Review Category : Health

Your Body: Tips on Managing Your Kids’ Cellphone Use

Artur Debat/Contributor/Getty ImagesBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Cellphones are all the rage nowadays, especially for teenagers.

As parents, it is so imperative that you make sure your teenager is making smart decisions on their phones.

I have two teenagers and realized pretty quickly that their phones were practically, surgically connected to their body. I see it as a mobile, tech diary for their lives and as a vehicle for creativity and exploration.

However, I do have my limits. Here’s my phone prescription:

  • Talk to your teen about what responsibilities come from using the Internet and how important it is to keep private things private.
  • Set limits on your teen’s phone. You can even attach your phone or email to get copies of all the texts your child sends and receives. This might help any phone disasters before they start.

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Newborn with Inoperable Brain Tumor Stuns in Heartwrenching Family Photos

Courtesy Mary Huszcza/808 Photography(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — During Erika Jones’ pregnancy, doctors told her there was a good chance her baby girl wouldn’t be born alive.

The Jacksonville, Florida mom — who also is parent to two-year-old Audrey — had a 30-week ultrasound that spotted that something unusual on her baby’s brain. It was later found to be a large brain tumor.

“The doctor prepared us that this was really bad,” Jones told ABC News. “The prognosis was very poor.”

Jones, herself a nurse who works in neurology, said she knew enough to know this was “devastating.”

Just three months earlier, Erika and Stephen’s unborn daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome. “After the initial mourning,” Jones said, “we made peace with it quickly and were so excited.”

Jones said the tumor “literally came out of nowhere. At the 26-week ultrasound, her brain looked completely fine.” At 30 weeks, the portion of her brain that was affected appeared “massive.”

Jones said she prayed.

“I don’t want to walk this path, I don’t want to sacrifice my daughter,’ I said. I imagined God just saying, ‘I’m so sorry and crying with us,'” she recalled. “We prepared ourselves for the worst and decided that she would have a meaningful life, no matter how short it might be.”

Abigail Noelle Jones was born August 6. The Jones’ thought she might die shortly after birth. She didn’t, and a few days later professional photographer Mary Huszcza took the photos.

An MRI after Abigail was born revealed the tumor had grown and was thought to be aggressive and cancerous. Doctors have told Jones chemo would likely kill baby Abigail and that an operation on the tumor would not prevent it from growing back. The Jones’ decided to take Abigail home with pediatric hospice.

“If she dies, I don’t want it to be in plastic box in a hospital NICU. It will be home with us, surrounded by love and in our arms.”

Every day that passes, though, gives the Jones a little bit more hope. Nothing has changed in Abigail since she was born and Jones said that to an outsider, it’s impossible to tell anything is wrong.

“She is the chillest baby ever. She just loves to be held. She watches your face, tracks it with her eyes.” She’s had her feeding tube removed and is gaining weight.

Jones said she knows Abigail will be healed, but it may come in death. “If He doesn’t heal her on earth, He will heal her the second she takes her last breath,” she said. “We know this is tragic, but Abigail’s life has a purpose.”

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Woman Who Could Hear Her Own Body Sounds Gets Corrective Surgery

iStock/Thinkstock(MERRILLVILLE, Ind.) — Imagine that you could actually hear your own body’s every sound — hear your eyes moving, your bones creaking and your heart beating.

That’s what life was like for 28-year-old Rachel Pyne, a school photographer from Merrillville, Indiana.

Pyne had drastically enhanced hearing, allowing every tiny sound body her body made to be amplified.

“I could hear my neck muscles moving, like different things inside my body and when you tell people that, they are like, ‘you’re crazy,’” Pyne told ABC News.

It happened all the time and became debilitating, and came with constant dizzy spells. Pyne stopped all her hobbies and only worked when she had to.

“So I would end up in bed usually before noon and just lay there. I couldn’t watch TV; it was too loud. I couldn’t listen to music,” she said, adding that she just had to lie around and listen to her heartbeat and “feel my brain spin.”

She sought answered from nine different doctors but none could offer her a diagnosis. When she found Dr. Quinton Gopen, that all changed.

Gopen, a surgeon at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, diagnosed Pyne with a rare condition: Superior semicircular canal dehiscence, or SCD.

“What that means is the inner ear, which is the organ that is in charge of balance and hearing, has an abnormal opening in the bone. And so you tend to hear internal sounds amplified, like your heartbeat, your own voice, and even things moving inside your body like your eyes moving,” Gopen told ABC News.

Pyne was thrilled to know that she could put a name to what had been happening to her.

“We got in the elevator and I was crying. I was so happy,” she said.

UCLA has discovered a minimally invasive surgery fix for the condition and it was performed on Pyne twice. The first surgery was done last November, on Pyne’s left ear, and then again in May, on her right ear.

In each surgery, doctors plugged the tiny hole in Pyne’s inner ear through a dime-sized incision in her skull.

For many patients, the results are immediate.

“We do this surgery in about ninety minutes and they wake up and they say, ‘My symptoms are gone,” said Dr. Isaac Yang, the neurosurgeon who also operated on Pyne, making the small opening in her skull.

That’s exactly what happened after Pyne’s surgeries.

“When I woke up from surgery I knew right off the bat that I was better and I had no more dizziness and I was talking to the nurse right when I woke up and I was ready to get up and go somewhere,” said Pyne, whose hearing is now normal.

According to Gopen, only around one in half-a-million people have SCD.

“It was diagnosed relatively recently, about 15 years ago,” he said. “The majority of people that we see that have this condition, there’s no known cause or event that they did that created this opening.”

“It just happens,” Gopen said.

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Too Much Screen Time for Kids Can Hurt Grades, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Turn off that TV.

Researchers in the UK have found in a new study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, that 14-year-olds who spend an extra hour per day watching TV, using the Internet, or playing computer games tend to have poorer grades on a test known as the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), which they take at age 16.

And we’re talking quite a bit lower – the equivalent of the difference between getting a B and getting a D.

The Medical Research Council at Cambridge studied 845 pupils from secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. They measured self-reported levels of sedentary activity and screen time at when kids were 14 (to be precise, 14-and-a-half years old) and compared these levels to their GCSE scores in the following year.

The average amount of screen time per day for these kids was four hours. Kids getting an hour more screen time per day scored 93 points lower on their GCSE, whereas an extra hour of non-screen time (time spent reading or doing homework, for example) was associated with a 23-point higher score.

But even if participants spent a significant time reading and doing homework, the researchers said watching TV or engaging in online activity excessively still damaged academic performance.

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Baby Monitors May Be Vulnerable to Hackers, Report Finds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Baby monitors offer the convenience of live-streaming videos of children straight to their parents’ smartphones and tablets. But a new report warns that the children’s parents might not be the only ones watching.

The report, released Wednesday by tech security firm Rapid7, put nine different Internet-connected baby monitors to the test.

Of the nine kinds of baby monitors tested, one received a grade “D” and the other eight monitors received grades of “F.”

“Overall, we did find some devices that had some very easy-to-exploit issues,” Mark Stanislav, the study’s author, told ABC News.

Potential vulnerabilities found in the monitors included accessing personal information from your Wi-Fi network and even potentially giving attackers real-time control of the device.

Heather Schreck says that is what happened to the baby monitor in the bedroom of her 10-month-old daughter.

“I heard a voice and it was screaming at my daughter, screaming, ‘Wake up baby. Wake up baby,’” Schreck said.

Schreck says the voice came from hackers who used an Internet “back door” to take control of the monitor’s camera.

Rapid7 recommends disabling unnecessary features like video recording and storing footage on the Internet in order to make your child’s baby monitor more safe.

The company also recommends parents never connect the devices to a public Wi-Fi account, use cellular data for a monitor and, just in case, unplug the monitor when it is not in use.

A manufacturer’s association representing the makers of baby monitors says parents should contact the manufacturer if they have any safety questions.

“If a consumer is concerned about the safety of their baby monitor, they should contact the manufacturer directly,” the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association said, in part, in statement to ABC News.

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Norovirus-Like Illness Sickens at Least 125 Students, School Officials Say

WTVD(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina school officials said they are investigating an outbreak of an unknown illness, possibly the norovirus, that left dozens of students and some staff members sick.

At least 125 students were sent home from three schools in the Person County School District on Wednesday after reports of symptoms including a low-grade fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Local health officials said in a statement the symptoms were similar to norovirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention has asked for samples to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Jennifer Purdie, whose daughter attends a school where three students became ill, told ABC News television affiliate WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina, that she was concerned that the school was remaining open.

“I was talking with a lot of the other parents and we’re really upset and concerned that they’re not closing the school down at least until Friday,” Purdie said.

The Person County School Superintendent said Wednesday that the affected schools were sanitized after classes ended on Wednesday and that school would remain open as normal.

Norovirus is a common virus that affects the gastrointestinal system and can spread widely. Every year the virus leads to between 19 million and 21 million illnesses and 570 to 800 deaths, according to the CDC.

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More Parents Catching Early Signs of ADHD in Children, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A growing number of young children are being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and increasingly parents are on the front lines of identifying early symptoms, according to a new study.

A third of children with ADHD are diagnosed under the age of 6, and in the vast majority of ADHD diagnoses, family members are the first to identify signs of the disorder, according to the study, published in the National Health Statistics Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers released the findings after examining information from 2,976 families who had children with ADHD.

The number of diagnosed cases of the disorder have shot up in recent years, rising 42 percent from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, according to the study.

Researchers found that as rates of ADHD went up, those close to the children, including parents, teachers and other caretakers, played a key role in diagnosis.

“We did see that in the vast majority of cases a family member of some kind was the first to express concern for behavior or performance,” explained Susanna Visser, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. She said family members who saw signs of ADHD could then, “really [communicate] that to doctors.”

In approximately 64 percent of cases, a family member was the first to show concern about a child’s behavior.

Visser and her team also found that a third of children were under the age of 6 when diagnosed and she told ABC News that new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013 may have helped spur those new diagnoses.

“In general, once the symptoms start to cause impairment, the child and family can benefit from treatment,” Visser said on the benefits of early diagnosis. “For kids under 6, behavior therapy can benefit.”

Dr. Francisco Castellanos, a professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, said he was gratified to hear about the new numbers and thought that the study showed progress in appropriately diagnosing children with the disorder.

Castellanos, who was not involved in the study, said the findings were “fair” and that it was clear doctors are taking pains to accurately diagnose patients.

Castellanos said the study showed parents are talking to their pediatricians and that those doctors are taking the ADHD symptoms seriously. He said he was especially happy to see that children getting diagnosed under the age of 6 are generally seeing more specialists before their diagnosis.

“The clinicians are being more judicious, more deliberate and [referring] them to child psychiatrist,” he said.

Castellanos said he suspects the sharp increase seen in recent years is a reflection of increased awareness and will level off soon.

“There used to be a real sense of ‘Let’s wait it out, it’s going to go away,’” Castellano said of children with ADHD behaviors. “I think that’s pretty much no longer around. That’s why we see a large increase in overall prevalence. I can’t imagine there’s going to continue to be the same increase” in the future.

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Your Body: How Much Fruit Should Be in Your Diet?

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

Fruit. It’s the naturally sweet snack that, according to those well-known food pyramids, we need two to three servings of daily.

But new information about fruit being loaded with sugar has some of us staying away. So how much fruit do you really need?

While fruit contains sugar, it also contains fiber, vitamins, phyto-nutrients and water.

And, not all fruits are created equally with respect to sugar. Lower sugar fruits include berries, oranges and grapefruits.

A good formula is to have one piece of fruit with each meal or snack, matched with a filling protein like peanut butter or nuts. This way, you can safely meet your quota of this tasty, healthy treat.

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CVS Says Decision to Stop Tobacco Sales Has Helped Reduce Smoking

Wolterk/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One year after the company stopped selling tobacco products in its stores, CVS Health says it has seen impressive results.

The national pharmacy chain stopped tobacco sales in September 2014, and since that time, the 13 states in which CVS has a 15 percent or greater market share have seen a one percent decrease in cigarette pack sales. The data, gathered by the CVS Health Research Institute, looked at purchases made at drug, food, big box, dollar and convenience stores, as well as gas stations.

In those states, the average smoker, the company says, has purchased five fewer packs. Overall, 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes have been sold in those 13 states since CVS’ decision.

CVS also says that there has been a four percent increase in purchases of nicotine patches in those same states, indicating an effect on attempts to quit smoking.

“We know that more than two-thirds of smokers want to quit — and that half of smokers try to quit each year,” CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen Brennan said in a statement. “We also know that cigarette purchases are often spontaneous. And so we reasoned that removing a convenient location to buy cigarettes could decrease overall tobacco use.”

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Dozens of North Carolina Students Sent Home Due to Mysterious Illness

Getty Images(PERSON COUNTY, N.C.) — Dozens of students at a North Carolina school were sent home after they exhibited possible signs of a virus, according to the local school superintendent.

At least 84 students at the Person High School in Person County were sent home after exhibiting “virus type symptoms,” according to a statement from Person County School Superintendent Danny Holloman.

Additionally, six staff members were also sent home after exhibiting the same symptoms. At the Helena Elementary School and Woodland Elementary School, a total of 20 students were sent home after showing symptoms.

Students and staff were asked to stay home if they have vomiting, fever or diarrhea.

What triggered the illness remained unknown as of Wednesday afternoon, but school officials said they were reaching out to the local health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help.

The CDC requested schools send samples from sick kids to determine the source of the outbreak.

School officials said the affected schools would be cleaned overnight and classes were expected to resume as normal Thursday morning. The Person County Health Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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