Review Category : Health

Dad Donates Liver to One Toddler Daughter, Twin Sister Still Waiting for Donor

Courtesy of CTV(TORONTO) — The father of twin girls both in need of liver transplants donated a portion of his liver to one of the girls on Tuesday.

Michael Wagner underwent surgery to remove a portion of his liver that will then be used by doctors to help save the life of one of his daughters, Phuoc Wagner, 3.

Wagner’s wife Johanne Wagner updated family and friends on Facebook Tuesday, reporting that her husband’s liver was deemed good for transplant.

Wagner’s twin girls Binh and Phuoc have a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome, which can cause liver damage.

They both needed a liver transplant to survive, but Wagner could only give his liver to one child. Johanne Wagner told ABC News in an earlier interview that doctors would decide which of their daughters would receive the liver based on their medical condition.

The two surgeries were expected to take 18 to 22 hours, according to a statement from the Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada.

In the hospital statement, the Wagner family confirmed they were still searching for a donor liver for Binh.

The twins were adopted in from Vietnam in 2012 by the Wagners, who were aware the girls’ livers were in trouble during the adoption. The couple also have seven other children.

“We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wagner said of the girls when they were first adopted. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were supposed to be with us and it just took a different path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were they were part of our family.”

Last year, the girls’ condition worsened to the point that they were put on a transplant list. While the girls each need their own donor, the family was delighted to find out that Michael Wagner was a donor match.

Wagner could only donate tissue to one child because of the way the liver regenerates.

“We found ourselves to be very lucky that we qualified right away,” Johanne Wagner said of her husband being a match. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

The family has now turned to social media and public outreach in the hope that a stranger could be a match. On her website, Johanne Wagner said the hospital had received over 280 submissions from people offering to be a donor for Binh.

“Hopefully those courageous people who have submitted their applications will elect to leave their name there in order to help save others who are on the list waiting for a liver, and are just as important as my daughters,” she wrote. “I hope this media campaign is giving hope to the many who are suffering in silence.”

Wagner is directing anyone interested in becoming a potential donor to the Toronto General Hospital Living Donor Assessment Office to see if they fit the profile.

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Eighth Infant Diagnosed With Measles at Illinois KinderCare

Thinkstock/Stockbye/Thinkstock(PALATINE, Ill.) — Another infant has been diagnosed with measles at the Illinois daycare center where five babies were diagnosed with the virus last week, health officials told ABC News on Tuesday.

In all, eight babies and one adult at the KinderCare daycare center in Palatine, Illinois, have been diagnosed with measles, said Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.

Another adult was diagnosed with measles on Jan. 27 before this cluster of cases, but it’s unclear whether it was related, she said, adding that they are still investigating.

The measles patients were unvaccinated, the Cook County Department of Public Health said Monday. The latest baby to be diagnosed was likely too young to be vaccinated.

The measles cases prompted KinderCare, a daycare chain with 1,900 locations nationwide, to change its policy on Friday, requiring all employees working with infants to be vaccinated against the measles.

The first dose of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is not administered until a child is a year old, and KinderCare said in a statement that it hopes to protect its children who are too young to be vaccinated by also limiting access to infant rooms.

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence and can infect 9 out of 10 exposed people if they are not immunized. The virus can cause rash, fever, conjunctivitis and runny nose. In severe cases the virus has caused swelling of the brain, pneumonia or even death.

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Dad Makes Plea to Congress After 2-Year-Old with Leukemia Exposed to Measles

Courtesy Dr. Timothy Jacks(WASHINGTON) — Dr. Timothy Jacks is an Arizona pediatrician on the front lines of the measles outbreak that’s sweeping the United States, but when he spoke to Congress on Tuesday, it was personal.

He got a call from the hospital where his 2-year-old daughter Maggie just finished a round of chemotherapy telling him that Maggie and her 10-month-old brother Eli were exposed to measles, he told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which convened on Tuesday to discuss the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The chemotherapy rendered Maggie’s immune system unable to fight the virus even with the first dose of the MMR vaccine, and Eli is too young to get the vaccine, he said.

“My measles-exposed children have been quarantined at home for nearly two weeks now, and we anxiously watch for signs of disease,” Jacks said, explaining that because of Maggie’s compromised immune system, she has to go to the emergency room every time she gets a fever. “Every warm forehead, every sign of rash, and every runny nose could be the start of measles, and that brings me back to why I am here.”

So Jacks wrote a letter to the parents in the hospital who didn’t vaccinate their children and exposed Maggie and Eli to the measles, and he said the letter has been shared 1.3 million times.

“I assume you love your child just like I love mine,” he wrote to those anonymous parents. “I assume that you are trying to make good choices regarding their care. Please realize that your child does not live in a bubble. When your child gets sick, other children are exposed. My children. Why would you knowingly expose anyone to your sick unvaccinated child after recently visiting Disneyland? That was a bone-headed move.”

The measles outbreak, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say is linked to a group of unvaccinated Disneyland visitors, has now spread to 17 states with 121 confirmed cases, the CDC said on Monday.

Because of the exposure, both of Jacks’ children had to endure a round of painful antibody shots, and the family had to cancel their winter vacation, which had been planned for the only three weeks Maggie wasn’t doing chemo, Jacks said. He said he also feared the complications from measles, which can include pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death.

He urged Congress to promote the importance and safety of vaccinations.

“This issue is close to my heart as a father and pediatrician,” Jacks concluded. “With your help, we can put an end to vaccine-preventable illnesses and protect the innocent. We can protect our children.”

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New Onion Won’t Make You Cry or Give You Bad Breath

bajinda/iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Put away the onion goggles and breath mints — a horticulturist in England has invented a new red onion that promises to be tear- and bad breath-free.

Billed as a “sweet red onion,” the new bulb contains lower pungency levels that translate to a less overpowering flavor, fewer tears when chopping and better odor. The onion is said to be so mild, in fact, that you can just eat it like an apple.

Asda, the United Kingdom’s Walmart, is selling the onion for one euro, or approximately $1.13, which is more expensive than a typical bulb.

That’s probably because this isn’t a typical bulb, taking more than 20 years for farmer Alastair Findlay of Bedfordshire Growers to personally taste and evaluate about 500 versions until settling on this version.

So how does it taste?

A reporter at The Telegraph put the onion to the test, writing, “It still smelled like an onion and wasn’t as soft on my eyes as, say, cucumber eye cream, but I didn’t feel my eyes sting after chopping an entire low-pungency onion.”

No word on whether the U.S. can expect the onion to find its way overseas.

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The Science of Attraction and Love: In Matters of the Heart, the Brain Reigns Supreme

Ibrakovic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In matters of love, the conventional wisdom is to follow your heart. But you might want to consider following your brain instead this Valentine’s Day.

When you meet The One, your brain releases a cocktail of three chemicals that make you fall in love, said Larry Young, a psychologist who studies love at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. The chemicals are oxytocin, dopamine and opiates, he said.

“All of those act together in the brain’s reward system,” he said. “Our reward system now becomes wired to be especially tuned to our partner — the space, the sound, maybe the smell of our partner.”

Oxytocin, not be confused with the drug oxycodone, is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone,” and is responsible for the bonding between mother and baby and between partners.

Dopamine is involved in exhilaration and excitement, Young said. Cocaine and sex both cause the brain to release dopamine.

Opiates cause feelings of warmth and pleasure. Heroine and sex both cause the brain to release opiates.

“The next time we see the partner, our reward system is activated,” Young said, adding that love can also be like addiction. “Once the bond is formed, we stay together not only because we’re attracted to our partner but the other part because of the negative feeling when we’re away from our partner.”

Although humans rely less on pheromones to pick their mates than animals, scientists know that finding that special someone has something to do with chemicals that the person releases, said organic chemist George Preti, a professor at the Monell Center at the University of Pennsylvania. But they haven’t been able to isolate the specific attraction chemical, or pheromone, he said.

They have, however, determined that chemicals produced in a man’s underarms can alter a woman’s neuroendocrine levels, which alter their menstrual cycles.

“We didn’t study attraction,” Preti said. “We studied something we could measure quantitatively.”

The chemicals enter through the nose, but what happens next isn’t entirely clear, Preti said. He said he thinks they enter the hypothalamus and the amygdala, two parts of the brain that deal with emotion, mood and sex drive.

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A Breakdown of Ingredients in Childhood Vaccines

urfinguss/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents who express misgivings about childhood vaccines are often responding to misinformation about what vaccines contain, experts say.

Dr. Frank Esper, an infectious disease doctor with the UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, stressed that each vaccine component is there for a reason and has been thoroughly tested for stability, safety and effectiveness.

“Nothing is thrown in there randomly,” he explained. “And everything is present in small amounts.”

Here, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention breakdown of the most common vaccine ingredients and why they’ve been added:

Live Virus

The MMR and some other vaccines do contain live virus, but Esper said they have essentially been neutered in the lab by chopping out the genes that cause dangerous infection. They’re included so the body learns what the real virus looks like and can mount an immuno-response against it.


Found in gel or salt form, a minuscule amount of this metal is added to vaccines as “adjuvant,” meaning it helps promote a quicker, more potent immune response to the vaccine. Esper said this ingredient has tested well in numerous safety trials.


A tiny amount of this preservative added into a vaccine kills unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Most formaldehyde is removed from the vaccine before it is packaged, according to both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

Thimerosal and Mercury

It is true that mercury is toxic in high doses. But the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was present in vaccines in smaller amounts than naturally occur in water or soil to prevent contamination and bacterial growth, Esper pointed out. In any case this is a moot point: The compound was removed from virtually all childhood vaccines more than a decade ago.

Other Ingredients

Some vaccines contain antibiotics to prevent contamination or monosodium glutamate (MSG) to protect against light, heat and humidity. Some flu and yellow fever vaccines also contain egg proteins as part of the preparation process and should be safe for anyone who can eat eggs.

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People Who Think They Can’t Sing Really Can

iStock/Thinkstock(EVANSTON, Ill.) — With so many talent competitions on TV, it would appear that the world is filled with not only a lot of singers, but very good ones at that.

However, if you belong to that category of folks who can’t sing a note, don’t despair. It might only be because you weren’t encouraged or trained properly when you were young.

So says music education professor Steven Demorest at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music.

Although there are people born with the talent to sing, Demorest says that singing can be an acquired skill, provided people are taught in a way similar to others who learn how to play musical instruments.

Demorest tested three groups on singing accuracy: kindergarteners, sixth graders and college-aged adults. It seems that the two younger groups did better than the older participants, which Demorest attributes to the “use it or lose it” principle.

He surmises that older kids don’t sing as much as when they were younger, and that those who get stuck with the label of being “tone deaf” take it to heart and figure they just can’t sing.

Demorest contends there’s hope for those who think they carry a tune, adding, “When people are unsuccessful they take it very personally, but we think if you sing more, you’ll get better.”

Meanwhile, Demorest and other colleagues are attempting to develop an online measure of singing accuracy that teachers will one day use to help youngsters while also helping adults improve their singing ability.

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Some Dog Owners Also Wary of Vaccines

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The controversy over vaccines has also affected the animal world.

As New York Magazine reports, vets report that a growing number of pet owners are eschewing shots for their dogs, with veterinarian blogger Brennan McKenzie suggesting that “an increase in mostly unfounded concerns about vaccine safety for people…has raised people’s awareness and level of concern about vaccinations for their pets.”

Unlike human vaccines, there are virtually no official records kept about any uptick or decline in animal vaccinations.

However, Christopher Brockett, president of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, told New York Magazine, “The fewer animals that are getting the vaccine, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to have a firestorm if something that is that highly communicable comes along.”

Yet, pet owners may have some justification to be wary about vaccines due to combination shots, sometimes called “mumbo jumbos,” that can expose a dog to allergies, skin diseases and autoimmune diseases. Annual rabies shots, on the other hand, don’t carry the same risk.

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Blimey! British Accents Tapped as Sexiest

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pick an accent, any accent. Do you think it’s sexy?

According to more than a quarter of the respondents asked by Time Out’s Global Dating Survey, a British one is evidently the sexiest.

About 11,000 people from 24 countries gave their opinions about the attractiveness of accents, and the U.S. came in second place, although given the country’s many dialects, it would be difficult to figure out which is the sexiest.

Rounding out the top five were the accents of Ireland, Australia and France — sorry, Pepe LePew.

However, Paris did rank first for the world’s best dating scene, followed by Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Chicago.

Wait. Kuala Lumpur?

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Stressed Out People Fare Worse After Heart Attack

stokkete/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Those who are more stressed out prior to a heart attack may end up having a worse recovery afterward.

Researchers at Yale University looked at nearly 3,600 heart attack patients in a new study published in Circulation.

Those who reported more stress in their lives before the heart attack had a harder time recovering, reported more pain, problems moving around, depression, and other important measures associated with quality of life.

Researchers said since women reported more life stress than men, women, in general, had more difficult recoveries.

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