Review Category : Health

Family Asks for Birthday Cards for Boy Who Survived Brain Cancer

Courtesy Crisandra Green(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — A Colorado family of a boy who survived brain cancer is hoping people around the world will send him birthday cards.

Logan Green, 6, received “get well” cards from his kindergarten class after his brain surgery on March 17.

“We gave him those cards two hours after he got out of surgery,” Logan’s mom, Crisandra Green of Colorado Springs, told ABC News Thursday. “When we saw how big of a smile it put on his face we thought, ‘What can we do for his birthday?’ We wanted to do something special that didn’t take all his energy.”

Green, 30, a mom of five, said Logan was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June 2014 after collapsing in the house.

“[Doctors] said nothing could be done and the tumor was in his brain stem and we needed to say our goodbyes,” she recalled.

After the Greens were encouraged to get a second opinion, Logan was later taken to Phoenix Children’s hospital where doctors removed Logan’s tumor and he was “completely cancer free,” Green said.

“The doctors were amazing and there was finally hope for us,” she said.

Despite having to learn walking, talking and swallowing again, Logan eventually healed.

But one month ago, Logan had a stroke and was diagnosed with Moyamoya — a disorder caused by blocked arteries in the brain.

Warren Selman, director of the Neurologist Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said that Moyamoya can sometimes result from receiving necessary therapeutic radiation.

“Moyamoya is the narrowing of the blood vessels so that can lead to one or two problems,” Selmen told ABC News. “It can either lead to small vessels rupturing, causing the stroke, or not enough blood supply–leading to the stroke. Either way, they can lead to strokes and those strokes can lead to the focus of the seizures.”

Green said Logan had a second surgery two weeks ago to fix the blood vessels in his brain.

“He did really well except the next day he had a pretty big stroke,” Green said. “He lost his vision that day for a little while but gained it back completely. Other than that, he has to take it easy right now.”

Logan was in the hospital for five days and is now at home recovering.

In an effort to keep him smiling, the Green family has put a call on Logan’s Facebook page, “Prayers for Logan,” for people across the globe to send him cards for his 7th birthday on April 5.

“Logan is hilarious, he always has everybody laughing,” Green said of her son. “He has been through more than most people do in their whole lives. He’s truly a superhero. Funny enough, my husband named him Logan after ‘Wolverine,’ and we always joke that he has those powers. We want him to be able to look back on this, read these cards, and see his scars and be proud. He is just so inspiring, it’s unbelievable.”

Logan’s already received over 100 cards, Green said.

Cards for Logan’s birthday can be mailed to: 3472 Research PKWY Suite 104-571, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80920.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Conjoined Sisters Fused at Waist to Be Separated Next Month

iStock/Thinkstock(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — Doctors at a Texas hospital are mapping out a plan to separate conjoined infant sisters who are fused at the waist.

Ximena and Scarlett Hernandez-Torres are scheduled to undergo surgery next month to be separated. The conjoined sisters were born with a third identical triplet sister Catalina, who was not conjoined. The 10-month-old sisters were first detected to be conjoined when their mother, Silvia Hernandez, was just three months pregnant. She told ABC News that the girls have already shown different personalities even though they are not even a year old.

“Scarlett likes to dance, sing and she smiles a lot,” Silvia Hernandez said through an interpreter Thursday. “Ximena is most of the time sleeping but she smiles a lot.”

The girls are conjoined at their waist and share a colon and bladder, according to the Driscoll Children’s Hospital. The operation to separate them is expected to take 12 to 18 hours with specialists from urology, plastic surgery and orthopedics there to help the girls remain healthy.

“A dedicated team of specialists has been working for months to prepare for this complex surgery,” said Dr. Haroon Patel, pediatric surgeon at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, in a statement to ABC News Thursday. “This is an extremely challenging operation, but we look forward to a successful outcome.”

A special scanner called a “Spy Camera” will be used to help doctors understand the complicated blood flow in the girls and to help them stay healthy during the long ordeal. A 3-D model from a specialized MRI will also be used to help doctors map out exactly how to perform the surgery.

“The babies have been doing very well as we’ve focused on getting them healthy for this complex procedure,” said Dr. Miguel DeLeon, medical director of Driscoll’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in a statement to ABC News. “Each member of our team has a well-defined role, and our ultimate goal is to give these two girls the opportunity to live healthy, normal lives.”

Hernandez said she’s hopeful for the surgery but still has reservations.

“I have fear of what could happen,” she said. “I do have to believe in God’s will and that everything will be fine and he will be there in the day of the surgery and he will make a miracle with them.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Alarming Online Trend: The Banana Peel Challenge

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new social media trend that resembles something out of a cartoon could potentially cause people to sustain real injuries.

The banana peel challenge, where kids are walking on banana peels to see if they are as slippery as the classic cartoon cliché leads you to believe, is the latest viral challenge attracting thousands of clicks online.

It’s no laughing matter, however. Experts say these kinds of falls can lead to long-term or even permanent damage.

“They see the attention other kids get and it seems like a good idea at the time,” clinical psychologist Dena Rabinowitz told ABC News. “Adolescents often think they’re invincible or immortal so they just don’t think they’re the ones who are going to get hurt.”

It’s not the first dangerous challenge to become a fad on social media. There was the cinnamon challenge, which in some cases caused potential long-term lung damage, and also the duct tape challenge, which ended with a brain aneurysm for 14-year-old Skylar Fish.

“Now I just regret doing that challenge that day,” Fish said.

The video credited with starting the banana peel challenge has already been retweeted more than 100,000 times and duplicated by hundreds.

“A frank, honest conversation about the real-life risks and the reality of how bad the injuries can be are often enough to help teenagers move into the real world and out of that social media world,” said Rabinowitz.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Treating Low Levels of Testosterone

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

Testosterone, a hormone responsible for masculine characteristics in men, has been shown to slowly reduce in men over time. Now, the largest ever study of its kind shows benefits to men over 65 with low testosterone who receive hormone supplementation.

While this may be a sensitive topic for men, have the courage to raise the issue with your doctor. He or she can help guide you regarding testing and possible treatment.

And don’t assume that more testosterone is better. There’s a sweet spot in terms of level.

Also, remember to consider the risks — like clotting, increased cancer risk and cardiovascular events — as well as the benefits of hormone supplementation, along with any other options.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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What’s Wrong with Mindful Mayo? Reporter Brings Critical Eye to ‘Mindfulness Inc.’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — If you’re a busy person looking for a little bit of mindfulness these days, you can buy books, subscribe to apps, or reserve a seat at one of the so-called “mindful dry-bars” that are opening up around the country. You can also buy mindful tea, mindful mints, mindful meats, or a dairy-free mayonnaise substitute called Mindful Mayo.

So is this a sign that our society is progressing toward a calmer, saner headspace? Or is an ancient technique being co-opted by craven capitalists?

This is the question that has gripped David Gelles, a New York Times reporter and the author of the book, Mindful Work.

“This is a billion dollar market now,” he said during the ABC News livestream podcast show, 10% Happier with Dan Harris.

Gelles, a self-described “sporadic mediator,” wrote an op-ed for the New York Times Sunday Review earlier this month called “The Hidden Price of Mindfulness Inc.,” in which he talked about the “mindfulness economy” and the hundreds of products out there, from T-shirts to cleaning products.

“With so many cashing in on the meditation craze, it’s hard not to wonder whether something essential is being lost,” Gelles wrote. “If mindfulness can be bought as easily as a pair of Lululemon yoga pants, can it truly be a transformative practice that eases the troubled mind?”

One of the points he wanted to make in his op-ed, Gelles said, was “to show the proliferation of mindful products and services in the marketplace today.”

“Which I frankly find kind of comical,” he continued. “If in mindfulness meditation we’re simply supposed to observe things as they unfold, we must be honest with ourselves that we are witnessing a great unfolding of ridiculous mindfulness products.”

In the end, Gelles concludes, the great proliferation of mindfulness products is probably innocuous, as long as people recognize that they can’t achieve mindfulness simply by buying mayo; they actually have to practice it.

For his book, Gelles spent a year traveling the country visiting companies that are incorporating meditation, mindfulness and yoga into the workflow. (And yes, he acknowledges that his own book falls firmly into the category of Mindfulness Inc.)

He said many companies have “home-grown” meditation practices, where it started with one employee or a small group who were interested in finding time to meditate, and then it gradually gained company support.

It’s “secular mindfulness” he said, that use themes from Buddhist teachings but not all of its lingo or metaphysics — which, Gelles says, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“What we’ve seen evolve over the last three decades … is the evolution of a new kind of secular mindfulness where the initial and the primary benefits that we can talk about and measure and quantify have more to do with stress reduction, perhaps some degree of focus, perhaps a more accepting mindset that can create better relations with one’s self and others, and has less to do with being a tool on the path towards liberation and enlightenment,” he said.

Gelles said he first started meditating when he was 19 years old and has practiced mindfulness meditation, including going to India for retreats, for more than 15 years. Now with a full-time job and kids at home, he said he tries to find quiet moments in his day to meditate, whether it’s early in the morning, late at night after his kids are in bed or even at his desk at work.

During the day, Gelles said he uses so-called “meditation hacks,” such as waiting a beat or two before picking up a ringing phone or practicing walking meditation around the office at work.

“It’s a moment to check in with my body,” he said. “It’s one more reminder to try to get into the habit of being mindful.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Parents Express Concerns over Daughters’ Use of Certain Cellphone Apps

ABC News(NEW YORK) — When GMA correspondent T.J. Holmes sat down with parents and their six preteen daughters for a special roundtable on technology, the parents expressed concern that their children were using smartphone apps that they didn’t know about.

The apps — a “fake” Instagram account known as Finstagram; ASKfm, which allows users to anonymously post questions to other users, and another that looked and functioned like a calculator but once a special code was entered, revealed a private folder for photo storage — came as a surprise to the parents.

Thursday morning on GMA, the six girls — Cammy, Gianna, Allie, Sabrina, Bella and Alyssa, all between 11 and 13 years old – discussed the apps with their concerned parents.

“That calculator is something you hide and you have to have a secret message,” Lena said to her daughter Allie. (Their last names, like all those involved, are not being withheld.)

Allie asked her mother whether she wanted to review her camera roll.

“Why do you have to have the calculator?” Allie’s father, Bill, said. When he asked her whether her mother knew she had it, Allie replied, “no.”

Holmes asked the parents whether they monitored their daughters’ Instagram accounts. Most said they didn’t, and when Holmes asked the girls to reveal how many followers they each had, their answers surprised their parents.

One girl said “509.” Another said “588,” while another said “594.” Another said thought she had “708” followers,” while another said “1,083.”

“I’m in shock,” Tarzy, the mother of Gianna, who has more than 1,000 followers, said. “Like, 1,000 and she’s — no. And then I just found out it’s private and she has 1,000?”

“You follow it!” Gianna said.

Holmes showed another mother some of the questions on the daughter’s Askfm page – including one that asked whether her daughter was a virgin.

Robin -– a mother –- said she would like to see the app removed from her child’s phone. The other parents said they wanted to monitor their children’s cellphone use a little better and be more aware.

“I mean, how can we keep up with all these apps?” Lena, a mother, said. “Every day, there’s a new app that’s being invented.”

Added Jimmy, a father: “My problem has been that I’ve had blinders on to it, didn’t know about it…So now, it’s my responsibility to speed up and learn and participate.”

During the conversation, Bella got upset and Holmes asked her why.

“I looked at my mom and she was getting, like, teary-eyed,” the girl said, crying. “So I thought that she, like, didn’t trust me anymore.”

Bella’s mother explained her daughter’s response, telling Holmes: “When I get emotional, she gets emotional.”

In a statement to ABC News, ASKfm said it spends “millions of dollars” to “strike the right balance between safety and privacy for our users.”

The statement reads:

“ASKfm is a leading global Q&A app that allows users to express themselves and interact authentically with their friends. Included in the app is the option for users to ask questions with their identity hidden to the public. We actively work in partnership with users, parents and schools to guide all users toward positive and responsible choices online. We spend millions of dollars on our user reporting and moderation tools in order to strike the right balance between safety and privacy for our users, the vast majority of whom are teens and young adults,” the statement reads. “Our safety center (http://safety.ask.fm) provides a wealth of information and tips for parents and teens, ages 13 and older. These tips are not only important to ASKfm users, but to teens using any form of social media.”

Instagram declined to comment for this story. ABC News also reached out to two companies that make calculator apps that allow users to store photos privately and they also declined to comment.

Stay tuned to “GMA” all week for more of the tweens and technology roundtable.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Meet the 78-Year-Old Grandmother Who Can Deadlift 245 Pounds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Meet Shirley Webb. She’s a 78-year-old grandmother from East Alton, Illinois, who calls the gym she hits up several times a week her “second home.”

Webb has become an Internet sensation after a jaw-dropping video of her deadlifting 225 pounds has spread like wildfire on social media.

I’m just trying to live to 78, much less deadlift at 78. Touché to you Shirley! #BeastMode https://t.co/z4fSPVqL1F

— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 29, 2016

And that’s not even the heaviest she can deadlift, according to John Wright, her trainer at Club Fitness in Wood Lawn, Illinois.

“About four to five weeks ago, she was actually able to hit 245 pounds,” Wright told ABC News. “Shirley can definitely outdo and lift more than, I’d say, over 90 percent of the people who come to this gym.”

Webb first joined the gym about two years ago, Wright said. Webb had never powerlifted before and she originally joined just to accompany her 20-year-old granddaughter, he said.

“When I first started, if I was on the floor, I couldn’t even get up without the help of a chair or someone to help me up,” Webb said. “And the stairs? I could barely get up holding onto the railing.”

But Webb said she has a “competitive spirit” and that she “loves a challenge.” Within a few weeks she was able to “get up and down no problem.” After a few months she began to powerlift — first a little over 40 pounds, then 100 and then over 200.

Wright said Webb has “become a symbol of inspiration for the whole gym.”

“She is the sweetest, nicest lady you’ll ever meet, but the crazy part is, she’s extremely competitive,” he said. “When she sees someone younger than her, she’ll joke, ‘I’m going to lift more than that.’ I’ve never seen that kind of determination from anybody.”

He added that Webb “has no plans to stop or slow down.” She’s already competed in two regional competitions and she’s gearing up for another competition this June.

“I’ve just always wanted to do the best I could in anything I’ve ever done,” Webb said. “I hope my story encourages others to want to do the same. You don’t have to go and lift 200 pounds, but anyone — no matter what age — can out there and work out. I promise you, you will feel great.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Newborn Surprises Parents With a Bathroom Emergency During Photo Shoot

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An 8-day-old baby gave his parents much more than a smile during his newborn photo shoot.

The baby, Pryor, did what many newborns do when not wearing a diaper: go to the bathroom. Only Pryor’s accident was captured on camera and sprayed well beyond what his parents could have imagined.

“Being a mom of three boys, it’s expected but it kind of put us all in shock because of the distance he had,” Pryor’s mom, Farren Carlson, of Greensburg, Indiana, told ABC News. “It seriously went about 10 feet and with him being such a little guy.”

Pryor was born on Feb. 24 and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces during the photo shoot just days after his birth, according to Carlson, who is herself a professional photographer.

The accident happened at the beginning of the photo shoot, just as Pryor’s dad, Jeff Carlson, came into the picture too.

“Shortly after Dad stepped up, the baby started squirming and he gave us a show … along with a nice amount of pee that got my lighting stand and floor,” the photographer, Abbie Rogers, told ABC News.

Rogers posted the photo to her Facebook page with the caption, “So….This happened today! In case anyone wants to know what really happens during a newborn session.”

Carlson said they all got a good laugh out of the moment.

“We all thought it was hilarious,” she said. “My mom was there helping with my other two boys and we all just kept cracking up about it.”

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Teen No Longer Needs Lung Transplant After ‘Miracle’ Recovery

University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital(CHICAGO) — A high school senior is heading home after what she calls a “miracle” recovery from a lung disease, to the point that she no longer needs a lung transplant.

Michelle Harris, of Chicago, has a rare autoimmune disease called granulomatosis with polyangiitis that affected her lungs. The 18-year-old high school senior’s condition deteriorated so much last year that doctors thought she would need a transplant to survive.

“She coded in the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and two other times after that while in Chicago,” Michelle’s mother Sharon Harris said Wednesday in a statement, referring to her daughter having a heart attack. “The Chicago doctors had given up hope. They told me she wasn’t going to make it.”

Doctors at the Chicago hospital were able to put Michelle on a special machine that mimics the work of the lungs by oxygenating the blood. Called an ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation], the machine takes over the functions of the heart and lungs. In desperation, her parents reached out to specialists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital who agreed to take in the teen for further treatment.

“Michelle was referred to us because of our experience with ambulatory ECMO as a bridge to transplant,” Dr. Charles Hoopes, chief of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Section of Thoracic Transplantation, said in a statement Wednesday. “We decided to offer her a transplant at UAB given the low likelihood of recovery she faced. The difficulty in this is having the capability to take very sick patients like Michelle and create a functional person who can responsibly undergo the rigors of transplant.”

A specialized medical jet brought Michelle to Alabama. Her doctors said they were just hoping she would be healthy enough for a transplant. However, once in the specialized hospital, Michelle’s organs started to improve.

“One of the strengths of bringing her to UAB was so that she could be awakened and engaged in physical therapy, and that wasn’t possible” on the Chicago ECMO Unit, Dr. Keith Wille, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, said in a statement. He explained they were able to put her on the machine in an easier position and “got her into a position where she could wake up better, participate in therapy and rely less on sedating medicines.”

Weeks into the process, doctors removed the ECMO to quickly clean and reset it — a process called a “circuit change.” They were shocked, however, to see that Michelle was breathing on her own without the help of the machine.

“It’s usually a very traumatic thing for patients,” Shelby Bryant, a registered nurse at the hospital, said of changing the ECMO. “A patient’s oxygen rate can drop to the 50s, 60s or even lower.” A normal oxygen rate is 97 to 100.

After further tests and study, doctors found that months on the specialized machine had allowed Michelle’s damaged organs to heal.

“Her lungs were doing 100 percent of the work,” Bryant said.

Michelle said she and her family are amazed at how well the treatment worked. Doctors say that at this point Michelle is doing so well that she does not need a transplant.

“We believe that God healed my lungs,” Michelle said in a statement. “I remember Dr. Hoopes kept saying it was going to take a miracle for my lungs to heal, and I remember him saying that they weren’t too optimistic that they would; but they did. They did.”

In spite of how much she’s been in the hospital, the senior will get to experience two of the biggest events of high school: prom and graduation.

Michelle has been working with a transplant coordinator, who offered to help her with her school work. Thanks to her school administrators and hospital staff, Michelle is expected to graduate on time.

“Those dates are very special to me,” Michelle said. “Ever since I started my senior year, I’ve been looking forward to those two days. I can’t wait to get home, continue to get better, and see my family and friends again.”

She is even preparing for her senior prom, thanks in part to the help of the Bella Bridesmaids dress shop. After the owners heard about Michelle’s recovery, they gave the teen 12 dress options to pick from.

“They are so beautiful,” Michelle said. “I’m still trying to decide which one to wear.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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FDA Approves Investigational Blood Testing for Zika in Puerto Rico

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday it is making available an investigational test to screen blood donations for Zika virus in Puerto Rico.

The FDA said the screening test could be used under a new investigational drug application (IND) for screening blood donated in areas where the mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus is active.

“The availability of an investigational test to screen donated blood for Zika virus is an important step forward in maintaining the safety of the nation’s blood supply, especially for those U.S. territories already experiencing active transmission,” Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “In the future, should Zika virus transmission occur in other areas, blood collection establishments will be able to continue to collect blood and use the investigational screening test, minimizing disruption to the blood supply.”

The FDA issued a guidance on Feb. 16 to blood establishments in order to reduce the risk of Zika transmission. The FDA recommends in the guidance that areas with active Zika virus transmission should obtain Whole Blood and blood components from regions without active transmission of Zika.

The FDA guidance also states establishments in areas that have active Zika transmission can only collect blood locally if a licensed test for screening donated blood is available.

The agency’s recommendations for Zika blood donor deferrals stay in place.

The FDA, with the help of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response/Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to help manufacturers build donation screening tests to protect the supply of Puerto Rico’s blood and blood components throughout the Zika outbreak.

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