Review Category : Health

Microbiologists Celebrate Easter with Bacteria Bunny

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Forget the plastic eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies, the American Society of Microbiologists are celebrating Easter with a substance near and dear to them: bacteria.

The society posted a picture on Facebook of an Easter bunny complete with eyes, nose and ears in a petri dish. This bunny isn’t exactly furry, it’s made up of rod-shaped bacteria called Bacillus.

This is not the first time the scientists have gotten artistic.

Last year, a few creative microbiologists recreated Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in five petri dishes.

Courtesy the American Society for Microbiology

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Mom Mourning Infant Daughter Thanks Fairy Godmother for Kindness

Janice Murphy(ORLANDO) — A Maryland mom penned a touching letter to the “Fairy Godmother” character at Walt Disney World for showing her kindness after the recent death of her baby girl.

“I did feel very touched,” Janice Murphy of Fort Meade, Maryland, told ABC News. “The care that she showed and the compassion for the situation that I was in, it moved me and it meant a lot.”

On March 21, Murphy, 25, posted a letter on her Facebook page with the title “To the Fairy Godmother I didn’t know I needed.” It has received over 31,000 likes.

It read, in part: …I was smiling but you didn’t know I spent 10 minutes in tears over the things my daughter will never experience. You had no idea what that purple teddy bear represents to me.

…And when you found out that my daughter died, and that her ashes are within the bear, you treated her the same way you treat every child that comes to see you every single day: with love, compassion and kindness. When you hugged her, and kissed her cheek, you made me feel like Analiese mattered to you.

You may not ever see this, and even if you do, you may not remember us. But I will always remember you, and how you hugged and loved on my daughter as if she was like any other child. You helped me feel her spirit in a place she was never able to visit while alive.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Love, Analiese’s mommy.

Murphy said she was in the second trimester of her pregnancy when doctors diagnosed her unborn daughter Analiese with trisomy 10q–a, rare chromosomal disorder that was causing problems with her heart, brain and kidneys.

“She was entirely too small and she was about two weeks behind,” Murphy said. “They didn’t believe that she would make it to term…my husband and I discussed it and decided we wanted to continue the pregnancy as long as possible. We continued to go back [to the doctor] every week, and every week my doctor was shocked that she had a heartbeat.”

Analiese was born on Feb. 11 at 10:29 p.m. but died shortly after.

“There’s some okay days and some really not okay days,” Murphy said. “It varies moment to moment. I haven’t gone back to work yet, but I’ve been staying in contact with the friends that I’ve made that have also lost children and they’ve been a great support system.”

On March 14, Murphy visited Walt Disney World by herself while her husband Stefan was on a business trip in Orlando.

When she noticed the Fairy Godmother was doing a meet-and-greet with park guests, she decided to approach her with Analiese’s teddy bear in tow.

“I walk up and pretty much the first thing she said was, ‘Who do we have here?’ and I responded with, ‘My daughter,'” Murphy recalled. “I explained that she had passed away and I had her ashes inside the bear and she said ‘Oh, I’m so sorry’ and then she asked me if she could give her a hug.”

Murphy said the Fairy Godmother then took out an index card and signed her autograph, writing: “To Sweet Analiese.”

Janice Murphy

“People are taking the time to message me directly and tell me how sorry they are and it’s been incredible,” Murphy said. “I didn’t expect it to go viral and it has and now people all over the world know her name.”

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Father of Boy Forced to Leave Plane Due to Allergies Dies of Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The father of a boy who became the talk of the Internet after the boy was forced to leave a plane due to an allergic reaction has died after a battle with esophageal cancer, his family said.

Jorge Alvarado, 48, was battling cancer when he and his family attempted to fly out from Washington to Arizona in February. However, a dog on the flight lead to their son, Giovanni Alvarado, having an allergic reaction, and after a delay, the family said they eventually were told to exit the plane. As they did so, they say some other passengers clapped their exit.

Christina Fabian, Alvarado’s wife, said she hoped the calm and quiet way her husband handled the situation could be an example to others to be kind. Her husband died on Thursday, she said.

“He was kind to the core — he didn’t have an angry bone in his body,” she told ABC News today. “It just hurt him to not be able to protect Giovanni from that.”

The family was flying on Allegiant Air after a visit with family when they were forced to leave the plane due to Giovanni’s allergy attack. Fabian said that was the last family trip.

“It was our last trip,” Fabian told ABC News. “I wish everything had gone smoothly for him and for Giovanni.”

Fabian said in spite of the pain her family felt listening to other passengers talk about them, she hopes their story will make others take a minute before making assumptions.

“We were quietly sitting in the back of the plane and were listening to people talk around us,” Fabian recalled. “I hope the next time they act out and they think of him and his experience and they don’t subject someone else to that.”

A statement from Allegiant to ABC’s Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV at the time of the incident said that the family was removed due to concerns over Giovanni’s health and after a doctor recommended that the family leave.

“The safety of our passengers is our most important priority regardless of the circumstances. We are sorry for the circumstances under which this family was traveling, and we regret that this family had a negative experience and that they were inconvenienced. We worked diligently with the family to get them on the next available flight and get them safely to their destination as soon as possible,” the airline said in its statement.

Fabian said the family received messages of support and comfort after their story made headlines last month. She said that getting that support helped the family as Alvarado’s health deteriorated over the last few weeks.

“From all over the world, we’ve heard messages from Taiwan, Mexico, Dominican Republic and China,” Fabian said. “It was beautiful because one of the things he wanted was to make a difference. … He did that.”

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Leah Still Celebrates 1 Year of Being Cancer-Free

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic(CINCINNATI) — The daughter of former Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still just celebrated a big milestone: being cancer free for one year.

Leah Still was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2015 at age 4. The disease develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body and primarily affects children younger than 5, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Devon Still took to social media Friday to celebrate his daughter’s “second birthday.”

“I want to wish a Happy (2nd) Birthday to my baby, Leah,” Still wrote on Instagram Friday. “Today, March 25th, marks a year of her being in remission! A day she was given a second chance at life.”

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Mammograms Can Help Screen for Heart Disease, Study Claims

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Mammograms are a known tool in helping detect breast cancer in women. But could they also help one day in diagnosing heart disease, the leading cause of death among women?

Watch the video below to see ABC Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton weigh in on the findings of a new study:

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Study Finds Link Between Caffeine and Miscarriages

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Could drinking caffeinated drinks during or even weeks before a pregnancy up your chances of having a miscarriage?

A new study out Friday by the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University found that a woman is more likely to have a miscarriage if she and her partner consumed more than two caffeinated drinks a day in the weeks leading up to her pregnancy.

Furthermore, women who drank more than two caffeinated drinks daily during the first seven weeks after conception also had a higher chance of early pregnancy loss.

“Generally, 200 milligrams — two cups of caffeine or coffee — while pregnant is fine, but this is significant because it’s the first time that it shows that what men do can [have an] impact … before conception,” ABC Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.

The study, published in Fertility and Sterility, also found that women who took a daily multivitamin before and early on in their pregnancy were less likely to miscarry compared to women who did not take one.

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Student Researchers Develop Potential Home Test for Zika

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — A class project at the University of Texas could have life-saving implications well beyond the Lone Star State.

Student researchers there have developed a home test that could help in the fight against the Zika virus. The device is a little smaller than a Rubik’s Cube.

Here’s how it works: Place the body fluids of a test mosquito into the box and, an hour later, you’ll know whether the insect was carrying any number of diseases.

The test has potential applications for homeowners in the United States, but could also save lives in the hands of public health officials in the developing world.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: How Happy Are You?

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

If you’re in your 30s or older, chances are you’re less likely to consider yourself happy than your parents were, according to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The main thrust for all this unhappiness, researchers say, is growing financial pressures and economic uncertainty.

Now look, we all have good days and bad days. But there are some things you could do right now to bring happiness to your life:

  • Remember perspective. Someone always has it better and there’s always someone who has it worse.
  • Try meditation. When I started, I actually found myself happier, more positive and more calm.
  • Say a nice thing to yourself every day. Positive suggestion really helps.

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Mom of Child Who Died from SIDS Pens Blog to New Baby

Courtesy Jenna Brandt(BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) — In a moving blog post, Jenna Brandt addressed her now 9-month-old daughter on the same day her son passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) two years ago.

“Nicole: today you are 8 months, 26 days old – the same age your brother, Dylan, was when he passed away from SIDS,” she wrote. “He never reached 9 months old, so I pray and hope you will make it past this day.”

“You’re not supposed to have your child pass before you,” Brandt told ABC News.

In her post, the Bakersfield, California mom opened up about her fears of losing her daughter just like her son.

“Sometimes, I am consumed by my fear that lightening can strike twice. I watch you sleep and touch your arm just to see you move to prove to me that you’re still breathing,” Brandt wrote. “I want to live free from the burden of fear, but losing Dylan was the worst moment of my life and I can’t fathom going through it again if something should ever happen to you.”

SIDS affects 3,500 children in the U.S. yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). SIDS is often the result of health issues that affect infants while they sleep or conditions around their sleeping area, such as soft bedding, pillows, objects or becoming entangled in cribs.

But the deaths are often listed as unexplained. Such was the case for Brandt’s son.

The mother said she was “naive” about the ordeal.

“You think, ‘Oh, that’s not going to happen to me.’ You hear these stories of people who’ve lost children and you think, ‘That won’t be me,'” Brandt said. “But now I’m very aware that you can lose a child.”

“It literally is the worst feeling in the world,” she added.

Brandt has found comfort in the positive reactions to her posts, some of which have been read by thousands of people, and her online community.

“I had such a huge response [from] it,” she said. “No one talks about infant loss. They’re afraid people are going to be uncomfortable.”

Since losing her son two years ago, the mother of three daughters said she’s changed how she parents. Although her son Dylan didn’t die because of his crib conditions like most SIDS deaths, Brandt still said she now uses a sleep monitor for her daughter and has removed blankets and toys in Nicole’s crib. Instead, she dresses her in a wearable sleeping blanket.

“It’s just changed my perspective,” Brandt continued. “It sounds so cliche, but I take in every moment more and I look at it like this could be my last moment with them.

She said that even in moments of frustration, she stops to think. “I say, ‘But what if it’s the last thing I say to them? I want it to be, “I love you, have a good day.'”

Brandt credits her faith and counseling with helping her to overcome her fear while parenting her newborn daughter. She and her husband decided to have another child through in-vitro fertilization, but she says it wasn’t because she was trying to replace Dylan.

“I always say she didn’t erase the pain, but she helped ease it. When I look at her and she smiles and she giggles and I’m playing with her, it makes me happy,” Brandt added.

“I’ll be honest, there’s always a twinge like, ‘Oh now she’s doing things he didn’t do,'” she said. “It sounds funny, but holding her and focusing on her, it really helps ease the loss of him.”

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Preemie Babies Are Totally Twinning in Whimsical Photos

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — How’s this for double the fun?

Precious 8-month-old preemie twins, Leia and Lauren Lok, are ruling Instagram with their whimsical photos, one colorful creation at a time.

Their parents, Peter Lok and Amber Yong, said they were inspired to start documenting their growing babies in the adorable outfits from a young age because “honestly, this is the only period of time they allow you to dress them up, they grow up so fast!”

The baby girls were born prematurely at only 32 weeks and spent their first month in the hospital.

“They are called the ‘Momo’ twins because they are Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, which are identical twins that develop in a single, shared placenta and amniotic sac in the mother’s womb,” the family from Singapore wrote to ABC News. “They share the placenta but have two separate umbilical cords.”

The proud parents started the twins’ creative Instagram account 7 months ago and they’ve already amassed 167,000 followers.

“As avid travel photographers, both my wife any myself enjoy documenting our journey through images,” Peter wrote. “I am a passionate photographer by leisure and my wife loves styling and playing with concepts. We like to have fun with the girls.”

As for how they come up with such imaginative ideas for each photo, “We would brainstorm together while browsing through their outfits, though most times ideas come rather impromptu during a shoot,” he added. “Photo sessions usually happens after their nap time and takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Leia and Lauren are very jovial babies and they are not camera-shy therefore it’s not tough for us to capture a moment.”

Take a look at the girls totally twinning in these perfect photos.

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