Photo by Andrew Councill/MCT/MCT via Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) — A patient being treated for the Ebola virus at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda was upgraded from critical to serious condition, the NIH said Thursday.

The NIH still did not share any additional details about the patient, who was admitted on March 12. The patient was volunteering at an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone when they tested positive for the disease.

The patient is the second to receive treatment at the NIH Clinical Center. The first, Dallas nurse Nina Pham, contracted the disease while treating Thomas Eric Duncan. Pham was the first person to catch Ebola on U.S. soil in connection with the outbreak in West Africa. She was admitted to the NIH facility in October and later released Ebola-free.

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Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched a new set of anti-smoking ads featuring real smokers who are living with the long-term health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

The “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign was first launched in 2012. “Since its launch,” the CDC says, “the Tips campaign has featured compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities and the toll that smoking-related illnesses have taken on them.”

In September 2013, the Lancet medical journal published an article saying that the Tips campaign has motivated about 1.6 million smokers to attempt to quit smoking, with at least 100,000 U.S. smokers expected to quit permanently as a result of the campaign.

The CDC posted videos featuring 27 real people on their website. “I smoked and got macular degeneration,” a woman named Marlene says in one of the videos. “So I don’t see very well.”

After describing the first time she received one of the medical procedures she goes through as a result of her disease, Marlene says she “went home and I felt miserable, and I said to myself, ‘Why the hell did I ever smoke?'”

“I would never have smoked if I knew that I was gonna be going through this,” she says.

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Dallas County Sheriff’s Department(DALLAS) — A Dallas woman has been arrested for allegedly administering to patients illegal cosmetic procedures — butt injections — without a medical license, according to police.

Denise Rochelle Ross, known as “Wee Wee,” turned herself in to authorities Wednesday because she had been wanted for practicing medicine without a license, according to the Dallas Police Department. Ross’ bond was set at $500,000, according to court records. Her alleged accomplice, Jimmy Joe Clark, is still at large.

Ross was being held on $50,000 bond, and police did not know if she had yet entered a plea in the case.

According to the arrest affidavit, Ross, 43, allegedly made an appointment with a “patient” over the phone who agreed to pay $520 for her first butt injection session. At the appointment, Ross allegedly injected a substance into one buttock and Clark allegedly injected it into the other, but they were vague about what they were doing when they explained the procedure, the affidavit alleges. Ross allegedly said it was water-based liquid saline and then said it was Hydro Gel.

The patient “felt intense pain and was told to be quiet after screaming in agony,” the affidavit says. Afterward, Ross and Clark allegedly closed the injection holes with super glue and cotton balls to keep any of the liquid from coming out. They gave the patient two tubes of the glue to take home.

Dr. Scot Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said illegal cosmetic procedures are on the rise among people hoping for a Kim Kardashian-looking rear end while looking to save money.

They can be harmful because often they’re not done with medical-grade silicon, but rather with the type of silicon used in construction. The most common side effects of these underground procedures are pain from scar tissue and infection, but sometimes the patient experiences excessive bleeding or the injectable material travels through the blood stream to the lungs, he said.

“If you walk into a garage or a basement or a dimly lit little room somewhere, your natural instinct should be to walk away, to run away,” Glasberg said. “The downside of a little saving on cost is, potentially, your life.”

Attempts by ABC News to reach Ross’ family members were unsuccessful.

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Oleg Nikishin/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images(CINCINNATI) — The cancer-stricken 4-year-old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still is in remission, the football player announced on Wednesday.

Doctors diagnosed Leah Still with stage 4 neuroblastoma on June 2, but they told Devon Still on Wednesday that Leah was in remission, he said on his Instragram account, adding that it was the best day of his life.

“After 296 days of day dreaming about what it would feel like to hear the doctors say my daughter is in remission, I finally know the feeling,” he wrote. “Funny thing is there is really no way of describing it because I never knew this feeling existed. When I look at my daughter all I can do is smile and hug her.”

A photo posted by Devon Still (@man_of_still75) on Mar 25, 2015 at 1:29pm PDT

Still, 25, a defensive tackle, had originally been cut from the Bengals roster, but once the team learned his daughter had stage 4 cancer, they re-signed him to their practice squad. He has since been placed on the active roster.

Fans have rallied around Leah, who was part of a ceremony in December in which the Bengals presented the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with a check for more than $1 million to go toward pediatric cancer research. She also walked the runway at the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February.

Still said on Wednesday that he’s proud of how hard Leah fought and “kicked cancer’s butt.” He thanked her doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Bengals and everyone who supported Leah and sent her letters of encouragement over the last year.

Leah isn’t done with treatment yet, but Still said he knows his “little warrior” will power through.

“She has made an impact on me and on the world, at the age of four, that I can only wish to make in a lifetime,” he wrote.

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iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Thursday declared a public health emergency for an Indiana county battling what is believed to be the worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history.

Pence said 79 cases have been confirmed, and, with more testing underway, “We expect that number to go up.”

The cases have either been found in or are connected to Scott County, near the Kentucky border.

The state health department has attributed the outbreak to an opioid painkiller called Opana. It’s believed to be the worst HIV outbreak in the state history, a spokeswoman at the Scott County Health Department said.

“For years we’ve been fighting Opana in our county,” said Brittany Combs, public health nurse at Scott County Health Department. “[Doctors] won’t give [prescriptions] for Opana unless absolutely necessary. Our doctors aren’t writing for it. It’s coming from out of county.”

Combs said Opana is a painkiller normally given in pill form to patients, and it is used as “last resort” for pain relief. People recreationally using the drug often crush the pill and inject it for a longer-lasting high, according to Combs.

Everyone who has tested positive for HIV has admitted to intravenous drug use, although some have also had sex with other users, meaning it is not always clear how the virus was spread, according to Combs.

A public awareness campaign to alert residents about the increase in HIV cases has started in the region.

In addition to local and state health officials, the CDC has sent a team to the area to assist with the response.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — If you’re one of those Gloomy Gus-types with a perpetual dark cloud hanging over your head, knock it off or all those cheery, come-what-may kind of folks will outlive you.

A University of Illinois study suggests people who maintain positive attitudes are destined for better heart health.

Lead author Rosalba Hernandez and other researchers surveyed 5,100 participants ages 45-to-84 regarding their physical health, mental health and levels of optimism. The study found that people with the sunniest outlook on life were twice as likely to have better cardiovascular health than their pessimistic counterparts.

On top of that, the most optimistic of the optimists were 76 percent more likely to have total health scores in what’s considered the ideal range.

Whether optimism predicates better health or vice versa, these people also exercised more, were less likely to smoke and also have healthier body mass indexes than those with deep cynicism about life.

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Compassion & Choices/YouTube(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Nearly four months after Brittany Maynard’s death, her family has released a video of her testimony for a right-to-die bill in California. She recorded it before her death, and it was presented Wednesday to the California legislature ahead of a Senate committee vote.

Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed from California, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in early 2014, but had to move to Oregon for the legal right to end her own life. Oregon is one of five states that gives patients the right to obtain a prescription to die in their sleep. California and New York are considering adopting similar laws.

“I am heartbroken that I had to leave behind my home, my community, and my friends in California, but I am dying and I refuse to lose my dignity,” she says into the camera in the video filmed weeks before her Nov. 1 death. “I refuse to subject myself and my family to purposeless, prolonged pain and suffering at the hands of an incurable disease.”

She died at home surrounded by family after spending 11 months completing her bucket list. Toward the end of her life, she said in one of the videos that she could feel herself getting sicker. One day, she had two seizures and couldn’t say her husband’s name, she said.

In her legislative testimony, she said some people suggested that she do palliative or terminal sedation instead, in which a person is placed in a drug-induced coma and deprived of nutrients and water until death comes on its own. But she feared she would linger and be minimally conscious and in pain.

“Achieving some control over my passing is very important to me. Knowing that I can leave this life with dignity allows me to focus on living,” she said. “It has provided me enormous peace of mind.”

California is considering the End of Life Option Act, which would allow terminally ill adults who are mentally competent to request medication that would allow them to die in their sleep, according to the nonprofit group Compassion and Choices, which advocates for death with dignity.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A simple method for cooking rice could someday reduce its calorie count by as much as 60 percent, the authors of a new research study say.

The technique involves boiling the rice with a small amount of coconut oil, placing it in the fridge for several hours to cool it down and then microwaving it briefly.

“The hypothesis is that we turn more of the starch into an indigestible form of starch, which reduces the amount of calories the body will absorb,” Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajva, the researcher from the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka who supervised the study, told ABC News.

The scientists looked at 38 varieties of Sri Lankan rice and chose to test the one with the lowest amount of naturally occurring starch resistant to digestion, explained Sudhair James, the graduate student who presented the preliminary research earlier this week at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Denver. After trying out a variety of cooking approaches, they found adding oil during cooking and cooling the rice down worked best, he said.

“The beautiful piece is there was a fifteen-fold increase in the amount of resistant starch after using this method,” James said in a news conference Wednesday. “This led to a 10- to 15-percent calorie reduction.”

Starch molecules are shaped like doughnuts, explained Thavarajva. The added oil seeps into the holes of the molecules during cooking to help block digestive enzymes. Cooling the rice then allows the rice molecules to rearrange and pack together more tightly to increase their resistance to digestion, he explained.

The technique shows such promise, James said, that one day it might be used in commercial preparations and could be a low-cost way to help fight obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“We as scientists believe that if we are going to do this process on the best varieties and if this method is going to work this could be a massive breakthrough,” James said. “We could lower the calories in rice by 50 to 60 percent.”

But Thavarajva was quick to point out that the cooking technique will not be effective with all varieties of rice. He said that they are not clear why it works with some types but not others and that the team needed to do more research to find out how well their experiment translated into the real world.

“We know that it will increase the amount of resistant starch and reduce calorie count, that’s true. But it might not lead to any real calorie reduction benefits depending upon how the starch is used by the gut bacteria,” he said.

There is precedence for this theory, Thavarajva added. Work done on potatoes at Harvard University and studies at Indian Universities using legumes and cereals noted similar starch-and-calorie reductions using similar preparations, he said.

“Could we do it with other starches like bread?” he asked. “That’s the real question.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A simple method for cooking rice could someday reduce its calorie count by as much as 60 percent, the authors of a new research study say.

The technique involves boiling the rice with a small amount of coconut oil, placing it in the fridge for several hours to cool it down and then microwaving it briefly.

“The hypothesis is that we turn more of the starch into an indigestible form of starch, which reduces the amount of calories the body will absorb,” Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajva, the researcher from the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka who supervised the study, told ABC News.

The scientists looked at 38 varieties of Sri Lankan rice and chose to test the one with the lowest amount of naturally occurring starch resistant to digestion, explained Sudhair James, the graduate student who presented the preliminary research earlier this week at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Denver. After trying out a variety of cooking approaches, they found adding oil during cooking and cooling the rice down worked best, he said.

“The beautiful piece is there was a fifteen-fold increase in the amount of resistant starch after using this method,” James said in a news conference Wednesday. “This led to a 10- to 15-percent calorie reduction.”

Starch molecules are shaped like doughnuts, explained Thavarajva. The added oil seeps into the holes of the molecules during cooking to help block digestive enzymes. Cooling the rice then allows the rice molecules to rearrange and pack together more tightly to increase their resistance to digestion, he explained.

The technique shows such promise, James said, that one day it might be used in commercial preparations and could be a low-cost way to help fight obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“We as scientists believe that if we are going to do this process on the best varieties and if this method is going to work this could be a massive breakthrough,” James said. “We could lower the calories in rice by 50 to 60 percent.”

But Thavarajva was quick to point out that the cooking technique will not be effective with all varieties of rice. He said that they are not clear why it works with some types but not others and that the team needed to do more research to find out how well their experiment translated into the real world.

“We know that it will increase the amount of resistant starch and reduce calorie count, that’s true. But it might not lead to any real calorie reduction benefits depending upon how the starch is used by the gut bacteria,” he said.

There is precedence for this theory, Thavarajva added. Work done on potatoes at Harvard University and studies at Indian Universities using legumes and cereals noted similar starch-and-calorie reductions using similar preparations, he said.

“Could we do it with other starches like bread?” he asked. “That’s the real question.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amy’s Kitchen and at least three other organic food companies have recalled products this week because of listeria found in organic spinach, which may cause you to think twice before you reach for foods containing Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite ingredient.

Here’s what you need to know:

What was recalled?

Amy’s Kitchen, which makes organic products, recalled nearly 74,000 cases of them because of the listeria scare this week. For a full list of which products and what dates were on them, click here.

Three other companies — Rising Moon Organics, Superior Foods, Inc., and Twin City Foods, Inc. — also recalled products because of contaminated spinach from an organic supplier. Twin City Foods said its products were sold at Wegmans Supermarkets, Inc., which also issued a separate recall because the spinach was sold under the Wegmans brand name.

Who supplied the greens?

The Food and Drug Administration said its policy is not to name the supplier or comment on whether it is investigating, but Coastal Green LLC in Oxnard, California, told ABC News it supplied leafy greens to all three companies.

Coastal Green said it notified the Food and Drug Administration as soon as it detected listeria during routine testing and realized some of its shipped product may have been contaminated, said spokesman Paul Fanelli. Coastal Green processes organic and conventional vegetables and is working with the FDA to resolve the listeria problem, he said.

“We’re in the middle of an investigation here as to what the root cause was of the listeria,” Fanelli said. “Once we determine what that is, we’ll change our policies and our procedures accordingly.”

Who got sick?

There have been no reported listeria illnesses tied to any of these products, but Wegmans and Twin City Foods said they issued recalls to be cautious.

Amy’s Kitchen, Rising Moon Organics, and Superior Foods did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What is listeria monocytogenes?

Listeria is a bacterium that lives in animals’ digestive tracts but can cause an illness called listeriosis when consumed by humans. This happens when fruit and vegetable crops are contaminated by animal waste. That can happen because of tainted irrigation or wash water, or because animals got into the field.

“It’s very difficult to wash them so completely and disinfect them so completely that they become completely clean and sterile,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explaining that this is one of the reasons it is recommended to give vegetables an additional wash at home before consuming them.

What are the symptoms?

Listeria usually results in a fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s especially harmful to older adults, newborns and pregnant women, but healthy people may consume the bacteria without getting sick, according to the CDC.

Listeriosis can prompt dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea and can be especially harmful to people with underlying health conditions, Schaffner said. The bacterium can also get into the bloodstream, he said.

Laboratory tests can confirm diagnosis, and doctors will usually treat with antibiotics and fluids, he said.

How serious is listeriosis?

The deadly bacteria sickens about 1,600 people each year and kills about 260 people, according to the CDC. But healthy people who consume it don’t always become ill.

Why is listeria problematic?

If food hasn’t been heated thoroughly, listeria can live on even after it’s been cooked, Schaffner said. And unlike other bacteria, listeria can continue reproducing in cold temperatures such as a refrigerator and doesn’t die in a freezer, he said.

“This is a rascal,” he said. “It may create an infectious dose even though you’ve kept the food in the fridge.”

What does the outbreak show us?

Food safety lawyer Bill Marler said the listeria outbreak illustrates how complex the food system has become, but that routine testing is effective.

“Products like frozen spinach travel all over the country and make it into multiple brands,” he said. “It does make doing a recall a challenge, and if an outbreak [occurs, it can be] difficult to pinpoint the cause.”

“On the plus side of the recall, it shows that testing of products [for harmful bacteria] works and being transparent with that information, as required by the FDA, will save lives,” Marler added.

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