Review Category : Health

Your Body: Battling Insomnia

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

Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and just can’t fall back to sleep?

For isolated incidents of late night/early morning insomnia, you may be surprised to hear my advice: Do nothing. Don’t sleep late the next day, don’t take a power nap — just go about your normal schedule.

Many of us will suffer an occasional bout of insomnia, which is generally caused by mental stress, and will feel the inclination to make up for lost sleep the next day or next several days.

But the latest in sleep medicine suggests that this can do more harm than good. It may disrupt the circadian rhythms and make it harder for you to resume your normal sleep schedule.

So be consistent with your bedtime and your wakeup time, and chances are good you’ll be back to sweet dreams soon.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Nutritious and Delicious Back to School Lunch Ideas

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Schools are back in session across the country and that means parents are back in the kitchen preparing daily lunches for their kids.

Lifestyle expert Sandra Lee appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday with recipe ideas for lunch meals that will keep kids excited about eating and well-fueled for a day of learning.

Lee partnered on the recipes with Disney’s Healthy Living Commitment, which helps kids and families make healthy living simple and fun. The recipes shared on GMA get a Mickey Check, a logo on select food items and products in stores, online, and at Disney theme parks and resorts that signifies healthier options that meet Disney’s Nutrition Standards.

Try these recipes for kids’ lunches today!

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Disney

Ham and Cheese Muffins

(Serving size: 6 regular-size muffins or 12 mini-muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole grain pancake mix

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2/3 cup fat-free milk

2 ounces lean ham (reduced sodium), diced

3 tablespoons reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup diced bell pepper

**Variations: Substitute lean turkey. Other vegetables can be substituted for bell pepper, such as shredded zucchini, chopped broccoli, or mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin tins and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. In a mixing bowl, add pancake mix, egg, oil, and milk. Stir just until combined. Add diced ham, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, and diced bell pepper and mix lightly. Spoon batter into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Bake for 16-18 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts: 1 regular-sized muffin: 210 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 10 g protein. 1 mini-muffin: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 5 g protein.

Apple Raisin Muffins

(Serving size: 12 mini-muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole grain pancake mix

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 medium apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

**Variations: Substitute mashed banana for the applesauce, or other dried fruit for the raisins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin tins and spray lightly with cooking oil spray. In a mixing bowl, add pancake mix, egg, oil, and milk. Stir just until combined. Add diced apple, raisins, and cinnamon, and mix lightly. Spoon batter into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Bake for 16-18 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts: 1 mini-muffin: 110 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars, 4 g protein Notes: I used Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix.


Hummus and Veggies On-the-Go

(Serves 1)

2 tablespoons hummus

2 tablespoons diced carrots

2 tablespoons diced celery

2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper

1/2 ounce unsalted pretzels

In a mini mason jar, layer the hummus, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to eat, use pretzels to mix the hummus and veggies. Scoop hummus-veggie mix with pretzels to enjoy.

Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 4 g protein.

Confetti Ranch and Veggies On-the-Go

(Serves 1)

1 tablespoon ranch dressing

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped red cabbage

3 baby carrots

3 celery sticks

3 red pepper strips

In a mini mason jar, combine the ranch dressing, yogurt, and diced red cabbage. Refrigerate until ready to use. Dip veggie sticks in dressing mix.

Nutrition Facts: 100 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugars, 2 g protein.


Mexican Layer Snack On-the-Go

(Makes 1 snack size serving)

2 tablespoons mild salsa 1/4 cup shredded lettuce 1/2 ounce roasted chicken breast, diced 2 teaspoons black beans, unsalted 2 teaspoons frozen corn kernels 1/2 ounce baked tortilla chips

In a mini-mason jar, layer the salsa, lettuce, chicken, beans, and corn. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake gently when ready to eat. Use tortilla chips to scoop mixture.

Nutrition Facts: 120 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 7 g protein.


Shapes for Lunch

(Makes 1 serving)

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 ounce oven roasted turkey breast slices, reduced sodium

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 leaf lettuce

3/4 cup grapes

1/2 ounce Colby & Monterey jack cheese cubes, reduced sodium

1 medium carrot

Make sandwich with bread, turkey, mustard, and lettuce. Cut into triangles or other fun shape. Cut carrot into rectangle sticks. In a divided plastic container, arrange grape circles, cheese squares, carrot rectangles, and sandwich triangles. Note: For young children, cut grapes in half.

Nutrition Facts: 320 calories, 7 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 22 g sugars, 17 g protein.


Ham & Cheese Wrap

1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 ounce lean ham, reduced sodium

2 teaspoons honey mustard

1/2 ounce shredded Swiss cheese

Shredded lettuce

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 19 g protein.


Turkey & Avocado Wrap

1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 ounce turkey breast, reduced sodium

1/4 avocado, mashed (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons diced tomatoes

Shredded lettuce

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 7 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 11 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 15 g protein.

Banana and Almond Butter Wrap

1 whole-grain flatbread wrap

1 banana

1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter

Cinnamon

Place fillings over flatbread and wrap up. Serve cold or grilled.

Nutrition Facts: 350 calories, 15 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrate, 14 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugars, 15 g protein.


Panko-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

(Serves 2)

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 x 1 inch cubes

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge chicken cubes in flour. Dip chicken pieces in beaten egg and then roll in bread crumbs. Place on a greased cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with barbeque or honey mustard dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 130 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugars, 19 g protein.


Shark Bait Granola Bars

(Serving size: 24 bars)

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup roasted, salted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup almond butter

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl mix the oats, pepitas and dried cranberries. Set aside. In a smaller bowl stir together the almond butter, agave, and mini chips. Then, using a wooden spoon, stir this into to the oat mixture until everything is evenly combined. Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Press the oat mixture into it and flatten the top with a spatula. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours. Then cut with a sharp knife. Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 8 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars, 4 g protein.


Energy Balls

(Serving size: 10 balls)

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup dried shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons almond butter

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey and almond butter and mix well. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll into balls. Store in a closed container lined with wax paper. They will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Nutrition Facts: 100 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 45 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugars, 3 g protein.

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5-Year-Old Girl in Texas Gets 3D Printed Prosthetic Arm from Local Library

Courtesy Harris County Public Library(CLEAR LAKE, Texas) — A 5-year-old girl in Texas who was born without the lower part of her left arm received a custom 3-D printed prosthetic from a local public library.

“She is a very happy child, but let’s just say she has never smiled so big in her life,” Kimberly Vincik said of her daughter Katelyn. “Her face lit up with pure and utter happiness. It was a priceless moment to say the least.”

Vincik told ABC News that Katelyn had never let her disability stop her from doing new things but she had been longing for an arm for years.

Vincik, who describes her daughter as “a social butterfly,” said Katelyn had been on the wait list for a prosthetic for about a year.

The concerned mother turned to the internet to start researching other options. That’s when she found out about 3-D printing technology, and reached out to the Harris County Public Library, who had a 3-D printer available to the public.

Jim Johnson, the Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch librarian, told ABC News that the library was able to obtain the 3-D printer after a donation from a deceased patron.

Johnson said the library had never used the 3-D printer to make a prosthetic limb before; it had mainly been used for “trinkets,” “tinkering” and “science fair projects.”

Patrick Ferrell, who works at the Innovation Lab in the public library, said the Vinciks drove two hours from their home to meet with Ferrell and other staff.

“We were upfront with the family that we hadn’t ever done this before,” Ferrell said. “They were happy to go on this adventure with us.”

Ferrell said a volunteer group called “Enabling the Future,” which designs and tests prosthetic arms, was able to use one of its designs for Katelyn’s arm. It took 22 hours of printing to put together the prosthetic.

When it was finished, Ferrell wrapped it up and brought it to Katelyn’s house.

“She put it on like she knew what she was doing, and then she told her sister, ‘Now we can hold hands,'” Ferrell said.

“I had the honor and privilege of delivering the arm, but our volunteers did the bulk of the work,” Ferrell added. “It really was a community effort.”

The group would also be available to tweak or modify the arm as Katelyn grows.

“Maybe one day we can bring Katelyn in for a class and she can design her own arm,” Ferrell noted.

“We are just one of many libraries across the country that do something like this,” Johnson said, adding, “There are so many public libraries out there that are doing amazing things.”

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California Girl, 12, Creates Tools and Technology for the Visually Impaired

Angel Canales/ABC News(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — Growing up in the shadow of Silicon Valley, 12-year-old Hari Bhimaraju of Cupertino, California, has always been fascinated by science and technology, and she’s putting her skills to good use by creating tools for the visually impaired.

“I’ve kind of just grown up in a house where it’s always been a thing to help people,” Hari told ABC News. “Especially the visually impaired.”

The first project she created was a periodic table teaching tool for the visually impaired called the “The Elementor” when she was in the sixth grade. She combined her love for chemistry and atoms and used a Raspberry Pi computer to create the low-cost tool. The system uses sound and voice features, and LED lights for people with low vision to describe the position of the element’s electrons.

“I started creating these tools for the visually impaired because I love learning about chemistry and I think that I want to spread that knowledge,” Hari said. “There aren’t really any great tools out there which really are specific to them.”

Hari’s project was part of the sixth annual White House Science Fair this past April. She presented “The Elementor” animated teaching tool and met President Obama. “Shaking hands with the president was, of course, amazing,” she said.

Whether it was science, Java language programming or robotics, her parents have been her No. 1 supporters.

“She is so comfortable using Stack Overflow and finding solutions to her own problems,” her mom, Gayatri Bhimaraju, told ABC News. “It’s definitely very exciting and interesting to see her combine software and hardware and try to explain things to us.”

For Hari’s father, Prasad Bhimaraju, her visit to the White House was an important moment for the family. “We being first generational immigrants,” Prasad told ABC News. “We came here and now our daughter is being invited to meet the president and show that innovation to the president. It’s a very proud moment for us.”

In keeping with her passion for science and helping the visually impaired, Hari also created a medicine management system for people living with vision loss who aren’t able to read drug container labels and package inserts. She created an iPhone app that scans the labels using a radio frequency identification system that shows the expiration dates, name of the medicine and whether it needs to be refilled.

“I can make a difference with this idea to manage medicines,” Hari said. “When I actually go to blind centers and I see how thankful the people really are, and I actually meet the person, I think that makes a huge impact.”

Hari’s talent has been noticed tech companies like Piper, where she is a student innovator.

Piper creates DIY computer kits that kids assemble to learn about electronics. “She’s built technology before. She’s been recognized for that so she understands some of the things that go into making a product, making a device that works,” Piper CEO Mark Pavlyukovskyy told ABC News. “That feedback is invaluable for this. Working with her and mentoring her allows us to understand the DNA of younger mentors.”

For Hari, it is all about learning and sharing knowledge with others. “I think it’s really exciting to be actually giving feedback to them because they’re adults, and they’re so smart,” she said. “I love being a part of that because their goals align with mine to teach kids about electronics and programming.”

Hari hopes to continue working on science app development and attend Stanford University when she graduates from high school. “I think the biggest thing is I feel I can inspire other people to do things,” Hari added. “I think it’s important that you learn what’s around you and don’t just take things for granted.”

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US Drug Prices Remain High Without Generic Competitors, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — High prescription drug prices in the United States are largely due to drug monopolies and restrictions on price negotiations, according to a new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The review, published Tuesday in Journal of American Medical Association, focused on understanding why U.S. drug costs are so high compared to other industrialized countries. The study authors reviewed medical and health policy literature from January 2005 to July 2016, looking at articles addressing the source, justification and consequences of drug prices in the U.S.

Researchers looked at drug costs in the U.S. and found that per capita, U.S. drug spending dwarfed other industrialized countries. Spending per capita on prescription drugs in 2013 was on average $858, which was more than double that of 19 other industrialized nations.

They found the most important factor that permits high drug pricing is “market exclusivity,” related to patents and “monopoly rights” for new drugs. This means a new drug will not be threatened on the marketplace by a generic drug for a set amount of time.

“This research was pulling together lots of strands in one overall review,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, study author and associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, told ABC News, explaining there is not one easy solution. It’s a “very complex issue with lots of moving parts.”

Introducing generic competitors in the marketplace is a common mechanism for prices to drop. However, certain common forms of new drugs are guaranteed a period of five to seven years before a generic competitor can be sold.

Additionally, drug manufacturers can also receive patents lasting more than 20 years for inventions that are “novel,” “useful” and “non-obvious.”

“Although brand-name drugs comprise only 10 percent of all dispensed prescriptions in the United States, they account for 72 percent of drug spending,” the study authors wrote.

Common medications such as a steroid inhaler for asthma costs over $300 a month in the U.S., compared to about $35 in France. Insulin, a life-saving medication for diabetics, is about eight times more expensive here.

We wanted to “present a bigger picture … to help inform [policy] making and thinking about the subject,” Kesselheim told ABC News. To “present a larger 10,000 feet vision of the issue.”

Officials from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., said countries with lower drug pricing face their own complications related to a nationally regulated drug price system.

“Price differences that may exist between the United States and other countries are often achieved through price controls that result in restricted access to medicines and fewer choices for patients,” Holly Campbell, a spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, told ABC News in an email.

Campbell pointed out patients in Europe may wait longer to get access to cancer medicines compared to patients in the United States and have access to far fewer medicines.

“Instead of focusing on proposals that will stifle innovation, we need to concentrate on pragmatic solutions, including increasing competition for older medicines, modernizing the drug discovery and development process, removing barriers that limit paying for value and engaging and empowering consumers,” she said.

Though high prices are often justified by citing the high cost of drug development, the investigators did not find evidence of an association in the study. The proportion of revenue of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies that is invested in research and development is only about 7 to 21 percent, according to the review.

The study suggests several cost-reducing strategies, including enforcing more stringent requirements for exclusivity of rights, allowing for price negotiations by large payers, enhancing competition by generic drug availability and generating more evidence for cost-effectiveness of therapeutic alternatives.

In many countries with national health insurance systems, a delegated body negotiates drug prices and will not cover products if cost-to-benefit calculations are unreasonable. However, in the U.S., the negotiating power of the payer is constrained for multiple reasons.

Issues for U.S. payers include the fact that Medicare is federally prevented from securing low drug costs. Additionally, private insurance companies have used third-party prescription benefit management companies, which have been found to sometimes have less incentive to lower overall drug costs, according to the study. There have been isolated examples of aggressive price negotiation but it is not common, according to the researchers.

Kesselheim said both patients and legislators should take action to bring down drug costs.

“Everybody can do their part and try to bring more price rationality to the system,” he said, suggesting patients need to openly discuss the cost of drugs with their physicians and ask about less expensive alternatives. Physicians need to recognize the impact of high drug costs and be mindful of their prescribing choices, Kesselheim added.

He said their research has shown it will take a “multi-prong approach” with policy makers, physicians and patients all taking part.

“People should be calling the legislation to express their concern about the issue, and policy makers need to take this issue seriously,” Kesselheim said. “I think there are lots of things everyone can do to move forward.”

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Devastating Effects of Zika Virus Seen in New Fetal Brain Scans

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The devastating effects of the Zika virus on the brains of fetuses go beyond microcephaly, according to a new study published Tuesday in the medical journal Radiology.

Researchers evaluated brain scans of fetuses and infants with suspected Zika infection and found that in addition to microcephaly there were severe abnormalities in 94 percent of infants. The researchers studied 17 babies and fetuses with confirmed Zika diagnosis and 28 with suspected Zika infection.

Viral infection of a pregnant woman has been linked to increased risk of microcephaly in the fetus, but researchers are still learning how the virus affects brain development.

Dr. Dorothy Bulas, the section head of ultrasound and fetal imaging in the Division of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., said the Zika infection has a “unique” effect on developing fetuses compared to other infections.

“This is a very unique virus that seems to attack the fetus directly,” she said. “We haven’t really seen [brain abnormalities] as severe in other infections.”

Researchers reported finding serious abnormalities of the corpus callosum, the thick bundle of nerves that connects the two halves of the brain. Abnormalities there can cause severe neurological problems. They also noted that the majority of babies had calcium deposits throughout the brain that tended to occur in the spot where the gray matter on the outer portion of the brain meets the white matter within the inner portion of the brain. A small portion of the babies also had abnormalities of the eyes.

They also saw ventriculomegaly — enlargement of the fluid spaces in the brain — in over 94 percent of babies.

In some of these children, the oversize ventricles made up for the missing brain tissue, so their head size was not abnormally small. This could be a worrying sign since it means that even fetuses who appear “normal” on fetal ultrasound could be suffering from birth defects related to Zika exposure.

Bulas pointed out that the paper and the detailed fetal MRI scans published will help radiologists evaluating pregnant women who have had Zika infection to determine if fetuses are showing effects of Zika infection.

“The power of fetal MRI is that it allows us to examine the details of the brain,” she said. “I think fetal MRI has been underutilized, and I think in a scenario like this it can be very helpful for confirming an injured brain.”

The new paper was published as Florida doctors confirmed Tuesday they are studying an infant who has signs of past Zika infection but not microcephaly. Doctors from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said an infant girl they are treating did not have microcephaly but had calcium deposits in her brain and pigment changes in her retina.

“It just tells us that there was a bacteria or a virus in the brain and that virus has left us with some calcifications,” Dr. Audina Berrocal of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami told ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV. “Babies with early intervention and the right support, sometimes they compensate for those changes that we find early.”

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Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise in First Half of 2016

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The upward trend of motor vehicle deaths that began in late 2014 has continued to surge through the first half of 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council.

The non-profit group, using data from state authorities, said deaths on U.S. roadways since January have increased 9 percent from the same period last year and 18 percent from two years ago.

The council estimates that 19,100 people have died and 2.2 million people were injured in motor vehicles from January to the end of June.

2015 marked the largest year-over-year increase in vehicle-related deaths in 50 years, according to the council.

The council warns that the grim trend is not showing any signs of improvement.

“Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”

U.S. roadways have seen a spike in the number of drivers since gasoline prices and unemployment rates have fallen, likely contributing to more drivers on the road and more accidents.

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Teen Becomes Fourth Person to Survive Brain-Eating Amoeba in 50 Years

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — A Florida teen has become only the fourth person in the last 50 years to survive an infection from “naegleria fowleri” — also commonly known as the “brain-eating amoeba.”

Sebastian DeLeon, 16, continues his recovery after contracting the infection earlier this month.

DeLeon was taken to Florida Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, with a severe headache on Aug. 8. Doctors believe the teen, a camp counselor, was exposed to the amoeba at a freshwater lake earlier in the week.

Immediately after arriving in the emergency room, DeLeon’s doctors suspected a serious infection, especially since the teen had early signs of meningitis. Tests of DeLeon’s spinal fluids found evidence of the amoeba, an infection that is fatal in 97 percent of cases.

“He presented on Friday and had a worsening headache on Saturday,” Dr. Humberto Liriano, who treated DeLeon, told reporters Tuesday. “The boy was hospitalized on Sunday, 30 hours after first developing a headache.”

Doctors took quick action to save DeLeon, lowering the teen’s body temperature and putting him in an induced coma.

Doctors at Florida Children’s Hospital were also able to get quick access to a rare medication currently being investigated by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention called “miltefosine,” which has shown some promise in killing the amoeba. Since the medication may not work quickly enough to stop the damage from the amoeba, the doctors made the decision to put DeLeon in an induced coma and lower his overall body temperature to just 33 degrees in order to keep the amoeba still.

“The amoeba loves warm water and you cool it and the amoeba becomes a cyst,” Liriano explained.

The amoeba is naturally occurring in fresh water lakes and ponds. It can cause a fatal infection when it travels up the nasal passage to the brain.

DeLeon remained in an induced coma for days with medical staff monitoring his vital signs.

“We watched and waited for Sebastian while he was in the coma,” Liraino said.

A few days later doctors woke him up and removed his breathing tube. According to Liraino, DeLeon was speaking hours later.

“He’s walking, talking. It’s a miracle,” said Liraino.

DeLeon’s mother thanked the “wonderful team” at the hospital that treated her son.

“God has given us a miracle for having our son back and having him full of life,” she said. “We are so thankful for the gift of life.”

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Synthetic Marijuana Suspected in Mass LA Overdose

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — At least 18 people were evaluated and 14 people were transported to hospitals after a suspected mass overdose in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles Monday. Health officials said they believe the overdoses were caused by the synthetic marijuana drug known as “spice.”

Symptoms of the overdoses include violent behavior, seizures and altered levels of consciousness, according to Los Angeles Fire Department press officials.

“We don’t have toxicological confirmation, but it’s presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana,” Dr. Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles Fire Department medical director and EMS bureau commander, told reporters on the scene. “Because it’s synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there, the strength is variable.”

Last Friday the LAFD responded to another incident where 50 people were evaluated for overdose symptoms and 38 people were transported to a local hospital for suspected overdoses related to spice, according to an LAFD spokesman. He confirmed to ABC News the drug has become a growing problem for officials.

“The drug use here is very widespread amongst the homeless population here in the Skid Row area,” Eckstein told ABC News station KABC-TV. “People would use or smoke spice at their own peril, they’re taking their lives into their own hands.”

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American Heart Association Issues New Recommendations for Kids and Sugar

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Children and teens from the ages of 2 to 18 should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, according to new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA is also recommending that children younger than 2 should consume no foods or drinks with added sugars.

“Strong evidence supports the association of added sugars with increased cardiovascular disease risk in children through increased energy intake, increased adiposity and dyslipidemia,” the AHA said in its scientific statement released Monday.

The guidelines mean that these children and teens can have roughly 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily, amounting to around 100 calories.

Translated to every day foods, kids’ sugar intake should not exceed what is found in two bowls of spaghetti with tomato sauce or four corn dogs or three cheeseburgers.

“We’re talking about added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugars found in dairy products or fruit and really there is mounting evidence that sugar is the major culprit, probably more so than fat and salt, in our diets,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ senior medical contributor, who has a master’s degree in nutrition.

“We know it triggers addiction centers in the brain. It triggers inflammation in our body, the stimulation of fat around our organs,” Ashton said of added sugar. “All of that puts on a pathway to heart disease.”

The AHA also advised that children should have no more than one sugar-sweetened beverage per week.

Ashton recommends making children a smoothie made with low-fat milk and berries instead of buying them a sugary drink.

She said the AHA is targeting “future heart patients” with the new guidelines.

“American Heart Association [is] taking the lead in targeting future patients that they don’t want to have heart disease,” she added.

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