Review Category : Health

Single Mom Dresses as Dad for Son’s ‘Dads and Doughnuts Day’ at School

Whitney Kittrell(NEW YORK) — One Utah mom made sure her little boy wouldn’t miss out on a special event at school by slipping into her best “dad outfit” this week.

Whitney Kittrell, a single parent of two, dressed as a dad for 5-year-old Lucas’ “Dads and Doughnuts Day” at her kindergartner’s Arrowhead Elementary School in Santa Clara.

She shared the photo on Facebook, where it received thousands of comments and over 27,000 likes.

“It’s been very overwhelming seeing the response,” Kittrell told ABC News. “I’ve had kids that were raised by single parents reach out and thank me to let me know that [we] are not alone. I’m just an ordinary mom. I’m doing what anybody else will do, but as a single parent a lot of times you feel alone and isolated, but there are other people that are going through the exact same thing. I’m so grateful to see the positive impact it’s making.”

Kittrell is attending school to become a respiratory therapist and was unable to attend Lucas’ “Moms and Muffins Day” as part of his school’s Family Week from Feb. 6-10.

“It’s a PTA-sponsored event,” Steve Dunham, director of communications for Washington County School District told ABC News. “So this week they did a ‘Dads and Doughnuts’ and ‘Moms and Muffins.’ My understanding is that Whitney had to go to ‘Dads and Doughnuts’ because she couldn’t make it to ‘Moms and Muffins.'”

After Lucas said he wanted his mother to attend “Dads and Doughnuts Day,” Kittrell, who has full custody of her children, decided to make it fun.

“I’ve heard of other moms going and not necessarily wearing a beard but dressing up like a guy and going so I said, ‘That’d be funny why not?'” Kittrell recalled. “I didn’t do it for the attention of dressing up like that. I knew it would make him laugh. I knew it was something he would think is funny. He helped me pick the paint out for the beard and it was really fun.”

Kittrell went to “Dads and Doughnuts Day” in the school’s lunchroom with Lucas on Feb. 8. That morning, she shared the story publicly. Soon, thousands sent messages to Kittrell, praising her for her parenting skills.

The post has received over 17,000 shares since Wednesday.

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Tennessee Woman Receives Lifesaving Kidney Transplant from Husband

KGO-TV(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — When one woman in Nashville, Tennessee, learned she needed a kidney transplant this fall, she didn’t realize her husband was the perfect match.

Doctors discovered from tests that Matt Stewart could donate a kidney to his wife Britney, despite her rare blood type AB positive.

“I pretty much put myself on the top of the list, said you know what let’s go ahead and knock myself out of the way. I tell everybody, I’ve already given her my heart and my money. Might as well give her my kidney, too,” he said according to ABC affiliate KGO-TV.

The couple is now recovering at home after a successful surgery earlier this month.

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First-Grader Puts Personal Spin on Bell-Ringing to Signal End to Years of Chemotherapy

Courtesy Lacie Spagnolo(PITTSBURGH) — Jimmy Spagnolo is a 6-year-old dancing machine.

Videos posted by his mother, Lacie Spagnolo, to social media chronicling his fight against cancer show him bopping, smiling and clapping down hospital hallways.

“Music is in his soul,” Lacie Spagnolo told ABC News Friday.

So it made sense that after Jimmy, a first-grader from right outside of Pittsburgh, rang a bell last week signaling the end of his final chemotherapy treatment, he screamed, hugged his family and then, of course, began dancing.

The ringing of a bell is a tradition that’s been adopted by children’s cancer centers around the country to mark the end of the chemotherapy journey and hopefully a child’s discharge from the hospital.

Lacie Spagnolo told ABC News Friday that it was Jimmy’s first time getting to ring a bell.

“It was like awesome. I’m so glad to be done,” he told ABC affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. “I’m so glad to be done treatment.”

In 2010, when he was just 4 months told, Jimmy was diagnosed with a glioma or tumor of the brain or spine. Lacie Spagnolo said he’d undergone four one-year rounds of chemotherapy.

On Feb. 2, Jimmy, donning a Superman shirt, was joined by Lacie Spagnolo; his father, Jim; and sister Lily as well as medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as he celebrated the end of his latest cancer treatment.

“I’m done!” he exclaimed as the port for his chemotherapy was removed from his chest.

The next day, on Feb. 3, Jimmy returned to Rogers Primary School and was welcomed by students, teachers and administrators with what else but a party. And yes, there was some dancing.

“We felt Jimmy’s elation,” Lacie Spagnolo said Friday. “We felt completely loved by all the staff of CHP (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh) that shared our joy with us and that love our little boy. … To feel the support on a community level, the people you see every day cheering your son on and celebrating his victory as if it were their own, that’s a community worth being a part of, a community of good people with big hearts.”

Lacie Spagnolo said Jimmy would get his next MRI scan in March to see how well the chemotherapy worked and then scans every three months for the next year.

“As long as the scans are stable, Jimmy gets to stay off all medications,” she said. “We live our life three months at a time. … No matter what, we handle it as gracefully as possible because we have the gift of Jimmy every day and that is a blessing in itself.”

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Dance Moves for Women Scientifically Proven to Be Sexy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you are hoping to use your moves on the dance floor to find a potential partner, then you may want to read a new study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports that outlines what dance moves are perceived as the most attractive in women.

“Dance is a universal human behavior that is observed particularly in courtship contexts, and that provides information that could be useful to potential partners,” researchers at the University of Northumbria in the United Kingdom stated in the abstract to their study.

The scientists concluded that there were three key moves that make up “high-quality female dance,” which include hip swings, asymmetric movements of the thighs, and asymmetric movements of the arms. The researchers defined “asymmetric movements” as the ability to move your limbs independently of one another.

Researchers came to their results by creating computer avatars out of 39 women who danced to a simple rhythm. They then showed clips of these dancing figures to 200 people who rated the dance moves.

In 2015, the same group of researchers conducted a similar study for male dance moves.

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Your Body: Post Workout Snacks

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Getting the most out of your workout doesn’t just depend upon the exercises you do. What you eat after a trip to the gym has a big impact on your body’s ability to recover.

Here are a few things that you can do to maximize the weight loss and to keep from undoing all that hard work:

  • First, timing. Try to eat a “recovery” meal within one hour after working out — especially if you’ve had a particularly strenuous session.
  • Next, hydrate. You need at least two cups of water two hours before working out, another two cups 15 minutes prior and a half-cup every 15 minutes during your workout.
  • Healthy fats and fruits and veggies are also important.

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Teacher Creates Tennis Ball Chair to Help Students With Autism

Raymond Ellis Elementary School(ROUND LAKE, Ill.) — One Round Lake, Illinois, teacher got creative in order to help her students with autism.

Amy Maplethorpe, a first-year speech-language pathologist at Raymond Ellis Elementary School, used tennis balls, a hot glue gun, Mod Podge and a bit of paint to create two chairs that offer students with autism with sensory issues.

According to the school’s Facebook post, which went viral, the chairs provide “an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation.”

Maplethorpe told ABC News that the chairs will service approximately 15 to 20 students.

According to autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks, children with autism often have a hard time “processing sensory information.”

Items, such as vests, blankets and Maplethorpe’s chair, often soothe a student, according to Autism Speaks, which has a list of similar items on its website.

Maplethorpe was inspired to create the chair after seeing a similar item on Pinterest “and [I] adapted the idea,” she said.

“I wanted to continue to address the various sensory needs present at Ellis and provide an alternative seating option for the students,” she continued. “I was excited that this chair could be beneficial for my students.”

The two chairs are currently in the school’s sensory room, which was created recently, according to Principal Beth Kiewicz.

“When a child’s sensory needs are met that allows us to move on to their academic needs,” Kiewicz, who has led the school for six years, told ABC News. “You have to look at the whole child — socially, emotionally and academically. That’s why we’re here.”

Maplethorpe said the chairs have already made a difference for some of her students.

“Students have become more patient, have followed directions, and restlessness has decreased while waiting for activities,” she said.

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McDonald’s Worker Praised for Helping Boy with Autism

McDonald’s(INDIANAPOLIS) — A 16-year-old McDonald’s employee is being praised for going above and beyond to help a 7-year-old customer with autism.

TaQualliyia Patterson, a high school sophomore, was working at a McDonald’s in Indianapolis on Saturday when she overheard a conversation between a mom and the McDonald’s employee taking the mom’s lunch order.

“I had gotten curious about what was going on because I heard something about Teen Titans and I knew we didn’t have anymore,” Patterson told ABC News of the popular Happy Meal toy. “I knew there weren’t anymore in stock.”

The mom requesting the Happy Meal toy was Bonnie Kandel, who was asking for her 7-year-old son, Leif.

Leif, a first-grader with autism, had seen a classmate with the Teen Titans toys and wanted one for himself.

“A classmate brought one of the toys to school and Leif saw it and spent the next two weeks hardly talking about anything else with us,” Kandel told ABC News. “He gets really fixated on things and creates stories around toys.”

Kandel saw some Teen Titans toys in the Happy Meal display and asked if she could purchase those for Leif. Patterson overheard that encounter and took it upon herself to explain the situation to her manager.

With the manager’s approval, Patterson took the display behind the counter as Kandel and her family were eating lunch and spent 15 minutes dismantling the display to get the toys for Leif.

Patterson, who is known as TQ by her McDonald’s peers, brought the toys to the family’s table and later brought out a complimentary milkshake for Leif, too.

“He was overjoyed,” Kandel said of her son. “Anytime we leave the house he sticks them into his coat pocket. He’s still overjoyed.”

Patterson’s good deed was shared was by Kandel on the Love What Matters Facebook page, where it has received tens of thousands of likes and shares.

Kandel shared the story because she said she wanted to provide hope. She said she and her family have been very stressed since the November election about what could happen to funding for educational services for children like Leif.

“For her to reach out and show such empathy to my son and in front of my other children, for them to witness that, it was just a glimmer of hope that we really needed,” Kandel said. “I shared it in hopes of other people seeing and recognizing that there are people on the ground doing really amazing things and that can make all the difference in someone’s day.”

The owner of the McDonald’s franchise where Patterson has worked for the past two years said both she and the restaurant’s manager have family members who are on the autism spectrum. She also described herself as surprised by the reaction to Patterson’s good dead.

“We’re all a little taken back that this is that big of a deal because that’s what we do every day,” Marilyn Sleppy told ABC News. “Our whole thing is just to try to make it right for the customer, whatever it takes.”

Patterson will be rewarded for her good deed with a monetary award, according to Sleppy, who owns seven McDonald’s restaurants throughout Indianapolis.

Patterson also received words of praise from McDonald’s Illinois-based corporate office.

“We are lovin’ it and proud of how TQ went that extra mile to create a special feel-good moment for this family,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman told ABC News in a statement. “She is an example of how at McDonald’s we try every day to put our customers at the center of everything we do.”

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New Study Suggests Eating Whole Grains Can Aid Weight Loss

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Switching from a diet of refined to whole grains may help to achieve weight loss goals and bolster health, according to a new study published Wednesday.

The findings, released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that eating whole grains is connected with an increase in calorie loss because it boosts metabolism and reduces the amount of calories that are retained during digestion.

“This study helps to quantify how whole grains and fiber work to benefit weight management, and lend credibility to previously reported associations between increased whole grains and fiber consumption, lower body weight and better health,” said Phil J. Karl, the lead author of the study and a nutrition scientist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in a statement.

Whole grain foods — which include wheat, rice, oat and barley products — are the type of food that includes the outermost, nutrient-rich layer of grains. Often, this fiber heavy layer is removed during the refining process.

“There’s basically three components [in whole grain foods],” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief women’s health correspondent, said Thursday on Good Morning America. “There’s the bran, the germ and then something called the endosperm, that’s where you have the fiber, the antioxidants, the vitamins.”

“[In] refined grains, most of that is stripped away,” said Ashton, who was not involved in the study. “Basically, that’s the difference, you’re getting fiber and nutrients in whole grains.”

For the study, researchers recorded the weight, metabolic rate, blood glucose, fecal calories, hunger and fullness for 81 participants over an eight-week period. After an initial period of two weeks where all participants were given the same foods, the researchers fed some of the participants a diet with whole grains and some a diet with refined grains. The study was conducted at the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University.

According to a statement released by Tufts University announcing the study, the scientists found that those who ate whole grain foods burned an extra 100 calories per day because of their increased resting metabolic rate and greater fecal losses when compared to the group that ate mostly refined grains. The extra calories lost by the whole grain eaters equaled the calories burned in a brisk walk or a small cookie, according to the study’s author.

The study had one caveat: it did not compare the grain eaters to a group that avoided grains completely, according to Ashton.

“But head-to-head, refined versus whole, the whole grains did better,” she said.

Ashton recommends paying close attention to labels when incorporating whole grains into your diet. She also recommends choosing brown foods and looking for foods high in fiber.

“Sometimes whole grains can be deceiving but you’ll never do wrong if you look at the labels first,” she said.

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Your Body: A Blood Test to Detect Heart Disease?

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

When it comes to assessing your risk of a heart attack, a simple blood test could be more effective than a routine check of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The test is called troponin, and it looks for a specific protein that gets released when the heart muscle is damaged. Doctors use it in the emergency room to determine if someone has had a heart attack.

But now, researchers in the United Kingdom say the same test could be used to help prevent patients from ever reaching that point.

Here’s my take: Awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of heart disease is key to prevention and saving lives.

As an OB/GYN, I know that certain reproductive health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or preeclampsia can increase the risk of future heart disease in women. So ladies, talk to your OB/GYN at your next visit.

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Study: Chocolate Can Curb Coughs

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study suggests that chocolate is better at curbing coughs than traditional remedies like lemon and honey.

According to Professor Alyn Morice from Hull University to the the Daily Mail, an active ingredient in cocoa, theobromine, is a natural cough suppressant.

A trial of more than 160 people found that “chocolate-based medicine had a significant improvement in symptoms within two days,” Morice said, when compared to other cough remedies. What’s more, the mouth feel of chocolate also coats and soothes the throat. “I’m sure it has…some sort of inhibitory effect on the nerve endings themselves,” he said, suggesting sucking on a piece of chocolate can beat a cough drop.

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