Review Category : Health

Nurse Reunites with Baby She Helped Deliver Mid-Flight

Erica Walton(ORLANDO, Fla.) — A Florida nurse who helped deliver a premature baby mid-air has reunited with the child and his parents since the flight.

“It was emotional,” new mom Erica Walton told ABC News of the reunion. “We were really happy and it was a big surprise to see her. I am grateful for her, Dr. Chad Garson and Dr. Bhasker Patel for helping us through a terrifying experience. Even though we only knew them for a short amount of time, we’re truly blessed that they’re part of our family now.”

Walton, 33, a nurse at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, was aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 556 from Philadelphia to Orlando, Florida on Dec. 4, 2016 when she went into early labor. She and her husband, Chris Walton, 29, had been returning home to Titusville from a baby shower thrown by her family in their Pennsylvania hometown.

Walton was 26 weeks along with a healthy pregnancy. Her obstetrician, Dr. Lena Weinman, cleared her to fly, Weinman told ABC News Wednesday.

“Traditionally, we allow patients to fly up to 30 to 32 weeks, unless they have complications with maternal or fetal health,” said Weinman of Parrish Medical Group in Titusville. “I was shocked and alarmed and then reassured that her experience was overall optimistic and that mom and baby did well.”

Luckily, two doctors and a nurse, Loretta Bledsoe, 66, were passengers on Walton’s plane and rushed to her side after an emergency announcement made by the airline crew.

Minutes later, Walton gave birth to a 2 pound, 4 ounce baby boy — fittingly named Jet.

Bledsoe of Longwood, Florida works for Orlando Health and has been a nurse for 42 years. She had been flying home after her niece’s wedding in Pennsylvania.

After the birth, Bledsoe administered oxygen while the two other physicians tended to the first-time mom.

“Mom kept saying, ‘I just want my baby to be OK,'” Bledsoe said. “I just kept telling her, ‘Me too. He’s breathing, he’s opening his eyes.'”

The flight made an emergency landing in Charleston, South Carolina where paramedics took over.

Walton and her baby were “doing well when they left the aircraft,” Southwest Airlines told ABC News in a statement the day after the birth, on Dec. 5, 2016.

More than a month later on Jan. 23, ABC News’ affiliate WFTV in Orlando organized a reunion between Bledsoe and the Walton family at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

“It was great,” Bledsoe said. “We just hugged each other really tight and got teary-eyed. You’re strangers when you get on a plane, but after that I feel we are going to be lifelong friends.”

Dr. Chad Garson, an emergency room physician who also helped deliver baby Jet, said he’s hoping to reunite with the family on Feb. 2.

“Honestly it was one of the most amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to do,” Garson of Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania told ABC News. “It was a little bit scary, [but] I felt like I had the opportunity to help someone in an environment where I never thought I’d be able to, in that way.”

Jet is currently at Nemours in Orlando. He is now 7 weeks old and growing stronger. Mom and Dad hope to bring him home before March 8, which was the projected due date.

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At Least 80 Sick in Massive Mumps Outbreak in Washington State

iStock/Thinkstock(SPOKANE, Wash.) — Health officials in Washington State are fighting an outbreak of mumps that has infected 80 people in Spokane, according to the local health department.

The outbreak has been ongoing since the end of last year, when two people were reportedly infected with the disease. Of the 80 infections reported, 50 were among those who had been vaccinated for mumps, five in unvaccinated people and 25 in people whose vaccination status was not clear, the Spokane Regional Health District reported yesterday.

The health department said they expect to see more cases from the outbreak.

Mumps can cause swelling of the salivary glands resulting in enlarged cheeks and jaws. Additionally it can cause fever, headache and tiredness. In rare cases it can lead to meningitis, swelling of the brain and deafness. It can also cause death.

“Mumps outbreaks can occur any time of year. A major factor contributing to outbreaks is being in a crowded environment, such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team, or living in a dormitory with a person who has mumps,” officials from the Spokane Regional Health District said on Facebook on Monday. “Also, certain behaviors that result in exchanging saliva, such as kissing or sharing utensils, cups, lipstick or cigarettes, might increase spread of the virus.”

While there is a vaccine to protect against mumps, usually given as part of the mumps, measles, rubella vaccine, its effectiveness can wane overtime. The recommended two doses of the vaccine provide approximately 88 percent protection against infection. A single dose of the vaccine provides approximately 78 percent protection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Company to Release Genetically Modified, ‘Nonbrowning’ Apples

iStock/Thinkstock(SUMMERLAND, British Columbia) — Genetically modified apples that its maker claims are “nonbrowning” will soon be available to customers in the U.S.

The Golden Delicious apples, sold under the brand Arctic, are scheduled to arrive in a select number of grocery stores in the Midwest in February. In order to produce the nonbrowning effect, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the Canada-based company behind the apples, eliminated the gene that contains the oxidizing enzyme that turns apples brown when they are cut open.

The company said the process, which it says will prevent the apple from browning for up to three weeks, avoids the anti-browning treatments often used on fresh apple slices.

“Arctic apples’ nonbrowning advantage makes them very well suited to products like fresh apple slices, which typically require anti-browning treatments like calcium ascorbate to maintain their color,” the company said in a statement to ABC News. “Arctic apples not only avoid the costs associated with these anti-browning solutions, they can also avoid the impact that these treatments can potentially have on the taste and texture of sliced fruit.”

The fact that the apples are genetically modified has raised concerns among some consumers.

The Organic Consumers Association, a Minnesota-based nonprofit group focused on issues such as food safety, industrial agriculture and genetic engineering, said the apples will make humans “guinea pigs” of genetically modified foods.

“As is the case with most GMO foods, the Arctic Apple never underwent rigorous independent premarket safety testing, yet these apples will come on the market unlabeled,” the association said in a statement to ABC News. “This means that once again, consumers will be guinea pigs for the biotech industry.”

“Worse yet, this product is intended primarily for use by fast-food retailers and institutions, such as schools, that cater to children who may be more vulnerable to potential health hazards,” the association added. “The apple was not developed in response to consumer demand. The biggest market for the apple are restaurants and institutions that want to be able to sell apples that were sliced days or weeks ago, without concerning themselves with how fresh the produce looks, or is.”

“Our biggest concern is that the non-browning technology, RNA Interference, could come with a host of unknown, unintended, and potentially risky health and environmental consequences,” the association said.

Okanagan argued the apples have met the standards of regulatory processes in Canada and the U.S.

“Thanks to their nonbrowning benefit, Arctic apples can reduce food waste and help more people to eat more apples — goals that everyone can get behind,” the company said in its statement. “Arctic apples have been demonstrated to be as safe and nutritious as traditional apple varieties through over a decade of study, and have satisfied the rigorous U.S. and Canadian regulatory review processes.”

The apples do not present an issue from a health standpoint, but may be an issue for consumers’ tastes, according to ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

“I think from a health and safety standpoint there’s not an issue there,” he said. “People hear the word GMO and they freak out. When you look at [the apple] scientifically, when you look at it molecularly, it’s still the same apple, just minus that one enzyme.”

“As a consumer, I like my apple to turn brown, it’s a sign to me that it’s not quite as fresh,” Besser added. “I don’t want to bite into an apple and it’s mushy and that’s the first sign that that apple is no good.”

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Your Body: Reach for Those Healthy Snacks

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

The tradition of having three meals a day may be fading. A 2015 study found that Millennials are instead opting for healthy snacks in larger numbers.

According to the study, Gen-Xers average 2.26 snacks per day, and the younger crowd consumed more than three snacks per day. And we’re not talking nachos and hot wings, here — Millennials increasingly want healthier snack options, including unprocessed foods, fresh produce and low-salt items.

The key is to shoot for snacks that promote fullness and satisfaction while also supplying energy.

As a doctor and a nutritionist, I am a big fan of healthy snacking. They all provide fiber, healthy fats and clean carbs.

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Mom of Twin Girls with Different Complexions Says ‘They’re My Miracle Girls’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Nine-month-olds Kalani and Jarani are gaining attention around the globe for their unique distinction as fraternal twins.

Kalani was born with light skin and blue eyes, while her sister Jarani, who’s five minutes younger, has brown skin and brown eyes.

“They’re my miracle girls,” mom Whitney Meyer told ABC News Wednesday. “It has nothing to do with their color. I lost a child and a year-and-a-half later, I gained twins. I just wanted to share it and it’s been crazy ever since.”

“Never in a million years would I [have] imagined” having a daughter with blue eyes and a lighter complexion, dad Tomas Dean told ABC News.

The family lives in Quincy, Illinois, with big brother Talan. Meyer said she always dresses Kalani and Jarani the same.

“If I don’t, people don’t believe that they are twins,” she said.

Dr. Angela Bianco, a board certified maternal fetal medicine specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, told ABC News that it’s a “pretty rare occurrence” having twins that look very different.

“It certainly can happen with biracial couples and it’s really just a matter of chance,” Bianco said. “By virtue of chance, one twin can inherit more DNA from a specific parent in contrast to its co-twin and that DNA can code or translate for things like skin color and eye color and can then result in very different physical attributes.”

While they look different now, mom and dad said their daughters still have distinct character traits.

“Kalani, she has more of a personality like her mother,” Dean said. “Jay’s more just set back and she’s kind of like me.”

Whitney added: “They are so different in their personalities. One has a lot of energy and one is more laid back.”

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Paris Jackson Opens Up About Suicide Attempts

Victor Boyko/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In an in-depth interview for the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Paris Jackson, the 18-year-old daughter of the late Michael Jackson, opened up about her turbulent past.

Paris Jackson said she was 15 years old when she tried to commit suicide, taking 20 Motrin pills and slitting her wrist, she told the magazine.

She said the attempt came from “thinking that I couldn’t do anything right, not thinking I was worthy of living anymore.” She added that there were “multiple” other attempts.

“I was doing a lot of things that 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds shouldn’t do. I tried to grow up too fast,” she said. After her father’s death in 2009, the fame was too much, she said. She added that she faced online bullying. “The whole freedom-of-speech thing is great. But I don’t think that our Founding Fathers predicted social media when they created all of these amendments and stuff.”

Jackson also told the magazine that she was sexually assaulted by a stranger at the age of 14.

“I don’t wanna give too many details,” she said. “But it was not a good experience at all, and it was really hard for me, and, at the time, I didn’t tell anybody.”

Jackson said she was helped by a therapeutic school she attended in Utah.

“I was crazy. I was actually crazy. I was going through a lot of, like, teen angst. And I was also dealing with my depression and my anxiety without any help,” she said. Now, she said, she’s sober and “a completely different person.”

As for losing her dad when she was just 11 years old, she said, “They always say time heals … but it really doesn’t … I lost the only thing that has ever been important to me. So going forward, anything bad that happens can’t be nearly as bad as what happened before.”

As for any rumors or reports that Michael Jackson wasn’t her biological father, she has a very simple answer.

“He is my father. He will always be my father. He never wasn’t, and he never will not be,” she said.

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MTA Announces Sleep Apnea Testing for Conductors and Engineers System Wide

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After multiple train accidents in recent years were linked to sleep apnea, the New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced they will be the first public transportation agency to test conductors and engineers on all its train and bus lines for sleep apnea.

Commuter and subway train crashes across the east coast in recent years have drawn attention to the sleep condition. In 2014, four people died after a Metro North train crashed in the Bronx borough of New York City. The cause was later determined to be the the train engineer’s sleep apnea.

People with the condition may not realize the effects of being sleep deprived, Dr. Samuel Friedlander, a sleep specialist and assistant clinical professor at UH Cleveland Medical Center, told ABC News.

“I don’t think people realize how problematic being tired is because we get used to it,” Friedlander said. “I think what the MTA is doing is a win-win for both employee s and the citizens of New York City.”

The MTA had already required Metro-North train engineers be screened for the condition. On Monday they announced screening and possible treatment would be expanded system wide to all train engineers and conductors, as well as bus operators.

“Safety is our top priority and MTA is going further than any other transportation agency in the country to prevent the risks of apnea. With this proposal, we are not just working to implement industry best practices, the MTA is defining best practices,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. “Sleep apnea is a serious illness and treatment will improve the quality of life for those who have it, and help them live longer.”

The screenings will include evaluation of a person’s body mass index, their neck circumference and a questionnaire about sleep patterns. At-risk employees will undergo further testing and possible treatment.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes a person to have shallow breaths or pauses in breathing during the night. Depending on the severity of the disease, it can cause symptoms that wreak havoc on normal sleep patterns causing people to feel groggy or tired during the day.

Sleep apnea can occur for multiple reasons. The National Institutes of Health says half of known cases are related to being overweight. Snoring is the most common symptom, but morning headaches, memory or learning problems, feeling irritable and dry or sore mouth are also signs of having the condition.

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Boy, 11, Gets Yoga Certification After Mom’s Cancer Battle

Sahel Anvarinejad(SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.) — Tabay Atkins is a typical sixth-grade boy. He loves building Legos and counts math, social studies and English as his favorite subjects in school.

The 11-year-old from San Clemente, California, also happens to be an in-demand yoga instructor who teaches classes three days per week.

“I care about people and a lot of people really like taking my classes,” Tabay told ABC News. “I think I’m inspiring and a lot of people just like my story.”

“And I don’t judge people,” he added of his appeal as an instructor.

Tabay’s yoga journey began when he was just 6 years old. His mother, Sahel Anvarinejad, took a yoga teacher training program to help herself recover from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“By accident I got into yoga after I ended chemotherapy treatments,” Anvarinejad, 37, told ABC News. “Tabay was with me every step of the way.”

“He went to the trainings and he saw how it changed me,” she said. “I was lighter. I didn’t have the heaviness that cancer brings.”

When Tabay graduated from fifth grade last spring, Anvarinejad gave her son the choice between a trip to Europe or the chance to undergo a 200-hour yoga teacher training program himself.

“He chose training without hesitation,” Anvarinejad, now cancer-free and the owner of her own yoga studio, said of her son. “He said, ‘Mom I want to do this too. I want to teach people so yoga can help them the way that yoga helped you.’”

Tabay began an intensive instructor program that consisted of nearly 12 hours of instruction every day from Los Angeles-based YOGAthetica trainer Shana Meyerson.

“Tabay was nothing short of extraordinary,” Meyerson told ABC News. “He took in all the information, and regularly exhibited a deep and fundamental understanding of the material.”

She added, “Even my toughest questions—that no one else could answer—were consistently and correctly answered by Tabay.”

Tabay was the youngest person ever to complete Meyerson’s 200-hour YOGAthletica Teacher Training, with the closest in age being 24, according to Meyerson.

“The adults in the training, all women, treated him with a unique combination of maternalism and peer respect,” she said. “Somehow he managed to immerse himself in this very grown up world and never lose his childlike innocence and sense of wonder, and fun.”

Tabay now teaches classes two days per week after school and on Saturdays at his mom’s studio. Often by his side in his yoga classes are his mom and dad, former NFL player Larry Atkins.

“Before he started yoga with me he wasn’t flexible because he didn’t do yoga when he played football,” Tabay said. “And after doing yoga with me a lot he’s becoming a lot more flexible and he’s a lot happier.”

Tabay’s classes are donation-only and he gives the proceeds to charities supporting children with cancer, the family said. Their studio, Care4Yoga, also waives the normal $30 per class drop-in fee for all cancer patients and their family members.

“People leave in tears because they’re that touched,” Anvarinejad said of her son’s classes. “There’s just a connection he has with everybody on every level, it’s just something else.”

Tabay has taught yoga classes around the world and also teaches his classmates at school.

“It’s really awesome,” he said. “Some of the boys at first when I tell them that they should try yoga, they say no because they think it’s for girls but yoga was actually created by men, for men.”

As he gets older, Tabay plans to keep expanding his yoga outreach.

“I want to try to open up as many studios as I can and spread the yoga word,” he said. “Yoga helps in a lot of ways…I want to teach yoga to anyone and everyone I can.”

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Details of Trump Reinstating Policy Affecting Overseas Abortions

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — On President Trump’s first Monday in office, he signed an executive order to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, also called the “global gag rule,” which bans federal funding for overseas groups that provide access to or counseling about abortions.

What Is the Mexico City Policy or ‘Global Gag Rule’?

The policy bars organizations from receiving U.S. foreign aid if they offer abortion-related services, including counseling on abortion, as part of family-planning services.

The History of Policy

First introduced by President Ronald Reagan at a United Nations conference in Mexico City in 1984, the policy was dubbed the “global gag rule” by abortion-rights groups for limiting organizations from “promoting abortion” as a method of family planning.

The policy, which has been heavily criticized by Democrats, has been overturned and reinstated multiple times. Former President Bill Clinton overturned the policy in 1993 before it was reinstated under former President George W. Bush in 2001.

Most recently, former President Barack Obama overturned the policy on his third day in office in 2009.

What Aid Groups Have Said

Dozens of organizations issued a coalition statement on Monday against the policy, arguing that it will not stop abortions, just make it less safe.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, have pointed out that organizations have had to close clinics that provide health services as a result of the funding cuts.

“When in place, the negative impacts of the global gag rule have been broad and severe: health services have been dismantled in a number of communities; clinics that provided a range of reproductive, maternal, and child health care, including HIV testing and counseling, were forced to close; outreach efforts to hard-to-reach populations were eliminated; and access to contraceptives was severely limited, resulting in more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions,” the coalition said in its statement.

Marie Stopes International, a U.K.-based aid group that provides abortion services and contraception around the world, said that the reinstated policy could lead women to seek unsafe abortion options.

“All the medical evidence, as well as everything we know from our daily interactions with women, is unequivocal: if you take safe abortion services out of the reproductive healthcare package, it exposes women to risk,” Marjorie Newman-Williams, director of the group’s international operations, said in a statement on Monday.

“Every year, 21.6 million women are so desperate to end their pregnancy they put their lives on the line by risking an unsafe abortion,” Newman-Williams added. “Thousands of them die and millions more are left with life altering injuries.”

The International Planned Parenthood Federation said it would rather lose U.S. aid rather than abide by the policy restrictions. The group said they estimate they will lose $100 million “for proven programs that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and youth who otherwise go without these vital services, including women suffering the burden of health and humanitarian crises.”

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Erin Andrews Reveals Battle with Cervical Cancer

ABC/Eric McCandless(NEW YORK) — Dancing With the Stars co-host Erin Andrews revealed Tuesday that she battled cervical cancer late last year.

The 38-year-old told Sports Illustrated’s MMQB in a new interview that she underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 11.

At the time, Andrews, who is also a sideline reporter on Fox NFL Sunday, missed two tapings of DWTS, but told her oncologist: “I’m not watching any football games at home. This is [Fox’s] Super Bowl year, and I’m not missing the Super Bowl.”

Five days later, she was back to work on the sidelines of a Green Bay Packers game.

“Should I have been standing for a full game five days after surgery? Let’s just say the doctor didn’t recommend that,” Andrews told SI. “But just as I felt during my trial, sports were my escape. I needed to be with my crew.”

Andrews went through a second procedure on Nov. 1 and was later told she wouldn’t need radiation or chemotherapy.

The cancer battle came toward the end of an emotional year for Andrews. In March, she was awarded $55 million in her civil lawsuit against a stalker and a hotel owner over a secret recording and release of a video showing her naked during a hotel stay.

“Throughout my career, all I’ve ever wanted is to just fit in,” Andrews told Sports Illustrated. “That I had this extra baggage with the scandal, I didn’t want to be any different. I felt that way about being sick too. I don’t want players or coaches to look at me differently.”

She ended the year on a happier note. Last month, Andrews got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, hockey player Jarret Stoll.

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