Review Category : Health

How Parents Can Help Kids Avoid Dangerous Online Interactions with Strangers

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents should beware that predators may be using online gaming to target their children.

“I honestly didn’t think anything like that would ever happen to anybody in my family,” one mother, who requested we not use her real name, told ABC News.

This woman, whom Good Morning America is referring to as Susan, says a stranger approached her son while he was playing “Clash of Clans” online with a group of friends.

Her son, whom Good Morning America is referring to as Simon, was 8 years old at the time, and within a matter of minutes, gave his phone number, last name, and even sent the stranger a picture of himself.

Meanwhile, his mother was at the grocery store and was able to watch this conversation live because her smartphone is synced with the device her son was using at home.

“My son sends a picture, just a goofy little boy picture of his face, and the other person sends a picture of a teenage girl, but it’s a picture of a picture, not a selfie,” she explained of the interaction. “And now I’m starting to realize, OK, this is not good. I think, ‘I have to get him off this game.’ I’m calling my husband at home, just saying, ‘Get the iPad away from him. He’s on with a stranger.’”

And they’re not the only ones. It happened to 10-year-old Olivia, who was playing the popular game “Minecraft.” A person calling himself “Ben” told Olivia he was 12 years old and they texted for weeks.

“He sent me a photo, and it really kind of looked like he was 12,” Olivia explained.

Olivia’s mom, Jessica Stribley, was suspicious that something just wasn’t right, so she took her daughter’s phone one night.

“I said, ‘My mom’s asleep. Send me a picture,’” Stribley recalled. “He said, ‘Well, if I take a picture of every inch of my body, will you do the same?’ And I said, ‘Yes, but I’m running out of time.’ He sent three within 30 seconds.”

According to the FBI’s website, there are 750,000 predators online at any given time and they all could have a virtual key to your house via the Internet.

“A lot of the online games have multiplayer features where you are connected to people all over the world, whether that’s live chat over a microphone or live chat on a keyboard. You can be connected to almost anybody,” child advocate Callahan Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said.

“Simon,” who is now 10, says his alarming interaction has changed his gaming experience and how he uses the Internet.

“It just makes me more careful when I’m playing games that can have other people join,” he said. “I always make a code name, like, not a last name or anything that they could find out.”

His mother is grateful for the early warning.

“Whenever I get tired and think, ‘Oh, I can’t figure out another new game or another new way that you’re on,’ I just remind myself we were given a little blessing in a situation that keeps us vigilant,” she said.

The maker of “Clash of Clans,” Supercell, pointed ABC News to the parental guide on its site with tips for families to make sure kids play safely.

Microsoft, which owns “Minecraft,” said in a statement, “Helping keep kids safer online has always been a priority for us at Microsoft. We encourage parents to also play an active role in their children’s online activities.”

ABC News also learned from the Entertainment Software Association that all games come with instructional information from an independent board about how to manage or prevent online game chatting.

Ericka Souter, editor of Mom.me, outlined her top three rules that parents should use with their kids to police these dangers.

Keep personal information private. No last names, locations, school information, phone numbers or photos.

Online friends should be real friends. Only interact with the people that you know in real life. Anyone can lie about who they are online, making virtual conversations with strangers is dangerous.

Never visit random chat rooms. Refuse to engage strangers in online conversations.

Souter also outlined how parents themselves can help prevent such dangerous online interactions.

  • Turn off the location services.
  • No in-app purchases allowed. Do not give your children your passcode.
  • No posting content without consent. They are not allowed to post anything without your knowing it.

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Vet Student Finds Tick on Sick Dog One Minute Before He Was Due to Be Euthanized

DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital(PORTLAND, Ore.) — After an adorable Sheltie named Ollie became paralyzed, he was moments away from being put to sleep when a veterinary student found a tick lodged in his fur — leading to the diagnosis that ultimately saved him and a recovery his owner called “miraculous.”

About a week after 10-year-old Ollie returned home to Portland, Oregon, from an outdoor trip, his owner Al — who asked that his last name not be used — noticed the usually active dog seemed increasingly lethargic and weak. Ollie’s regular veterinarian conducted tests, including blood work and X-rays, but could not figure out what was wrong with the pup, according to the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital.

Ollie eventually became almost completely paralyzed and was unable to eat.

On May 4, two weeks after the camping trip, Al and his family made the difficult decision to put Ollie to sleep, according to the hospital.

As Neena Golden, a visiting veterinary student, prepared Ollie for the procedure, she took a moment to comfort him — and while scratching behind his ears, she found a tick, the hospital said.

Dr. Adam Stone of the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital diagnosed Ollie with tick paralysis — a rare condition he had never seen before, but learned about in school.

The hospital said Ollie was wearing a tick collar during the outdoor trip when the tick likely latched on.

Doctors removed the tick, and the staff shaved Ollie to make sure he didn’t have any more ticks on him. Then, Dr. Stone sent Ollie home, telling Al that Ollie should show signs of improvement in a few days if indeed he was suffering from tick paralysis.

Ollie was moving again by that night.

Al said he credits the doctor and the student with saving Ollie’s life.

“He was one minute away from euthanasia,” Al told ABC News Tuesday. “The doctor walked in and remembered that he heard about this in school — he told me it was just one little thing, one slide, and they mentioned it, and [that] it was rare, and that was it. He had never seen a case before in his career.”

Al said Ollie has now made a miraculous comeback.

“He’s bright-eyed, active, chasing the squirrels around,” Al said. “He has a spring in his step that he hasn’t had in quite awhile.

“Our neighbors, our friends and my daughter’s youth group all told us after Ollie’s miraculous recovery that they were all praying for him,” Al said.

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Bullet Removed from Man’s Head After Nearly 17 Years

WPVI-TV(WILMINGTON, Del.) — Nearly 17 years after being shot in the face, Dwayne Adams is finally free of the bullet that nearly killed him.

In 1998 he had been sitting on his mother’s porch when a stray bullet hit him. The bullet went through his left eye, across his face, and lodged below his right eye, knocking out his sense of smell and stopping just short of his brain. The vision in his left eye was gone and the bullet became stuck in a delicate part of his face.

“If they removed [the bullet] it might hurt some nerves and cause me to lose some vision,” Adams of Wilmington, Delaware, told ABC News Tuesday. The injury disrupted his life, but Adams said it unexpectedly spurred him to do the thing he always admired: rowing.

“Believe it or not, I never started rowing in my first race until nine months after my shooting,” Adams said, explaining how he always admired the sport during the Olympics. “I rowed three miles and fell in love with it and I just tried to get better.”

Adams realized that rowing was an ideal sport since he didn’t need good eyesight to take part.

“Your body has to work together to get that boat moving, and with my vision, there’s not a lot of other sports I can really play,” he told ABC News. “All in all, this is the perfect sport for me.”

In the years since the shooting, Adams even qualified for the U.S. rowing team for the disabled and said the injury spurred him to start the non-profit Breaking Barriers, which aims to introduce Delaware teens to rowing.

“Ninety-five percent of high school and college rowers graduate, so that’s a high percentage. If we can implement those [lessons learned from rowing] a lot of the violence and some of these other ailments will probably be decreased,” he said.

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VA Secretary Under Fire Comparing Veteran Wait Times to Amusement Park

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald on Monday likened the significance of measuring the amount of time it takes veterans to receive healthcare from the department to waiting for rides at Disney parks, an attempt to downplay the value of the figures, which attracted widespread criticism from department critics and veterans’ organizations.

“We should be measuring the veterans’ satisfaction. I mean, what really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA,” McDonald said to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?”

“What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience,” he continued. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

According to department data, as of May 1, patients wait an average of seven days for primary care, 10 days for specialty care and four days for mental health care. The department drew fire two years ago when a whistleblower said that 40 veterans died waiting up to 21 months for care.

The head of the VA at the time, Eric Shinseki, resigned.

The comments were set upon immediately by politicians and advocacy groups.

This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines. https://t.co/OxfT3AYzTi

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 23, 2016

Obama’s VA Secretary just said we shouldn’t measure
wait times. Hillary says VA problems are not ‘widespread.’ I will take care of
our vets!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2016

“You can’t compare veteran healthcare to a tourist’s experience,” House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Florida, said in an interview with ABC News, adding that he still supports McDonald.

“There’s no question that Secretary McDonald still has my confidence, but he has got to quit singing the song of the status quo like he has done in many instances on accountability,” Miller continued.

The American Legion also took issue with the comments.

“The American Legion agrees that the VA Secretary’s analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don’t die while waiting to go on Space Mountain,” National Commander Dale Barnett said in a statement.

McDonald, an Army veteran, was appointed and confirmed in 2014 amid efforts to reform VA care and reduce waiting times after reports that agency officials had doctored waiting time records, replacing Shinseki.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, sent a letter to McDonald Monday afternoon, criticizing the secretary for exhibiting “a severe lack of judgement drawing into question your ability to provide accountability within your agency.”

The VA said in a statement that it takes the duty of serving veterans “seriously.”

“We know that Veterans are still waiting too long for care. In our effort to determine how we can better meet Veterans’ needs, knowing that their satisfaction is our most important measure, we have heard them tell us that wait times alone are not the only indication of their experience with VA and that’s why we must transform the way we do business,” the agency said in a statement.

“We have learned that figures measuring the wrong metric can cause unintended consequences and confusion like the 14 day measure back in 2014 that was central to employees managing to a metric rather than to the real need of our patients.”

The agency says that it is the only healthcare system that publicly shares wait times.

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Just 5% of Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients Fully Understand Prognosis, Study Finds

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Just a fraction of terminally-ill cancer patients fully understood their prognosis according to a new small study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine followed 178 cancer patients who were determined to be terminally ill. They interviewed each patient to see if they understood the gravity of their disease and their future prognosis.

Patients were asked what stage cancer they had, their current health status, how long they expected to live and if they had recently had a life-expectancy discussion with their doctor. Just 5 percent of the patients accurately answered all four questions about their disease and prognosis correctly. Additionally 23 percent of patients had a both recent and previous discussion about their life-expectancy with their doctor, according to the study.

Holly Prigerson, co-author and Director of the Center for Research on End of Life Care at Weill Cornell Medical Center, said it was a “shock” to see how few of the patients fully understood their prognoses. Prigerson said in some cases patients may not “hear” a terminal diagnosis if their physician avoids being blunt about their life expectancy or lack of treatment options.

“Our point is a lot of them don’t want to know, but they need to know basic information about the disease and illness and treatment options,” said Prigerson told ABC News.

She emphasized that doctors themselves have a hard time telling a patient there’s nothing left that can save his or her life, but patients should be given all information so they can make better decisions.

“It’s a difficult topic,” said Prigerson. “Have patients understand, if that they are being offered treatment, it’s not a cure. And they really have months not years to live.”

Prigerson said previous studies have dispelled the idea that terminal patients who are told the truth fare worse than other patients who aren’t given full information about their conditions.

Dr. Barbara Daly, director of our clinical ethics program, at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, explained that these end-of-life conversations are difficult since some patients find the information itself “threatening.”

“When you look at how people deal with information, some people deal with it by wanting more and more information,” said Daly. “Some people deal with it and they see it as a threat in a sense so they don’t hear it.”

Daly also said that some doctors speak in medical terms that can be confusing for a patient.

“It takes a high level of skill to talk to people…to present it in a way where it’s understandable,” said Daly. “Doctors…they literally forget how to talk like a normal person.”

Daly said some medical centers are now using a designated person, such as a social worker or nurse practitioner, to talk to patients so that they fully understand their diagnosis and can get more time to talk about their disease.

Although the study didn’t focus on finding a solution, the authors did come to the unsurprising conclusion that the patients who recently had an end-of-life conversation with the oncologist had a better understanding of their illness than others who didn’t have this conversation. Daly said patients can take steps to ensure they understand their overall prognosis by bringing a family member to appointments and asking the doctor point blank questions.

“If the patient him or herself is comfortable saying ‘Tell me how long you think I have to live?’ or ‘Tell me if you think the treatment is going to help?'” they will get better information, Daly said. “If we’re going to help people, it’s part of the whole movement to get people to plan for their healthcare…to make their wishes known.”

Due to the limited nature of the study the findings may not be generalizable for a larger population.

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VA Hospital Grants Last Wish to Dying Vietnam Vet

Lupe Gonzalez/South Texas Veterans Health Care System(SAN ANTONIO) — A Vietnam War veteran’s last request to see his beloved horses was granted by the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio.

Roberto Gonzalez, from Premont, Texas, was drafted in 1970 and shot within four months of serving in Vietnam, Lupe Hernandez of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System told ABC News Monday. The resulting injuries left Gonzalez paralyzed.

“That did not stop Mr. Gonzalez from his passions, ranching and horses,” Hernandez said. “He was the only paralyzed race horse trainer in Texas. He trained and raced horses for 30-40 years.”

Hernandez continued: “Because he knew that the end was near and he would not be going home again, he requested through his wife that he see his horses one last time. His family brought two horses to the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital.”

Gonzalez’s horses “Sugar” and “Ringo” were able to bring comfort to the vet, who Hernandez said is in very critical condition right now.

Gonzalez was one of the first patients at the VA Hospital when it first opened in 1974, Hernandez said.

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Teen with Muscular Dystrophy Walks to Receive High School Diploma

ABCNews.com(BEARDEN, Ark.) — A 19-year-old from Arkansas who has been in a wheelchair since last year stood up and walked at his high school graduation as his classmates, friends and family gave him a standing ovation.

Doug Haynes, of Bearden, Arkansas, set walking at his school’s May 20 graduation ceremony as his top goal after a surgery last November to treat the muscular dystrophy he has had since age 12 left him unable to walk.

“Doug is a very determined guy,” his mom, Robin Doherty, told ABC News. “He faces things head on and just attacks it.”

Haynes has undergone hours of physical and occupational therapy daily since the surgery, all while maintaining his course work so he could graduate on time. He told only his family, one classmate and the school’s principal about his plan to take his first steps to receive his diploma.

“If he got scared or nervous, we didn’t want people expecting it,” Doherty explained. “When they stood him up, I thought, ‘Okay, he’s really going to do this.’”

Haynes was helped out of his wheelchair and across the stage to receive his diploma by his physical therapist. A classmate moved his wheelchair to the end of the stage.

The crowd inside the auditorium where the graduation was held gave Haynes a standing ovation. Most of them knew Haynes from when he was a boy and had watched him deal with muscular dystrophy.

“His town has rallied around him and provided so much support and become a big family for him,” said Cheryl Tucker Carlin, a family friend who captured the video of Haynes walking and posted it on Facebook.

Doherty described the moment as a “roller coaster of emotions” and said her son nearly got caught up in the crowd’s reaction as well.

“He said, ‘Mom, when they stood up I almost lost it,’” Doherty recalled of Haynes, who plans to start at a local work program now that he has graduated.

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Tortoise Burned in Fire Gets Custom 3D Printed Shell

Courtesy Animal Avengers(NEW YORK) — A tortoise has a second chance in life after a team of designers in Brazil custom-made a 3D shell for the reptile, who was badly burned in a fire.

The Animal Avengers, the animal rescue group that saved the tortoise, consists of a 3D designer (Cicero Moraes), four veterinarians (Roberto Fecchio, Rodrigo Rabello, Sergio Camargo and Matheus Rabello), and a dental surgeon (Paul Miamoto). The group combines technology with members’ love for animals to create innovative ways to help maimed creatures. They have already saved seven animals that would have been euthanized, Moraes told ABC News.

“The tortoise Freddy was found alongside a road in early 2015. It had been the victim of a fire and its hull caught fire, losing 85 percent of its structure,” Moraes said.

Freddy was taken to the vet Rodrigo Rabello, part of the Animal Avengers, in Brasilia, Moraes said.

Moraes explained that the tortoise was named Freddy because after the burn her “back looked like the face of Freddy Krueger.”

Moraes said the process for printing a 3D tortoise shell is “relatively simple.”

The 3D designers took photographs of Freddy and a healthy tortoise, and then used computer programming to design a custom prosthetic hull that was printed out, layer by layer, from a 3D printer. The prosthetic hull was then surgically attached to Freddy. An artist even hand-painted the outside of the shell so that it blended in with nature.

Moraes said his group had previously created a 3D printed toucan beak, goose beak, parrot beak and macaw beak.

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Medical Experts Warn of ‘Dormant Butt Syndrome’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s yet another reason to get up off of that couch.

Ohio State University researchers are warning of a new ailment they call “Dormant Butt Syndrome.”

“It basically refers to the gluteus-maximus — or the glute muscles — just not functioning as efficiently as they should,” says Dr. Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Kolba says the muscles in your behind are meant to support the rest of you and be a shock absorber. But when those muscles are too weak, the rest of your body tries to pick up the slack, which can cause back, hip and even knee pain.

The cure, he says, is to stay flexible and keep moving.

“Stretching the front of your thigh, stretching your hip flexor and then doing exercises to specifically activate the glutes and the lateral hips as well,” Kolba explains.

And avoid sitting too long or sleeping in the fetal position.

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Your Body: What You Can Do to Help Fight Obesity

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

Obesity has been a growing problem in the U.S. for decades, and increasingly, its effect is being felt globally, where overweight people now outnumber underweight people.

If you think you are obese, it’s never too late to start making healthy choices. Here are three things you can do right now to get on the path to good health:

Take a holistic approach. Consider medical, nutritional and social help to assist you with your weight loss efforts.

Focus on habits rather than a number. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it can be easy to get discouraged. But remember: This a marathon, not a sprint.

Stop drinking your calories. Cutting lots of extra calories by avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages pays off big time. You can drop a pound a week just by drinking water.

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