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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Wednesday
Oct222014

Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Virus-Free, Mom Says

Debra Berry(DALLAS) -- A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan is virus-free, her mother said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

Amber Vinson became the second person to contract Ebola in the United States after she treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Duncan died of the virus on Oct. 8, and Vinson's fellow nurse, Nina Pham, 26, tested positive for Ebola on Oct. 11.

Vinson, 29, was diagnosed on Oct. 15 and transported to the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital for treatment.

"We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body," the family said in the statement Wednesday, adding that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

"Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition," Vinson's mother, Debra Berry, said in a statement. "We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Boy Battling Inoperable Brain Cancer Gets His Own Superhero Theme Song

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- When Chad Carr fell and broke his nose, the four-year-old boy’s parents took him to a hospital. Medical staffers saw him and sent him home, but the incident had his mother thinking about all the other times her son had fallen.

“I just said I think we have to take him back to the ER, I don’t think something’s right....,” Tammi Carr, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, told ABC News.

While Carr and her husband, Jason, waited on the results of an MRI that was to have taken two hours but which took over three hours instead, Carr said she knew something was wrong.

“When the anesthesiologist came out I just knew something was really bad because she literally couldn’t look at us and she’d been crying…so it was -- she just said they found something, and then a doctor came in later and told us what it was,” Carr said.

The Carrs were told that their son -– the youngest of their three young boys –- had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive, inoperable tumor in his brain stem.

He was soon started on radiation and put into a clinical drug trial at the University of Michigan. Asked about his prognosis, Carr said doctors said it was “not good,” but she added that her son has been improving.

One bright spot came in the form of a text from a friend, who wrote that his family had been inspired by Chad's challenge and was writing a song about him. He sent them lyrics, and Carr said the song was “totally catchy and adorable.”

It became Chad’s own superhero theme, with rousing music and lyrics that extol the virtues of a boy who’s “stronger than the darkest night, faster than the speed of light,” with a chant in the background: "We need Chad tough." The video features appearances by Chad, his two brothers, his cousins, his father, and the basketball team of the University of Michigan.

The video, first posted to YouTube on Monday, now has over 6,000 views.

Carr said, "It’s a great song. It’s something I’m going to cherish forever."

Proceeds from the sale of the song will go for Chad’s care and treatment. A separate GoFundMe page for Chad had raised more than $9,000 of the stated $50,000 goal. That fund was started fifteen days ago.

Carr hopes the family won’t have to use the funds.

“It’s our goal that we don’t have to use that and we can do something great with it for research but if our son needs it then we’re going to do whatever we can, so it’s great to have that started. It’s a peace of mind for sure because there’s a lot coming our way. We don’t exactly know yet what it is but none of it is expensive,” she said.

Carr said Chad is being kept out of preschool while he undergoes treatment.

“We want to make sure we’re spending time with him as much as we can and, you know, God willing, he’s able to go back to school next year and, you know, get ready for kindergarten the next year,” she said.

Carr said her family also has a fund started at the University of Michigan for brain cancer research.

“I worked in raising money for 11 years to build the hospital that we’re getting treated in now,” she said, adding that the building that houses the unit where her son is treated bears her father-in-law’s name. “It’s just crazy.”

Carr is pleased that the video has caught on, not only because it’s spreading her son’s story, but also because it’s giving her the opportunity to spread the message about the importance for greater funding for childhood cancer research.

According to the National Cancer Institute, childhood cancer is the top cause of disease-related deaths among children and adolescents up to age 19 in the United States. DIPG affects between 200 and 300 children every year, and the outlook for patients is generally poor, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

CDC to Monitor All Travelers Coming from Ebola-Affected Countries

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- All people returning to the United States from Ebola-affected countries will undergo 21-day monitoring, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday.

Travelers arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people since the worst outbreak of the virus in history began in March, will be given a home kit with a thermometer and Ebola information so that they can self-monitor and report to the CDC, according to the agency.

If they do not report, officials will track them down, the CDC said.

Travelers will need to take their temperature twice daily and answer several questions about their symptoms, according to the CDC.

The program will focus on the six states that see about 70 percent of the traffic from these regions: Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Some states may monitor these travelers in person.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Dog of Ebola-Infected Nurse Tests Negative for Deadly Virus

Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center(DALLAS) -- The dog of an Ebola-infected nurse has tested negative for the deadly virus.

Bentley has been quarantined after its owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola earlier this month.

According to a statement from Dallas City Hall, the dog was tested Monday and will be tested again while he remains in quarantine for 21 days, similar to how humans are quarantined for the duration of a possible Ebola incubation.

Pham was diagnosed on Oct. 12.

The dog has been cared for at an undisclosed location by a large team including Dallas Animal Services, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and Texas Animal Health Commission, among others.

The Dallas Animal Services, which has helped care for the the dog in quarantine, posted images of the dog on Monday as he was being tested.

A team member from the Texas A&M University Veterinary Emergency Team wore full protective gear as he took samples from Bentley.

In Spain, the dog of an Ebola-infected nurse there was euthanized amid fears the animal could spread the virus although there was no confirmation the dog had been infected with the virus. Thousands protested the decision by local government officials.

Pham contracted the virus after she treated Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. She was moved to the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 16 for further treatment.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Ashoka Mukpo Says He Owes Hospital a 'Debt He Can Never Repay'

Ashoka Mukpo(OMAHA, Neb.) -- Ashoka Mukpo, the freelance American journalist who caught Ebola and was discharged from Nebraska Medical Center on Wednesday, said he owes the hospital staff "a debt he can never repay."

Mukpo, 33, a cameraman covering the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for NBC News, Vice and others, contracted the deadly virus. He was flown to Nebraska Medical Center for treatment in its isolation unit on Oct. 6.

"After end weeks where it was unclear whether I would survive, I’m walking out of the hospital on my own power, free from Ebola," Mukpo wrote in a statement read at a news conference at the hospital Wednesday.

He took to social media throughout his treatment, tweeting Tuesday night that he tested negative for Ebola three times over three days.

 
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

People with Kids Laugh, Smile and Are Stressed

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What’s the matter with kids today? Not a lot, according to most adults who have youngsters running around the house although they'll admit that the responsibility of being a parent is also a strain.

A survey of more than 131,000 adults by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that 84.1 percent of parents with children under 18 -- about 36,000 of those interviewed -- said they smiled or laughed a lot on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, 79.6 percent of survey respondents with no kids in the house reported the same thing.

However, having kids isn’t all fun and games as just about any parent will attest. The poll also reveals that just over 45 percent of people with kids who aren’t adults yet experience greater stress. That’s compared with just under 37 percent of people who don’t live with children.

Interestingly, more women than men feel stress in both groups while they’re both on the same level when it comes to laughing and smiling.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

New Sex Education Program Reduces Middle School Sex

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Get Real is an experimental sex education program used in a limited number of U.S. middle schools that seems to have been effective in getting some youngsters to put off having sex by the time they graduate the eighth grade.

Planned Parenthood, in partnership with the Wellesley Centers for Women, says that Get Real involves regular sex education in conjunction with students discussing classroom work with their parents after school.

After evaluating 24 schools in the Boston area over three years, it turned out that 16 percent fewer boys and 15 percent fewer girls had sex in the 12 schools where Get Real was taught.

The way that Get Real works is that in addition to educating youngsters about sex, it also sharpens their relationship skills, according to Planned Parenthood.

Although the program has been expanded to 150 schools in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Texas, the plan is to roll out Great Real on a national scale.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Coffee and Beer May Affect Some Couples' Ability to Conceive

FogStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Coffee and beer are a couple of America’s favorite beverages but one may possibly be better than the other when it comes to couples who are having problems conceiving.

According to a surprising study out of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, coffee consumption by men seems to impair infertility treatments. However, a man’s beer drinking might increase the odds of pregnancy, although researchers are not suggesting they imbibe in great quantities of suds.

In a study of 105 men involved in vitro fertilization treatments over seven years, couples in which men drank at least 24 ounces of coffee daily were half as likely to conceive than those in which males drank less than an eight-ounce cup daily.

Meanwhile, couples enrolled in IVF had more luck with live births when the man had the equivalent of two 12-ounce beers daily compared to other couples with limited alcohol consumption among men.

Why do beer and coffee have these effects? Scientists admit they’re stumped and with a small sample size, they’re not about to make any recommendations until further studies are conducted.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Frequent Restaurant Dining May Cause Health Problems

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you can afford to do it, why not dine out as much as possible?

Well, researchers at Queens College, City University of New York are advising against it and not purely for financial reasons.

According to lead author Ashima Kant, when people dine frequently at restaurants, they run a higher risk of putting on the pounds and boosting bad cholesterol as compared to those who mainly enjoy their meals at home.

In an analysis of 8,300 adults in the U.S. between 2005 and 2010, people who ate at least six meals in restaurants on a weekly basis had a higher body mass index, lower levels of good cholesterol and a deficiency in Vitamins C and E.

Who are the worst offenders? Generally, college-educated men in their 20s and 30s who earn good salaries.

As for why restaurant fare isn’t a great choice on a daily basis, the obvious answers are too much salt, too much fat, large portions and not enough fruits and vegetables offered.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct222014

Employers Need to Prepare for Flu Outbreak Now

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- No one's telling Americans not to take Ebola seriously. However, millions can start preparing now for another contagious disease: the flu.

John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says that if this year's flu season is anything like last year's, it will be tremendous drain on the economy.

Overall, a seasonal flu outbreak costs the nation's economy $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalization and outpatient visits, not to mention another $7 billion dollars annually in lost productivity at work.

Obviously, Americans at risk of catching the flu, such as the young and those over 50, can reduce the risk of contracting the flu by getting vaccinated.

Challenger also advises employers to start taking steps to stop the flu from spreading.

For instance, he recommends "encouraging employees to wash their hands, offering free or low-cost flu vaccination shots, and routinely washing and disinfecting work surfaces."

Perhaps even more important than all that, managers and supervisors should make it a point to tell workers early on that if they're sick, stay home.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio