Review Category : Health

Aisha Tyler Opens Up About Infertility and Her ‘Choice’ Not to Have Children

Michael Buckner/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Aisha Tyler, the host of The Talk and the former Friends star, told HuffPost Live earlier this week about her infertility problems and the “choice” she and her husband made not to have children.

The actress and comedian gave a couple main reasons for revealing her infertility issues earlier this year on her talk show, saying she wanted to get the message out that it was a choice she made with her husband, Jeff Tietjens.

“I have been a professional woman my entire life,” she told HuffPost Live. “I think this is a relatively new issue for women who have chosen work over family, which is a completely valid choice and no one should ever feel embarrassed or regretful about that.”

“It’s one that I’ve embraced fully,” she added. “I never wanted kids.”

She added that she and her husband got to a place where they felt like, “We’re gonna run out of road soon, so if we are going to do it, we should try now.'”

They did try and “when we found out it was going to be difficult to impossible [to conceive], it really was a choice to stop.”

“Once we decided not to get pregnant, I snapped back into work mode and now I have just been really enjoying my career,” she said. “There’s a clock ticking on the pregnancy thing, but not a clock ticking on adoption.”

Tyler wanted couples to know it was a valid choice, that she didn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on IVF, and go on the “crazy merry go round” of drugs to help her get pregnant.

She wanted to get her story out because, “People who do what I do for a living can afford that stuff, but most people can’t. They mortgage their homes and they break themselves. And, by the way, most of them don’t get pregnant. We only focus on the Cinderella stories.”

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Officials Investigating NYC Clinic Where Joan Rivers Went Into Cardiac Arrest

Brian Bowen Smith/E!(NEW YORK) — The clinic where Joan Rivers was undergoing a procedure prior to her hospitalization is now under investigation.

The New York State Health Department told ABC News that it has opened a “full investigation” into Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City to determine whether the clinic would be cited for violations.

Investigators have already visited the clinic.

There are certain types of incidents that must be reported to the state and the events surrounding Rivers’ emergency was one of those, though health officials declined to elaborate what specifically triggered the investigation.

Rivers, 81, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital on Aug. 28 after an emergency call reported she was in cardiac arrest at the clinic, a source told ABC News.

Rivers has been unconscious and sedated since her arrival at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Cincinnati Bengals Re-Sign Devon Still to Help Pay for Daughter’s Cancer Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Bengals player who was cut from the team and then brought onto the practice squad in order to help pay for his daughter’s cancer treatments says he sees the move as a “blessing in disguise.”

Defensive tackle Devon Still found out Saturday that he had been cut from the Bengals’ roster but then found out he had been given a second chance for his daughter, 4-year-old Leah, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pediatric cancer in June.

“I completely understand where the Bengals were coming from when they cut me because I couldn’t give football 100 percent right now,” Still, 25, told ABC News.

“They could have washed their hands with me and said they didn’t care about what I was going through off the field,” Still said. “It’s like a blessing in disguise for me.”

As a member of the Bengals’ practice squad, Still will receive medical insurance and a weekly salary of $6,300.

He will also be able to travel less, giving him more time to spend at home with Leah as she completes her chemotherapy treatment.

“We’re going to go to battle with cancer,” Still said. “She’s willing to put up a fight to beat it.”

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Teen Cancer Patient Channels Jay Z to Show Life with Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — A young cancer patient whose college career was interrupted last April by a leukemia diagnosis has used his hours spent in the hospital to create a hilarious parody of Jay Z songs.

The music video, posted to YouTube last week, shows the patient, Tom G., dancing and rapping with his doctors, nurses and hospital staff to lyrics changed to show what life is like for cancer patients.

To the song “Ball So Hard,” a Jay Z collaboration with Kanye West, Tom raps to “bald so hard,” a reference to his chemo-stricken hair, or lack thereof.

“Bald so hard/What’s a brush?/What’s a comb?/What’s a bad hair day can you please remind me,” Tom raps while shining the head of his also-bald oncology doctor.

“The only shots I throw back are my pills every morning,” he sings later on in the video.

Tom, who asked that his last name not be used, filmed the nearly four-minute video at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he has spent the majority of his time since April, when he was diagnosed with leukemia and forced to suspend his studies at UCLA, where he was a civil engineering student.

A Pennsylvania native, Tom began planning the video in June but was forced to spread its shooting out over the course of several months due to his treatment and varying energy levels, a hospital spokeswoman told ABC News on Wednesday.

“I always saw depressing stories of young hospital patients and I just had the idea of almost doing the opposite of just that,” Tom told ABC News in an email from CHOP, where he is receiving his fourth and final round of chemotherapy. “I thought there was no better way to [bring a] spot light to a dark subject than through comedy.”

He added: “Jay Z is known around the world, so if we could get him to support cancer awareness that would be miraculous for the cancer community.”

Tom posted the video on YouTube last Friday to coincide with Jay Z’s arrival in Philadelphia for last weekend’s Made in America concert.

“I made this video to explain the everyday life of a cancer patient in a unique way,” Tom says at the video’s end. “So share this with your friends and, Jay Z, next time you’re in town, hopefully you can stop by and hang out.”

When it comes to taking on Jay Z’s hit song “Empire State of Mind,” originally about New York City, Tom is joined by his doctors and nurses in praising CHOPs.

“CHOPs…a concrete jungle…West side of Philly,” Tom’s nurses and doctors sing. “These treatments make you feel brand new. These docs will inspire you.”

While Tom created the music video with the idea of putting a lighter touch on cancer for those outside the hospital, what he has done is brighten up the treatment process for his fellow patients.

“A nurse told me that as she was walking down the hallway all she could hear was my music video playing from all the different patient rooms,” Tom wrote. “When the doctors are conducting their daily rounds, other patients are telling them how much they liked their part in the video.”

The hospital spokeswoman says they have not yet heard from Jay Z or his representatives but that “stranger things have happened” when it comes to celebrities seeing patients’ requests and reaching out.

Tom’s video has already received over 20,000 views and is getting even more attention this month as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

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Two Women Receive Experimental Ebola Vaccine in Fast-Tracked Trial

iStock/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Maryland) — The first two doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine have been injected into human subjects in the National Institutes of Health’s fast-tracked clinical trial.

A 39-year-old woman was the first person to receive the vaccine, which had previously only been tested in monkeys. She received the injection Tuesday at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A 27-year-old woman was given the shot Wednesday, the agency said.

The trial will test the safety of the vaccine, which was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It was expedited because of the burgeoning Ebola outbreak in West Africa, where more than 1,900 people have died from the infection, according to the World Health Organization.

The vaccine, which is designed to prevent Ebola, is different from the experimental drug ZMapp, which is designed to treat the infection.

“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, said in an earlier statement.

Although Fauci said the vaccine has “performed extremely well” in primate studies, this is the first time it has been tested in humans.

The phase 1 clinical trial will involve 20 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50, according to the NIH. Researchers will use the study to determine whether the vaccine is safe and see whether it prompts an immune response necessary to protect against Ebola.

No human subjects will be infected with Ebola.

A $4.7 million grant will also go toward additional Ebola vaccine trials in September at the University of Oxford in England, as well as centers in Gambia and Mali, according to GlaxoSmithKline. In all, 140 patients will be tested.

Though Ebola was discovered nearly 40 years ago, it was so rare that drug manufacturers weren’t interested in investing in finding a vaccine for it, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Its rarity also made it impossible for scientists to conduct field studies.

“There’s always the layperson’s query of ‘Why don’t they rush this?’ ‘Why don’t these guys work a little later at night?’” Schaffner told ABC News in July. “It’s a little more complicated than that.”

GlaxoSmithKline became involved in the Ebola vaccine because it bought Swiss vaccine company Okairos AG in 2013. Okairos, originally a Merck spinoff, had been working on the vaccine with the NIH since 2011, a GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman told ABC News.

Although Fauci said in July that it would take until late 2015 for a vaccine — if successful — to be administered to a limited number of health workers, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that the grant will also enable it to manufacture 10,000 doses of the vaccine while the trials are ongoing. If the vaccine trials are successful, it will be able to make stocks available immediately to the World Health Organization.

The NIH said it should have initial data from the trial in late 2014.

The trial for a different vaccine is set to begin at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. This vaccine was a collaboration between the federal Department of Defense and Iowa pharmaceutical company NewLink Genetics Corp.

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Co-Workers Donate Sick Days to LA Teacher Fighting Breast Cancer

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) — One California teacher is happy to simply be back in the classroom as the new school year kicks off.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Carol Clark was forced to stay out of the classroom for nearly the entire year due to treatments and complications.

Eventually she was gone for so long, her health insurance and salary were threatened. But Clark’s benefits were saved after multiple colleagues donated their sick days to the 6th grade teacher.

Clark, 56, a teacher at Jaime Escalante Elementary School in Cudahy, California, ended up receiving an additional 154 sick days from co-workers or other teachers as part of a program run by the Los Angeles Unified School District to help teachers in Clark’s situation, according to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Before the donation Clark had been struggling to keep her salary and benefits. For many teachers in the Los Angeles area, once they use up their sick days and their vacation days they can start losing both their salary and health benefits.

Last year Clark missed nearly all of the school year except for just two months. Clark originally thought she would be able to come back for the spring semester, but she ended up needing major surgery after complications arose.

“I finished chemotherapy. Within a week I developed complications,” said Clark. “I couldn’t come back to school at all.”

To cover her time off, Clark used her vacation days and another 120 sick days that she had accrued over 16 years of teaching. But it wasn’t enough.

At the end of last year, she had no more sick days and was still too sick to teach. Clark had one other option. Her husband, also a teacher at Jaime Escalante Elementary School, was able to rally co-workers and other teachers to donate their sick days as part of the “Catastrophic Illness Donation Program.”

“We get paid for 180 days in the school year. So she got 154, so almost a whole year,” Dave Clark told KABC-TV.

Gayle Pollard-Terry, deputy director of communications for the Los Angeles Unified School District, told ABC News that the program helps around 20 to 25 teachers every year.

“When you run out of all of your sick paid leave…if you run out, you [can] lose your health benefits and your income,” she said.

Pollard-Terry said the program can help fill the gap for sick teachers or school district employees.

She said although most donations are not as extreme as Clark’s tally, there have been at least two other donation drives where more than 150 days were raised for a teacher.

For Carol Clark the outpouring of donations from co-workers both past and present was surprising and emotional. She now has extra days to help her through new surgeries scheduled for this year.

“Other people ask me ‘What do you say to people who donate?’” said Clark. “I don’t know what to say to them. I say thank you. But that doesn’t seem like enough. It was really a tremendous thing that they did.”

Clark said she tried to thank her co-workers in a staff meeting but was too “choked up” to speak. Instead she ended up writing them an email to thank them.

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Doctors Chastise UN over Ebola Response as Third American Tests Positive

iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) — Another American doctor has tested positive for Ebola in Liberia amid news that aid workers have chastised world leaders for not doing enough to contain the outbreak.

“We cannot cut off the affected countries and hope this epidemic will simply burn out,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, told the United Nations. “To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building.”

The virus has already killed 1,552 people in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. In fact, a little more than half of all Ebola deaths recorded since the discovery of the virus in 1976 have occurred in the last five months, according to WHO data.

Liu had some strong words for the United Nations on Tuesday, urging its member states to do more to curb the outbreak than protect their own borders.

“Doctors Without Borders … has been ringing alarm bells for months, but the response has been too little, too late,” Liu said, declaring that the world was “losing” the battle with Ebola.

Doctors Without Borders is “completely” overwhelmed despite doubling its staff over the last month, she said, urging United Nations member states to deploy disaster response teams well versed in bio-hazard containment.

“Health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers,” Liu said. “Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled.”

She said it is the U.N.’s responsibility to take action.

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Massachusetts Doctor Infected with Ebola in West Africa

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A Massachusetts doctor has been identified as the third U.S. health worker to be infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Rick Sacra, 51, was treating pregnant women in the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, when he was infected, according to missionary group SIM.

Sacra was not treating Ebola patients in the hospital’s separate Ebola isolation facility, the group said, adding that it was unclear how he contracted the virus.

All infected U.S. health workers were working at the ELWA hospital when they contracted the virus.

“My heart was deeply saddened, but my faith was not shaken, when I learned another of our missionary doctors contracted Ebola,” SIM president Bruce Johnson said in a statement.

Sacra “immediately isolated himself” after showing symptoms of Ebola and has since been transferred to the ELWA Ebola ward where he is “doing well and is in good spirits,” according to SIM, an international, interdenominational Christian organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sacra specializes in family medicine and practices in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

SIM is the same missionary group for which Nancy Writebol had been working when she contracted Ebola in July. Writebol and fellow U.S. Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who worked for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment and later declared virus-free after treatment.

Writebol was discharged Aug. 19 and Brantly went home two days later.

Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people and sickened 1,517 others, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

The virus has sickened at least 240 health workers, half of whom have died, according to WHO.

“Ebola is taking its toll in many ways. It directly kills many who it infects, but indirectly it’s killing many more,” said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who just returned from Monrovia, Liberia. “Emergency rooms are closed, many hospital wards are as well, leaving people who are sick with heart disease, trauma, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, malaria and all the everyday health emergencies with nowhere to go.”

“I worry that this latest case, an American doctor contracting Ebola while caring for a maternity patient, will lead overseas groups that are providing non-Ebola support to question whether they can safely do so,” Besser added. “These countries need more medical support. Any further reduction would be disastrous.”

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Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol Recalls Dark Days with Deadly Disease

Bethany Fankhauser/SIM(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Nancy Writebol said she’s “thankful to be alive” and getting stronger each day after surviving Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa.

It’s been nearly a month since the 59-year-old American was evacuated from Liberia, where she had been working at an Ebola ward with the missionary group SIM.

“My job…was to make sure that doctors were suited up properly in their personal protective gear,” Writebol told ABC News, describing how she would also “decontaminate” the doctors as they left the isolation unit. “I was the mama bear.”

Writebol said she has no idea how she contracted the virus, which spreads through contact with body fluids. She remembers leaving work early one day with a fever, which she blamed on malaria.

“I had had malaria once in this past year, and so I knew what that felt like. And it was just the same symptoms,” she said. But doctors tested her for Ebola “just to set everybody’s mind at ease,” she said, and the test came back positive.

Her husband, David, had to deliver the news.

“How do you tell the love of your life that they’ve contracted a deadly disease?” he said, adding that telling the couple’s two sons was “equally difficult.”

Writebol was swiftly isolated and visited by doctors wearing the same protective suits she once helped them put on. She was also given ZMapp, an experimental Ebola drug that had only been tested in monkeys.

She was evacuated by plane on Aug. 4 to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she spent two weeks in isolation.

“It’s a really lonely place to be,” Nancy Writebol said. “When you’re not able to be with people that you love, to be able to touch your husband, or to be able to reach out to your children even.”

“Part of the hellishness of this disease is to be isolated and completely cut off from that contact with ones that you love,” said David Writebol, who was also placed in isolation just in case he had contracted the virus.

More than half of those infected in the Ebola outbreak have died from the disease, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

“I wondered at times whether I would live or die,” Nancy Writebol said, explaining how she turned to God for strength. “His presence really was with me — and I knew that, I could sense it. …I am so thankful for His mercy and His grace.”

But she also credits the experimental drug ZMapp, though doctors have noted that there’s no way to know for sure whether it helped or hindered her recovery.

“I think it was the booster,” she said. “But I also believe that the supportive care was just as important as the serum.”

Dr. Kent Brantly, another American Ebola survivor, also received the drug. Brantly worked for Samaritan’s Purse, a different missionary group.

Writebol said her thoughts are with a third American Ebola patient, a doctor with SIM who contracted the virus while working in a maternity ward.

“We just continue to pray for God’s mercy,” she said.

Despite having walked through “the valley of the shadow of death,” Writebol said she’s not ruling out a trip back to Liberia.

“We’ll see,” she said. “We continue to pray for our friends in Liberia and ask God to be merciful in that situation and to give them all that they need.”

“We pray that this Ebola contagion would be contained, and would be stopped,” she said.

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ADHD Drugs Shown Not to Affect Children’s Height

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Parents who are concerned that drugs taken to treat their children’s attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shouldn’t worry that these medications will stunt their youngsters’ growth.

That’s according to a new Mayo Clinic study, which contradicts previous findings that were limited by either too few participants or spotty data.

Researchers say the new data looked at hundreds of children with ADHD who used Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta along with kids diagnosed with the condition who took no drugs and youngsters who did not have ADHD.

After a follow-up 26 years and 23 years later of kids with and without the condition, respectively, researchers found no difference in height between the two groups.

Katusic went on to say that there was also no link between the length of time ADHD drugs were taken and adult height. Still, doctors were advised to monitor children’s height regularly whenever medications are administered.

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