Review Category : Health

Bats Proposed as Latest Weapon to Fight Zika Virus in Miami

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — One Miami city official has an unusual proposal to combat the spread of the Zika virus. City Commissioner Kristin Rosen Gonzalez has proposed using bats, which eat mosquitoes, including the species known to spread the virus.

“Some people are laughing and they are not taking it seriously. But bats, depending on the species, eat up to 3,000 mosquitoes in one day, and they avoid humans,” Gonzalez told ABC News. She has sponsored a resolution that proposes placing bat houses in the city to curb the mosquito population.

The first outbreak of locally transmitted Zika virus was reported in Miami in July. In the months since, city officials have continued to battle the ongoing outbreak, which has infected dozens in the Miami-area. Larvacide, insecticide and door-to-door inspections have all been used to try and reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

The resolution seeks to authorize the city manager to “research a potential pilot program for the placement of bat houses and habitats in the city to control the city’s mosquito population due to the continued presence of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.” The measure was discussed at the commissioners meeting Wednesday.

“It was a goodwill gesture to the environmentalists, who were really upset about us spraying all the neurotoxins,” Gonzalez said of her resolution, but added that she isn’t sure if it will be adopted because “it makes people nervous.”

The Miami City Commission reviewed the resolution Wednesday and passed it to Miami-Dade County, which holds the authority to either adopt or reject the resolution.

The measure of floated as an alternative to spraying chemicals, Gonzalez said, adding: “This was really the one environmental solution.”

The American Mosquito Control Association notes on its website that bats have historically not been an effective method of curbing mosquito populations, and that mosquitoes comprise less than 1 percent of gut contents of wild-caught bats, saying that bats feed on “whatever food source presents itself.”

“There is no question that bats eat mosquitoes, but to utilize them as the sole measure of control would be folly indeed,” the AMCA states, “particularly considering the capacity of both mosquitoes and bats to transmit diseases.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Family Supports Son Dressing as His Drag Queen ‘Hero’ This Halloween

Lori Duron (NEW YORK) — C.J. Duron was afraid to tell his peers that he was dressing up as a drag queen this year for Halloween, but it wasn’t because he feared being teased.

Instead, he told his mom that he didn’t want anyone stealing his “awesome idea.”

“Halloween is his favorite holiday because he can be his authentic self and he looks forward to it all year long,” mom Lori Duron of Orange County, California, told ABC News. “He starts planning for it in August. I feel like he spends so much of the year editing himself based on what everybody thinks. When this day comes there’s no editing and I think it’s great.

She added: “He’s the most authentic, creative person I’ve ever met. Seeing him be strong enough to be who he feels he is because a lot of kids feel shame or not accepted in their household and they’re not able to blossom, but I’m seeing him blossom unhindered, knowing he has our love and support no matter what.”

Duron said C.J. is gender non-conforming and considers himself part of the LGBTQ community.

Since he was old enough to choose his own Halloween costumes, C.J. has preferred to shop in the “girls’ section” at the Halloween store, his mother said.

“[H]e’s a boy who only likes girls’ stuff and wants to be treated like a girl,” Duron said. “So it’s really hard to find heroes for him and for him to see people he identifies with publicly in the media, and in pop culture.”

This Halloween, C.J. is dressing as his “hero,” Bob the Drag Queen — the season 8 winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

C.J.’s uncle Michael introduced him to the show and helped him put together the full look with makeup and a wig.

They even created a replica of Bob’s handmade purse.

On Oct. 16, Duron wrote about C.J.’s costume choice on her blog, Raising My Rainbow. The post is titled “Trick-or-Treating Purse First” — named after the phrase “purse first,” coined by Bob the Drag Queen, she said.

“Halloween is a night for boys to dress up as their heroes: firefighters, police officers, military personnel, baseball players and superheroes,” Duron wrote on her blog. “My 9-year-old son C.J. is no different from most boys. He’ll dress up as his hero for Halloween. His hero is Bob The Drag Queen.”

“Bob The Drag Queen is the winner of the most recent season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ Bob, RuPaul and all the queens are brave, strong heroes for my rainbow son. They’ve taught him to celebrate his uniqueness, cultivate his own style and let criticisms roll off his back. They’ve taught him the importance and power of loving himself.”

Duron said she uses her blog as a platform to give others a glimpse into her family’s unique life.

“We are just parents doing the best we can with the child we were given, not necessarily the child we expected,” she said. “He’s so fun and unexpected and for me. When I found out I was having another boy, I figured it’d be life on repeat [but] he’s definitely taught us that everybody’s so different. Both of are sons are equally amazing to us.”

“For us it’s really normal and there’s no shame,” Duron added. “This is our life. It’s different, but it’s really fun.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Promising News on Kids and Cancer

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Children and teens are now far less likely to die of cancer than they were in the past, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers studied the cancer rate for children and teens from 1999 to 2014 and found a decline of about 20 percent. The rate fell for both white and black children, as well as for male and female kids — although the cancer rate is still 30 percent higher for boys versus girls.

Brain cancer has now replaced leukemia as the leading cause of death among children, a shift thought to be due to significant advances to leukemia treatment.

The findings from this study continue a previous decline. Cancer death rates among children have been falling since the mid-1970s.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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NJ Attorney General Files Against Doctor After Woman Dies From ‘Adverse Effects of Drugs’

luchschen/iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) — The New Jersey Attorney General is seeking to temporary suspend the license of a doctor who allegedly prescribed the highly addictive painkiller fentanyl off-label to three patients, according to a court filing.

One of the three patients, according to the court filing, is a 32-year-old woman who died from an “adverse effect of drugs” with “significant levels of fetanyl metabolites in her blood at the time of death.”

Dr. Vivienne Matalon, an internal medicine doctor from Cherry Hill, has been accused of “allegedly indiscriminately prescribing a powerful spray form of the painkiller fentanyl” by Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The complaint was filed with the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners.

“Given that opioid overdoses are killing more people in New Jersey than car crashes, it is appalling that a doctor would willfully disregard the federal restrictions placed on this extremely potent drug,” Porrino said in a statement.

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid, with very few approved uses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is “approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.”

Fentanyl spray, called Subsys, is a powerful, fast-acting formulation of the drug that is absorbed under the tongue and into the bloodstream almost immediately.

“The only federally approved use for … Subsys, is for the management of breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients who are already receiving, and who are tolerant to, around-the-clock opiod therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain,” according to a press release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

The complaint filed with the New Jersey Medical Board last week alleges that Matalon prescribed the spray form of fentanyl to three patients who did not have cancer or “breakthrough cancer pain.” The documents filed with the state medical board argue that Matalon was treating the patient who eventually died for chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgiaand urinary tract infection.

“Dr. Matalon’s actions demonstrate a level of professional misconduct that requires immediate intervention to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public,” the statement continued.

Doctors may prescribe a spray opioid since it is more potent than a pill opioid, Joel Saper, founder and director of both the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Head Pain Treatment Unit at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea in Chelsea, Michigan, told ABC News.

When the drug is absorbed through a spray it enters the blood stream directly and reaches the brain faster than a pill which is absorbed through the stomach and metabolized through the liver before entering the blood stream, he explained. As a result patients using spray opioids can be more at risk for overdose.

“It’s a higher risk because you’re getting a quicker higher blood level [of the drug],” Saper explained. “It’s not metabolized, so it hasn’t been neutralized by the liver.”

The complaint argues that New Jersey “is suffering from a grave public health crisis: an epidemic of opiate abuse and addiction.”

The complaint goes onto argue that “for many, the path to opiate addiction begins with legally prescribed pain medications” and said that fentanyl has “played an exacerbating role in the epidemic.”

Matalon has been ordered to appear before the state Board of Medical Examiners on October 26.

Neither Matalon, nor her attorney responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Turbine Sprayers Deployed to Fight Zika Mosquitoes in South Florida

auimeesri/iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Mosquito control officials in Miami-Dade and Broward County, Florida are continuing to fight the Zika virus with an unusual method: turbines on trucks. As new cases — and new areas of local transmission — continue to be identified, health departments are varying the approaches to reduce risk.

The vehicle-mounted turbines can spread larvacide in areas at risk for Zika transmission more efficiently than the previously-used handheld sprayers that had to be walked around neighborhoods. In addition to aerial spraying tactics, the turbines can cover a larger amount of ground in a short time.

The turbines are being used in a new area of Miami, where officials have identified Zika as being actively transmitted via mosquitoes. This area is the third zone that has been reported to have active Zika transmission in the city. After the area was identified last week, mosquito control officials and health officials have taken actions to reduce the mosquito population and search for signs of other Zika infections in the area.

“As of yesterday we conducted 1,431 door to door inspections in that area,” a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Program told ABC News.

The program is using larvacide as the primary treatment to ward off mosquitoes. “They [have] got people going by and looking for any obvious breeding, they treat and turn over any standing water and treat any fixed water.”

The turbines are being used in Miami-Dade county and now in neighboring Broward County, as well.

Two previous zones with active transmission of the Zika virus were identified in northern Miami and Miami beach. The zone in northern Miami was declared free of ongoing Zika transmission last month.

However, yesterday the Florida Health Department reported there had been four new cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus — two of which are in the newly-identified zone. At least seven people, in total, are believed to have been infected with Zika in the new area.

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New Studies Suggest Benefits of Exercise for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New studies that took a deeper look at the role of exercise in treating people with Type 2 diabetes determined that both the timing and quantity of exercise can have an impact on people with the disease.

Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has Type 2 diabetes and more than one in three people are pre-diabetic, putting them at high risk for developing the metabolic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

A small study conducted by researchers in New Zealand found that walking 10 minutes after meals, and dinner in particular, proved to be more effective in controlling blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetics than doing 30 minutes of exercise all at once during the day. The study, published Monday in Diabetologia, found that walking post-dinner brought post-meal blood sugar levels down by 22 percent.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes sugar to collect in the blood, according to the National Institutes of Health. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet, exercise and medication, including insulin. Type 1 diabetes, which more commonly occurs in childhood and young adulthood, is a result of a damaged pancreas that produces little to no insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must self-administer insulin for the rest of their lives.

In a separate study, researchers from the U.K. combined results from 28 smaller studies and found that the more exercise people did, the lower their risk of Type 2 diabetes. The studies found that exercise helps insulin work better on cells and helps muscles use sugar more effectively.

The research, also published in Diabetologia, found that people who doubled their amount of exercise to about 300 minutes per week, instead of the recommended 150 minutes per week, reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 36 percent.

Only 49 percent of Americans regularly exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week, at a moderate level, according to 2015 CDC data.

ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said that each diabetic responds differently to exercise so people should work with their doctors to make sure they are getting the benefits of exercise but not dropping their blood sugar levels too much.

“Every bit helps,” Besser said of exercise. “You shouldn’t be put off by the fact that, ‘I don’t have time.'”

Aside from exercise, the chief recommendation for helping lower people’s risk for developing diabetes is weight loss.

According to Besser, even a 5 percent drop in weight for an overweight person can considerably reduce risk for diabetes. Doctors commonly recommend a regimen of both diet and exercise for Type 2 diabetics because losing weight helps lower the risk of diabetes and exercise itself seems to help with diabetes treatment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Celebrity Trainer Harley Pasternak to Lead Full-Body Workout on “GMA”

Courtesy Harley Pasternak(NEW YORK) — Harley Pasternak has trained countless celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Halle Berry and Katy Perry. Now, the celebrity trainer and nutritionist is bringing his workout to ABC’s Good Morning America viewers on “Workout Wednesday.”

Pasternak, a Fitbit Ambassador, will lead a one-hour workout Wednesday that will be live-streamed on ABCNews.com/live. The workout, which Pasternak has named “The Scary 7” in honor of Halloween, incorporates all elements of Pasternak’s signature training philosophy for a full-body workout.

Tune into Good Morning America and GoodMorningAmerica.com on Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. ET to join the workout. In the meantime, here are Pasternak’s tips to maximize your workout burn:

  • Walk at least 10,000 steps a day to maintain overall health and wellness.
  • Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
  • Eat three meals and two snacks with protein and fiber.
  • Do at least 5 minutes of resistance training a day.
  • Unplug for at least an hour a day.

Some additional tips from Pasternak include:

  • Don’t be afraid to get a little less efficient with your day. Park farther away from the entrance to the grocery store. Take your dog around the block rather than just letting her out in the backyard. Take your groceries inside in three trips instead of one. This will help you achieve 10,000 steps.
  • Don’t count calories. Instead, focus on having protein and fiber at every meal. I’m talking leafy greens, apples, healthy fats. Enjoy eating five times a day — three meals and two snacks.
  • Don’t cut back on sleep. Skimping on sleep causes numerous problems. In the short term it impacts your alertness and energy levels, and can even result in weight gain. Longer term, it weakens your immune system, increases anxiety, and increases risk of high blood pressure. To make sure you’re sleeping longer and better, limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and computer screen time four hours before bedtime.
  • Do five minutes of resistance training daily. Research shows short, intense workouts can be more effective than longer workouts, and variation is as essential as intensity for the most efficient workout. Pick one exercise per day — a different body part each day of the week — and get fit gym-free.
  • Give yourself two guilt-free meals each week where you can splurge a little. Feeling deprived has sabotaged many a diet, and there’s nothing worse than forbidding yourself to eat that slice of birthday cake, and then feeling guilty when you eventually cave in and have a portion!

Fitbit is the sponsor of “Workout Wednesday” on Good Morning America.

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Your Body: Having ‘The Talk’ with Your Kids

Purestock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Have you had “the talk” with your kids yet? And do you know what they’re learning at school?

Recent data suggests that schools in many nations are falling short in educating young people effectively about sex and relationships.

Researchers surveyed students from 10 countries around the world, including the U.S., and found that kids felt current teachings didn’t cover the reality about teens and sexuality, transgender and homosexuality.

Here are some tips on how you can get the conversation started with your kids:

  • For parents of boys, I recommend asking them open-ended questions like, “Tell me what you’re learning in health class?” or “How much do you think you know about sex?”
  • For girls, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends they see a gynecologist by age 15 to help cover some of these issues.

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Airplane Passengers Fall in Love with ‘Emotional Support’ Duck Accompanying Owner with PTSD on Flight

Mark Essig(NEW YORK) — Meet Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt, a.k.a. Daniel the Duck.

He’s an “emotional support” animal for 37-year-old Carla Fitzgerald, who has been battling post-traumatic stress disorder ever since a bad accident in 2013.

Daniel rose to fame this past weekend when he accompanied Fitzgerald on two airplane flights — one from her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then another from Charlotte to Asheville, North Carolina.

“Everyone just took notice of him and fell in love,” she said. “I mean, he’s an adorable, funny and sweet lil’ guy. He was very well-behaved at the airport and during the flight.

“I think his little red shoes and Captain America diaper were also really well-received,” Fitzgerald added with a laugh.

It had been Fitzgerald’s first time flying since the 2013 accident that left her with PTSD, she said.

The 37-year-old said she was “incredibly nervous” — given that “just leaving the house can be terrifying” — but Daniel’s “hugs and kisses” gave her the “comfort and confidence” she needed to make it through.

Fitzgerald added that Daniel has been of help to her “in so many other ways.” For example, she said he can tell when she’s about to have a panic attack and even puts his feet on her chest as a cue to lay down.

The 37-year-old said her doctor has written her an official a letter noting that Daniel is an integral part of her PTSD treatment. Fitzgerald added that she used the letter to get clearance for Daniel to join her onboard their recent flight.

“Some people have therapy dogs, others have cats. I have a duck,” Fitzgerald told ABC News. “I hope more people can accept that a duck can make a very good, loving and loyal companion and support animal.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Saints Super Fan with Chronic Liver Disease Gets Ultimate ‘Who Dat’ Surprise

New Orleans Saints & Ochsner Hospital for Children(NEW YORK) — Jarrius Robertson isn’t your average New Orleans Saints fan.

The 14-year-old is the ultimate Saints super fan, attending the team’s practices and games on a regular basis, even showing the players a little tough love when needed.

The quality time with his favorite team keeps Jarrius’ spirits up as he faces a serious illness. He’s battled a chronic liver disease called biliary atresia his entire life. The illness has affected his physical growth, and he’s currently on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

“Being in the hospital for seven to 14 days is kind of rough for a kid,” Jarrius’ father, Jordy Robertson, told ABC News.

Jarrius is no stranger to hospitals, however. He had a liver transplant when he was 1 year old that left him in a coma for an entire year. From that point forward, he has been in and out of the hospital and has had 13 surgeries in his short lifetime.

Despite all the difficulties he’s endured physically, young Jarrius has a remarkably positive attitude. And the one thing particular that keeps him positive is his beloved Saints.

Jarrius first met the Saints one year ago during one of his extended hospital stays at Ochsner Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where he’s known as “the mayor” for his lively personality.

Needless to say, he made a lasting impression on the players. Jarrius immediately gave them a lot of constructive criticism to “help make them better.”

The players were so taken by his honesty and his jovial personality they invited him to their practice so he could meet the other players. This was a dream come true for Jarrius, who now attends the Saints practices once or twice a week and is known as the team’s “hype man.”

Jarrius joined Good Morning America Tuesday to explain just how much his experience with the Saints is helping him get through his tough medical journey.

What he didn’t know, however, is that the Saints had a very special surprise in store for their fun-loving “hype man.”

Saints coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and defensive end Cam Jordan announced they were making Jarrius an “honorary member” of the team. They also invited Jarrius and his dad to fly on their team plane to attend their game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, where he’ll be their social media reporter for the big game.

To learn more about how to become an organ donor, visit Donate Life America’s website.

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