Review Category : Health

Report: Accidental Overdoses Send 160 Kids to the ER Every Day

Purestock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — About 160 children go to a hospital emergency room every day as a result of accidental medicine overdoses, according to a new report from Safe Kids Worldwide, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization.

The report released in March says 60,000 young children were seen in ERs across the country in 2013 after ingesting pain relievers, prescription drugs or vitamins that adults left either on the ground, in cabinets, in pill organizers, in a purse or diaper bag, or on countertops where children were able to reach the medication.

“Kids will find medicine in all kinds of places,” Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said, adding that the report found that 23 percent of the affected children “were finding and getting into medicine from a pill box.”

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor, said pill boxes and organizers often don’t succeed in keeping children out. A recent GMA report illustrated that a 4-year-old was able to open a child-resistant pill bottle with just a little tinkering.

“Whoever is watching over that child at that moment and that day has the responsibility of keeping all medicine out of the reach of children,” Carr said.

Watch the video above for Dr. Besser’s advice on how you can protect your children from accidental medicine overdoses.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Booby Trap’ Bra Is Strapped for Self-Defense

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A brush with death at the hands of an attacker on a remote jogging trail led Texas mother of two Jennifer Cutrona to become an inventor: she created the Booby Trap: sports bras that conceal either a knife or pepper spray.

“I was in active wear and had no form of protection on me,” Cutrona recalled on her new company’s website about her experience being jumped. “The little pocket knives I had collected over the years were all at home in the drawer with my pepper spray. I needed something I could pull in less than a second. We came up with the idea to sew a knife sheath inside my sports bra and used that home-made prototype to file a patent.”

The result, the Just in Case Knife Bra which costs about $55, and the Just in Case Pepper Spray Bra, which will set you back $50. Both appear to be your average fitness apparel, but feature a secure, discreet sheath in which a runner can hide either a small stainless steel “punch”-style blade, or a small bottle of pepper spray that contains a suspect-staining dye.

“It wasn’t done out of fear, to live in fear,” Cutrona says of her invention. “It was done just to be prepared just in case.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Alexa PenaVega Opens Up About Her Recovery from Bulimia

Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Alexa PenaVega penned a lengthy Instagram post Wednesday in which she opened up about recovering from a six-year battle with bulimia.

The former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant first revealed that she’d had the eating disorder late last year.

Now, according to her post, “I am me and I am healthy.”

“My body feels strong. I have energy. I feel like a woman!!” she wrote.

PenaVega’s post came just hours after lamented over her gluten-free diet online. When followers criticized her for her eating habits, she wanted to clear the air about why she eats the way she does.

Now that she’s in recovery, “I finally have the nutrients I had deprived my ‘temple’ of. (Our bodies are incredible gifts from God that we have to take care of!)” she wrote. “Now, there are certain foods that still give me some trouble… So for me… It is easier to eliminate those foods so that my body absorbs all the nutrients I can get!”

However, she added that she also supports those who avoid gluten as a lifestyle choice, writing, “Don’t let bitter people discourage you from being the healthiest version of YOU that you can be.”

“Here Is my body. It is mine and I am proud of it. I may not hold up to hollywood’s teenie tiny standards but hey… You can’t please everyone,” she wrote.

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Health Benefit of Standing Desks Not Proven, Medical Review Shows

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The dangers of sitting for long stretches of time have come into focus in recent years, with the sedentary act connected to increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. More and more people have been looking at ways of combating “sitting sickness,” from using convertible standing desks in the office to having standing meetings.

But a new study says that despite the evidence that too much sitting is linked to these health risks, the health benefits of standing desks and other strategies to promote standing are not proven.

The medical review, published Wednesday in the Cochrane Library, looked at 20 studies that focused on various strategies to keep people on their feet rather than sitting all day. The studies had a total of 2,174 participants in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

In the six studies for standing desks, researchers found that people did increase their time on their feet somewhat from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the study. However, the small sample size meant researchers couldn’t conclusively recommend standing desks. They did point out that other studies in which participants were encouraged to do more activities such as a take a walk during a break only had a modest decrease in time spent sitting.

“This Cochrane Review shows that, at the moment, there is uncertainty over how big an impact sit-stand desks can make on reducing the time spent sitting at work in the short term,” Nipun Shrestha from the Health Research and Social Development Forum, Thapathali, Nepal, said in a statement Wednesday. “Given the popularity of sit-stand desks in particular, we think that people who are considering investing in sit-stand desks and the other interventions covered in this review should be aware of the limitations of the current evidence base in demonstrating health benefits.”

Shrestha stressed the need for additional research to prove that these popular standing desks are helpful to a variety of people. Co-author Jos Verbeek said it was not yet clear from these studies that simply standing instead of sitting was a markedly healthier.

“At present, there is not enough high quality evidence available to determine whether spending more time standing at work can repair the harms of a sedentary lifestyle,” Verbeek, from the Cochrane Work Review Group, Kuopio, Finland, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Standing instead of sitting hardly increases energy expenditure, so we should not expect a sit-stand desk to help in losing weight. It’s important that workers and employers are aware of this, so that they can make more informed decisions,” Verbeek said.

As previous studies have shown the dangers of sitting more clearly, it will take time to see how different incentives to be active are helpful, experts said.

Dr. Alice Chen, a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, said that more study is needed but that it is already clear that being more active than sedentary can help people maintain their health. She pointed out that people may need more information about how to ease into using standing desks so they can last more than 30 minutes at a time and that future studies may find more proof of the health benefits of standing versus sitting.

“Just putting in sit-stand desks for everyone doesn’t mean that people who sit for eight hours are going to stand for hours,” she said. “I think the take-home point is more in terms how can we effectively communicate to the working public the benefits and adverse effects of sitting.”

She also pointed out standing forces people to use and strengthen the muscles that help with posture.

Dr. Melanie Swift, director of the Occupational Health Clinic at Vanderbilt Medical Center, said with more study, experts will better understand if standing desks are a better choice than other initiatives, such as moving printers across the office or having walking meetings.

“It’s not clear that the cost of … standing desks is going to have enough impact on public health to be a wise investment on a large scale,” she explained.

She did say that sitting for long periods of time is clearly bad for your health.

“Try not to sit more than 30 minutes at a time, standing up when you get a phone call. … It can be an opportunity to stand than to sit at the desk,” Swift said. “We probably don’t need to go to extremes but common sense simple interventions, they keep you safer.”

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Young Gymnast Competes Despite Losing Leg, Inspires Others

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Kate Foster lost her leg to a leukemia-related infection when she was 12, but she didn’t let that stop her from becoming a competitive gymnast.

“I’ve never really found anything that I’ve loved more,” Foster, now 16, told ABC News.

Foster is able to perform the most demanding gymnastic routines using a prosthetic leg.

The Rockford, Illinois teen’s love of tumbling began when she was 7 years old.

“She loved it, right from the beginning. The extra practices, the extra time at the gym,” her mother, Barb Foster, told ABC News.

The leukemia diagnosis was a significant blow to the budding athlete.

Kate remembers being told that the infection that ravaged her left leg could take her life unless she had the leg amputated.

“I said ‘You’re not — you’re not taking off my leg. I need that … for gymnastics,’” she recalls telling her doctors. “And they were kind of explaining to me, you know, ‘you know, this bone marrow transplant won’t work unless we do this. It’s really your leg or your life.”

After the amputation, Kate worried that her life as a gymnast was over. Her coach didn’t agree.

“My coach said something to me that really changed my mindset. She said that she had never coached a one-legged gymnast before, but she was willing to try if I was,” Kate said. Today, Kate competes with her team, traveling across the country in sanctioned gymnastics competitions. She is the only competitor with a prosthetic leg, and she’s held to the same standards as her peers.

Lynn Foster, Kate’s father, said what his daughter does is very difficult.

“They don’t change the rules for her … they’re not saying, ‘Okay, you don’t have to do this part of it or you don’t have to do that part,’” he said.

Points are deducted any time she stumbles or a coach reaches to assist her on the balance beam – just as they would be deducted for any other athlete, Kate’s parents said. And Kate doesn’t receive any special treatment or extra time because of her status.

After spending so much time in hospitals, admiring the work of those who cared for her, Kate wants to become a doctor.

She says she’s no hero, but others disagree. A recent video posted by her father that shows her competing on the balance beam was viewed more than 5 million times in just days.

“People tell me all the time that I’m an inspiration, but I’m just me,” she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Chipotle Will Now Cook Steak Using Gourmet French Technique to Prevent Pathogen Outbreaks

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Another change is coming to Chipotle: how the company cooks its steaks. A Chipotle spokesperson told ABC News its cooks is beginning to prepare the steak used in its burritos, bowls and tacos using a French culinary technique to help prevent future pathogen outbreaks at its restaurants.

Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, said the steak will be cooked “sous vide” at an off-site central kitchen and then marinated and seared on grills in the restaurants.

“Sous vide is a cooking technique that cooks at low temperatures over longer periods of time, and is used by a number of great chefs. If there is any difference to customers, it would be that the steak may be more tender than it was before,” Arnold said.

Chipotle’s steak was previously grilled in each restaurant location, according to the company website. Chipotle’s beef barbacoa and pork carnitas though have long been cooked in central kitchens, Arnold said.

Last year, the Denver-based restaurant chain was hit with an E. coli outbreak that affected 53 people in nine states. Its location in Boston was forced to temporarily close after customers became ill from norovirus. On Tuesday, Chipotle announced sales fell in February and the company expects a loss of $1 a share or more in its first quarter — the first quarterly loss for the company since it went public.

“Central cooking sounds like a much safer process,” William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, told ABC News. “Pathogen testing is very elaborate, expensive and would not produce 100 percent results.”

“The whole brand has to do with freshness and cooking in front of you, and [the new cooking method] is a bit in conflict with that,” Schaffner said. “But if you could get people to taste and compare the beef that was cooked centrally and beef locally, I bet people could not in a reliable fashion tell the difference using today’s technology.”

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the company is considering “stepping back” from some of the food safety changes it recently implemented, including high-resolution DNA-based testing on some ingredients.

Arnold addressed The Journal’s reporting, telling ABC News today, “Our commitment to establishing Chipotle as a leader in food safety remains fully intact. Over the last few months, we have implemented a number of programs and procedures to enhance food safety — including prep of some ingredients in central kitchens, high resolution testing of ingredients, and procedural changes in our restaurants. Any changes we may make to our initial plans will be to strengthen what we are doing.”

On its website, Chipotle describes its high-resolution testing as “the practice of taking a large number of samples from a relatively small amount of the ingredient,” which it says, for example, “substantially reduces the risk that unsafe cilantro will go undetected.”

In addition to implementing changes to how its steak is prepared, Chipotle is preparing and testing tomatoes, romaine lettuce and bell peppers in its central kitchen, according to the Chipotle website. The company previously diced tomatoes at its restaurants, the company website explains.

Sam Oches, editor of Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) magazine, said he isn’t surprised if Chipotle is fine-tuning its food safety process.

“With 2,000 restaurants, any decision they make is at an enormous scale,” Oches said. “So you have to do it right. You have to go all in for whatever program you do.”

Oches said he applauded Chipotle’s move to hire a food safety czar and its decision to offer free burritos to customers last month.

“It’s hard to understate how shocking this whole thing has been because Chipotle for many years has been the gold standard,” Oches said. “It’s to say this can happen to any company. There will be so many lessons learned in this. There will be textbooks written about this. Any company that wants to scale fresh locally-sourced food will have to study Chipotle. We’re watching food safety history be written.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Navy Finds Missing Dog Alive After Falling off Fishing Boat in Pacific Ocean Five Weeks Ago

U.S. Navy – Naval Base Coronado(SAN DIEGO) — A dog who fell off a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean and had been “presumed dead” more than a month ago has now been found alive by Navy officials on an island 80 miles off the coast of San Diego, California.

The 1-year-old German Shepherd, named Luna, was first reported missing the morning of Feb. 10 about 2 miles off of San Clemente Island by her owner — Nick Hayworth, a fisherman — according to Sandy DeMunnik, public affairs officer for the US Navy’s Naval Base Coronado.

“He told us Luna was a very powerful swimmer and that he was 90 percent sure she’d head for shore,” DeMunnik said. “So our staff searched the island, but with no luck. He stayed in the area for two more days to look for her, and after a week, we considered her lost at sea and presumed dead.”

But this past Tuesday morning, the dog showed up to greet Navy staff arriving on the island for work.

“They saw Luna just sitting on the side of the road wagging her tail,” she said. “Keep in mind, there are no domesticated animals on the island, so it was a stunning sight.”

Navy staff were able to determine Luna was the dog who had fallen off the boat last month, DeMunnik said. She added they immediately informed Hayworth that Luna was found alive and well.

Hayworth “was actually out in the middle of a lake with horrible reception when he got the news,” DeMunnik said. “He had to do all sorts of acrobatics to get signal, but he was ecstatic — jumping up and down.”

The German Shepherd has since been examined by a wildlife biologist for the San Diego Zoo, who determined Luna was “perfectly healthy other than being a little undernourished,” DeMunnik said.

“It looks like she’d been surviving off of mice for the past few weeks,” DeMunnik said.

DeMunnik added that Luna’s survival was “incredibly remarkable,” considering the canine had to also tough out bad weather from recent El Nino storms.

Hayworth’s best friend is scheduled to pick up Luna later today and to later reunite the pup with Hayworth, DeMunnik said.

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Teen Diagnosed with Cancer for Third Time Gets Special Graduation Ceremony

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, Tenn.) — A Tennessee teenager got a very special graduation day this week, months after being diagnosed with cancer for a third time.

Peyton Arnold, 19, finally got to receive his diploma, nearly a year after his fellow classmates graduated in 2015. Arnold has battled leukemia three times starting at age 12. His mother, Penny Arnold, said the cancer first reoccurred during his senior year last year and that he had a bone marrow transplant. He was diagnosed for a third time with the cancer this January.

“It’s not responding to chemotherapy anymore,” Penny Arnold told ABC News Wednesday. “We’re living on praying and hoping that some miracle will happen because they do happen.”

She said that in spite of the radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy, Peyton Arnold has continued to do school work and attending class virtually.

“He has been slowly but surely trying to work on it the whole time,” his mom said. “It’s taken a while. There’s a lot of times you can’t go to school,” during treatment.

This month, the teen’s school called and said that he had enough credits to graduate. Officials offered to let him walk during the 2016 graduation ceremony in May or have his own special graduation early, according to Penny Arnold.

“We didn’t know they were going to do anything like that,” she said. Due to Peyton’s health condition, the family chose for a special graduation to honor him.

“They went and made it as natural as they could,” Penny Arnold said. “A lot of his classmates from 2015 they took off from their jobs and the 2016 class walked as well.”

She said many people from the local community showed up to support Peyton and watch him accept his diploma. He was not strong enough to walk across the whole field so he drove up to the stage in a golf cart.

“A lot of Dickson County came out for it,” Penny Arnold said of the local community. “It was really great. Everything they’ve done for him has been overwhelming.”

Penny Arnold said getting a high school diploma was extremely important for her son.

“He said, ‘That was one of the best days I had. It was just really great,'” Penny Arnold said. “He said, ‘I can’t believe I finally have my diploma. … I really want to get that done.'”

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Mom Moved to Tears by Party Invitation Sent Home with Autistic Son

iStock/Thinkstock(BRANTFORD, Ontario) — A Canadian mom was moved to tears after her son brought home a birthday party invitation accompanied by a touching letter penned by a class mom, whom she’d never met.

“It was an ugly cry for me that day,” Tricia Klein of Brantford, Ontario, told ABC News. “Yes, I was shocked that someone would take not only the time to write the note, but to be considerate enough to include him with all of his difficulties. It was a wonderful moment.”

Klein, 34, a mom of three, said her youngest son Timothy, 7, was diagnosed with non-verbal autism when he was 2 years old.

“While it allowed us to access services, the diagnosis was pure devastation,” she said. “I went through a long period of grieving…this was not the son I expected to have, or the life I expected us to live. Of course you love your children no matter what, I’m not saying that has ever, or will ever change regardless of what comes our way. At the time I felt robbed, robbed of the toddler years, the milestones of typical childhood and future years to come.”

Despite facing many “scary” challenges, Klein said Timothy is doing much better.

“Timothy is a very happy and social little guy,” she said. “He struggles with social interaction, but longs to be a part of groups and activities and have friends like every other kid his age. He loves to play soccer…watch YouTube videos and swim.”

But because Timothy has difficulty being among crowds and gets “overstimulated easily,” Klein said she’d often decline birthday party invites from his classmates.

“When he gets anxious, he focuses on doors–repeatedly opens and closes them…for hours, if you would let him,” Klein said. “It’s tough because he really does crave social interaction and being included. He also has many food aversions and difficulty with sensory input. I would hate for Timothy to have these difficulties and take the spotlight from the birthday child.”

Klein said the most memorable party invitation included this attached note:

“Carter sat beside Timothy at school and he always talks about him. I really hope he can come. We are renting a bounce castle that we can attach a small bounce slide at the bottom. We will also have water balloons and water guns. Maybe Timothy can come earlier in the day if it would too much with the whole class. Let me know so we can make it work.”

Klein shared the touching letter on her blog, The Book of Timothy, last summer but her post started recirculating on social media this week.

“We parents of the ‘specials’ know only too well the hurts our kids feel when they are left out of the social gatherings relative to childhood,” Klein wrote on her blog. “Organized sports, play dates, sleep overs and yes- the dreaded birthday parties.

“I can say whole-heartedly that my son has not attended a single one,” she added. “We have received countless invitations in the few years Timothy has attended school; of kids who mercilessly invite the entire class – and for that I’m grateful (don’t get me wrong). Really cool sounding parties too. I wonder if the parents know what would happen if I brought Timothy? The interruptions…the meltdowns…how I would hate to take the spotlight from the birthday child. So we politely decline. Every. Single. One…Until this one arrived.”

Ainsley Peikos, also of Brantford, Ontario, said she wrote the note to Klein because Timothy had become friends with her son Carter, who wanted Timothy to attend his 7th birthday celebration.

“Carter had always talked about him, so I didn’t think twice when he wanted him at the party,” Peikos told ABC News. “The only question was, ‘How could we make it work so that Timothy could come and have a great time just like anyone else?’ He came early. He went right into the bounce castle with Carter and they had a great time.

“I never thought that the words ‘Let’s make it work’ would impact my life forever,” she added. “These few words allowed Tricia and I to develop an amazing friendship. I love knowing that one note gave her the ability to go on another day as she continues life with Timothy.”

Klein agreed that Timothy had fun at Carter’s birthday party.

As for her blog post gaining new life, Klein said she hopes it spreads a special message.

“I want only one thing for our kids–for all kids really, and that is inclusion,” she said. “All they want is to feel included and accepted for who and what they are–that different is okay…it’s just different.”

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Your Body: Alcohol and Birth Control

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

An estimated 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol for a woman to drink at any stage of pregnancy.

Remember: Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. But in terms of medical recommendations, as an obstetrician, I always suggest that women control what’s possible to control.

Once you know you’re pregnant, do not drink alcohol. And if you’re not using contraception, make sure you are getting at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day in case an unplanned pregnancy does occur.

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