WLS-TV(CHICAGO) — A Chicago infant is going home Wednesday for the first time, more than four months after being born as a “micro-premie.”

Entitan Martins delivered her daughter Eirianna when she was just 23 weeks pregnant. Weighing in at just 13 ounces, Eirianna is the smallest surviving infant to be born at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, according to hospital officials.

“I’m just grateful that we’re both here,” Martins told ABC’s Chicago station WLS-TV. “It’s been a long haul.”

While pregnant, Martins had pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage in other organs. As a result, she knew that she would deliver early, but 23 weeks was so early that Eirianna was born on the edge of survivability.

“He comes in one day and says, ‘We’re having the baby now. I’m calling your husband, we’re gonna do it,'” Martin told WLS-TV of the moment a doctor told her she needed to deliver.

Born via a cesarean section, the tiny infant was so fragile that her parents couldn’t even reach out and touch her as a newborn in case they accidentally injured her, according to WLS.

“I thought I was prepared for it, but when I saw her I was shell shocked,” Martins told WLS-TV.

After months in the hospital, Eirianna now can now feed via bottle and looks just like any other healthy newborn.

“Oh, it’s great. I mean, she looks so good. She looks like she never was a little tiny premie,” Beckie Deir, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, told WLS.

As Martins prepares to take her daughter home Wednesday, she looked back on her daughter’s survival after such an early delivery as “a gift.”

“It feel like a miracle, like a blessing,” Martins said. “I am very grateful.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

ABC News(NEW YORK) — YouTube star and comedian Hannah Hart, best known for her boozy cooking mishaps on her popular series, “My Drunk Kitchen,” said she turned to meditation while she was working to get her mentally ill mother proper care.

Meditation “helps with my reactivity,” Hart told ABC News’ Dan Harris during an interview for his podcast/livestream show, “10% Happier.” “On the outside, I’m always seemingly pretty calm unless I’m super happy, but on the inside, I can get really anxious really fast and meditation has kind of helped me control that.”

Her older sister, Naomi, introduced her to the guided meditation app Headspace, and it has “brought meditation into my daily life,” Hart said. “I’m not forcing myself to calm down. I just have more calm in me.”

Hart’s bubbly, shiny personality online has earned her millions of fans, many of whom were surprised to learn about her life-long private struggle of dealing with mental health issues in her family, as detailed in her memoir, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded.

In her memoir, Hart, 30, goes into great detail about her profound family issues growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hart said her parents split up when she was a baby and she and her sister, Naomi, were mainly raised by their mother, Annette, who suffers from psychosis, in a home that Hart described as being in total squalor. She and her sister also spent time with their father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness — something Hart also described as having issues with.

“I think my ability to feel compassion for another person has been a great blessing in my life and it’s something my mother has taught me. My ability to have great optimism is something my mother has taught me. But at the same time she hasn’t been the most reliable parent, through no fault of her own,” Hart said. “Everyone’s trauma is different, but it really took me a long time to realize, and I’m still kind of in denial, I guess, that it was more abnormal than normal.”

Hart’s book is told from her perspective of watching her mother’s condition worsen over time, eventually leading Hart to care for her. Last year, her mother was placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold, which eventually led Hart to become her conservator.

“The book really deals with kind of my mother’s decent, eventually culminating in homelessness, eventually culminating in me trying to provide care for her and my journey from a child to an adult trying to provide care for this person that I love, love deeply, and coming against a system that literally told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do,’” Hart said.

Hart had become an established YouTube sensation when she won her case to be allowed to become her mother’s conservator, meaning she can make decisions about her mother’s psychiatric wellbeing on her behalf — something she said is almost never granted. She has become an outspoken advocate for mental health reform.

“I can say, with total sincerity, that the only reason I pursued entertainment was to spread this message,” Hart said. “I’m really lucky that I’m funny, because it gave me a platform to do this.”

Hart’s most-well known series, “My Drunk Kitchen,” was started by accident, Hart said. In 2011, she was living in New York City and wanted to cheer up a friend back in California, so she sent her a YouTube video of herself getting drunk while cooking. That video ended up going viral — today it has over 4.1 million views — and seeing an opportunity, she began to do more.

Since then, Hart has built an entire “Harto” YouTube brand that includes videos of candid confessions about coming out as gay, quirky dating and relationship advice, hilarious DIY mishaps and hanging out and drinking with friends.

Her main YouTube channel now has over 2.5 million subscribers. She has 1.3 million followers on Instagram and 1 million followers on Twitter. In addition, she has written two books, starred in two straight-to-VOD movies and hosted several live #NoFilterShows.

Her next project is to switch from the internet to television with a Food Network series, though she said it will not be a TV-version of “My Drunk Kitchen.”

“I want to be able to have that freedom to post and say and do whatever I want,” she said. “Television, in a lot of ways — you have to work with a bigger partner, and ‘My Drunk Kitchen’ is just for me and my friends.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

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

Whether you’re a so-called “weekend warrior” or a gym rat, everyone benefits from time spent working out.

It’s long been recommended that we need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity workouts per week to stay healthy and to avoid things like cancer, heart disease and even premature death. But how much is enough?

The findings of a new study suggest that a couple of 75-minute sessions per week can really reduce health problems.

Here’s my prescription for getting off the couch and into the gym:

  • Find something you like. You’re much more willing to stick with it if you’re actually enjoying yourself.
  • Try group classes and activities and learn to love the process, not just the product.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Forget that the calendar says it’s still winter, allergy season is already hitting much of the country despite spring officially being nearly a month away.

As a relatively mild and wet winter has given way to unseasonably high temperatures across much of the U.S., multiple areas are reporting high pollen counts weeks earlier than normal.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about the kick-off to spring allergy season.

Which areas are reporting high pollen levels?

Not surprisingly, the South has started to see high levels of pollen as trees start to come back to life after winter weather. This week, Atlanta reported pollen counts of 1,289, according to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Center. Last year, nothing close to that was recorded until mid-March, according to the center.

Additionally, parts of Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia have all had high levels of tree pollen, according to a daily Accuweather map.

Does winter weather affect spring allergy season?

Dr. Yasmin Bhasin, an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Care in Middletown, N.Y., said the mild, wet weather that has hit much of the country will likely mean a worse season for allergy sufferers overall.

“Allergy season is directly in relation to how much it has rained and snowed,” Bhasin said. It depends on the weather for the trees “to grow and flourish and pollinate” in the spring. The healthier the trees, the more pollen in the air.

Mid-March is usually the prime time for allergens to be released, Bhasin said, but it can change depending on the weather and last year’s cold winter meant allergy season was delayed.

Which allergens are released in the spring?

The top allergen of spring is tree pollen. The type of tree pollen released largely depends on the region, Bhasin said. However, primarily oak, maple, birch and elm trees will be causing allergy sufferers a lot of misery this spring, she noted.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

ABC News(MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.) — A security camera recently captured the hair-raising moment a coyote stealthily followed a doctor into his office in South Carolina.

The doctor — Steven Poletti, an orthopedic surgeon — said the harrowing incident happened early in the morning on Feb. 15 while he was walking into work at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Poletti had no idea a coyote was behind him until they were both inside the building, he told ABC News Tuesday.

“I felt something brush my leg and then turned around,” he said. “At first glance, I thought it was a dog.”

But Poletti quickly realized the animal was a coyote when he caught sight of its “bared teeth and big, bushy tail with a black tip.”

“We were enclosed in this small 10-by-10-foot stairwell area, and I didn’t want it to run into the operating room or into the office,” Poletti said. “I just shook my keys out of fear, and the coyote took a step back and looked like he was frightened. Then, I just made a run for it.”

The coyote chased the doctor outside for about 10 feet until a squirrel distracted it and it ran off, Poletti said.

“It all happened very quickly,” he said. “I was just shocked because the office isn’t in a rural or forest area, and there are a lot of homes and commercial properties nearby.”

Poletti noted, though, that coyotes are abundant on Sullivan Island in South Carolina — the beach island town where he lives and which is about three miles from his office.

“We hear them howling on a nightly basis,” he said. “There are definitely a lot of coyote reports in the surrounding areas, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a coyote enter a building like this before.”

Poletti said he called the Mount Pleasant Police Department and reported the incident.

The doctor said that initially, animal control officers from the police department told him he could hire a private trapper. However, a few days later, the police department offered to have its animal control officers set up a trap to try and capture the coyote, Poletti said.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the incident.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page confirmed that the town generally refers residents to trappers when they report coyote sightings, according to local newspaper The Post and Courier.

Page declined to provide further comment on the town’s response to the incident until she could talk with her staff about it, the newspaper reported.

She did say, however, that if “there’s any kind of danger to human life, we’re going to take it seriously,” The Post and Courier added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Geneva Sands/ABC News(BOSTON) — The increasing number of opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts show the state is one of the hardest hit in the nation by the growth of the highly-potent opioid fentanyl.

The number of deaths related to opioids in Massachusetts has risen exponentially in recent years reaching an estimated 1,979 deaths this year, a sharp rise from 918 deaths in 2013, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“The opioid epidemic continues to threaten individuals and families all across Massachusetts and the country,” the state’s governor, Charlie Baker, said in a statement last week. “Our administration will continue our intense focus on fighting this epidemic by further increasing treatment options and expanding support for law enforcement and their efforts to arrest and convict drug traffickers who prey on vulnerable people, selling them more and more deadly and addictive substances.”

While heroin may be the most well-known illicit opioid, fentanyl appears to be more deadly to drug users in the state. After reviewing toxicology reports from 1,374 opioid-related deaths, where the reports were available, the department found 75 percent were positive for fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid usually prescribed for chronic pain in advanced cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

But the state said that the fentanyl they are seeing most is the illicit variety, which is a powder often mixed with either heroin or cocaine to amplify its effects. Users of illicit fentanyl may not know they are being exposed to a much more lethal substance.

The rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts has increased 26 percent from 2014, rising from 20.4 deaths per 100,000 people to 25.8 deaths per 100,00 people. This number is higher than the rate of death for suicides in the U.S., 13.4 deaths per 100,000, and the rate of death from car accidents, 11.1 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The number of fentanyl encounters more than doubled across the U.S. from 5,343 in 2014 to 13,882 in 2015, according to the CDC, and Massachusetts showed more than a 500 percent increase, along with New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“We are committed to ending the opioid epidemic and will continue our efforts no matter how long it takes,” Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said last week, adding that the governor’s new budget proposed $145 million for funding to help treat and prevent substance abuse.

While deaths have continued to rise, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health pointed out that were rising at a slower rate in the last few years. Additionally Baker has been working to fight the ongoing opioid crisis in the state since arriving in office in 2015 by spending $180 million on treatment and prevention programs, in addition to launching initiatives to lessen the stigma around drug addiction.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

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

There’s no doubt about it, the Botox business is booming.

Since 2011, the number of women receiving the cosmetic procedure has gone up more than 40 percent, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. And some men are even getting into the action, a trend that’s been dubbed “brotox.” But a recently published book — called Botox Nation — says younger women are being aggressively targeted for treatments with hope that they’ll become lifetime customers.

Here’s my take on this issue: In a day and age where there are major issues facing our health, I don’t think we should be over obsessing about something like Botox when used for elective, cosmetic reasons.

So if you’re considering Botox, go for it. Just go to a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Bobby Bank/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former Partridge Family star, David Cassidy, said he will stop touring as a musician so that he can focus on his health as he battles dementia.

“I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions,” Cassidy told People magazine in an interview. “I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”

Cassidy’s publicist confirmed the report to ABC News.

Both his grandfather and mother suffered from the disease, which affects memory, Cassidy, 66, told People. The actor said that “the only way I knew [my mother] recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into a room.”

“I feared I would end up that way,” he continued. “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”

Over the past few years, Cassidy has had several brushes with the law. He also spent time in a substance rehabilitation center in 2014.

Earlier this month, Cassidy wrote on his website that he planned to retire to some degree, calling it “the most difficult decision I have ever made in my entire life.”

“I will always be eternally grateful for the love and support you’ve shown me. I still love very much to play and perform live. But it’s much more difficult for me now,” he wrote. “I’m not going to vanish or disappear forever.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

WFAA-TV(DALLAS) — A former Dallas neurosurgeon has been sentenced to life in prison after he maimed an elderly woman during surgery in 2012.

Mary Efurd testified against Dr. Christopher Duntsch, claiming his surgery was supposed to treat her chronic back pain, but instead she said the spinal fusion surgery put her in a wheelchair, according to ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

“I could not move my feet and legs, and my thought was something is wrong,” she said in court.

Prosecutors said the former doctor was behind several botched surgeries and repeatedly misdiagnosed patients, WFAA-TV reports. Dr. Robert Henderson, the surgeon who performed Efurd’s surgery after Duntsch, said, “He did virtually everything wrong.”

The jury found Duntsch guilty of first-degree felony injury to an elderly person. Jurors deliberated over a jail sentence between five years and life and delivered his life sentence on Monday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Despite a rise in opioid dependency in the U.S., a majority of parents who have prescription opioids at home do not report storing them safely, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Just 32 percent of parents of young children under the age 7 reported storing prescription opioids safely — in a latched or locked location — researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said in the study. The percentage was even lower for parents of older children between the ages of 7 and 17 — 11.7 percent. Parents who had children in both age groups leaned closer to those with young children; 29 percent reported storing the medications safely.

“Our work shines a light on the pervasiveness of unsafely stored opioids in American homes with children,” study lead author Eileen McDonald, MS, faculty with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, said in a statement Monday. “Unsafely stored opioids can contribute to accidental ingestions among younger children and pilfering by older children, especially high school students.”

The study included data from 681 adults with children in the home who had been prescribed opioid medications. They were first recruited over the phone and then took a web survey about how they stored the medications.

While illicit opioid drugs like heroin and fenatnyl have grabbed headlines, deaths from prescription opioid drugs have more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most parents indicated that they are aware of the dangers these drugs pose to children, with 70 percent of respondents saying that locking up the opioid drugs “is a good way to keep my child from getting the medication” and “would prevent my child’s friends from getting the medication,” according to the study.

But parents with younger children expressed higher concern about storing their prescription opioids. Almost three-quarters of parents agreed with the statement, “Children can overdose on OPRs more easily than adults,” but those with younger children rated the risk higher on the scale.

Dr. Donna Seger, the executive director of the Tennessee Poison Center and a professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said many parents know they should keep prescription drugs out of reach for very young children, but may not have the same concerns for adolescents.

“It’s not just a risk in toddlers, it’s a huge risk in adolescents,” Seger said, explaining that teens may start to experiment with different drugs at home. “The medicine cabinet is going to be an important place to get them.”

Opioid use among adolescents has continued to be a problem. Prescription opioid drugs are the second most common drugs used by 12- to 17-year-old children, after marijuana, according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

“We know that teens who use these drugs recreationally frequently get them from homes where they are easily accessible, increasing their risk for addiction and overdose,” McDonald said in the statement.

Seger added that teens’ nervous systems are still developing, making them more “vulnerable” to drug use.

Overdose fatalities among adolescents and young adults doubled between 1999 and 2008, according to study authors.

Parents may be aware of the dangers around opioid drugs, Seger said, but still feel “my kid wouldn’t do it” and therefore don’t take extra steps to lock up medication.

Understanding the many risks associated with opioid medication, even those that are prescribed, is important for parents of both young children and teens, the study authors and Seger said.

“Both adolescents and parents believe they are prescribed drugs, so they must be safe,” Seger said.

The study points to the need for more research on ways to store opioids more safely in homes and promoting those methods, especially in homes with children.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →