SEARCH

Monday
Aug132018

Baby boy dies after he's left for hours in hot car in Domino's Pizza parking lot

ABC News(EMPORIA, Va.) -- A 6-month-old boy died after being left for hours in a hot car in a parking lot outside a Domino's restaurant in Virginia, police said.

The baby's mother, an employee at the Domino's in Emporia, Virginia, had dropped off one or two other children at a day care Friday before driving to work, Emporia Police Chief Rick Pinksaw told ABC News Monday.

The baby was in the car for several hours, Pinksaw said, though he declined to specify exactly how long.

Officers responded to the parking lot at about 9 p.m. and performed CPR on the infant before he was taken to a hospital, Pinksaw said. Emergency room staff tried to revive him but the baby was pronounced dead, he said.

The temperature reached 90 degrees in Emporia Friday with a heat index -- or what it feels like -- of 96 degrees.

"We're having a hard time wrapping our heads around how this could occur," Pinksaw said, calling it "such a tragic situation."

"I don't understand how anybody could leave a child in a vehicle. With the way the weather is with the heat, I just think, you know, if you put kids in your car, you need to account for those kids when you get out of the car," Pinksaw said.

"These kids are helpless and they depend on their parents or their caregivers to take care of them."

No charges have been filed against the baby's mother, 30-year-old Blondia Curry, Pinksaw said, adding that the decision will be up to prosecutors.

Autopsy results are pending, he said.

At least 33 children have died from hot cars this year in the United States, according to the organization KidsandCars.org.

This is also the fourth hot car death this year in Virginia, the organization said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Aug122018

FDA approves marketing for a contraception app for the 1st time 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time ever has green-lighted a birth control app to be marketed as a method of contraception.

The app, Natural Cycles, calculates when a woman is most likely to be fertile using their daily body temperature data and their menstrual cycle information.

The app then tells users what days they are more likely to be fertile and should abstain from sex or use protection if they do not wish to get pregnant.

"Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly," Dr. Terri Cornelison, the assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

"But women should know that no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device," she added.

The app had a "perfect use" failure rate of 1.8 percent in clinical studies that involved more than 15,500 women, or a "typical use" failure rate of 6.5 percent, according to the FDA. The "typical use" failure rate took into account women who sometimes did not use the app correctly or may have had unprotected sex on a day when the app flagged that they were fertile.

Natural Cycles has, however, courted controversy in Europe, as some women have reported unwanted pregnancies while using the app as their main form of birth control.

Sweden's public broadcasting company SVT reported that 37 out of 668 women who received an abortion at a Stockholm hospital from September 2017 to the end of December 2017 were using the app and still had an unwanted pregnancy.

ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton emphasized that no method of contraception is perfect except abstinence, so it's not completely surprising that women have still gotten pregnant while using it.

Ashton added that apps can be useful in that they enourage women to be aware of their bodies' monthly changes. If a woman does decide to use an app for birth control, however, she needs to have a plan for what she would do if she does have an unplanned pregnancy.

Most contraception pills have a "typical use" failure rate of approximately 9 percent, according to Ashton, which is actually higher than the rate of the app, the FDA's data showed.

Still, Asthon says that women should ask their doctors about risks, benefits and alternatives for any contraceptive method they are using.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug102018

Checking work email after hours can hurt health and relationships

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Being expected to check work email during non-work hours is making employees, as well as their significant others, experience higher levels of anxiety, a study shows.

Researchers from Virginia Tech surveyed 108 employees working at least 30 hours per week, 138 significant others and 105 managers and found that the sheer expectation of monitoring work email, rather than the amount of time spent doing so, led to increased anxiety in both employees and their significant others.

"Some employees admitted to monitoring their work email from every hour to every few minutes, which resulted in higher levels of anxiety and conflict between spouses," co-author William Becker, an associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, told ABC News.

Significant others also reported decreased relationship satisfaction in contrast to employees themselves, whose satisfaction was not affected by the constant monitoring of work email.

Professor Becker asked, "Are we underestimating the effect this is having on our spouses?"

Both partners also reported negative health impacts from the increased anxiety, which may be explained by the well-established relationship between chronic stress and poor physical and mental health outcomes.

"Anxiety can manifest in several ways, including changes in appetite, concentration, focus and decreased quality of sleep. It makes people less productive in their work and home lives," Dr. Lama Bazzi, who is part of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Directors, told ABC News.

This study comes months after New York Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a "Right to Disconnect" Bill, the first of its kind in the U.S. and modeled after a similar legislation in France, which would make it unlawful for private employees in New York to respond to work email after hours.

"When do we un-blur the line between work and our personal lives?" Espinal told ABC News. "I have personally felt the effects of burnout and understood that there was a greater problem going on here."

The study team suggests a few methods for employers and employees to lessen these negative effects: Manage employer expectations on after-hours email and help employees to engage in mindfulness practices to reduce anxiety, no matter what after-hours expectations are.

"Being able to be in the moment is one of the biggest things we teach people in alleviating anxiety. Remove distractions and focus on the conversations you are having," Bazzi said.

Professor Becker hopes that the study will encourage leaders to be proactive and have clear policies that allow employees to be engaged and present in their personal lives. He also hopes to shift the onus onto employees to not fall in to the trap of glancing at email after hours.

"Quality of relationships matter, as does being mindful and present," Becker said. "Turn your phone off, put it away and engage in your real life."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug092018

How using fish skin to heal burn wounds actually works

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Recently, Dr. Jamie Peyton received a phone call from a fellow veterinarian at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding a yearling bear cub that sustained severe, third-degree burns on her paws and feet. In addition to being unable to walk or move from the severity of her burn injury, there were active fires burning nearby that placed her life at risk.

The bear cub is approximately 1 years old, estimated Peyton, a board-certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care, and showed promising signs of a fast recovery due to her young age, overall good health, voracious appetite, active lifestyle, spunky attitude, and the prompt treatment she received.

The time of year also makes a difference in the young cub's recovery.

“Most bears are very active during the summer versus the winter when they would be hibernating," Peyton, who is internationally renowned for her interest in burn injuries, multidisciplinary pain management, and innovations in wound care, told ABC News. "Better health and all these factors are better for healing despite her wounds being so severe."

Although she has experience treating bears with burn injuries in the past (she treated two adult bears injured by the Thomas fire in December), this bear is the youngest Peyton has treated and has more severe and extensive injuries. So she decided that the best remedy to treat the young bear would be fish skins.

What are some of the challenges in treating burns?

Burn injuries don’t discriminate -- they affect all species.

“Wildfires affect all of us -- I have been forced to evacuate from California wildfires five times," Peyton said. "It has driven me to advance areas of burn injury, wound care and pain management for patients."

Dr. Deanna Clifford, a senior wildlife veterinarian at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), noted the challenges of treating wildlife with burn injuries.

“When an animal’s extremities are burned, they basically cannot walk," Clifford told ABC News. "It is a challenge to figure out how to treat wildlife -- I cannot just walk up to a bear and give it a pill or an injection.”

Prior to recent advances, “bears like this were not treated for this injury -- they were either euthanized or never found,” Peyton explained.

Historically, burns were treated in patients with ointments and bandages, which is difficult to do for wild animals, particularly those with severe, third-degree burn injuries. Medical advances have led to the creation of skin and dermal substitutes that while very helpful, are prohibitively costly for both humans and animals alike -- sometimes costing thousands of dollars and rarely covered by insurance.

“We are trying to figure out how to heal severe burn injuries and wounds for veterinary patients and also keep it cost-effective," Peyton said, "we can’t afford a lot of the skin substitutes that are out there.”

It's why Peyton had the idea to look into other sources of biological dressings for wound care, like tilapia skin as bandages.

In wild animals, veterinarians are trying to balance managing severe burn injuries, minimizing the times they have to immobilize and anesthetize animals to perform procedures, while also accelerating healing time.

“We are learning as we go -- the fish skin is applied on a case by case basis,” Clifford said. “Ultimately, we want her [the bear cub] to have the best chance of success. Our goal is to heal the skin and release the bear into the wild as quickly as possible.”

How did fish skins as bandages come to be used in the United States?

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Peyton first heard about fish skin -- specifically tilapia -- being used as a treatment option for burn injuries in Brazil from a YouTube video. Brazil, like many developing nations, does not have access to tissue banks. With limited resources, “You have to think outside the box so we tried this on animals that needed help," said Clifford.

Given Peyton’s expertise, she recognized fish skin as a viable alternative to costly skin substitutes.

“The tilapia serves as a biological band-aid that is helpful in multiple ways," Peyton explained. "It provides pain control, protection, and acts as a collagen scaffold for wound healing. We have been very pleased because we have seen good results with wounds healing faster than expected."

Peyton also believes in using multi-modal therapy, which incorporates both medical-based treatments and holistic, integrated care. The bear has received both medications and non-drug based holistic therapy including acupuncture, chiropractic care, cold and infrared laser therapy, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) -- an electromagnetic field therapy that facilitates blood flow. To make the treatment more enticing, the bear is receiving her crushed pills in meatballs.

What is it about fish skin that helps heal the burn?

California Department of Fish and WildlifeThe tilapia provides direct, steady pressure to wounds, keeping bacteria out and staying on better and longer than any kind of regular, synthetic bandage, according to the CDFW. The process is simple -- Peyton buys the fish, cleans and sterilizes it, and sutures it onto the normal part of the animal’s skin and directly over the burn injury itself.

Before applying the tilapia dressing, this bear’s skin was cleaned and debrided and a medical-grade honey balm mixed with beeswax was applied to her feet to acclimate her skin and assess her walking. It was also important to rule out any signs of infection. Immediately, the veterinary team noticed she was not bearing weight.

“She was not putting weight on her front feet at all,” Clifford said. “Through this method, we also wanted to promote her healing as much as possible and see what tissue was affected -- what her burns are trying to tell us.”

Prior to the application of the fish skin, the bear was licking her paws constantly, “a sign of concern," Peyton said.

“The animal pain response is that they will lick their wounds when something hurts,” Peyton added.

Once the tilapia was applied, she did not fuss with her paws at all.

“She has not taken the dressing off or licked it, which lets us know she has been getting pain relief from this,” Peyton said.

Over time, the fish skin will dry out and act as a protective, leather-like shield. It was sutured on to prevent it from coming off, and the bear will be reassessed in the next couple of days for progress.

“While it is too early to know when she will be released," Peyton said, "her response in the past week has been remarkable, especially regarding her pain control and the extent of her wounds.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug092018

Low-calorie diets affect men's and women's bodies differently, study shows

iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Men's bodies may respond better to low-calorie diets than women's, a new study showed.

A study in Denmark recruited more than 2,000 people who had pre-diabetes -- meaning high blood sugar, but not yet diabetes -- to look at how low-calorie diets worked for them. In the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that men benefitted in more ways from the reduced calorie counts, and not just in the numbers on the scale.

"Despite adjusting for the differences in weight loss, it appears that men benefited more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow," said lead author Dr. Pia Christensen, of the University of Copenhagen.

After eight weeks on the low-calorie, high-protein diet, all participants had lost about 10 percent of their body weight and gained control of their blood sugar, researchers said. In addition, men lost significantly more body fat than women, had improved resting heart rate, lower bad cholesterol and had lost a few inches off their waist.

Women, on the other hand, had some negative effects in addition to the weight loss. They saw decreases in good cholesterol, or HDL, lean body mass and bone-mineral content -- none of which is good for long-term health.

Both genders saw a decrease in inflammatory biomarkers, which led to improvement in blood flow.

Does this study mean women should not adhere to a low-calorie diet? No.

Weight loss can curb diabetes, but women should understand rapid weight loss may have long term implications. It's important to eat a different and more balanced diet after this kind of rapid weight loss, and work with doctors to monitor overall health.

A total of 86 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this condition, blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to classify as type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, it can lead to a future full of insulin shots and doctors’ visits which may eventually include diabetes.

"Progression of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle modification," Dr. Joann E. Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts told ABC News. "Most importantly, lose weight and become physically active."

But, it's important for people with pre-diabetes to recognize that it it's easy for it to progress to diabetes and they need to stay vigilant.

"If you tell people that they don't have diabetes yet, they think 'Oh good.' They take that loophole," Anne Daly, past-president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association, told ABC News. "We don't want people to take that loophole."

Managing weight loss includes diet changes and exercise, as well as consulting with health care professionals.

"In order to create a calorie deficit, which is how you lose weight, you've got to decrease what's coming in the door and increase what's going out the door," Daly added. "You need to work on both sides of that energy equation. You can try to be a couch potato and eat like a bird, but it isn't going to work."

Aditi Vyas, M.D., specializes in radiology and occupational and environmental medicine and is a resident in the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug092018

One mother looks to change town's law on breastfeeding in public

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, but a mother in New York discovered her town required breastfeeding be limited to "designated areas."

That code went unnoticed and unchanged in Hempstead, New York, for more than 35 years until Colleen Morgan, 33, brought it to the attention of town leaders.

Morgan, a mother of two, noticed in June that among the rules for the local pool was one that read, "Breastfeeding and diaper changing shall be permitted in designated areas."

"It upset me for two reasons," Morgan told Good Morning America. "One, because it's illegal and, two, because they felt the need to put breastfeeding in with diaper changing as though it's something dirty that needs to be done out of the public eye."

Morgan sent an email to Town Supervisor Laura Gillen to alert her to the discrepancy between the town code and New York state law, which has protected the right to breastfeed in public since 1994.

She also posted about it on social media and was surprised to see that while the majority of the replies were supportive, some were still opposed to women's breastfeeding in public.

"I was kind of shocked," Morgan said. "I think a lot of people don't even realize that unless you're actually looking for it, you don't even see it. When a baby is nursing, the child's head covers the mother's breast. This is a normal thing that mothers will do in public."

Gillen has introduced a new town code that would permit women to breastfeed in public anywhere throughout Hempstead, a suburb of New York City. The town board is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month.

"I am the first mother who has ever served as Hempstead town supervisor, so this is an issue that is very important to me," said Gillen, a mother of four and the first Democrat to serve as town supervisor in more than 100 years. "We're very grateful that Colleen came forward and made us aware of this archaic rule that had not been updated since 1982."

In addition to Gillen, two other members of the town board are mothers. Gillen said she's "optimistic" the law will pass and credits being a mother to helping her bring a new perspective to her role.

"I'm looking at things for the long-term because I want to make the town better for my children and for everyone's children," she said. "We're looking to update outdated procedures and be more inclusive and respective of people’s rights."

Morgan, a special-education teacher, will be watching the town vote and hopes women watch closely as their voices are heard.

"I think it's great, especially for women to see that women can make a difference," she said.

Moms continue the fight for breastfeeding

The controversy in Hempstead unfolded as mothers around the world continue to try to normalize breastfeeding, which is recommended exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

"Big Latch On” demonstrations took place around the world in recent days as moms in cities from New York to Seattle, Savannah and Mexico City breastfed en masse to bring attention to the issue.

Breastfeeding in public only became legal in all 50 states earlier this year when legislation was passed in Utah and Idaho.

Even with breastfeeding in public legal nationwide, women still face discrimination.

Two breastfeeding moms were asked to leave a public pool in Minnesota in July after being told they were making other pool-goers uncomfortable. Days later, more than a dozen moms held a "nurse in" at the pool, north of Minneapolis, in support of the moms.

Women are also taking action to not only normalize breastfeeding, but also make the places they breastfeed more comfortable.

Krish Vignarajah, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, released a campaign ad in March that showed her nursing her nine-month-old daughter, Alana.

A petition started by Lacey Kohlmoos and Samantha Matlin, two working moms from the Philadelphia area, resulted in Amtrak's agreeing to install self-contained mobile lactation pods at Amtrak stations in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago.

Breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the U.S., according to the 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 81 percent of infants born in 2013 were breastfed immediately after birth, and more than half were breastfeeding at six months.

Employers have been required to provide "reasonable break time" and a place, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump breast milk since enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Nearly 30 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, also have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Women can find the specific breastfeeding laws in their state by visiting the NCSL's website.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug092018

A diverse diet may not be the healthiest way to go

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Encouraging people to eat a variety of foods, also known as dietary diversity, may actually backfire, according to a new scientific statement by the American Heart Association.

The suggestion that people try to eat a variety of foods has been a basic public health recommendation for decades. Now, experts are warning that it may actually lead to just eating more calories -- and to obesity. The issue: People may not interpret "variety" the way nutritionists intend.

Marcia Otto, Ph.D., lead author of the AHA advisory, said that can be a big problem.

"We looked at all the evidence that was out there and saw a link between dietary diversity and a greater intake of both healthy and unhealthy foods," said Otto, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center's School of Public Health in Houston. "This raised some red flags and had implications on obesity -- we saw a greater prevalence of obesity amongst people with a greater dietary diversity."

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, explained that this goes against standard dietary advice.

"Most dietary guidelines around the world include a statement of eating a variety of foods," Mozaffarian told ABC News. "'Grandma’s wisdom' states to eat ‘everything in moderation,’ but does science support that?"

There is little agreement about the definition of "dietary diversity," said Dr. Goutham Rao, co-author and chair of the department of family medicine and community health at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University.

Rao also pointed out one of the problems to ABC News: "What does dietary diversity actually mean? It is not clearly and consistently defined across the board, and there is no useful measure of it."

How is it measured?


Some measure a food count, aka the number of food groups eaten, or "evenness," the distributing of calories evenly across individual foods, or by how different the foods are from each other.

Rao explained that the feeling of fullness is important.

"The phenomenon of sensory satiation is very important -- when something new is presented to us, we tend to eat more and more," Rao said. "For example, people who go on cruises tend to gain a lot of weight because restaurants are usually open all the time with a variety of foods."

After 20 years of experience in the field of obesity, Rao said he's observed: "People who have a regimented lifestyle and diet tend to be thinner and healthier than people with a wide variety of consumption."

He added that he's noticed this pattern for a very long time in his patients.

The authors of the AHA scientific statement conducted a review of articles published between January 2000 through December 2017.

So, what were the authors' conclusions?


There's no evidence that dietary diversity promotes healthy body weight or optimal eating patterns. Limited evidence shows that eating a variety of foods is actually associated with more calories, poor eating patterns and weight gain. There is some evidence that a greater variety of food options in a single meal may delay people's feeling of fullness and actually increase how much they eat.

What's their advice on what you should eat?

The researchers recommend eating more plant-based foods, which includes fruit, beans, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, they recommend adding low-fat dairy products, nuts, poultry, fish and vegetable oils to your diet. It's important to limit sweets, sugar and red meat -- the more problematic parts of a "diverse" diet.

"Part of the advisory's recommendation reflected changes to the food system that have developed over time -- centuries ago, food was not heavily processed and vitamin deficiencies were a very real concern -- diversity in diets may have actually been very beneficial during that time," Mozaffarian explained. "Nowadays, 'everything in moderation' can be misinterpreted and feed into the food industry. When we conducted a comprehensive literature search, none of the studies convincingly showed that diverse diets lead to better health outcomes. In fact, studies show that the more diverse a diet is, the worse it is and more weight people gain."

Mozaffarian’s own impression as a scientist is that a diet with a limited number of healthy foods eaten regularly tends to be the healthiest. Good examples of healthy eating are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet, a heart-healthy eating plan, and the AHA dietary recommendations.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Aug082018

Group of mothers organize pop-up photo shoots for kids with disabilities

Courtesy Maria Jordan MacKeigan(NEW YORK) -- Maria Jordan MacKeigan had never met a person with Down syndrome until her own daughter, Jordan Grace, was born with the chromosomal abnormality four years ago.

Now MacKeigan is making sure her daughter and all kids with disabilities are known to the world.

MacKeigan, a mother of two from Canada, organizes pop-up photo shoots so that kids with disabilities can have headshots taken. The headshots are then used to try to get kids with disabilities featured in advertisements.

“I want to normalize differences. I want to normalize disabilities,” she said. “I don’t want people to be scared of my daughter or just walk away. I want them to play with her and accept her.”

MacKeigan added, “Advertisements [featuring kids with disabilities] are a conversation starter for other parents to talk to their children about differences and that it’s OK to be different and to include and accept them.”

MacKeigan has organized photo shoots in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, and in Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up. The photo shoots are staffed by professional photographers and stylists, so they get exposed to kids with disabilities too.

“It’s so magical to see them in front of the camera,” MacKeigan said of the children being photographed. “You can see the true joy that they live and a different kind of beauty.”

MacKeigan’s daughter, Jordan Grace, has scored modeling jobs thanks to the photos taken at Changing the Face of Beauty pop-up photo shoots.

“I’m so proud of her that I want the whole world to know her,” MacKeigan said. “She’s the kind of girl who steps and smells the roses and notices the little things that we don’t notice.”

The photo shoots organized by MacKeigan are the brainchild of another mom, Katie Driscoll, who also has a daughter with Down syndrome.

Driscoll, a professional photographer, founded Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of kids with disabilities featured in advertising and media.

She started the headshot clinics around three years ago when she found that brands were having trouble finding kids with disabilities to cast as models. The problem, according to Driscoll, is that talent and modeling agencies remain hesitant to represent kids with disabilities.

“I think more brands would be more inclusive if it was easier to find the talent,” Driscoll said. “We want to empower the disability community to push the talent firms for representation.”

The pop-up photo shoots are held not just in cities like New York and Los Angeles but in towns across the U.S. and Canada. More than 30 photo shoots have been held over the past three years.

“If we start a conversation in communities across the country, hopefully talent agencies hear that and it impacts their decisions,” Driscoll said. “I believe advertising is the missing component [in disability acceptance] and it can change the future of the disability community.”

Some brands are responding to the call for more inclusion in their advertisements.

In July, the clothing brand Aerie launched a campaign featuring models in a wheelchair, wearing an insulin pump and using arm crutches. In February, Lucas Warren, who has Down syndrome, was chosen as the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby.

Changing the Face of Beauty has also received pledges from more than 100 companies to include models with a disability in their advertising, according to Driscoll.

"It’s important to be seen in the world that you live in," she said of children with disabilities. "We have to be able to be a part of advertising, the most influential voice in the world."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug072018

Crayons bought at discount store test positive for asbestos, group says

Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Some crayons may not be ready for play time, according to a new report.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group, said in its annual report on the safety of school supplies that Playskool brand crayons purchased at a Chicago Dollar Tree store tested positive for trace amounts of potentially dangerous asbestos chemicals.

The group tested six kinds of crayons from different brands, purchased at stores in several states and online. According to their report, Only the green Playskool crayons tested showed trace amounts of tremolite, a type of asbestos fiber.

"It’s completely unnecessary for crayons to contain asbestos," Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG education fund toxics director, told ABC News. "We know how to produce crayons without asbestos and most crayons are free of asbestos."

Dollar Tree stores acknowledged the report, telling ABC News in a statement, "The safety of our customers and associates is our top priority. Our company utilizes a very stringent and independent testing program to ensure our supplier products meet or exceed all safety and legal standards. We are aware of the report and have since re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing."

CPSC warns parents to keep fidget spinners 'away from young children' after swallowing incidents

Hasbro, the parent company of Playskool, said it is looking into the reports.

"Product and children’s safety are top priorities for Hasbro," Julie Duffy, senior vice president of global communications for Hasbro, said in a statement to ABC News. "We are conducting a thorough investigation into these claims, including working with Leap Year, the licensee of the product."

According to the report, the crayons U.S. PIRG purchased at the Chicago Dollar Tree were manufactured in China and did not carry an AP seal, meaning an “approved product” certified as non-toxic by The Art and Creative Materials Institute, or ACMI, a manufacturer’s association that promotes safety standards in art materials.

Several other brands of crayons were found to have asbestos fibers in 2000, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study.

CPSC said in its report that it believed the risk that children could be poisoned by coloring with or chewing on tainted crayons was low. But, the commission said, there was no reason crayons should carry the risk at all.

"Although CPSC staff determined that the risk is extremely low, the staff believes that as a precaution, crayons should not contain these fibers. CPSC staff asked the industry to reformulate crayons using substitute ingredients," the report said.

The commission, however, stopped short of regulating or banning asbestos in crayons.

In 2015, four unidentified brands of crayons were found to contain asbestos in tests by the Environmental Working Group.

Other children’s products have recently been found to include asbestos, including makeup kits.

Asbestos refers to a group of minerals that can crystallize into fibers. Because those fibers naturally resist heat and chemicals, they have often been used to make insulation. If these fibers are released into the air and then inhaled by people, they can cause dangerous conditions in the lungs and an aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma.

Talc, which crayon manufacturers often use as a binder in the wax, can be contaminated with asbestos fibers. Many manufacturers now purify the talc to eliminate asbestos contamination, but there is no specific regulation that requires it.

U.S. PIRG emphasized that its findings this year were mostly positive. Many of the school and art supply products it tested did not contain toxic chemicals.

"The good news is that several years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission tested several products and found that many of them had these trace amounts of asbestos and we’re not finding that anymore," Cook-Schultz said. "Now it’s just a matter of getting the law in place to actually make it so that crayons cannot contain asbestos in the U.S."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug072018

Women more likely to survive heart attacks if treated by another woman: Study

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women are more likely to survive heart attacks if treated by women physicians in the emergency room, a new study that reviewed about half a million patients over more than 20 years found.

The study confirms what years of research on "gender concordance" have shown -- that matching the gender of the doctor and patient can lead to better health outcomes.

This review of records also confirms growing research that shows how heart attacks can be different for women -- and the way doctors assess and treat them can differ, too. Finding these differences are important because a large body of research shows that women are less likely to survive heart attacks, in general.

What's important about this study

Although women patients matched with women physicians have been studied before, this study is the first time heart attack outcomes were assessed for gender concordance.

In this study, women heart attack patients were found to be more likely to survive if they were treated by women doctors, according to the team of researchers at Olin Business School at Washington University, Harvard Business School and Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota Business School.

After reviewing about half a million patients in the Florida Hospital database from 1990 to 2011, the researchers found that women treated in emergency departments were 5.4 percent more likely to survive heart attacks -- or acute myocardial infarction -- if the treating physician was also a woman.

"This study is different than others because it documents, for the first time (to our knowledge), increased survival rates for female heart attack patients who are treated by female physicians," Dr. Seth Carnahan, author of the study and assistant professor of strategy at Olin Business School, said in a statement to ABC News.

The study was restricted to cases in the emergency room, and for acute heart attacks. For the patients records reviewed, men also had better survival rates if the emergency room was staffed with more women physicians.

How are heart attacks in women different?

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the U.S., and symptoms of heart attack can show up differently in men and women.

Women are more likely to have a "silent" heart attack or to display unusual symptoms. Their symptoms can be seem vague or similar to flu-like symptoms: Fatigue, mild chest discomfort, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath.

Why the doctor's gender might matter

Although a lot more research is needed, the results confirm how different women's symptoms can seem when they come into the emergency room for a heart attack. It is possible that doctors who are men may be less attuned to this and it could be that women physicians communicate differently with women patients.

It's unclear what all the reasons may be for women patients surviving longer under the care of women doctors. Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, who is the author of the Harvard Health Publishing blog post "Does your doctor's gender matter?" wrote about a few more reasons.

"Female physicians may follow clinical guidelines more often," he said in the post. "Female physicians may communicate better, with less medical jargon. Male physicians may be less 'deliberate' in addressing complicated patients’ problems (as suggested by past research)."

Doctors of any gender want to save patient lives and improve care for everyone.

"Especially in emergency medicine, where physicians are tasked with saving peoples’ lives, it is assumed that physicians should be working to save everyone’s lives equally," Laura Huang, professor at Harvard Business School and one of the study authors, told ABC News.

Should women request physicians of the same gender?

Although it is helpful to keep these findings in mind, no one should wait to be treated in an emergency situation -- especially with heart attacks where early treatment matters.

There are many more questions to be answered after the results of this particular study: Would it matter if the patients were younger? Are outcomes similarly different for heart attack patients in the operating room instead of the emergency room? And many more.

For both men and women, the same advice on preventing heart attacks applies -- and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 80 percent of heart disease, especially heart attacks, can be avoided by modifying lifestyle behavior.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio