the bone will fill in behind it and will create new bone.”

Though the process usually takes a few months, it took Robinson’s bones more than a year to grow to the desired length and required a stem cell transplant from the base of her spinal cord into the gap in her tibia. The device went on in June 2011 and off in July 2012.

Because Robinson initially couldn’t play tennis — which she’d been playing with a platform shoe on her right foot to maintain her balance — her mother signed her up for sewing classes. First, she made dresses, and then she made skinny jeans and covers for her frame to wear in the wintertime.

Although her mother initially made Velcro underwear for her to wear with the brace, Robinson eventually devised a better plan: snaps.

And so, her No Guts No Glory clothing line was born. She’s started by selling five different styles of snap-on underwear.

Though she envisioned them for only people with Taylor Spatial Frames like hers, it wasn’t until a follow-up surgery that she realized it could be bigger.

A young girl in the next bed recovering from spinal surgery to treat her scoliosis was getting a lecture similar to the one Robinson received when she was 13. Robinson, who had just come out of her own surgery, turned to her mother and said “Snap, snap is all they have to do. No bending at all.”

“When everything else is so difficult…make at least one thing easy in your life,” Sarah Robinson said.

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