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Thursday
Oct302014

Maine Pizzeria Delivers Pie to Ebola Nurse

Creatas/Thinkstock(FORT KENT, Maine) -- An Ebola nurse fighting quarantine orders in Maine got a special delivery Thursday afternoon: a pizza from Moose Shack on Main Street.

Nurse Kaci Hickox, told reporters Wednesday night that the one thing she missed while she was cooped up in her Fort Kent home was Moose Shack pizza. So on Thursday morning, the pizzeria contacted the police department to see whether they could deliver a pizza to her.

Hickox, 33, returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa last week and on Thursday morning broke Maine's voluntary quarantine by going on a bike ride as officials waffled between whether to seek legal enforcement to the quarantine or let her off the hook with a blood test.

April Hafford, whose father owns the pizzeria, delivered the pizza to Hickox's home Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, she told ABC News that the pizzeria's biggest concern was how their customers will feel about the special delivery.

"It's such a small place here, and it could go either way," Hafford said. "There’s a lot of people that maybe wouldn't come here because of it -- and who would come because of it. It could go either way."

Hafford, who said she's seen Hickox and her boyfriend in the pizza shop three times since it opened in January, said Moose Shack has already received a lot of calls about Hickox Thursday morning, and that the quarantine is a controversial issue in the small town.

And for those wondering, it was a pepperoni, black olive and mushroom pizza.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

NY Program Would Encourage Health Care Workers to Travel to West Africa

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As New York City hosts the nation's sole Ebola patient, city and state officials have announced a program to encourage health care professionals to travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients.

The initiative would be modeled on benefits and rights provided to military reservists.

New York state and the city will work to ensure that health care workers who travel to West Africa would have their pay, health care and employment statuses continue seamlessly when they get back.

“The depth of the challenge we face in containing Ebola requires us to meet this test in a comprehensive manner on multiple fronts, and part of that is encouraging and incentivizing medical personnel to go to West Africa," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Friday.

State officials would also provide necessary reimbursements to health care workers and their employers for any quarantine that are needed upon their return to New York.

New York state is coordinating the program with New Jersey and the Greater New York Hospital Association.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

Nurse Says She Won't Have Officials Violate 'My Civil Rights'

Handout Photo(FORT KENT, Maine) -- As Maine officials said they were preparing to get a court order to enforce a mandatory quarantine, Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox said Wednesday night she is not willing to "stand here and have my civil rights violated."

"You could hug me, you could shake my hand, I would not give you Ebola," she said outside her Fort Kent home.

Her comments came hours after Maine officials said they would seek to force Hickox, 33, to obey a 21-day quarantine, although the order would first need to be approved by a judge before it could be enforced.

"When it is made clear by an individual in this risk category that they do not intend to voluntarily stay at home for the remaining 21 days, we will immediately seek a court order to ensure that they do not make contact with the public," Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said during a news conference Wednesday evening.

But legal experts say it's not clear whether such an order would be approved by a judge.

“The state has the burden of proving that she is infected, or at least was credibly exposed to infection, and also that by her own behavior she is likely to infect others if not confined,” said public health lawyer Wendy Mariner, who teaches at Boston University School of Law.

“The state is not likely to have any evidence of that,” Mariner said, adding that Hickox should be able to prove that she isn't infected and plans to take precautions to not expose anyone to her bodily fluids.

Earlier Wednesday, Maine's governor and other officials said they were are seeking legal authority to enforce what started out as a voluntary quarantine. They also said state police were monitoring Hickox's home "for both her protection and the health of the community," according to a statement from the Maine governor's office.

"We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community," Maine Gov. Paul LePage said. "We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the healthcare worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community and all of Maine. While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state."

Hickox was treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders. She returned to the United States on Friday, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms. She registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she actually had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the deadly virus, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Monday. The following day, the state's health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers self-quarantine.

Doctors without Borders issued a statement on Wednesday, disagreeing with blanket quarantines. "Such a measure is not based upon established medical science," the organization said. "Kaci Hickox has carried out important, lifesaving work for MSF in a number of countries in recent years, and we are proud to have her as a member of our organization. MSF respects Kaci’s right as a private citizen to challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her."

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine," Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a statement. "We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers."

But Hickox said she doesn't think it is reasonable.

"I will go to court to attain my freedom," Hickox told Good Morning America via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. "I have been completely asymptomatic since I've been here. I feel absolutely great."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at "high risk" for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have "some risk," the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring -- tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day -- avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn't require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn't contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.


More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

No Shortage of Tanning Beds for Students at Top Colleges in US

iStock/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) — College students at top schools in the United States have plenty of tanning beds at their disposable, according to a newly published study.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that nearly half of the top 125 colleges and universities from the U.S. News and World Report had indoor tanning beds either on campus or in off-campus housing. They also found that more than 500,000 students have access to tanning beds on campus.

"In 14 percent of colleges, the campus cash cards that students can use to make purchases for food and books were able to be used to pay for tanning at local salons," said Dr. Sherry Pagoto, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Indiana University's website advertises that students can use their campus access card at a tanning salon near campus. The university declined comment to ABC News.

The researchers found that 96 percent of off-campus housing that offered tanning beds did so at no charge. One luxurious off-campus apartment complex near the University of Arizona had a tanning bed inside the building.

"One of the myths of indoor tanning is that it provides a safe tan," ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said. "If you speak to any skin expert, any dermatologist will tell you there is no such thing as a safe tan."

A study in the International Journal of Cancer found that 76 percent of melanoma cases among 18 to 29 year olds were attributable to tanning-bed use.

"These indoor tanning salons are dangerous,” Ashton said. “They are expensive, the risks far outweigh any possible benefits and they're unnecessary.”


More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

See the Birth of Modern Medicine from the Doctor Who Collects the Negatives

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The early days of modern medicine, before penicillin and anesthesia, can seem gruesome by today's standards. But archivist and collector of medical photography, Dr. Stanley Burns, thinks it’s important to look back at the early days of medicine to understand how far modern medicine has come in just over 100 years.

Burns, the founder and archivist of the Burns Archive, has lots of evidence about how crude early medical treatments could be at the beginning of the last century. From electroshock for blindness to scoliosis cures that look torturous, the haunting photographs from the Burns Archive can be beautiful and scary reminders of how rudimentary medicine was just a century ago.

“The doctors 100 years ago were just as smart and interested in helping their patients as we are today,” Burns told ABC News. “The problem was they labored under inferior knowledge and technology.”

Burns’ photography archive includes thousands of pictures ranging from early medical operations to Civil War-era photos of prosthetic limbs, some of which were featured in a show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His newest exhibition is decidedly more macabre. It’s a collection of memorial photography, which are pictures of the deceased for loved ones, mainly from the turn of the 19th century.

The photographs of the posed deceased are being featured at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York, until this January.

Earlier this year, Burns’ incredible knowledge about the birth of modern medicine has been utilized at his newest side-job -- medical adviser on the Cinemax drama The Knick. The show centers on the Knickerbocker Hospital at the turn of the 19th century, just as now common surgical techniques were being developed. It’s a show tailor-made for Burns’ sensibility.

“What I’ve been able to do is help make the medicine in the year 1900 come alive,” he said.

Burns not only vets the set and the procedures, he implemented “medical school” for the actors. Burns taught the show’s stars like Clive Owen how to properly stitch up a wound so that the camera could stay close on their hands during the operation scenes.

He said, “They were more serious about learning the medical [techniques]” than some students.

When Burns asked why they were so meticulous, his new students answered, “It’s going to be onscreen, it’s going to be forever.”

Burns said he hopes his medical archive and the show will help people realize that medicine is an ever-evolving field and that the crude procedures shown on The Knick were actually cutting edge for the time.

"When doctors 100 years from today look at what we’re doing they’ll look at us the same way," he said.


More ABC US news | ABC Health News


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

Most Breastfeeding Friendly Airports Really Aren't

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are most U.S. airports “breastfeeding friendly” as they claim to be?

Not according to Michael Haight and Joan Ortiz, authors of the article, “Airports in the United States. Are They Really Breastfeeding Friendly?”

The pair polled 100 airports, 62 of which claimed they were friendly to women who need to feed their children. However, Haight and Ortiz learned that only 37 airports actually offered a lactation room.

What’s more, just eight out of the 100 airports surveyed that designated a specific area for breastfeeding moms made sure that it wasn’t also a restroom and that it also featured a table, chair and electrical outlet.

So, the authors conclude the only true “breastfeeding friendly” airports are: San Francisco International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, Baltimore/Washington International, San Jose International, Indianapolis International, Akron-Canton Regional (OH), Dane County Regional (WI), and Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional (FL) airports.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

Laws to Deter Underage Drinking Appear to Work

iStock/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Social host laws that hold adults responsible when underage drinking is happening on their property may be helping to drive down the number of teens who use alcohol at weekend parties.

Mallie Paschall, a senior research scientist at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, California, admits that there’s no direct proof yet of a link between these laws and a decrease in underage drinking.

However, the early findings are encouraging after a study of 50 California communities, half of which put the onus on parents or adults if people under 21 are caught imbibing at their homes or establishments.

In areas where social host laws were enforced, which can mean stiff fines, there were fewer reports of underage drinking parties.

Paschall explains that most teens get alcohol from social sources, such as parents or other adults, so it would stand to reason that laws that target those sources will result in a decline of underage drinking.

He adds that besides strict enforcement, there also has to be an aggressive public campaign about social host laws to inform parents about the penalties they face for allowing minors to consume alcohol on their property.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct302014

Humility Is the Virtue Women Want in a Man

iStock/Thinkstock(HOLLAND, Mich.) — To the chagrin of the stereotypical nice guy, it seems that women are attracted to bad boys because they represent something naughty and dangerous. Certainly that’s true in the movies and even in some real life cases. But as Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren of Hope College in Michigan explains, what women really want in a man is somebody who exudes humility rather than conceit. In fact, that’s how men prefer their women too.

In a series of three experiments involving hundreds of college students of both sexes, the overwhelming majority were more attracted to a possible significant other who was willing to “overcome desires for power and superiority” in order to build and sustain a long-term romantic relationship.

People viewed as humble are better at evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses, have an easier time accepting criticism and are regarded as helpful and selfless.

So perhaps, it’s the mean guys who really finish last.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct292014

FDA Approves Meningitis B Vaccine

luiscar/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine to target a strain of meningitis that caused outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California-Santa Barbara last year.

According to the FDA, Trumenba prevents the disease caused by Neissaria meningitidis serogroup B, one of five main serogroups of the disease. Previously approved vaccines have covered the other four main serogroups.

"Recent outbreaks of serogroup B Meningococcal disease on a few college campuses have heightened concerns for this potentially deadly disease," said Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Three randomized studies looked at about 2,800 adult patients and found that 82 percent of subjects given Trumenba had antibodies that kill four representative strains of the disease in their bloodstream, compared to just one percent beforehand.

Minimal side effects were reported with Trumenba, including headache, diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue and chills.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct292014

These Fatter Crash-Test Dummies May Help Prevent Road Deaths

Humanetics(NEW YORK) -- Crash-test dummies are undergoing a makeover to reflect the thicker waistlines and larger rear ends of Americans.

“Studies show that obese drivers are 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash,” said Chris O'Connor, CEO of Humanetics, the only U.S. producer of the dummies.

O’Connor said crash-test dummies are now typically modeled after a person who weighs about 167 pounds with a healthy body mass index. His company is designing new dummies based on the measurements of a 270-pound person with a BMI of 35, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other health groups, consider morbidly obese.

O’Connor said seat belts, air bags and other safety features are designed for thinner people and don’t fit heavier people the same way.

“Typically you want someone in a very tight position with their rear against the back of the seat and the seat belt tight to the pelvis,” O’Connor explained. “An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position. They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily.”

Studies indicate that such drivers are indeed at greater risk in car crashes. In 2010, researchers from University at Buffalo and Erie County Medical Center analyzed more than 150,000 car crashes in the United States and found that drivers considered moderately obese had a 21-percent increased risk of death. Morbidly obese drivers were 56 percent more likely to die in a crash, the study found.

Dr. Mark Reiter, the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, said he was unaware of significant differences in injury patterns between thin and fat drivers. But he did say obese victims of car crashes can be difficult to treat.

"It is harder to perform medical procedures like intubations of breathing tubes and insertion of chest tubes for collapsed lungs and they may have other chronic conditions that put them at increased risk," he said, adding that sometimes neck collars and transport boards may not fit them.

"It does seem reasonable to utilize test dummies that have different body types to see if it has an impact on injury types and severity,” he said.

Russ Raider, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group that tests vehicles for safety and uses Humanetics dummies in its testing, said cars that perform well in crash-test ratings are designed to protect people of all sizes.

"There certainly is a place for heavier crash-test dummies,” he said. “For example, engineering more robust restraint systems such as seat belts and airbags. However, all of the improvements we’ve seen in safety of vehicles over the last couple of decades are allowing people to walk away from crashes without serious injuries regardless of size."

O’Conner said it’s unclear whether heavier passengers are also in greater danger but he said he assumes so. He also said the data used to create the new dummies indicated that obese women drivers had double the risk of becoming a fatality compared with obese men.

With more than 70 percent of Americans now either overweight or obese, according to the CDC, O’Conner said the death risk for obese people in cars is a serious problem that must be addressed.

“We need to find a way to make cars safer for everyone, regardless of size,” he said.

The heftier Humanetics dummies will go into trial usage by the end of this year and become available for wider use sometime next year, O’Conner said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio