Review Category : Health

Runner Takes on NYC Marathon After Nearly Losing His Leg

Kevin Dunbar(NEW YORK) — Among the thousands of runners in the 2014 New York Marathon aiming to break personal or even world records, one runner will simply be happy to cross the finish line on his own two feet.

Ken Dunbar, 33, nearly lost his right leg three years ago after an accident during a soccer game. A rare complication from a single kick during the game led to swelling and tissue loss in Dunbar’s leg.

It started when a player accidentally kicked him squarely on his right calf. Dunbar said he felt a pain similar to a cramp.

“When you get a cramp, it feels like the muscles are tightening and won’t stop pulling,” the Cincinnati man told ABC News. “Over the course of the next hour or so, it kept getting worse. “

By the end of the late-night soccer game, Dunbar was in the hospital unable to put even the slightest pressure on his right leg.

Dunbar said doctors at the hospital quickly realized he had dangerous condition called compartment syndrome, where the blood supply is cut off from part of the limb because of an injury and swelling.

“The swelling starts to push in on bone and all of that and it cuts off blood circulation,” Dunbar said.

A hematoma or a collection of blood similar to a bruise in Dunbar’s leg caused swelling in his lower right leg, cutting off blood flow to the area. Severe cases of compartment syndrome can result in tissue death that leads to amputation.

For at least one day he was still unsure whether he was going to get to keep his leg.

“They were checking the pulse every hour,” he recalled. “If I started to lose a pulse in my leg. They were going to amputate.”

To relieve the swelling, doctors made incisions from the bottom of Dunbar’s knee to his ankle. When tissue started to die in his leg, Dunbar said doctors had to go in and cut it out. He spent more than a week in a hospital bed on morphine with no chance of quick recovery.

As he lay in bed, high on painkillers, Dunbar remembers one moment clearly.

“If I can get through this week without [their] taking my leg, I am going to start running again,” he recalled thinking.

When Dunbar was finally released, he still had his leg, but was unable to put any pressure on his injured leg, much less run on it.

“I was on crutches and it was wrapped up so much and it was very, very painful,” he remembered.

But even at that early point he was determined to get back into a race.

During four months of intense physical training, Dunbar focused on one goal: He wanted to run.

While he had been a runner in high school, he spent over a decade trying out other sports as he married and had three children. He said the accident made him want to get back to his roots as a runner.

“We fought through physical therapy, which was months and months of physical labor,” he said. “They got me back to where I was able to run.”

When he was finally approved to run, Dunbar set his goal on his first race in years: a half-marathon.

“I did my first half-marathon,” Dunbar said. “As soon as I got done, I said I need to do a full.”

Dunbar has since run nine marathons in six states and plans to run in a marathon in all 50 states. But the father of three is especially excited to run his first New York marathon along with around 50,000 participants.

“New York has been on my bucket list,” Dunbar said. “Between New York and Boston, those are the two that I want to do the most. [New York is] the one every runner wants to do.”

After fighting back from his injury, Dunbar says he doesn’t mind the lengthy training it takes to run a marathon.

“With any training you’re going to have your ups and downs and bumps and bruises,” he said. “That’s part of what makes marathoning so enjoyable. [After] 18 to 23 weeks of training, you don’t know how it’s going to go.”

Dunbar said the race will be just the second time he’s visited New York. But that this time he expects to see much more of the city.

“The fact I’m going to go through all five boroughs and all different types of New York City,” Dunbar cited as what he’s most excited about.

“The fans in New York, there is no comparison,” he said.

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These Fatter Crash-Test Dummies May Help Prevent Road Deaths

Humanetics(NEW YORK) — Crash-test dummies are undergoing a makeover to reflect the thicker waistlines and larger rear ends of Americans.

“Studies show that obese drivers are 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash,” said Chris O’Connor, CEO of Humanetics, the only U.S. producer of the dummies.

O’Connor said crash-test dummies are now typically modeled after a person who weighs about 167 pounds with a healthy body mass index. His company is designing new dummies based on the measurements of a 270-pound person with a BMI of 35, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other health groups, consider morbidly obese.

O’Connor said seat belts, air bags and other safety features are designed for thinner people and don’t fit heavier people the same way.

“Typically you want someone in a very tight position with their rear against the back of the seat and the seat belt tight to the pelvis,” O’Connor explained. “An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position. They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily.”

Studies indicate that such drivers are indeed at greater risk in car crashes. In 2010, researchers from University at Buffalo and Erie County Medical Center analyzed more than 150,000 car crashes in the United States and found that drivers considered moderately obese had a 21-percent increased risk of death. Morbidly obese drivers were 56 percent more likely to die in a crash, the study found.

Dr. Mark Reiter, the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, said he was unaware of significant differences in injury patterns between thin and fat drivers. But he did say obese victims of car crashes can be difficult to treat.

“It is harder to perform medical procedures like intubations of breathing tubes and insertion of chest tubes for collapsed lungs and they may have other chronic conditions that put them at increased risk,” he said, adding that sometimes neck collars and transport boards may not fit them.

“It does seem reasonable to utilize test dummies that have different body types to see if it has an impact on injury types and severity,” he said.

Russ Raider, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group that tests vehicles for safety and uses Humanetics dummies in its testing, said cars that perform well in crash-test ratings are designed to protect people of all sizes.

“There certainly is a place for heavier crash-test dummies,” he said. “For example, engineering more robust restraint systems such as seat belts and airbags. However, all of the improvements we’ve seen in safety of vehicles over the last couple of decades are allowing people to walk away from crashes without serious injuries regardless of size.”

O’Conner said it’s unclear whether heavier passengers are also in greater danger but he said he assumes so. He also said the data used to create the new dummies indicated that obese women drivers had double the risk of becoming a fatality compared with obese men.

With more than 70 percent of Americans now either overweight or obese, according to the CDC, O’Conner said the death risk for obese people in cars is a serious problem that must be addressed.

“We need to find a way to make cars safer for everyone, regardless of size,” he said.

The heftier Humanetics dummies will go into trial usage by the end of this year and become available for wider use sometime next year, O’Conner said.

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Hidden Camera Records More than 100 Catcalls Aimed at New York Woman

AbleStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Aided by a hidden camera, a New York City woman has exposed what she says happens to her every day on the city’s streets.

Shoshanna Roberts says she was catcalled over 100 times while being filmed over the course of 10 hours.

“It was all types people,” Roberts told ABC News. “All colors, shapes, sizes [and] ages.”

Roberts filmed her first-hand view for Hollaback!, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about street harassment.

The recording of Roberts, an actress, is now being used by the organization as a PSA titled, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman.”

“I wanted to give it to guys who would maybe consider whistling at a girl,” said Rob Bliss, the owner of his own creative firm who reached out to Hollaback! with the idea of creating the PSA.

“To see things from the other side and to really feel for the first time, going through this every day, I feel kind of sick,” said Bliss, who captured the catcalling with a GoPro camera hidden on his back while he walked in front of Roberts.

Viewers of the PSA have responded with comments online like, “No woman should ever have to experience this,” and, “All you men should be ashamed of yourself.”

The woman at the center of the catcalls says it is time for change. “It is not acceptable,” Roberts said. “Enough is enough.”

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More Parents Find Nutrition Labels Really Are Helpful

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Over the years, nutrition labels have become part of the supermarket shopping experience even if many Americans still don’t pay much attention to them.

Fortunately, the numbers are trending upwards, at least among parents, according to the Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

In the survey of nearly 1,500 parents, four out of 10 moms say they read nutrition labels “very often” or “always” as compared to 35 percent of dads.

Meanwhile, ten percent of mothers and 16 percent of fathers admit they don’t look at the labels while shopping.

In terms of how much the nutrition labels influence their purchases, 46 percent of moms and 33 percent of dads said either “very often or always.”

What tops the list when it comes to which nutrient parents regard as “very important?” It’s sugars in both cases, although women also say that proteins and dietary fiber are also “very important.”

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Fatalities Jump as More People Ride Bikes

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — More Americans in recent years are biking as a means of staying fit and reducing transportation costs. However, the downside to this phenomenon is that more bikers are also dying on U.S. roads.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that between 2010 and 2012, the number of bicyclists involved in fatal collisions with vehicles jumped 16 percent from 621 to 722.

The researchers wouldn’t say conclusively that an increase of people on bikes was directly related to a jump in deaths although the signs certainly point in that direction.

During the first year the association compiled figures in 1975, there were just over 1,000 deaths as the result of crashes involving cars. Back then, the overwhelming majority of people killed were under 20 years old. Today, most of those killed are over 20.

The study also showed that two out of three bicyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets.

Another disturbing finding is that 25 percent of bikers over the age of 16 who died had been drinking alcohol with many at or over a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is legally drunk.

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Modern Communication Is Essential to Healthy Family Relationships

iStock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Kan.) — While parents might complain that their kids are too involved with technology, their children might possibly have a bigger gripe that mom and dad don’t know much about today’s many modes of communication.

In that case University of Kansas’ Jennifer Schon happens to side with the younger generation. She says if parents really want to understand their kids better, they need to enhance their communication skills.

Upon asking grown children ages 18 to 29 how they share and exchange information with their folks using virtually everything from landlines to Snapchat, the respondents of a survey said their relationships grew stronger based on how many channels of communications were used.

Taking into account that some parents have a hard time communicating with their children, Schon contends that using social networks and other technologies can certainly help.

Meanwhile, when asked to pick the better communicator out of their parents, the majority said their moms, mainly because they were usually easier to get in contact with than their dear old dad.

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POLL: Ebola Worries Ease a Bit Despite Preparedness Concerns

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ebola worries have eased slightly in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, despite a broad sense among Americans that their local hospitals are unprepared to deal with the virus — and continued preference for a more robust response by the federal government.

After the difficulties at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where two nurses were infected, just 29 percent in this national survey think the staff at their local hospitals is adequately trained to deal with Ebola cases. Six in 10 think not.

[See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.]

The fact that both nurses recovered — and just one further case has been identified — may have done at least a little to calm fears of a broad outbreak. In interviews Thursday through Sunday, 36 percent of Americans expressed worry that they or an immediate family member might catch the Ebola virus, down by 7 percentage points from two weeks before. And while 60 percent are concerned about an epidemic occurring in the United States, that’s eased from 65 percent.

Further, the new poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows an 8-point increase in Barack Obama’s approval rating for handling the issue, to 49 percent, now exceeding the 41 percent who disapprove. There’s a closer division on the response by the federal Centers for Disease Control, 47-45 percent; it’s said it could have moved more forcefully in providing oversight in Dallas.

Another result shows steady majority confidence — 63 percent — in the ability of the federal government to respond effectively to an outbreak. That said, 61 percent also say the government should do more to try to prevent further cases in the United States.

The public by 46-37 percent also says the United States is not doing enough to try to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa; on this question 17 percent have no opinion.

Interviews for this survey were conducted before debate erupted over moves by some state governments to impose greater restrictions than the CDC’s on people who’ve been to West African countries affected by Ebola. Regardless, 70 percent support restricting entry to the United States by such people — similar to the level two weeks ago — indicating general support for aggressive efforts to prevent spread of the disease.

AWARENESS and WORRY – This survey also finds a high level of awareness about the disease: Eighty-one percent feel that they understand how the Ebola virus is transmitted among humans — an important result, because feeling informed relates to concern.

Specifically, worries about catching the virus, and about a U.S. epidemic, are substantially lower among those who say they understand how it’s transmitted. These concerns are lowest among the 37 percent who feel they know “very well” how transmission occurs, underscoring the role of education in quelling public fears.

Education factors into feeling informed — among college graduates, 91 percent say they’re well informed about how Ebola is transmitted, including 51 percent “very” well informed. Those numbers decline to 76 and 30 percent, respectively, among those who lack a degree.

GROUPS and CHANGES – Concerns about Ebola are concentrated in some groups. Worry about catching the disease remains particularly high among less-educated adults — nearly twice as high among those without a college degree (42 percent worried) compared with college graduates (24 percent). Concerns about a U.S. epidemic, similarly, are 23 points higher among the less-educated group, 68 vs. 45 percent.

That said, some of the greatest changes from two weeks ago are among more-concerned groups. Worry about catching Ebola is down by 8 points among non-graduates compared with earlier this month, and concern about an epidemic is down by 6 points in this group.

Among other groups, worry about an epidemic has subsided among Republicans and conservatives, by 11 and 8 points, respectively. Nonetheless, both remain much more apt than others to say the government should do more to try to stop the spread of the disease in the United States — putting these groups in the somewhat unusual position of favoring more, not less, government action.

Women are 10 points more likely than men to express worry that they or a family member might catch the disease, and 9 points more apt to say they’re concerned about an epidemic. There’s also a sharp racial division, with worries about catching Ebola 22 points higher among nonwhites than whites.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 23-26, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,204 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the survey’s design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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Researchers Consider Bluetooth Technology as Means of Monitoring Athletes’ Hearts in Real Time

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers in Germany were able to used portable electrocardiograms and Bluetooth technology to study how marathon runners’ hearts are stressed during a race.

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at data from 10 runners continuously during a marathon. The data collected via Bluetooth was comparable to that gathered by the EKG attached to the runner. One-hundred percent of heart abnormalities found by the direct EKG were also found via Bluetooth.

Researchers wonder whether the technology could hold implications for real-time monitoring of athletes, perhaps working to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

The study was small, in that it only looked at 10 runners, and collecting data on thousands of runners at an event like the upcoming New York Marathon could be difficult, requiring hundreds of cardiologists and putting a strain on cell phone towers.

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Study: Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis More Effective at Preventing False-Positive Breast Cancer Diagnoses

monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study partially supported by the National Cancer Institute found that while more expensive, women with dense breasts are better served by receiving a mammogram combined with a process called tomosynthesis than a mammogram alone.

The study, published in the journal Radiology, found that adding the tomosynthesis to a standard mammogram can reduce over-diagnosis of breast cancer in women ages 50 to 74 with dense breasts. Researchers used data from the NCI’s Breast Cancer Surveillance to compare the effectiveness of the two screening options.

The tomography and mammography combined prevented 405 false diagnoses per 1,000 women through 12 rounds of screening, according to the study.

This method, researchers say, while more expensive than just a standard mammogram, could eliminate unnecessary diagnostic work-ups and invasive procedures — and the costs that accompany them — that result from false-positive diagnoses.

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Kaci Hickox Won’t Follow Maine Ebola Quarantine Rule, Lawyer Says

Handout Photo(FORT KENT, Maine) — Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was quarantined at a New Jersey hospital despite exhibiting no Ebola symptoms after arriving from West Africa, won’t follow the quarantine imposed by Maine officials, her attorney said Tuesday night.

“Going forward she does not intend to abide by the quarantine imposed by Maine officials because she is not a risk to others,” her attorney Steven Hyman said. “She is asymptomatic and under all the protocols cannot be deemed a medical risk of being contagious to anyone.”

Hickox will abide by all the self-monitoring requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Maine, Hyman said.

Maine requires that health care workers such as Hickox who return to the state from West Africa remain under a 21-day home quarantine, with their condition actively monitored, Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a statement.

“We will help make sure the health care worker has everything to make this time as comfortable as possible,” he said.

Hickox left University Hospital in Newark Monday afternoon and was taken to Maine, where she lives.

Hickox, 29, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday. She had previously treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, but never registered a fever, leaving no medical reason to keep her quarantined, another of her attorneys, Norman Siegel, told ABC News.

She was held in a tent structure outside of University Hospital.

“Her civil rights were violated,” Siegel said. “At a minimum, she could bring an action for damages. But I think her goal is to try to revise the current policies with regard to, for example, mandatory quarantines.”

Siegel criticized New Jersey and New York governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo for enacting quarantine policies, despite criticisms from the Obama administration and medical experts that the measures were unnecessary.

“When you look at what happened and how it happened, you come away with the sense that this policy was based on fear and politics rather on medical fact, and we can’t have the politicians directing these kinds of important issues,” Siegel said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the federal government has established Ebola guidelines that are “based on solid science,” but he declined to classify states’ quarantine efforts as a mistake.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake’ because I think when people do things, the governor of New York, the governor of New Jersey, they’re doing it in good faith to try and do what they feel is the best for their constituents,” Fauci said in an interview with Good Morning America. “What we’re trying to do is set the bar that’s based on scientific data, but that’s not to criticize or to put down a decision that an official might make wanting to go the extra mile. That’s just judgment on their part.”

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