Review Category : Health

U.K. launches probe into contaminated blood scandal

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) – The U.K. has launched a probe into a contaminated-blood scandal that left at least 2,400 people dead, according to the BBC.

The goal is to determine the cause of the “appalling injustice” that took place in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

A recent parliamentary report found that approximately 7,500 National Health Service patients were given imported blood products that were infected with hepatitis C and HIV, the BBC reported.

“This was an appalling tragedy, and it should never have happened,” May told the BBC.

Many of the patients were receiving donated blood to cope with a genetic bleeding disorder called hemophilia. The disorder slows down the blood-clotting process, often leading to prolonged bleeding after an injury, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The U.K. imported blood to treat patients with a clotting agent called factor VIII. However, some of the supplies were infected, including donations from prison inmates in the U.S., according to the BBC.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Tobacco company Philip Morris ordered to compensate Australia

Wavebreak Media(SYDNEY) –The Australian government is telling tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay up.

The government ordered Philip Morris to pay millions of dollars in legal costs after the company unsuccessfully sued the country over its “plain-packaging” laws, according to the BBC.

In 2012, Australia enacted a first-of-its-kind law that required cigarettes to be sold in “unappealing packages with graphic health warnings,” the BBC reported.

Philip Morris tried to get the laws overturned, but a court dismissed its claim in 2015.

Now, the Australian government wants the company to pay its legal fees, which the Sydney Morning Herald reported could be as high as $50 million. The exact sum was redacted from the court decision.

Philip Morris isn’t the only tobacco company that wasn’t happy with the Australian packaging laws. Along with Phillip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco launched a constitutional challenge in the country’s highest court, the BBC reported.

That bid failed, but Philip Morris went to the Permanent Court of Arbitration to argue that the legislation violated Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.

The court dismissed the case, calling it an “abuse of rights,” according to the BBC.

Philip Morris then unsuccessfully argued that the legal costs were “unreasonable,” citing comparable claims made by Canada and the U.S., which reached $4.5 million at the highest.

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Pregnant news anchor fires back at body-shaming viewer

Courtesy Laura Warren(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — A pregnant news anchor body-shamed by a viewer is firing back.

Laura Warren, a 27-year-old reporter in Augusta, Georgia, is expecting her first child. But a happy occasion was marred by a body-shaming viewer who left her a voicemail criticizing her appearance.

Warren posted the voicemail to her blog. The caller says:

“Please go to Target and buy some decent maternity clothes so you don’t walk around looking like you got a watermelon strapped under your too tight outfits. Target’s got a great line of maternity clothes in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. You’re getting to where you’re being disgusting on the TV.”

Warren responded in a lengthy blog post, writing, “Do I really look disgusting? What outfit is she talking about? Why did she call on Friday, I wasn’t even working Friday….did she boil over this all week and wait until I was off to leave me a voicemail? Oh crap, am I tearing up at my desk? NOT here. And, NOT over this. This lady doesn’t deserve to get a rise out of me. Does she know that I’m wearing maternity clothes? What does she want me to wear, a moo moo from the 50’s? Does she know this is 2017? WHY DID SHE CALL ME?! And, why can I not stop thinking about this?!”

Though Warren was initially very upset about the voicemail, she’s now looking toward the positive.

“The majority of people have said, ‘Don’t give that woman a second thought, and keep on being you.’ And, they’re right,” she told ABC News. “But, part of the reason I wrote that blog is to get a discussion going about how easy it is for us all to hang on and dwell on that one negative comment, instead of a whole sea of positive ones.”

The voicemail stung so much that Warren went to her station’s archives to review each and every one of her outfits to try and figure out which one could have possibly been seen as offensive. There were none as far as she could tell.

She told ABC News, “I think the reason I’ve received such kind feedback is because it struck a nerve with so many women who have felt these same insecurities. And, not just women. Husbands, fathers, friends, and family of women who have been pregnant and received some sort of criticism about their looks.”

As for Warren, she said she has no plans to change up her fashion as a result of the criticism.”I wanted this [the blog post]to be a reminder that your words have such power,” she said. “Use them for good.”

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Good Samaritans form human chain to rescue swimmers caught in rip current off Florida coast

Courtesy Rosalind Beckton(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — A normal day at the beach turned into a heroic moment Saturday when a group of strangers formed a human chain that stretched into the ocean to rescue swimmers stuck in a rip current.

Derek Simmons, 26, and his wife, Jessica Simmons, 29, came up with the idea to start the chain when they saw a group of around nine swimmers struggling to stay afloat off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida.

“The only thing that popped into my mind was if you’ve ever watched ants, when one of their babies is in trouble and can’t move, they start making a chain in order to pass them down the line to get them to safety,” Derek Simmons, of Panama City, told ABC News. “That’s the only thing I was thinking of, if we’re arm to arm, we can get them.”

The chain started with a group of around five people. The swimmers, who reportedly included two young boys and a group of adults who swam out to rescue them, were caught in the water around 6:30 p.m., after the beach’s lifeguards had left for the day, according to Simmons.

“A lot of people were like, ‘There’s no way we’re getting in the water, we’re going to get swept out,’ but I guess they just swallowed the pride pill and they just got in,” Simmons said of watching the chain of strangers grow. “It was pretty amazing stuff for it to be different races, different genders, different ages; everybody got together to help.”

Simmons, who described the ocean conditions as normal that day, and his wife were at the end of the chain. They would swim out to the distressed swimmers and pull them back to the chain one by one. The chain was then anchored by people on shore who would pull them back to safety.

“[Jessica and I] are no Olympic swimmers, not even Coast Guard swimmers but just two average people who spend a lot of time in the water,” Simmons said. “Everybody that was involved is a hero in my book.”

The chain eventually grew to around 40 people, according to a police report obtained by ABC News. The report estimates the swimmers were stuck nearly 70 yards away from the shoreline.

Rosalind Beckton, 38, was at the beach with her 12-year-old son and caught the rescue effort on camera.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Beckton said of the nearly one-hour rescue. “I didn’t know what to do but people were moving fast and they were just putting their heads together and making it happen all at once.”

Beckton said police were on the scene but were waiting for a boat to arrive to rescue the swimmers. The strangers formed the human chain on their own, she said.

“I call them heroes. They were so brave to get out there and risk their lives to save others,” said Beckton, who offered her CPR services on shore. “We were rejoicing when they all got out, people were giving out hugs.”

The Panama City Beach Police Department did not immediately reply to ABC News’ request for comment.

All the swimmers were pulled safely to shore, while two were taken to a local hospital for further treatment, according to the police report.

Simmons recalled the swimmers, some of whom were members of the same family, as being “completely exhausted.”

“They were trying their best to swim and everything but once you’ve been out there in a rip current for that long, it’s like running a race all day long, it’s just tiring,” he said.

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Comic Maysoon Zayid is making disability mainstream

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Once you’ve met Maysoon Zayid, it is impossible to forget her.

As she made her way through the ABC News studio, she left in her wake a sea of smiling faces, and a host of new fans. That included the security guard who signed her in, the hair and makeup team who prepared her for our interview, and even random people who overheard her telling stories about her day on the escalator.

Zayid, who is a natural entertainer, can trace her comedic skills back to her family’s country of origin.

“When my friends went down to the Jersey Shore, my parents would send us back to Palestine, because they were afraid that if we forgot our roots, we’d grow up to be Britney Spears,” she said. “And so my aunties would sit around and cross-stitch and gossip, and I would sit with them instead of going out in the blazing heat.”

“I became the star of those gossip sessions because no one was as quick or cruel as I was … I was like 5, 6 years old gossiping, cracking jokes, and I think that’s where it all started for me,” she added.

Now a veteran of screens big and small, and stand-up and speaking tours across the world, Zayid’s first foray into a career in performance was not necessarily what her parents had envisioned. The youngest of four girls, she was raised by parents who held their daughters to high standards when it came to achievement. One sister is now an ambassador; another, a loan officer; the third, a pharmacist. Zayid’s parents pushed her to become a lawyer.

“When I became a comedian the whole family was really worried. And they were like, ‘We need you to become a lawyer. We have figured out that law is what you can do with your disability,’” said Zayid, who has cerebral palsy. “Because I couldn’t be a heart surgeon. That would just be totally unwise.”

But she quickly discovered how difficult a career as an entertainer would be with a visible disability. Though 20 percent of Americans live with a disability, disabled speaking roles comprise only 2 percent on television according to a 2016 report titled “The Ruderman White Paper: Employment of Actors with Disabilities in Television.” Of that two percent, 95 percent are played by non-disabled actors.

“I would walk in to audition, some people would let me audition and just wouldn’t call me back,” Zayid recalled. “Other people, I would walk in the room and they would say, ‘No, thank you.’”

Refusing to be thwarted, Zayid continued on, carving out her own path rather than waiting for others to show her one. She co-created and still runs the Arab-American Comedy Festival, with fellow comic Dean Obeidallah. Her Ted Talk, a personal narrative called “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one,” has been viewed more than 8.6 million times to date. And she used her platform to become one of the most vocal and widely recognized disability advocates in the world.

“I had to make a decision and my decision was, do I go back to my really nice, safe life of being a stand-up comic, the only person with a mic, and not be made fun of. Or do I go out loud and proud, and let other disabled people know we are not grotesque. We do deserve a platform. And we can do this work just as well as our non-disabled counterparts,” Zayid said. “And I decided I had to do it.”

Check out the full conversation on this week’s episode of the “Uncomfortable” podcast, hosted by Amna Nawaz.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Kill the bill, don’t kill me:’ Health care protesters descend on Capitol Hill

Kristen Edwards/Twitter (WASHINGTON) — Over 100 protesters from across the U.S. gathered outside high-profile Republican senators’ offices on Monday to voice their opposition to the GOP’s Senate bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The demonstrators — some of whom are doctors, nurses, health care aides and patients with chronic health conditions — crowded around the offices and refused to leave, prompting the U.S. Capitol Police to physically remove them from the site. Organizers said demonstrators came from 21 U.S. states.

A total of 80 protesters were arrested. No senators were present during the demonstrations.

“We’re not just here representing ourselves. We’re here for women, for children, for indigenous people, for poor people. We’re just trying to get our message across. This is our reality. This is not their reality show,” said Nanti Ortiz, a protester from Arizona.

Demonstrators who staged a sit-in inside the office of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, described the harrowing medical conditions they endured and how benefits from the ACA, also known as Obamacare, helped them access life-saving treatments.

Sasha, a 32-year-old woman from Ohio, recalled the story of her battle with breast cancer, which included six rounds of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments and a bilateral mastectomy.

“My care was paid for by an insurance company. Without the protections of ACA, I would not have access to that care because I have a pre-existing condition,” she said, while participating in the sit-in in Portman’s office.

Peter, from Cleveland, detailed the $90,000 bill he received from emergency surgery and said “Senator Portman, do the right thing. Kill the bill. Don’t kill me.”

Others within Portman’s office made desperate pleas over cuts to Medicaid.

The Senate GOP bill to repeal and replace the ACA includes cuts to Medicaid’s projected budget over the next 10 years by a combined $772 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That would decrease the amount projected to be spent federally on Medicaid during that time to about $4.2 trillion.

The bill would also take away health insurance coverage from 22 million Americans, and is estimated to create $541 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

Housing Works, Center for Popular Democracy and their affiliates including People’s Action, Rights & Democracy Vermont and Arizona-based LUCHA took responsibility for collaborating with a nationwide network of activists to organize Monday’s protests.

“Senators should go on notice: if you pass a bill that repeals Obamacare and takes health care from millions of people, we will make sure you lose your job,” Jennifer Epps-Addison, Co-Executive Director and Network President for Center for Popular Democracy said in a statement.

Senators heard an earful from their constituents during town hall meetings across the country last week as one additional senator — the usually reliably conservative John Hoeven of North Dakota — came out against the bill during the recess. This increased the count of senators opposed to the bill to 10, and has sparked concerns that Republicans may have to work with the Democrats on “less comprehensive legislation to reassure the insurance industry,” according to Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The bill only requires two senators to vote against it to fail.

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Java drinkers, rejoice: Coffee may help you live longer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you ever felt that you needed coffee to survive, you may be on to something.

Drinking coffee is linked to a decreased risk of death, according to two large studies published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

One of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, coffee’s potential health benefits have been the subject of curiosity for decades. Research has already suggested that drinking coffee regularly may be tied to a lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Now there is evidence that it might have a broader effect, staving off other potential causes of death as well.

One study examined the coffee-drinking patterns of more than 185,000 Americans over a 16-year period. The researchers found that regular coffee consumption was associated with lower risk of dying from all causes – and the more cups of coffee these subjects consumed per day, the greater this apparent benefit. And in fact, those who reported drinking four or more cups per day enjoyed an 18 percent decreased chance of death over the 16-year study period compared to those who said they did not drink coffee at all.

In a second study, researchers in Europe looked at more than 520,000 people across 10 countries over 16 years. This study, too, found that those who drank several cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of death, regardless of country.

Both studies took into account smoking and other factors that could have affected the results.

“I was surprised by how consistently our findings fit in relative to what has been previously published,” said Veronica Setiawan, lead author of the U.S. study and an epidemiologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. “It’s surprising and very reassuring. More than half of Americans drink coffee so it’s very important to understand its health impact.”

Setiawan — who admitted that she drinks a cup or two of coffee each day herself — added that her study was the first of this scale to measure the possible effects of coffee consumption across a racial and ethnic spectrum. Her team found that coffee was associated with fewer deaths due to heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease — a finding that echoed true across a variety of ethnic groups including African-Americans, Caucasians, Japanese-Americans and Latinos.

But when it comes to whether we can conclusively call coffee an elixir for long life … other researchers say the science on that answer still needs to percolate.

“Recommending coffee intake to reduce mortality or prevent chronic disease would be premature,” wrote Dr. Eliseo Guallar, professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Health, in an accompanying editorial. “However, it is increasingly evident that moderate coffee intake … can be incorporated into a healthy diet.”

Interestingly, in the U.S. study, even decaffeinated coffee was found to be linked to longer life, suggesting that the mechanism for its health benefits lies somewhere other than caffeine. Coffee does contain many bioactive chemicals, including those with antioxidant effects, which have been shown in the past to have positive impacts on health.

In the U.S. alone, coffee is a roughly $48 billion industry, so the news that the beverage might do far more than just wake people up has important implications.

This article was written by Trisha Pasricha, M.D., an internal medicine resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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‘Healthy Living for Summer’: Staying fit with workout tips

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Staying in shape while staying out of the gym could be a challenge. In the third episode of ABC News’ “Healthy Living for Summer” series, we go over workout tips you can do on the go, whether you’re at the beach or on vacation this summer.

We spoke with mixed martial artist and UFC athlete Kailin Curran for advice and to find out some of her favorite on-the-go moves.

Quick tips

  • Stay hydrated (Curran said she drinks a gallon of water a day)
  • Eat properly to fuel your body so you have the energy to workout
  • Figure out what your body needs and don’t skimp on protein and healthy carbs
  • Properly stretch before and after your workout
  • Make use of your surroundings while on the road and get creative

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Tennessee woman surprises husband with match for kidney transplant

Steve_Winfree(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — Steven Winfree has been going through cycles of dialysis to help him survive. He has kidney failure and desperately needs a transplant.

So when his wife, Heather Winfree, found out she was a match to donate her kidney to him, she decided to tell him in a very special way and captured the moment on video.

On July 6, the couple was sitting on their porch in Tennessee going through a pack of baseball cards, which have always been a stress reliever for Steve Winfree, according to his wife. Unbeknownst to him, Heather had made his her own baseball card to surprise him with the good news; she added a picture of Steve to the stack. On the back was a passage full of puns about baseball to announce the match.

“Steve’s had a lot on his plate. With his health issues, he’s been striking out a lot. He was not sure how he was going to wind up. His wife Heather thinks he is a great catch, so she’s decided to go to bat for him. Now, Steve will be a rookie recipient of a transplant.”

Steve couldn’t finish reading the word transplant before he broke down into tears, as the the video showed.

“Are you serious?” he asked between sobs.

“Thanks for saving my life,” he added, tearfully.

Heather said she was also emotional when she heard the news, before she shared it with Steve.

She said she received the call at work and had to retreat to the stairwell because she was “bawling [her] eyes out.”

After more than a year that Steve has been unable to do things he normally could, now he can receive her kidney as soon as the end of July.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Motivated’ podcast: Incredible weight loss transformations

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Two fitness trainers who lost a combined 200 pounds are opening up about their weight loss success stories, sharing the key to their transformations.

At his heaviest, Adonis Hill says he was 310 pounds. “I was tired of looking in the mirror and not liking myself,” he told ABC News’ Mara Schiavocampo on the latest episode of the “Motivated” podcast.

Hill lost 100 pounds, became a fitness trainer and then decided to gain back weight to participate in A&E’s “Fit to Fat to Fit” reality show. On the show, trainers sign up to gain weight so they can lose it again with their clients. Hill ended up gaining 70 pounds in just four months before dropping almost 60 pounds with his client on the show.

“I realized that not only am I a stronger person physically but mentally I realized I can accomplish and do whatever I put my mind to,” he said.

To get results, Hill upped the exercise and diet. Now, he gives his clients the same advice. “Mentally, we have to get you start focusing on how you view foods,” he said.

‘Motivated’ with Mara Schiavocampo: Actor Morris Chestnut on how to sculpt your perfect body

For Shanna Fried, finding the perfect exercise was key to dropping the weight. “I would say the main reason how I got to almost 300 pounds [was] I gave up on myself. I gave up on the hope that I can ever lose weight,” the New York-based trainer said. A friend introduced her to boxing and she said she fell in love with it from the first punch.

“In that moment I would say a light bulb went off in my head saying, ‘OK this is it … I have a chance. There is a chance I don’t have to accept this is the way I’m going to be. I have to fight for it. I’m not going to come in here and enjoy every second of it. But this is something that I love doing.’”

Finding an exercise she loved encouraged her to change her eating habits as well. “From that point on, I completely stopped eating fast food, completely stopped soda. And just from that, weight started dropping like water,” she shared. Her hard work eventually paid off — she dropped down to 165 pounds.

Hill and Fried are now trainers who hope their stories can inspire others to keep going.

New episodes of “Motivated” are posted every Monday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, ABCNewsPodcasts.com and the ABC News apps.

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