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Thursday
Aug272015

SoulCycle Has Alleged 'Illegal' Payment System, Suit Says

Alli Harvey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A customer of the popular fitness craze SoulCycle says the company is forcing riders to use an "illegal" payment system that requires customers to buy certificates with "unreasonably short expiration periods," according to a new lawsuit.

Rachel Cody, of Los Angeles, told ABC News that SoulCycle's payment policy is "infuriating," because the firm requires customers to buy "Series Certificates" that can be redeemed for cycling sessions, the suit says.

Cody, who works in financial services, bought a Series Certificate online for $30 in June of this year with the intention of taking a single cycling class, but she didn't redeem it before its 30-day expiration period. Her lawsuit claims the certificates have "unreasonably short expiration periods."

There are other, more expensive packages that have longer expiration periods.

Her lawsuit, which alleges SoulCycle certificates have "illegal expiration provisions," was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court and seeks class action certification.

Cody asserts that these Series Certificates “constitute ‘gift certificates’” and in purchasing one, believed “SoulCycle would abide by applicable state and federal laws”.

One of the laws Cody refers to in the suit is the federal Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act, known as the CARD Act, which prohibits gift certificates with expiration dates of less than five years.

In her lawsuit, Cody also says that “exacerbating the illegal nature of SoulCycle’s scheme is the limited availability of SoulCycle’s exercise sessions. In a July 2015 filing with the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission, SoulCycle stated that 30% of sessions were reserved within 15 minutes of availability.”

SoulCycle, based in New York City, has 47 locations with plans to open at least 250 studios in the next "several years," according to its IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month. The company said it had 235,000 unique riders last year.

According to the suit: "the number of separate individuals who have had all or a portion of their series certificate expire is likely to be in the tens of thousands and is identifiable and ascertainable based on SoulCycle’s records."

“SoulCycle’s practice of forcing its customers to forfeit unused exercise sessions is the epitome of soulless unlawful greed,” Cody's lawyer, Dorian Berger of law firm Olavi Dunne LLP said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for SoulCycle declined to comment to ABC News on the pending litigation. The company has about 30 days to file a response.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

See a Pair of Twins Hear Their Mom for the First Time

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- A pair of twin girls were able to hear their mother clearly for the first time this week after they were both fitted with new hearing aids.

Kayla and Kiara Hernandez were born with moderate hearing loss and in need of hearing aids to hear properly, according to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

But their parents didn't know if they could afford the life-changing technology at first because the hearing aids cost approximately $12,000 for both and would require follow-up visits.

The twins' mother, Gemila Hernandez, told KABC-TV that the family was initially at a loss as to how to pay for the hearing aids, which were not covered by insurance.

"Trying to figure out how are we going to get it to them as soon as possible. Where do we even start?" she said.

But then the family found out about the HearAid Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides hearing aids to those in need free of charge. Kelsey Duckett, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said that the family's insurance did not approve the hearing aids and that they did not have the funds to pay for the hearing aids upfront.

Hernandez told KABC-TV she was devastated when she first found out the girls had hearing loss. "I question that have they ever heard me say that I love them," she told KABC-TV.

But Hernandez won't have to worry about that after the girls were fitted with special hearing aids that the Hear Aid Foundation funded. The devices will help the girls with speech and learning development as they age. On Wednesday, the girls were able to hear for the first time and when Hernandez leaned over to one daughter and said "Mama" the girl cooed and kicked her legs.

Hernandez and her husband said they hope by sharing their story, people will learn more about the foundation and others like it.

"Support them and learn about them. See how they're impacting the community because if I could only tell you how they've helped us," Hernandez told KABC-TV.


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Thursday
Aug272015

Radio Host Elvis Duran Details Dramatic 105-Pound Weight-Loss Journey

Noam Galai/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the host of the number one Top 40 morning radio in the country, Elvis Duran had no problem dishing out “real talk” to his seven million loyal listeners or rubbing elbows with the likes of Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and dozens of other A-list celebrities.

But one thing he was deeply insecure about for years was his weight – until now.

In December, the host of the mega-popular Elvis Duran and the Morning Show embarked on a dramatic weight-loss journey that has led him to lose 105 pounds in eight months, going from 265 to 160 pounds

“I feel awesome! I’ve got all this energy,” Duran, 51, told Nightline in an interview this week. “It’s still kind of a shock. I don’t even know who I am. I look at old pictures of me … and I don’t feel like I’m that guy anymore but then I look at pictures of me now and I’m not quite sure I’m this guy. So I don’t know, It’s kind of confusing. I’m an alien living in someone else’s body. It’s kind of strange.”

“The same reactions I get from people I work with and friends down at the local bar [is like] ‘Woah! really? what did you do?’” Duran said. “Katy Perry on the red carpet kept going on and on about, ‘wow, how happy are you right now? I’m so happy for you.’”

Last December, Duran underwent a bariatric surgical procedure called a “gastric sleeve,” where 85 percent of his stomach was removed.

“Going through this procedure is a lot of needles, a lot of blood work, a lot of testing. It’s a lot,” he said. “And then after the procedure you have to re-teach yourself how to eat. It all starts with fluids. You eat fluids for weeks and weeks and slowly introduce solids into your life. It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. I would not recommend this for anyone unless they truly had to save their life by doing it.”

He said he decided to have the procedure because his weight was endangering his health. Duran said he realized he had a serious health problem after Dr. Mehmet Oz, the famed cardiologist and host of The Dr. Oz Show came in his studio for an interview.

“He took my blood pressure on our show and we went to a break and he looked at me as if he saw a ghost and said, ‘I really want to take you to hospital right now your blood pressure is beyond what a human should have,’” Duran said. “And he said, ‘you need to consider other options and that’s what led me down this path.’”

Although Duran is enjoying his new life, doesn’t come without his challenges. He’s had to adjust to new eating patterns.

“I miss being able to pig out sometimes,” he said. “You get munchies, want to go get a big ol’ plate of chicken parm and spaghetti. You can’t do it anymore. You can have a little bit. It tastes good, but you want more.”

In keeping with the spirit of his radio show, where Duran publicly revealed his sexuality – his boyfriend Alex is a zookeeper – he has been very open with his listeners about his health journey.

“I think the message I’m trying to send is, ‘look if you’re in a position where your future, your health, your life depends on losing weight and you’ve tried other ways and it hasn’t worked for you, consider this, look into it and see if its right for you, don’t be ashamed of it,’” Duran said. “For the first time in my life I’m looking for ways to extend my life, looking for ways to enjoy what I have already, [and] be thankful for what I’m given.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

Real On-Air Violence Can Traumatize Viewers

iStock/Thinkstock(ROANOKE, Va.) -- The shooting on live television in Virginia Wednesday could have a psychological effect on the thousands of viewers who were exposed to the traumatic event, according to some experts.

Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were shot to death as they did a live interview for Roanoke station WDBJ-TV. Viewers to the daily morning show saw shots ring out as Parker and the woman she was interviewing attempted to flee before the camera falls.

Carolyn Ievers-Landis, a clinical psychologist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, said people who saw it may experience their own trauma in the face of such sudden and unexpected violence, and then be powerless to do anything about it.

“They weren’t expecting and weren’t choosing” to watch, Ievers-Landis told ABC News. “It really can have effects on people, especially people who are prone to anxiety.”

She said children, who might have been getting ready for school, are also at greater risk and may feel unsafe in their environment. She speculated that both adults and children who watched it “were vicariously traumatized by this.”

“They might experience flashbacks…it might be difficult to get it out of their minds. They might experience nightmares relating to it,” Ievers-Landis said of possible symptoms related to trauma.

She said it’s key that people do not take symptoms lightly just because they were not directly involved in the shooting and that they seek help for any symptoms of anxiety or depression they or their children experience.

“Baby yourself for a while because you’re going through almost like a grief [or] traumatic process,” she said.

A 2013 published study examined the effects of media exposure to events such as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and Superstorm Sandy and found an association between post-traumatic stress disorder and viewers of the media coverage, especially those who watched a lot of it.

As for his most recent event, Ievers-Landis recommended that parents talk to children about avoiding videos of the shooting online.

“Once something is in your mind, you cannot erase it,” Ievers-Landis said, explained she’s had many children tell her after witnessing a violent event, “I wish I could take this out of my brain.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

How Virginia Shooting May Help Psych Experts See Warning Signs

Jay Paul/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The slaying of two journalists on live television Wednesday became more shocking when the suspected gunman posted video he says he took of the shooting to his Facebook page, delivered a 23-page document about his motives and tweeted after the attack.

By poring over the documents believed to have been sent by Vester Flanagan, one expert said, there may be some lessons to help prevent similar events in the future.

"We can then study it and analyze it by terms of dominant themes that predicted what he did," Frank Farely, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and former president of the American Psychological Association, who has not seen the document. "It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy, but the tiny little itsy-bitsy silver lining is that it will help science provide some help in ... prevention."

In the document faxed to ABC News less than two hours after the shooting, Flanagan lays out multiple grievances and talks about how shootings at a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina, this year was a "tipping point” for him.

Farely explained that few people make their motives so clear before going on similar revenge or mass killings. By looking at past warning signs or indications of Flanagan's state of mind in the months or weeks before his alleged actions, Farely said, experts may be able to identify worrisome signs in patients and take action.

"It’s the kind of case study you want the graduate class to work on to get at motive," he said.

Peter Langman, a psychiatrist in Allenton, Pennsylvania, and an expert on school shootings, said the profiles of people who commit mass shootings or revenge killings often include people who are narcissistic or psychopathic and take rejection personally.

"If they get disciplined and get fired, it’s an injustice and they’re the victim," Langman said, explaining it's possible that in Flanagan’s mind “he was being done wrong over and over again.”

Additionally, he said, some shooters exhibit signs of psychosis where they have delusions or become paranoid that someone or something has turned against them.

"You see the same dynamic in that people are out to get them; it’s based in their own paranoia," Langman said.

He also dismissed the likelihood that Flanagan simply "snapped" before the alleged shooting.

In the faxed document, Flanagan cited the Charleston attack, writing: "The church shooting was the tipping point… but my anger has been building steadily ... I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!"

But Langman said the idea of "snapping" for revenge or mass shooters is uncommon and that it appears from the letter there was a long history of anger that allegedly led him to take violent action.

"There’s something that was building for a period of time," Langman said of mass killings in general. "When you’re talking about planned large-scale attacks … no one thing contributes to it."

Langman explained that there are often warning signs before a violent event, usually as the killer plans the attack as they might “leak” something to friends or family. There is no indication at this point that Flanagan did that.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

'Date-onomics': How to Play the Numbers Game to Find Love

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re a single woman looking for a man but you think there are no good ones left, a new book on dating says it’s not just your imagination.

Author Jon Birger suggests the problem for women trying to find “Mr. Right” isn’t as much about interest as it numbers.

“It’s not their fault,” Birger told ABC News. “It’s the demographics.”

In his new book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, Birger says he’s crunched the numbers and cracked the code to why young women, like Lindsay Dreyer, are finding “the one” can be so elusive.

“I have a great group of friends, I have an amazing job, I have everything in my life that I want,” Dreyer, senior editor at MIMI, said. “The only thing missing is a great guy.”

According to Birger’s statistics, her first problem is that she lives in a city like New York where there are 38 percent more female college graduates under the age of 25 than men who have a college degree. The so-called “educated man deficit” is even worse in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the gap is 49 percent, and in Miami it’s 86 percent.

“Men are more likely to play the field and delay marriage when women are an oversupply,” said Birger.

And while nationwide, among college grads in their 20s, Birger says there are four women for every three men, he writes that women will have more luck in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio. As a result of this imbalance, he says in the future we will see more of what he calls “mixed-collar marriages.”

“I think we all need to be more open-minded about who we are willing to date,” he explained.

“I would definitely be open to dating somebody who doesn’t come from the same educational background as me, but they would definitely have to be intellectually curious,” said Dreyer, 31.

Instead of the old, “It’s not you, it’s me” mantra, Birger says more women should understand, “It’s not you, it’s the ratio.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

In-Ear Thermometer May Help Women Overcome Fertility Problem

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An estimated 1.2 million women are trying to get pregnant and struggling. What if technology could help? That’s the question Vanessa Xi, founder of Yono labs, asked after she struggled with fertility issues. Her invention: an in-ear thermometer you sleep with.

First let’s back up and look at the way women currently determine their window of fertility each month. Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature your body reaches each day. It happens while you sleep.

Each month, when a woman ovulates, her basal body temperature rises between .4 and 1 degree and remains at that higher temperature until her period. When you chart your basal body temperature for a few months you start to see the pattern of when you are ovulating. You may realize that exactly 12 days after you start your period, your temperature rises. The day before that temperature rises is the optimal window to try and get pregnant.

Traditional methods of taking your basal body temperature sound simple but are actually tough to execute. You need to set an alarm and take your temperature at that same time every day before you get out of bed. As soon as you get up or start moving around the body heats up and the basal body temperature is lost.

Hillary Yeager, who tracked her basal body temperature the traditional way using a thermometer in the mouth, described how involved the process became for her, and said it made her anxious.

“I was obsessive and a crazy person, my husband can attest to this,” the 36-year-old Nashville, Tennessee resident said. “I made a point to go to bed at the same time every day, I did set an alarm to wake up at the same time every day. I made sure I slept with the right amount of covers … So there wasn't anything that could possibly affect the temperature and made sure that there wasn't anything that could possibly throw my temperature off.“

But tracking ovulation works for many and Yeager and her 33-year-old husband, Don, now have a 2-year-old daughter, Emmaline.

So the question: Can technology in the age of wearables help? The Yono is a wearable thermometer you put in your ear when you go to bed. It continuously monitors your ambient temperature.

ABC’s Dr. Jen Ashton says ear temperature measurement typically gives a more stable temperature than an underarm or mouth reading.

In the morning, users put the thermometer back in the docking station which then relays the information to an app on your phone.

The device is currently only a prototype, and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $149, according to the Kickstarter page. The Yono will be available for purchase in October.

Yono Labs say they also plan to have a lease program for less that allows women four months' access to the device for half the price.

The device isn't vetted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and there's no research available to confirm the company's claims about the Yono.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

‘Bus Don’t Move’ Parody Video Shines Spotlight on School Bus Safety

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children all across the country are going back to school, and one popular mom blogger is taking the time to raise awareness about the serious issue of school bus safety with a humorous parody video that’s going viral.

Deva Dalporto’s video, “Bus, Don’t Move,” riffs off “Bust A Move,” the popular 1989 hit by Young MC.

In it, Dalporto and other mothers dance and sing lyrics that have been modified to urge caution when people drive through school zones or when they see a school bus that has stopped with the crossing arm extended.

“You see a bus, don’t move ….,” she sings.

School children and a bus driver can also be seen busting their own moves in the video, which had been viewed more than 20,000 times on YouTube since being posted on Aug. 25.

Dalporto appeared on ABC News' Good Morning America Thursday to talk about the video.

Every day, nearly half a million school buses hit the road -- taking 25 million children to school. On average, five children die in school bus crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

Study: Sexism, However Subtle, Is Detrimental to Women at Work

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hostility and acts of overt sexism at work have negative consequences on women’s occupational well-being. But a new review of past research on almost 75,000 working women finds that “high frequency/low intensity” workplace sexism can be just as bad.

The study, published Thursday in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, says these "low intensity" behaviors include sexist jokes and remarks, ignoring women during meetings, talking behind women’s backs and a sexist “climate” in the organization.

The report urges companies to adopt zero tolerance policies for “low-intensity” sexism, just the way they punish overt harassment.

The study's authors also recommend training workers in bystander intervention and training supervisors to set standards of expected and acceptable behaviors.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug272015

Your Body: Are Smoothies Healthy for You?

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

Smoothies are not only a summer favorite, but a go-to health option for a healthy diet. But are they really that healthy?

Smoothies taste great, but it turns out that lots of them are loaded with calories from added sugars and fats, and enough carbohydrate grams to match that of a typical fast food meal.  

These hidden diet-killers are usually found in your favorite store-bought smoothies -- and that’s without considering the serving size.

Try homemade smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit and low-fat milk, yogurt or water. This will provide you with protein to keep you full and the nutrients from the fruit. 

You can always add veggies, ice and a splash of orange juice to shake things up without shaking up your calorie count.

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