Review Category : Health

How Did US Ebola Patients Get Experimental Serum?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Desperate to save the American Ebola patients in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse started researching experimental treatments last week, according to an official at the National Institutes of Health.

The organization called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which referred them to an NIH employee deployed in Africa who would be familiar with the treatments.

“She was able to answer some questions and referred them to appropriate company and embassy contacts to pursue their interest in obtaining experimental product,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

He added that the NIH employee was not working in any official capacity for the NIH at the time. She was working for a team led by CDC and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

When the vials arrived, those caring for Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol could not tell if there would be enough of the serum for both of them. Brantly said Writebol should get the dose first, but soon his condition worsened and doctors gave him the first dose. Doctors realized there was enough for both of them and gave Writebol the second dose shortly thereafter.

Within 20 minutes to an hour after getting the serum, Brantly “improved dramatically.”

Brantly was flown from Liberia to Emory University Medical Center over the weekend for supportive care, where he shocked doctors by walking into the hospital.

Writebol is expected to fly out Tuesday, and her appetite has reportedly improved.

“Her husband, David, told me Sunday her appetite has improved and she requested one of her favorite dishes — Liberian potato soup — and coffee,” Bruce Johnson, president of Writebol’s missionary group SIM USA, said in a statement.

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‘Dumb Idea': Teen Burned in Fire Challenge Warns Others

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Videos on YouTube are revealing a disturbing trend: the so-called fire challenge.

Teenagers are setting themselves on fire and posting the video as a social media stunt.

It has become so popular that a quick YouTube search for the term “fire challenge” turned up tens of thousands of videos.

In the videos, teens typically apply flammable liquid to their bodies, then flick a lighter. They quickly douse the flames before they can be hurt, but not everyone is quick enough.

Fernando Valencia did the challenge and ended up burning his waist and neck. Now he’s sounding the alarm, and has posted video of his burns as a warning.

Valencia, 16, told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles that he couldn’t see through the flames on his body.

“You just see fire, you can’t really see nothing,” he said. “Since I saw other people fail, I thought I could do the same thing but actually last longer under the flame…I can’t really say nothing else besides it was a dumb idea.”

Similar attempts by other teens have resulted in emergency room visits all over the country, and authorities are urging parents to pay attention.

“We’re just asking parents and even other teenagers to sit down with each other and talk about what the real consequences are,” Micki Trost of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control told ABC News’ Denver affiliate KMGH-TV.

The trauma of a stunt gone wrong can be more than physical. Some experts say teens can find it hard to rid their minds of the images of fire.

“It can create this feeling of risk that can be exciting in the moment, but then can also make some of the kids that we see have trouble with sleeping,” Brad Jackson, a child psychologist with the burn unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, told KMGH. “They often become more fearful about other situations where they might be at high risk.”

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More Sex Education Advised for Younger Adolescents

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Georgetown University study suggests that policy makers, schools and parents across the world are falling down on the job when it comes to giving children accurate and useful sex education.

Authors Susan M. Igras, Marjorie Macieira, Elaine Murphy and Rebecka Lundgren say that younger adolescents, defined as those between ten and 14, from lower- and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies and STDs, noting that they’ve increased significantly over the past quarter century in these parts of the world.

Therefore, the researchers say that much more needs to be done to instruct younger adolescents about their sexual and reproductive health, including those in the U.S.

Adults are also being advised to get over their fear of talking to their kids about sexual matters since they worry it could lead to experimentation.

The researchers conclude, “If programs…are implemented at a time when adolescents are still malleable and relatively free of sexual and reproductive health problems and gender role biases, very young adolescents can be guided safely through this life stage, supported by their parents, families and communities.”

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More Sex Education Advised for Younger Adolescents

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Georgetown University study suggests that policy makers, schools and parents across the world are falling down on the job when it comes to giving children accurate and useful sex education.

Authors Susan M. Igras, Marjorie Macieira, Elaine Murphy and Rebecka Lundgren say that younger adolescents, defined as those between ten and 14, from lower- and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies and STDs, noting that they’ve increased significantly over the past quarter century in these parts of the world.

Therefore, the researchers say that much more needs to be done to instruct younger adolescents about their sexual and reproductive health, including those in the U.S.

Adults are also being advised to get over their fear of talking to their kids about sexual matters since they worry it could lead to experimentation.

The researchers conclude, “If programs…are implemented at a time when adolescents are still malleable and relatively free of sexual and reproductive health problems and gender role biases, very young adolescents can be guided safely through this life stage, supported by their parents, families and communities.”

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Sure, I Know That Song…What’s It Called?

Blend Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Like Al Bundy trying to remember the name of his favorite song from high school in a famous episode from Married with Children, we’ve all been stuck trying to recall the title of a tune or movie. Nowadays, you can always Google the answer but an even better method is simply asking your spouse or some other loved one.

According to a study published in the journal Memory Studies, working together on trying to remember something either important or trivial is generally more effective than doing it on your own.

For instance, couples got to the answer faster when they tried to remember the name of a musical they saw. The same was true when it came to remembering detailed descriptions of certain events they shared.

The researchers did note that when couples tried to recall words from studied lists, they did as well independently as they did together.

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Sure, I Know That Song…What’s It Called?

Blend Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Like Al Bundy trying to remember the name of his favorite song from high school in a famous episode from Married with Children, we’ve all been stuck trying to recall the title of a tune or movie. Nowadays, you can always Google the answer but an even better method is simply asking your spouse or some other loved one.

According to a study published in the journal Memory Studies, working together on trying to remember something either important or trivial is generally more effective than doing it on your own.

For instance, couples got to the answer faster when they tried to remember the name of a musical they saw. The same was true when it came to remembering detailed descriptions of certain events they shared.

The researchers did note that when couples tried to recall words from studied lists, they did as well independently as they did together.

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You’ll Live Longer If Your Kids Go to College

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Although sending youngsters to college is an expensive proposition for parents, it could wind up helping mom and dad in the long run.

How so? A study of 26,000 adults over the age of 51 reported by the Pew Research Center determined that parents of college grads live about two years longer than those whose kids didn’t continue their education beyond high school.

Taking into account parents’ own education and income, sociologists Esther Friedman and Robert Mare said that the folks lived to an average of 71 years old if their children had a college degree, compared to 69 for the other group.

Friedman and Mare explained the difference might have to do with better educated kids steering their moms and dads to a healthier lifestyle.

That includes either not smoking or giving up smoking as well as exercising more than parents of children who didn’t wind up going to college.

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American Doctor with Ebola Improving at US Hospital

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Dr. Kent Brantly, who was infected with the Ebola virus while in West Africa, is said to be improving since arriving at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta this weekend, according to a statement by Samaritan’s Purse.

The Christian aid group said Brantly received a dose of the experimental antibody serum before leaving Liberia, the same medicine he passed along to another infected American, aid worker Nancy Writebol.

Meanwhile, Brantly’s wife, Amber, released her own statement Sunday, saying her husband is receiving excellent care at Emory and is in good spirits.

There were also reports that when Brantly entered the hospital Saturday, he did so under his own power with the help of medical professionals. All three wore protective gear to contain the deadly virus, which has killed more than 825 people in four West African countries.

In other developments, Writebol is being transferred from Liberia to Emory Hospital and is expected to land in the U.S. Tuesday. She will receive the same treatment as Brantly.

Even if both Americans continue showing improvement, there is no guarantee they will be completely cured of Ebola. Brantly and Writebol will have to be under constant monitoring to ensure their blood pressure, lung function, kidney function and other vitals remain steady.

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Plane Bringing Second American with Ebola Back to US to Leave for Liberia Sunday

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The plane carrying the second American patient who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia will leave the U.S. for the West African country Sunday, a U.S. official told ABC News.

The private air ambulance is scheduled to take off on Sunday and arrive in Liberia after one stopover, the official said. The plane will then bring aid worker Nancy Writebol to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., and is expected to land midday Tuesday.

The same plane brought Dr. Kent Brantly to Georgia on Saturday. He’s undergoing treatment at Emory University Hospital, where Writebol will be treated after she arrives in the U.S.

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Why Experts Were Surprised That Ebola-Infected Doctor Could Walk Into a Hospital

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The fact that an Ebola-infected American was able to walk into a Georgia hospital Saturday after his return to the United States surprised even medical experts familiar with the ravages of the deadly disease.

Dr. Kent Brantly arrived at Emory University Hospital Saturday after being evacuated from Monrovia, Liberia where he was being treated for Ebola. Although Brantly had shown signs of the disease for the past week, he managed to walk into the hospital with the support of medical personnel.

All three wore protective gear to contain the deadly virus.

Brantly, along with missionary Nancy Writebol, was infected with the disease after working with Ebola-infected patients in Liberia’s capital city. This current Ebola outbreak is the worst on record and has killed more than 700 in three countries in West African and infected more than 1,300.

Before Brantly arrived in Atlanta, not much about his condition had been made public. According to Samaritan’s Purse, the aid organization he was working for, Brantly was in “serious but stable” condition before being flown to the U.S.

When the doctor was able to walk into the hospital, at least two experts said they were surprised but pleased that the doctor seemed to be doing well.

This strain of the Ebola virus has a fatality rate of approximately 60 percent and past outbreaks had fatality rates as high as 90 percent.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said he felt “guardedly optimistic,” since Ebola usually advances quickly and Brantly had shown signs of the disease for at least a week.

“The first thing we all said ‘Whoa he’s not on a vent,'” Schaffner said of realizing that Brantly did not need a ventilator to help him breathe. “In general [with] Ebola is … you progress on a downhill course. If you’re at this point and you’re holding your own you’re entitled to be optimistic.”

While the incubation period can last from eight to 21 days, once someone develops symptoms they can be sick for a wider range of time. Schaffner explained that when someone shows signs of Ebola they tend to go downhill fairly rapidly and consistently.

Scaffner said that once a person shows signs of Ebola the symptoms don’t usually disappear until the person overcomes the virus. As a result, they don’t usually have periods where they could appear healthy and relapse.

Schaffner said the fact that Brantly appeared to be well enough to walk, indicates that at least for the moment his heart rate, respiratory rate and other vital signs were not critical.

Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said although it does not guarantee Brantly will fully recover, the fact that he could walk 10 days after showing Ebola symptoms is a “good sign.”

“If you can walk in, that’s a very good sign. I was surprised but pleasantly,” Morse said of seeing Brantly walk to the hospital entrance.

Morse said that Brantly was obviously not out of the woods and that he would be under constant monitoring to ensure his blood pressure, lung function, kidney function and other vitals remained steady.

“If he really does get better, we want to know his secret,” Morse said.

After Brantly’s arrival, his wife Amber Brantly released a statement saying she is relieved her husband has arrived in the U.S.

“It was a relief to welcome Kent home today,” Amber Brantly said in a statement. “I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the U.S. I am thankful to God for his safe transport and for giving him the strength to walk into the hospital.”

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