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Saturday
May232015

Researchers: Depression Linked to Increased Risk of Death in Heart Failure Patients

janulla/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers presented a study at a conference on Heart Failure Saturday, indicating that depression was linked to a five-fold increase in risk of death in heart failure patients.

According to a press release for the event, researchers followed patients for a year following hospitalization for heart failure. Those patients who suffered from moderate or severe depression were found to be five times as likely to die in the year after they were discharged from the hospital.

Depression is not uncommon in heart disease patients or patients who have undergone cardiac surgery.

More research would be needed to determine how to treat depression in cardiac patients.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
May232015

World's Oldest Person Celebrates 116th Birthday in Michigan

Photo by Monica Morgan/WireImage(DETROIT) -- The world's oldest person, Jeralean Talley, turned 116 Saturday in Inkster, Michigan.

Talley -- who was born in 1899 -- was named the oldest living person in the world last month, according to ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

Talley's birthday celebrations began earlier this week when she was honored at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Detroit Free Press reported. She also received a special birthday message from President Obama, according to the newspaper.

The parties continue this weekend, according to the Free Press: Talley had a celebration planned Saturday in Inkster and another one Sunday at her church.

So what is Talley's secret to a very long and healthy life? Last month she told WXYZ-TV she drinks coffee every day with sugar and no cream.

On her 115th birthday, she told WXYZ-TV she thanks God for her health.

"A long time ago, I asked the good Lord, when you get ready to take me home. ... I don't want to be sick," Talley said. "So far I don't suffer so much."


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
May232015

Paralyzed Georgia Teen Walks at His High School Graduation

TongRo Images/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A paralyzed high school student in Georgia did something described by some as a miraculous step forward: he walked at his graduation.

Thanks to a special medical device, Will Hutchins of Heard County was able to walk across the stage to receive his diploma at his graduation ceremony Friday night, ABC affiliate WSB-TV reports. It led to a standing ovation from the audience inside Atlanta’s Shepherd Center.

“I knew I was going to be able to do it somehow,” Hutchins told WSB-TV.

At 16, Hutchins was involved in a car crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down. But a new device called the Indego -- which assists spinal cord injury victims in their ability to move -- helped fulfill a goal that might have seemed impossible in the wake of the crash.

“We were going to be able to see this day and so it’s been a goal of Will’s since his injury -- one way or another -- to walk across the stage,” Hutchins’ mother told WSB-TV.


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Saturday
May232015

Mosquitoes May Be Attracted to Your Scent, Not Just Your Food

k4d/iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- Mosquitoes are a common summer nuisance, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, the bothersome buzzers may not be after your food -- it may be the scent you put off.

"Mosquitoes are not only attracted to our body odor," said Jennifer Lucas, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, "but [also] the things we use to mask body odor." The clinic says mosquitoes may be attracted to fragrances, deodorants and scented lotions.

Some studies show that people with beer in their bloodstream may end up with more bites, the Cleveland Clinic notes.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends a bug repellent with DEET or picaridin.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

Memorial Day and How to Avoid Holiday Dangers

stokkete/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This weekend, millions of Americans will hit the road to spend time with family and friends during Memorial Day and celebrate the unofficial kick-off of the summer season.

Unfortunately, the season also means higher rates of injuries, according to experts.

To make sure you can enjoy your long weekend and stay safe, here are a few tips on how to stay safe and enjoy the summer season.

Grilling

Grilling and barbecues can be an important signal that summer has finally returned, but experts say you want to make sure you don’t kick off the season with food poisoning.

About 48 million Americans become sick with food poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reactions to spoiled food can result in nausea, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.

Marianne Graveley, a specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s meat and poultry hotline, told ABC News that using a meat thermometer can be important to ensure your hamburger is not dangerously rare.

“With ground beef, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness,” said Graveley, a specialist at the USDA’s meat and poultry hotline.

Meat that’s still pink may be well-done, Graveley said, and meat that’s brown may need more heat.

The ideal temperature range for bacteria to grow is between 40 and 140 degrees, which is why the USDA calls it the "danger zone." To avoid it, keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold, Graveley said.

Jennifer Walker, an injury prevention coordinator at the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said it’s also important that parents keep a child-free zone around the fiery grill.

“Have a 3-foot kid-free area,” said Walker, who added that cleaning the grill is essential.

“You want to make sure the grill is clean and not full of cobwebs and grease and fat,” which can ignite, said Walker.

Travel

This weekend, 33 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, according to AAA, but more traffic means more traffic accidents.

“We typically call summer ‘trauma season,’” Walker said. “Everything from sports to travel,” can lead to trauma cases.

The National Safety Council warns that, with more cars on the road, Memorial Day weekend can be deadly for travelers. The council estimates that 382 fatalities and 40,900 injuries might occur as a result of traffic accidents this weekend.

“Sadly, we know this long holiday weekend will end with too many preventable deaths and injuries," said Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO. "We issue these estimates to draw attention to risks on the roadways and encourage drivers to take extra precautions so needless tragedies can be prevented."

Insects


For most Americans, the average flying or crawling pests are not much more than an annoyance. But for some Americans, an insect sting can be dangerous.

The American College of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings. That includes people who are at risk of having a potentially fatal reaction to the venom of certain insects.

More than 500,000 Americans end up in the hospital every year because of insect stings and bites, and they cause at least 50 known deaths a year.

Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist and instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, said it's imperative for those who are allergic to insect stings to carry around an EpiPen, which can be used to easily inject epinephrine to help ease a severe allergic reaction.

"It does you no good to have it in your medicine cabinet if you're out and about [and get stung]," said Pollack.

He added that those enjoying the outdoors should also be aware of insects that are more difficult to spot, such as ticks, which can carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

"If you're going to enjoy the outdoors, even just a backyard barbecue, you run some risk of acquiring a tick," said Pollack. "At the end of the day, do a tick check on yourself, children and even your pets."

Pools

The beginning of summer also means the start of pool or beach season for many in the U.S.

Jennifer Walker recommends parents keep an eye on children at all times and have a designated “water watcher” at a pool party.

“There have been incidences that everyone assumed that someone was watching the kids,” said Walker.

She added that it’s important to empty kiddie pools or buckets after a party because even a few inches of water can be dangerous for an infant.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

How the Bird Flu Sweeping Through US Flocks Is Different Than Past Outbreaks

snowflock/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The ongoing outbreak of avian flu has prompted four states to declare a state of emergency and 40 million birds being either infected or culled as a result. And now, Minnesota has canceled its poultry shows at the state fair to protect its prize fowl.

But this outbreak is different from previous outbreaks, some of which have led to human infections in other parts of the globe, experts said.

There are multiple strains of the virus in the H5 family affecting birds -- nearly all of them in the H5N2 strain, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In the Far East and parts of the Middle East, bird flu has also led to fatal human infections, experts said. On the other hand, in the U.S. outbreak, no human has been reported infected with the virus in spite of the large spread of the disease across the nation.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said in previous outbreaks in Asia, where a version of the H5N1 virus wreaked havoc in the mid 2000's, people were in much closer contact with their animals than in the U.S.

The virus lacks the ability to infect human beings easily, said Schaffner, explaining that the virus cannot attach well to the cell in the throat area to infect humans. "Their attachment doesn't fit into the receptor sites of upper part respiratory tract," he said.

The problem occurs when people are in very close contact with their birds -- living cheek-by-jowl with them almost like pets. In those conditions the virus can eventually reach further into their respiratory tract, Schaffner said.

"In those intense exposures [the virus] gets deep into someone’s chest and makes someone sick," said Schaffner. "Even if it’s in that person, it does not readily spread" to other people.

A human infected with avian flu can face severe flu-like symptoms, including high fever, severe respiratory infection and pneumonia, Schaffner said, noting that the fatality rate can be extremely high -- as high as 30 to 40 percent.

While the H5N1 virus was first detected in Asia, it has recently caused an outbreak in Egypt, where 119 people were found to be infected with the virus and 30 died as a result since the beginning of this year.

A genetically different version of an H5N1 virus has recently been found in wild birds in the U.S. and is considered low risk to public health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After the initial outbreak of H5N1 in Asia, the CDC has stockpiled some version of a human vaccine for the virus in case of a pandemic, but Schaffner said that would likely be a stop-gap measure until a better, more precise vaccine could be developed to counter whatever mutations the virus has picked up.

Another strain of avian influenza is H7N9, which also was first detected in China in 2013. In that initial outbreak, the CDC reported 132 human H7N9 infections, with 44 deaths.

Dr. Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said that the newer H7N9 virus could be a problem if it spreads from person to person more easily.

"H7N9 might be better able to get into the population and spread," said Morse, but he clarified that has not been definitively proven.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is already testing a vaccine to protect birds in the current outbreak, but Morse said that is not always the answer because of the expense and labor involved.

"You're talking about immunizing billions of animals that are going to live for six months before you send them out," to be culled, Morse noted. "It’s a big, expensive and laborious operation."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

Florida Investigating Allegations Dentist Performed Unnecessary Procedures to Collect on Medicaid

Fuse/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The Florida State Attorney General's Office is investigating a dentist for Medicaid fraud after a group of parents alleged that he performed unnecessary and painful procedures on their children, ABC News has learned.

Dr. Howard Schneider, 78, has been practicing dentistry in Jacksonville since the 1960s. Authorities are investigating whether he collected millions of dollars in Medicaid payments for unwanted, unmerited procedures.

Brandi Motley says she took her 6-year-old daughter, Bri’el, in for a routine single-tooth extraction, but that the surgery took three hours.

“When I go back there, I notice she is hyperventilating, she’s bloody, she’s got marks all over her face, and I asked them what had happened, and she said, ‘Well, we stepped out of the room, came back in, and she was face first on the floor,’” Motley said.

Motley rushed her daughter to the hospital. During the trip, the girl removed the gauze in her mouth.

“She told me, ‘Mommy, they’re lying to you,’” Motley said. “And that’s when I noticed all of her teeth were gone." The dentist’s records show he extracted eight teeth.

Motley said she went to the police and also took to Facebook, posting on social media about her daughter’s experience.

Sherraine Christopher saw Motley’s note – and posted a video that she says shows her 3-year-old son Zion strapped onto a restraining board, crying.

“While we were there, I pretty much told him, ‘Why is he screaming? Why are you being so rough with him?’” Christopher said.

Christopher said Schneider originally told her Zion needed one metal cap, but during three sessions, he implanted 13. Christopher says she is going to sue and use the video as evidence.

Christopher said that she only allowed the procedures to continue because Schneider was one of the few pediatric dentists who accepted Medicaid.

Law enforcement sources also told ABC News that they are investigating allegations that he physically abused his young patients.

Lawyer John Phillips said his law office is currently representing the families of 50 children who were treated at Schneider’s practice.

The dentist allegedly took advantage of the Medicaid process by "doing every possible service on teeth to maximize profit because Medicaid pays per procedure per tooth,” Phillips said.

Phillips said as soon his office accepted this case, it was flooded with dozens of calls -- some of them from Schneider's former pediatric clients who had received treatment decades history.

In the past five years, Medicaid paid Dr. Howard Schneider’s practice nearly $4 million.

Schneider has never been charged with any crime and still has his medical license. The dentist and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

In a previous interview with ABC News affiliate WJXX-TV, he stated that he never abused patients.

“I’m not worried about the allegations because the allegations are not true,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

Florida Mom Jailed Over Circumcision Dispute Agrees to Procedure

Broward Sheriff's Office(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- A Florida mother has agreed to circumcise her son after spending a week behind bars for refusing to cooperate with a court order to do so, ABC News has learned.

Heather Hironimus, 31, had been in custody since May 14 after going missing for several months with her 4-year-old son, allegedly to avoid circumcising him, according to court records.

Horonimus signed paperwork on Friday to allow the procedure, attorney Ira Marcus, who represents the boy's father, Dennis Nebus, told ABC News.

Doing so released Horonimus from the civil pick-up order, but not a criminal charge, so it is unclear whether she will be released from jail, he said.

Hironimus has been fighting a legal battle for more than a year with Nebus, over circumcising the child -- a disagreement that began even before the child was born, court documents show.

The couple briefly agreed on circumcision in 2012, when they split up, but Hironimus changed her mind, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV.

Hironimus lost a legal battle with Nebus in May 2014 when a Palm Beach County judge ruled that the boy should be circumcised, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel.

In March 2015, the judge ordered Hironimus to bring the boy in to schedule the circumcision procedure, according to the newspaper.

But Hironimus never showed up in court -- prompting a warrant for her arrest, the newspaper reported, also noting that she avoided being arrested because she was living in a domestic violence shelter.

Hironimus filed a federal suit against both Nebus and the judge last month, claiming that her son did not have a medical need to be circumcised, had expressed that he did not want to be circumcised and was afraid of the procedure.

At the boy's age, the Hironimus’s federal complaint says, there could be negative psychological effects resulting from circumcision.

She has been in Broward County Jail since last Thursday on Palm Beach County charges, including interference with custody and writ of bodily attachment, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office.

Hironimus's lawyer did not return multiple requests for comment from ABC News. ABC News was not able to immediately reach Nebus by phone.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

Salmonella Outbreak Possibly Linked to Tuna Sushi

 adisa/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- More than 50 people in nine states have been sickened with salmonella, and investigators suspect raw tuna in sushi is to blame, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is reporting that 53 people have been sickened -- including a child younger than 1 year old -- with a strain of salmonella called paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+).

No one has died, and 10 people have been hospitalized. Of the 36 people interviewed, 34 reported eating raw tuna in sushi, according to the CDC.

"The investigation has not conclusively identified the source of this outbreak, but most ill people interviewed reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill," the CDC announced. "The investigation is ongoing and has not identified a common brand or supplier of raw tuna linked to illnesses."

Symptoms usually take between 12 and 72 hours to appear and include cramps diarrhea and fever, according to the CDC. Children under 5, over 65 or with compromised immune systems are most at risk and should avoid raw seafood regardless of whether there's an ongoing outbreak, it said.

Cases have been reported in Arizona, California, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May222015

Presumed Dead, Man Starts Moving on Way to Morgue

iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- As far as the first responders could tell, the man was dead. He was cold and stiff, according to the medical examiner's report.

But then on the way to the morgue, he started moving.

The 46-year-old man's name has not been made public, but the report from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says that he wasn't alive in two days when his girlfriend called police to check on him because she was unable to reach him. The fire department arrived at his apartment shortly after noon on Tuesday with the building manager and found the man "cold to the touch and in rigor," according to the report obtained by ABC News.

"They did not attempt to resuscitate him," the report says.

Someone arrived from the medical examiner's office at 1 p.m. and noted that the man was found at the foot of the bed, lying on his right side. He was cold and pale, but there was no discoloration associated with pooled blood that's often found in people who have died.

The family was notified at 2:20 p.m. -- but by 2:54, people who'd arrived to take the man to the medical examiner's office noticed that he began moving his left arm and right leg. He started spontaneously breathing, but the man still didn't seem to have a pulse.

The fire department returned to take him to the emergency room.

The man's brother told ABC News' affiliate station WISN-TV that he was doing better.

The fire department's assistant chief, Gerard Washington, told ABC News he could not comment because of the ongoing internal investigation into the matter.

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