Review Category : Health

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Survivor Credits Friends, Family on Her Perseverance

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Aimee Copeland’s story is that of resilience.

The disabilities advocate appeared on ABC News’ Good Morning America Wednesday to share her remarkable journey of regaining independence as a quadruple amputee.

“I think compassion was a huge part of my healing,” Copeland told GMA. “Working with organizations like ‘Friends of Disabled Adults and Children,’ seeing little kids who were in wheelchairs. When you’re helping others, you’re not focused on yourself. You’re not focused on what you’re lacking.”

“It makes you grateful and it makes you pass on that gratitude to others so I strongly recommend that anyone who’s facing struggles go out and help other people and you’d be surprised at how much it actually helps you,” she continued.

Copeland cut open her right leg falling from a zip line near the Tallapoosa River in Georgia in April 2012, allowing a deadly bacterium to enter her body. She received 22 stitches to close the wound on her calf.

Copeland has said she sensed something wasn’t quite right afterward because it hurt up to her thigh.

After being in and out of the emergency room with the painful wound that wouldn’t heal, doctors realized Copeland had necrotizing fasciitis, a severe soft-tissue infection. Doctors were forced to amputate Copeland’s leg from the hip and later, her hands after they too turned black.

She spent two months in a hospital and another two months in rehabilitation before returning to her renovated Snellville, Georgia, home in late August 2012.

In May 2013, Copeland received bionic hands and got a service Labradoodle, Belle, to help her in July of that same year. And while she admits her fight wasn’t always easy, Copeland persevered.

“We all have those dark nights of the soul, those difficult times when I’m trying to do something and everything is going wrong,” she said. “I think having friends and family around … the whole community really just banded together and I think the support system is one of the most important things. All you need is love.”

Copeland wears groundbreaking prostheses created by prosthetist Randy Alley and his California company, BioDesigns Inc.

“I’ve tried different prosthetic devices over the years and last summer when Randy and his team fit me in just three days, the first time I tried them on it was like totally different than anything I’d ever experienced,” Copeland said.

“They just felt like a part of me; an extension of my natural arm, just like the real thing so it was amazing,” she said.

Copeland is the first person in the world to have this advanced prosthetic system.

“Traditional sockets don’t really control the bone inside very well so everything feels like it’s slopping around,” Alley, the CEO of BioDesigns, said. “It’s very heavy and unstable and what we do is a patented way of compressing and releasing around the tissue, so that the bone inside is fixated or stabilized so that it feels like a part of you, becomes a part of you instead of something attached to you.”

Copeland and Alley said their intent is to help others.

“You can never have a bad day,” Alley said. “It’s just an awesome thing to be able to do, to be a part of. They’re the stars of the show, but we like to have a little piece of that.”

Copeland is working to build a nonprofit nature center for people with disabilities.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How to Reduce Effects of Pollution on Your Skin

Wavebreak media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Chelsea File has been living in New York for most of her life and she says she can feel the city’s grime settling on her skin.

“I’ll get home and my skin feels, like, greasy and heavy. And just, like, it’s been layered on, like, every layer that I could add to it is just on my skin. And it’s living there … it feels awful,” File, 23, said.

Everyone knows that sun is the main cause of skin damage, but some experts now say pollution can be bad for skin as well.

Nearly half of the U.S. population lives in counties with unhealthy levels of pollution, according to the American Lung Association. Those pollutants can cause skin to look older, less healthy and dull, experts say.

A 2010 German study that compared two groups of women found that those who lived in a city showed more than a 20 percent increase of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles that did those who lived in the country. The study was supported by a cosmetics company.

“A lot of the particulate matter in the air from combustion kind of collects on your skin,” Celia Ellenberg, Vogue magazine’s beauty director, said, adding that there are options to mitigate those effects.

File’s fix is a cleaning and a protective skin care routine.

“It’s really important that we strengthen and also defend the skin against environmental pollutants and aggressors throughout the day,” said Chelsea Lanham of the cosmetic company Kiehl’s.

Some experts suggest that people wash their skin thoroughly at night to get rid of pollutants that have become stuck to moisturizer and makeup. They also suggest that people look for products containing topical antioxidants and use a pore-cleansing mask weekly.

“As we live in a more and more polluted world … making sure that you’re ridding yourself of that particulate matter is so important,” Ellenberg said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Mother Gives Birth in Checkout Line at Walmart

Walmart(PAYSON, Utah) — An unnamed woman in Payson, Utah, walked into Walmart to buy a few items and walked out with a brand new bundle of joy.

She gave birth at register 11, which has now been dubbed “register baby” by store associates, on Sunday shortly before 7 a.m.

“When she went to the register she was in distress, on her knees holding her stomach,” the store’s manager, Dustin Haight, told ABC News about the unusual incident.

Despite her labor pains, the store manager said he was surprised that she insisted on paying before having the child.

“Just before she went into full labor, she insisted on paying for her merchandise,” he said. “But we weren’t really interested in taking her money at the point, but she insisted. It wasn’t like she was like, ‘Ok, let’s get this baby out and I’ll pay,’ she paid and then had the baby. You can’t make that up. It was pretty funny.”

“She was very calm. She did very well,” Terry Reilly, assistant chief with Payson Fire Rescue, told FOX affiliate KSTU-TV. “It was her third child so she had experienced childbirth before so I don’t think she was as nervous about it other than it was at Walmart.”

The mother and child were taken to Mountain View Hospital in Payson where “They are doing well,” the hospital’s communications director, Nate Black, told ABC News.

The Walmart manager said the exciting occurrence has helped boost moral for his employees.

“A lot of crazy things happen at Walmart but not a lot of babies being born,” Haight said. “It’s kind of good for my associates and their moral, too. We’re going to do a grand opening this month so it puts a nice little christening on that. We’ve done a lot of remodeling so we have a little ceremony coming up and this is a nice touch.”

The Walmart employees have spoken with the mom of three, the store manager said, since the unexpected store delivery.

“We have been in touch with the young lady. We’re going to have her back on Friday for some gifts,” Haight said. “We have a whole list of things. We’re going to buy her some baby supplies like diapers and formula, clothes and a birthday cake.”

They are now hoping they have a new little customer for life.

“Now she’s got a story she can share with us forever,” Haight said of the mom and what he believes is her new baby boy. “We’re pretty excited. Hopefully we’ll be part of his life forever.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Boston and San Francisco Most ‘Active Living Cities’ in the U.S., Report Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — To combat the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S., cities across the country have been promoting more physical activity among city residents with bike paths, sidewalks and green spaces.

Cites in various parts of the country may pride themselves on having the “best” bikes lanes, public transportation systems or park spaces, but a new report ranked which cities have been most successful in helping residents live active lives.

Researchers from Gallup in partnership with Healthways, a company that says it uses science to encourage healthier behavior, examined infrastructure data from 48 U.S. cities and their surrounding areas.

They assessed which cities had the highest “active living environments,” by measuring bike lanes, parks, public transit and the degree to which each city was walkable. In reviewing the 149,938 telephone interviews that Gallup conducted with U.S. adults, they also looked at corresponding health effects of those environments.

It turns out that wintery Boston and its surrounding suburbs have earned the title of being the top “active living community” in the U.S., as a result of investments in public areas like bike lanes and parks, according to the report published Tuesday by Gallup.

The top five cities included three East Coast metro areas, one Midwest and one West Coast city.

  1. Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH
  2. San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA
  3. Chicago–Naperville–Elgin, IL–IN–WI
  4. New York–Newark–Jersey City, NY–NJ–PA
  5. Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV

The lowest scorers included metro areas in the South and Midwest, including Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Cities with the lowest scores were found to have higher rates of negative health conditions including depression, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking.

Specifically, the report found that “bike and park scores have stronger correlations with lower obesity, diabetes, and blood pressure.” A better public transport system was associated with “lower daily physical pain,” according to the report.

Report authors used four community examples to highlight how changes infrastructure is associated with better health for residents. In one city, Albert Lea, Minnesota, the community undertook multiple measures to improve health including adding 10 miles of bike lanes and sidewalks, policies to reduce tobacco use and enlisting grocery stores and restaurants to help customers make healthier choices.

From 2014 to 2016 smoking dropped in the Alberta Lea from more than 18.5 percent to under 15 percent, and the number of residents who ate the recommended amounts of fresh produce at least most days of each week rose to 62 percent from 57.5 percent, which is the national average.

Some improvements didn’t involve direct health measurements; the improvements contributed to community pride, which surged seven points from 61 percent to 68.7 percent.

The report shows how even small changes can have a big impact on health, according to experts.

“Once again it confirms that lifestyle as medicine is truly the best and most reliable strategy approach to health and well-being,” Dr. Roy Buchinsky, director of Wellness at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, who was not involved in the report, told ABC News.

“Clearly it has an affect on many issues we are faced with today including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure,” Buchinksy said, adding that he hoped this report can show why rethinking the development in our cities and metro areas can be key to improving the health of the country.

“It truly shows that evidence-based changes to the environment and to our daily lifestyle can make small little changes,” he said, which “can make a huge impact.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Teen Reunites with Family Dogs After Spending a Year in Hospital

St. Louis Children’s Hospital(ST. LOUIS) — A teen fighting a rare blood disorder has been reunited with her beloved dogs, after spending over a year in inpatient care.

“There was sheer joy on her face when she saw them,” mom Amy Reimer of Nixa, Missouri told ABC News Tuesday. “It seemed like it was a little piece of home having them come and see her. It had been a long time.”

At 9 months old, Emily Reimer, now 19, was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), which is a bone marrow disorder that prevents the body from producing enough red blood cells.

Reimer, a mom of 3, said her eldest daughter was on steroid treatments until age 13, then endured regular blood transfusions for the following five years.

On July 4, 2015, Emily had a bone marrow transplant and, later, open heart surgery. On May 30 of this year, she was transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Since she was in the hospital for a year and a half, Emily was unable to see her family dogs.

Emily enjoyed visits from the hospital’s therapy dogs. But when she was placed in isolation due to a staph infection, Reimer said the visits stopped.

In early October, St. Louis Children’s Hospital coordinated a visit with Emily and her pups to “lift her spirits,” a representative told ABC News.

The reunion was captured on video as Emily interacted with her Havanese, Casper, and grandparents’ poodle, Thor.

“Emily loves animals, period. So it was very helpful to her morale to have her dogs there,” Reimer said. “Being inpatient, it gets hard to keep her going and keep her spirits up. It gave her a little bit of new life. I was happy to see her happy.”

Reimer said Emily is doing well and hopes to return home soon.

“She’s just an amazing kid whose been through a lot and gets up fighting everyday,” she said. “She’s been my biggest teacher. She handles herself with a lot of grace and humor. She’s a pretty funny kid.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Disability Rights Activist Loses Battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Darius Weems, the inspiring rapper and dynamic disability rights advocate who suffered from Duchene muscular dystrophy, died Sunday afternoon of DMD-related complications, according to a statement put out by his organization. He was 27.

Weems is credited with raising awareness of DMD, a rare genetic disorder that results in the disintegration of muscle tissue. Over time, the disorder is debilitating. Legs and arms are seized, and eventually, so are the muscles that surround the heart. In the United States, the majority of people afflicted with this disease die by age 25. His brother Mario died of DMD at the age of 19 in 1991.

“Shock. Grief. Helplessness. Those are the emotions we’re feeling — emotions that all members of the DMD community feel too often and know too well,” reads the statement. “Joy. Camaraderie. Love. Those are the emotions he would want us to feel — emotions that he embodied in his lifelong fight against DMD, and that he spread through countless individuals across the hundreds of thousands of miles of roads that he traveled.”

According to his organization’s website,, he was checked into Athens Regional Medical Center on Friday morning with a persistent cough. His symptoms worsened rapidly, and he was soon transferred to the intensive care unit, where he passed “peacefully and painlessly” surrounded by family members and friends.

ABC’s Nightline has profiled Darius extensively over the past decade, first in 2007 when his award-winning documentary, Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life, was released.

In 2012, Nightline followed Darius and his team of friends and fellow DMD awareness advocates on their “Darius Goes West” tour, where he traveled to schools around the country

“As long as I’m here and being able to motivate people and being strong for them, hey, I’m living my life to the fullest,” he told Nightline in 2012.

When faced with his odds of survival, Darius admitted in that interview to feeling down at times, but that he was trying to live one day at a time.

“Just because I have a fatal disease doesn’t mean any doctor can put any amount of time on my life,” he said. “But you know, I think about the situation that is at hand, trying to cure this disease and trying to carry on my brother’s legacy, and you know losing him kind of made me want to get out here and show people how fatal this disease is and how big of a problem it is.”

Weems dedicated his life toward raising awareness of DMD, and two weeks before his 27th birthday, he learned that the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat patients suffering from DMD.

“He was just so happy to have lived to see that,” said Logan Smalley, director of Darius Goes West, who last spoke to Darius on his birthday. “And this was on his birthday. My goal was to communicate to him that his birthday and all of the actions that he took in a very real significant sense, will provide more birthdays for so many others.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Postpartum Depression

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

The birth of a baby should be a joyous occasion. But not all moms share in this joy.

Postpartum depression affects 15 to 20 percent of new mothers, and half of all postpartum depression cases actually start during pregnancy. Symptoms may include lack of energy, inability to experience pleasure, excessive anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

I’ve seen many women with postpartum depression and I can tell you with certainty that it’s not a matter of being tired or hormonal, and it’s definitely not subtle. Women are sobbing and tearful almost all the time and many feel guilty for not being joyful about their new baby.

If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, I encourage you to speak to your obstetrician or midwife.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Eyebrow ‘Embroidery’: Semi-Permanent Ink Gives Brows Fuller Look for Far Longer

Brow Design International(NEW YORK) — Eyebrow “embroidery” — or microblading — is a process of adding semi-permanent ink to the eyebrows using tiny incisions to mimic eyebrow hairs, giving brows a fuller appearance.

The technique is popular among some celebrities, including actress Bella Thorne, who documented her transformation on Snapchat this summer.

Julia Milin of Brow Design International says the process is in high demand.

“It’s caught fire already but now it’s really starting to get huge,” Milin said.

According to Milin, the process starts with sketching the brows with a pencil, then application of a topical numbing agent before beginning the microblading process, which involves making tiny scratches on the surface of the skin, then injecting a temporary dye that fades over time. The dye lasts between one and three years.

Piret Aava, a Manhattan aesthetician who calls herself the Eyebrow Doctor, has worked in the eyebrow business for almost 12 years.

She says that the beauty about eyebrow embroidery is that it doesn’t last forever.

“If you get tired of the shape and want to change it, you’re not stuck with it,” Aava said. “It looks a lot more natural and less scary than the old-school eyebrow tattoo.”

But doctors warn that if it isn’t done properly it could make brows look much worse.

“Anytime you create a break in the skin you take some risk. The obvious risks are things like infection and scarring,” Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist, told ABC News.

The procedure costs between $500 and $1,500. For some, like Paulina Baltazar, the cost is worth it.

Baltazar had the procedure done and said it came out “amazing,” adding: “My mornings are going to be a lot quicker so I’m happy about that.”

Extra Eyebrow Tips

For more affordable alternatives to microblading, Michelle Lee, the editor-in-chief of Allure, offered the following tips:

1. Never pluck grays. That can sabotage the shape of your brows. Instead, cover grays with tinted brow gel or get them professionally dyed.

2. Resist the urge to tweeze. Nine times out of ten, all you need to do is trim. Comb your brows straight up with a spooley brush, then lightly snip only the longest hairs with eyebrow scissors.

3. Add highlights. Brighten up your brows the same way you highlight your hair by taking a contrasting cream shadow (like a soft gold) and tracing it over the brow with a soft shadow brush. Always comb through with a clean spooley brush.

4. Fake a higher arch. If you highlight right above the arch (in addition to below), it gives the illusion of raised brows (think Karlie Kloss). Use a highlighter or cream eye shadow that’s one shade lighter than your foundation to draw an arch directly above your arch. Blend with your finger until the product fades but doesn’t disappear.

5. Blend with two shades. To make brows look longer, use a pencil or powder slightly lighter than your hair color on the inside corners and one the same color as your hair through the arch and end. Most brow powders come in duos — one light shade, one dark — for this reason.

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Boy with Diabetes Who Collected Coins for Four Years Finally Gets His Dog

Jenni Heath(WAITSFIELD, Vt.) — Aiden Heath’s collecting of pennies paid off Monday as he came face-to-snout finally with his very own service dog, Angel.

“Aiden looked at me and said, ‘This is a dream,'” his mother, Jenni Heath, told ABC News Monday.

Soon after Aiden, 8, of Waitsfield, Vermont, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago, he learned about canines trained to help monitor glucose levels in people.

“They can sense it 20 minutes to 30 minutes before the blood meter actually tells you that you’re low,” Jenni Heath said in an earlier interview.

Each service dog costs $15,000 so Jenni Heath encouraged her son to save, one penny at a time.

And that’s what he did for little more than four years, even nicknaming the little red wagon that toted his coins around “Brinks.”

In April, when Aiden was about $9,000 from his goal, news coverage of his effort helped bring in donations from across the U.S. Almost overnight, Aiden raised more than $20,000 and he and his mother put a down payment on a dog in Nevada.

Jenni Heath said Angel, a chocolate Labrador, had been trained from April until recently and had passed all her tests. She said she and Aiden had followed Angel’s progress with videos and pictures.

Jenni HeathEarlier Monday, around 10 a.m., Angel arrived from Nevada to the Heaths’ home. Jenni Heath said Monday that with the help of a trainer, Aiden and Angel were starting to get to know each other and Aiden was learning how to command Angel.

“Aiden is over the moon,” Jenni Heath told ABC News. “He was on pins and needles waiting for her.”

She said that Angel would give her peace of mind, particularly at night, when it came to testing Aiden’s sugar levels. She said that Angel’s presence would also give Aiden a sense of independence.

On Tuesday, they all planned to head to Aiden’s school to meet with school staff as well as students.

“We have been so amazed by the outpouring of support,” Jenni Heath said. “He is feeling the love. … There are no words.”

Jenni HeathCopyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Dozens of Cholera Cases Reported in Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

iStock/Thinkstock(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti) — As the remnants of Hurricane Matthew dissipate, Haitian government officials and aid groups are gearing up for a possible health crisis.

On Monday, the Haitian Ministry of Interior said that 1.4 million people are said to be “urgent need” of help and dozens of cholera cases have been reported, spurring fears of a massive outbreak.

Garrett Ingoglia, a vice president of emergency response for the aid group Americares, said he has seen areas where 90 percent of the infrastructure has been destroyed. “Crops are destroyed; there is no food, not a lot of clean water,” Ingoglia told ABC News.

The damaged infrastructure has already led to a rise in cases of cholera. The aid group Doctors Without Borders said that at just one hospital in Port-a-Piment, 60 patients have been reported to have the disease.

“Cholera is a huge issue, as soon as the hurricane hit people said, ‘OK, we have to be ready for cholera,’ but I don’t think people expected it to come this fast or this severely,” Ingoglia told ABC News.

At a badly damaged hospital in Jeremie, cholera patients were quarantined in makeshift huts and workers furiously cut plywood to make more beds. The hospital has even put two patients in one bed.

As medical staff treated dozens of patients, hospital officials told ABC News they’re worried this is just the beginning of an outbreak.

Officially, the hospital has treated 55 patients for cholera, but dozens of people were waiting outdoors to be seen by doctors.

Cholera became endemic to the country after the 2010 earthquake when at least 470,000 were infected with the disease. At least 6,631 people died from cholera in the year after the earthquake, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cholera is a disease that is usually treated with supportive care including intravenous fluids, fluids taken orally and antibiotics. But health experts report that in Haiti an outbreak of the disease could be devastating as areas are cut off from medical assistance.

Ingoglia reported there are areas that swaths of the country that are nearly unreachable since roads have bocame “impassable” due to debris.

“All around the tip of the peninsula that area has gotten very little aid, you can’t drive there, helicopter is the only way to get there,” he said. “Roads are closed. Food, water, medicine, everything has been impossible to get there.”

Cholera is a bacterial infection that can lead to potentially serious symptoms of water diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Often spread through contaminated water or food, the incubation period of the disease can be as short as two hours, meaning it can move quickly through a densely populated area. As the mucus membrane of the intestinal wall is affected, it can lead to diarrhea that can cause severe dehydration.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said treatment is simple but that without basic supplies and medical knowledge, people can become dangerously dehydrated from the disease.

“You need resources. I think limitations that Haiti has had … this will once again be very challenging for them,” he said.

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