Review Category : Health

Couple Weds in Hospital After Groom’s Cancer Diagnosis

Detroit Medical Center Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital(DETROIT) — A Michigan couple are thankful to be married after complications from the groom’s lung cancer threatened the entire event. But rather than try and get the groom to the wedding, a Michigan hospital arraigned to have the wedding come to the groom.

Eric and Lindsay Thomas were married last week in the lobby of the Detroit Medical Center’s Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital after an infection kept Eric Thomas from leaving the building.

The couple had already moved up the date of their wedding from 2015 to this April after Thomas’ initial diagnosis. But a recent infection made doctors unwilling to discharge Eric Thomas for the event, according to ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

“By the end of Thursday night, it was like ‘Yeah, there’s no chance,’” Thomas told WXYZ-TV of the doctors’ orders to keep him at the hospital.

However, hospital staff helped the couple come up with another plan: move the wedding to the hospital.

The hospital’s florist and food service operator contributed bouquets, food and dessert for 50 guests at the couple’s ceremony and reception. Lindsay Thomas got to walk down the aisle in her white dress and Eric Thomas wore a tux. He even defied doctors’ orders and rose to greet his bride at the end of the aisle, according to WXYZ-TV.

Both the bride and the groom wore baseball hats, although the bride’s hat had a veil attached.

“I was worried about all my hair falling out, I was worried about wedding pictures,” Eric Thomas explained to WXYZ-TV about the decision to don baseball hats.

While it was not the wedding the couple had imagined, they were happy with how it turned out.

“They made our dreams come true. We are very, very happy about that,” Lindsay Thomas said of the hospital staff.

At first doctors were unsure whether Eric Thomas would be able to go home after the wedding, but hospital officials confirmed to ABC News that the couple left the hospital this week.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scared of Spiders? App Helps People Battle Arachnophobia

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Imagine conquering your fear of spiders, crowds, flying and more with a few swipes of a smartphone.

Psychiatrists are working to make that happen. The app Phobia Free helps people battle arachnophobia through “systematic desensitization,” a gradual method of exposing users to their fear, common in psychiatric treatment.

“You start off playing games with cartoon-like spiders and as you progress through the app, through the game, they get more and more real until you face an augmented reality tarantula,” co-founder Dr. Andrés Fonseca told ABC News.

Users will face nine different spiders during the “treatment” — a series of games played in the app.

People can be cured of their fear of spiders in as little as four hours if they play consistently, but most people take a couple weeks to go through the digital program, Fonseca said.

“It’s been shown to work as well as live spiders,” added Fonseca, a psychiatrist who studies phobias and technology in London, and helps create health apps for Virtually-Free. “Traditional treatment used to use a real spider. You would get the person to come closer and closer and then touch it — it turns out technology is just as good.”

It’s also cheaper.

“Treatment for this phobia might cost you $200 or $300 if you do it with a therapist in one session,” he said. “The idea is to make it accessible to everyone, make it more affordable.”

The app costs $3.99 in Apple’s iTunes app store.

Now, Fonseca and his colleagues are working on another app to help people conquer agoraphobia, fear of being in crowds or places where it’s hard to escape.

“That one can be very disabling because it can trap people at home — which of course makes it very difficult to treat, because they’re not going to come to the clinic!” Fonseca said. “Agoraphobia is far trickier, we’ll see how it goes, but it will probably require longer treatment time.”

He expects the app to be ready by the end of the year.

Fonseca and his colleagues have another app, Stress Free, that helps users relax.

There are also smartphone apps that help people conquer their fear of flying and hypnosis apps that claim to be able to cure several phobias.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scared of Spiders? App Helps People Battle Arachnophobia

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Imagine conquering your fear of spiders, crowds, flying and more with a few swipes of a smartphone.

Psychiatrists are working to make that happen. The app Phobia Free helps people battle arachnophobia through “systematic desensitization,” a gradual method of exposing users to their fear, common in psychiatric treatment.

“You start off playing games with cartoon-like spiders and as you progress through the app, through the game, they get more and more real until you face an augmented reality tarantula,” co-founder Dr. Andrés Fonseca told ABC News.

Users will face nine different spiders during the “treatment” — a series of games played in the app.

People can be cured of their fear of spiders in as little as four hours if they play consistently, but most people take a couple weeks to go through the digital program, Fonseca said.

“It’s been shown to work as well as live spiders,” added Fonseca, a psychiatrist who studies phobias and technology in London, and helps create health apps for Virtually-Free. “Traditional treatment used to use a real spider. You would get the person to come closer and closer and then touch it — it turns out technology is just as good.”

It’s also cheaper.

“Treatment for this phobia might cost you $200 or $300 if you do it with a therapist in one session,” he said. “The idea is to make it accessible to everyone, make it more affordable.”

The app costs $3.99 in Apple’s iTunes app store.

Now, Fonseca and his colleagues are working on another app to help people conquer agoraphobia, fear of being in crowds or places where it’s hard to escape.

“That one can be very disabling because it can trap people at home — which of course makes it very difficult to treat, because they’re not going to come to the clinic!” Fonseca said. “Agoraphobia is far trickier, we’ll see how it goes, but it will probably require longer treatment time.”

He expects the app to be ready by the end of the year.

Fonseca and his colleagues have another app, Stress Free, that helps users relax.

There are also smartphone apps that help people conquer their fear of flying and hypnosis apps that claim to be able to cure several phobias.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Letter from Lou Gehrig Captures Secret Struggle

SCP Auctions(NEW YORK) — A poignant personal letter from baseball legend Lou Gehrig to his doctor is up for auction Thursday, some 75 years after the ailing Yankee slugger signed it.

The typed letter, signed “Lou,” is dated Sept. 13, 1939 — exactly three months after Gehrig was diagnosed with the fatal disease that would come to bear his name.

Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease causes progressive paralysis, trapping its victims inside frozen bodies. Most people die from it in less than five years. Gehrig died in two. He was 37 years old.

The letter, addressed to Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Paul O’Leary, is a “note to say ‘hello’” and invite O’Leary and his wife to the World Series.

“I sincerely HOPE AND URGE you and Ruth to be with us for this is probably the only way in which I can attempt to begin to show my appreciation,” Gehrig wrote. “Eleanor and I are praying that you will enjoy yourselves on this much needed vacation.”

Lou and Eleanor Gehrig were married for nine years before he died.

The letter also describes Lou Gehrig’s private struggle with the symptoms of ALS, and his hope that thiamin injections were working to boost his strength and slow his decline.

“I hope it is not my imagination,” he said of the injections, calling their effects “nothing short of miracles.”

“Where I used to get exceptionally tired in the morning (especially in the right hand) from brushing my teeth, shaving, combing my hair, buttoning up tight buttons on my clothes, I would then feel like relaxing and resting, whereas now that tiredness is somewhat lessened, and I still have pep to go on,” he wrote.

So far only one drug has been found to prolong the lives of people with ALS: Riluzole.

Gehrig jokes to O’Leary about how “there will be trouble” when the pair ditch their wives and head down to the clubhouse “to watch the boys while they dress” and partake in the “excitement on the bench up to game time.”

“[Babe] Ruth is going to shoot us or want a couple of baseball britches to be down there with us,” he wrote. “I am afraid Ruth will have to be content in meeting the boys on the train or in the diner.”

The letter is up for auction at SCP Auctions, with a starting big of $50,000.

“This transcendent letter lays bare Gehrig’s humanity and mortality,” the Laguna Niguel, California-based auctioneer’s website reads.

“The letter is a unique window into the private battle for survival that Gehrig entered for the last two years of his life, a battle that was carefully hidden from the public. In the face of dire circumstances, Gehrig’s letter also shows his unfailing character, including humor, generosity and his appreciation and gratitude for others. It is no wonder that when the All Century Baseball Team was chosen in 1999, 60 years after this letter was written, Lou Gehrig received more votes than anyone,” it continues.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Bracelet Turns Body Heat into Electricity

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology(NEW YORK) — Wearable technology like Fitbit is hot right now, but it could get a lot hotter in the next few years — literally.

South Korean scientists have developed a tiny patch-like device that takes your body heat and turns it into electricity. So in a few years, it may be possible to kiss your chargers and batteries goodbye in favor of self-powered gadgets.

“We expect that this technology will find further applications in scale-up systems such as automobiles, factories, aircrafts, and vessels where we see abundant thermal energy being wasted,” said lead researcher Byung Jin Cho, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Other “thermoelectric” generators exist, but they’re not good at harnessing body heat because they’re not flexible or lightweight, Cho said. His team’s generator is made out of “glass fabric,” allowing it to move with the skin and absorb heat. A bracelet containing it would only weigh 10 grams, he said.

The device could be available in about two years, but Cho said he’s not sure how much money it will cost consumers.

Cho and his colleagues also plan to demonstrate a self-powered electrocardiographic monitor within a year, he said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Girl with Leukemia Sells Homemade Mother’s Day Cards for Cancer Research

Ivan Castro(NEW YORK) — A 3-year-old cancer patient has raised thousands of dollars for cancer research with her homemade Mother’s Day cards.

Aubrey Castro has been battling leukemia since last May. She told her parents that she wanted to be a “mommy and an artist” when she grows up. So when she decided to help raise money for cancer research, her parents had a suggestion: paint a card for Mother’s Day.

“Ever since she’s been going through treatment, she’ll paint or color with crayons or makers,” said Aubrey’s mother, Vanessa Castro. “Even when she was at home and on steroids. She had an easel, it was painting and coloring…that’s how the cards evolved.”

Aubrey’s father, Ivan Castro, said the family wanted to raise money for cancer research after finding out that the federal government only allocates a small proportion of funding to pediatric cancer research — 3.8 percent, according to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Eventually, the family decided to make and sell cards and donate the proceeds to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which specializes in funding pediatric cancer research.

Aubrey only needed a little help picking between her two favorite subjects: flowers and butterflies.

“I want to paint three flowers because I’m 3,” Vanessa Castro recalled her daughter saying. “She [wanted] pink and purple because those are her favorite colors…She already is such an artist. She does the flower in one stroke.”

A printing company donated the materials, according to Vanessa Castro. The cards are being sold on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s website and a friend’s Etsy store in exchange for a $5 donation.

So far, they’ve sold about 1,500 cards, with a goal of selling 2,014 by Mother’s Day.

If they fall short of their goal by May 11, they’ll keep selling the cards through the year, Vanessa Castro said.

“She definitely is excited, every day when I get home she helps me assemble them,” she said.

Aubrey is still in treatment, but her mother said she’s responding very well to chemotherapy and was only hospitalized when she was diagnosed. She’s now in the maintenance phase of her treatment and hopes be finished chemo in July 2015.

The family plans to continue their fundraising efforts and will travel to Boston this year for the St. Baldrick’s “Mommas Shave for the Brave,” where Vanessa Castro will shave her head alongside 45 other moms. The number 46 represents the approximate number of children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each weekday according to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Vanessa Castro said she’s ready to get rid of her hair, but her daughter isn’t as sure.

“[Aubrey's] like, ‘I don’t’ want you to shave your head,’” she said. “She hasn’t 100 percent warmed up to it.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Nail Salon Manicures May Include Free Skin Damage

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — Ultraviolet lamps have been used at nail salons for years to dry wet nail polish, and scientists have also known for years that UV light is considered a carcinogen.

Dermatologists at the Medical College of Georgia recently decided to examine the issue by studying 17 UV lamps at commercial salons and specifically screen the light sources for UV-A irradiance, known to cause DNA damage.

Researchers studied the levels of irradiance from five separate lamp positions, to account for varying “nail-drying” postures, and calculated a median of 11.8 visits as sufficient to damage skin cells. The 17 lamps examined displayed significant variations based on wattage, bulb and position. Taking all lamps into account, the minimum number of days to incur skin damage was eight and the maximum was 208.

Experts note that even with repeat visits, the risk for carcinogenesis remains small for nail salon customers, but they advise that establishments use physical blocking sunscreens and/or UV-A blocking gloves.

Medical observers note that there have been previous studies highlighting the dangers from UV lamps, but this research is the first to physically sample those from commercial nail salons. The study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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What’s the Proper Serving Size for Eating Marijuana?

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — Now that sale, possession and use of marijuana is legal to those 21 and over in Colorado, state regulators, lawyers and health officials are now discussing possible regulations for edible pot.

Christian Sederberg, an attorney who worked on the law that made marijuana legal in the state, says there’s a concern that people don’t know how much pot they can safely eat.

On Wednesday, Sederberg attended a meeting about the issue and said the group is trying to establish what one marijuana serving would be. “We’re just trying to make sure that the consumer understands what a serving size is for marijuana in terms of how many milligrams of marijuana is an appropriate amount for me to take,” Sederberg said.

He says one idea is to set up sales in terms of serving size, similar to the idea of alcohol content. “A glass of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of whiskey…we sort of understand in the alcohol world these things are roughly equivalent and we know that that’s one alcohol serving,” says Sederberg. “We’re trying to establish what one marijuana serving is.”

The topic of warning labels was also discussed, and Sederberg says one idea floated was to mark edible marijuana products like ski slopes.

“One of the proposals which I thought was really interesting was using symbols from ski slopes, which is green circle is beginner…blue square is intermediate, black diamond is advanced, double black diamond is expert only.”

Sederberg says it’s a guide with which many Coloradans would be very familiar.

The group didn’t finalize anything and will meet again next month.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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An Easy Way to Get Young Children to Help Out Around the House

Blend Images/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — Want your young children to help out around the house? A new study published in the Society for Research in Child Development suggests that instead of specifically asking for help, parents should simply refer to their kids as “helpers” when the need arises and watch them jump at the chance.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego performed two experiments with 149 children, aged three to six, to learn how certain words work better than others when requesting a favor.

Some of the children were randomly designated as “helpers” while others were simply “asked to help.” When all the kids were presented with scenarios such as picking up crayons on the floor or opening a storage bin, the kids that had the title of “helpers” were 29 percent more likely to spring into action than their counterparts who were “asked to help.”

Researchers suggest that children seek a positive identity and that noun descriptors instill responsibility. The experiment was repeated in various locations with different adult researchers with similar results.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Vacuum and Dust Your Way to a Healthy Life

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A new study finds that people who are not in good enough shape to do strenuous walking, kayaking or biking can still reduce their risk of disability by doing light household chores.

Researchers found that people who spent more than four hours a day doing light physical activity such as vacuuming the house had more than a 30-percent reduction in their risk for developing a disability, compared to those spending only three hours a day in light activity.

“The bottom line is to stay as active as possible. Even spending time in light activity will be beneficial,” said lead author Dorothy Dunlop, a professor with the Center for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

Dunlop says the federal government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week, but many people have health issues that prevent them from pursuing that level of exercise. Her research team studied almost 1,700 adults, aged 45 to 79, who were not disabled, but were at elevated risk for becoming disabled due to knee arthritis.

The researchers had the participants wear an accelerometer around one hip during their waking hours for about a week to measure the intensity of their daily movements.

The researchers checked on the participants two years later and found that people who took part in more light activity were one-third to one-half less likely to suffer a disability, compared to people who had the least amount of daily light activity.

The conclusion is some movement is better than none, so start cleaning that house. The study appeared in the April 29 issue of the BMJ.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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