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Wednesday
Sep182019

Woman took five simple steps to lose 100 pounds in one year

vadimguzhva/iStock(NEW YORK) -- One day in 2017, Martha Elizondo found herself in the scale aisle at a local Walmart.

"I had a number in my mind that I thought I was," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. The number she actually saw -- 250 pounds -- sent her onto the floor in tears.

Elizondo, who had been both a high school and college athlete, was "heartbroken" she said.

"I couldn't believe I let it go that far that fast," she said.

Elizondo, from Edinburg, Texas, started her transformation on Jan. 1, 2018. It would result in a 100-pound weight loss by February of the following year.

Starting small

"I knew I didn't want to make drastic changes," she said.

At the time, the majority of her diet was made up of fast food. She would go to Little Ceasers, she said, and eat a whole pizza herself.

"If there was a burger meal, I had to upgrade it," Elizondo said of her fast-food habits. She decided to cook at home more and limit her fast-food consumption to twice a week.

She started moving

The next month, she began walking around her neighborhood. The month after that, she started using the elliptical for 30 minutes every day.

In April, her walking turned to jogging. Eventually, she ran a 5K. Then a 10K. Today, she's has her sights set on a half marathon.

She cut back on socializing

"I had to put my health first," Elizondo told GMA.

For her, that meant skipping meals out with family and friends.

"They know me and I knew if they saw me order a salad they would ask about it," she said. "I just wanted to avoid that situation."

There was a time where Friday nights were spent jogging and drinking water, she said.

Today, with 100 pounds gone, she's back to socializing regularly and spending time with her family and friends.

"They know I've worked so hard and understand where I'm coming from," she said.

She used a meal-tracking app

My Fitness Pal, Elizondo said, not only helped her lose the weight, but now helps her maintain it.

"It's still my best friend," she said.

Her favorite features are how the app gives calorie suggestions and allows users to upload photos so she can see her progress with every milestone reached.

"It took a lot of consistency and discipline," she said. "Now I don't track as closely to the dot as I used to, but it helps me choose well during the day if I am going to be going out with friends that night."

She learned to love herself

The hardest part?

"Learning to love myself at every weight," Elizondo said.

"So many people say they will be happy when they reach a certain weight," she said. "But you have to learn to love yourself at every stage."

"With every goal you accomplish, self-love helps you get to the next step," she added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep182019

The connection between violent video games, racial bias and school shootings

mtreasure/iStock(NEW YORK) -- When a school shooting hits the news, are we more likely to blame violent video games if the shooter is white?

Politicians, the media and even scholars often do.

President Donald Trump previously stated, "I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

There's little evidence showing a relationship between violent video games and school shootings, but video games are often blamed for overall violence in our communities. A recent study published in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture set out to find if we look for an external explanation for violence by whites more often than we do for African Americans.

"We try harder to make excuses for white perpetrators," said investigator Dr. James Ivory, a professor in the Department of Communications at Virginia Tech, in an interview with ABC News.

The investigators conducted a two-part study. The first study gave people a mock news story about a school shooting. When asked what caused the shooting, people were more likely to blame video games if the shooter was white than if the shooter was black. The second study looked at thousands of news articles -- video games were mentioned more often in stories of white shooters. Video games were discussed more often when the shooting happened in schools than in other settings.

"It’s a depressing finding," said Dr. Ivory.

This study undoubtedly brings up a larger conversation on race.

"When you see people on television talking about video games and crime, it may say a lot more about other things and how we think about crime, than about video games," he said. "We might be interested to look for reasons for white people because of racial stereotyping."

The study’s theory: Racial bias likely exists because of an assumed association between minorities and violent crimes, an assumption that isn’t there with whites. The study says, "when such an act of violence is carried out by a racial minority, individuals may not feel compelled to seek an external explanation because the race of the perpetrator fits their stereotype of what a violent criminal looks like." The bias, they believe, is likely to have significant consequences, especially when assigning blame and responsibility to criminals of different races.

Further research is needed to determine specifically why this relationship exists and persists.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

Bakers beware: General Mills recalls Gold Medal flour over E. coli fears

A&J Fotos/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Bakers beware.

General Mills issued a voluntary recall of Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour this week over fears that it may be contaminated with E. coli.

The food and beverage giant said the recall applies to 5-pound bags with a "better if used by" date of Sept. 6, 2020.

There were no reports of illnesses linked to the product, but the food producer said in a statement that it issued the recall "out of an abundance of care."

"The recall is being issued for the potential presence of E. coli O26 which was discovered during sampling of the five-pound bag product," the statement said. "This recall is being issued out of an abundance of care as General Mills has not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses related to this product."

In May, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control warned consumers to avoid consuming any raw products made with flour, noting that several flour brands could be contaminated with E. coli O26.

At least 21 people across the U.S. have been infected with the E. coli O26 strain between December 2018 and May. Three were hospitalized, but there were no deaths reported.

E. coli exposure symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches and other symptoms, according to health officials.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

Mom's candid post about 'painful' postpartum is as real as it gets 

Adene Sanchez/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Those first few photos after the birth of a child are usually beautiful: Mom and baby's first meeting, a shot with dad and baby's siblings.

But the story behind the smiling photos is sometimes not so picture perfect. One mom's Instagram post about the pain she experienced postpartum is as real as it gets.

"It hurts to use the restroom," Luci Wormell, a mom of three from San Tan Valley, Arizona, wrote. "It hurts to walk less than a few feet away. It hurts because of the contractions that are still there even after your baby is out. It hurts and it’s so painful. And sometimes you feel like you have to hide all of that hurt so people don’t misunderstand and think you’re ungrateful."

Wormell told ABC's Good Morning America that the picture was taken the day she was to be discharged from the hospital. And that, that even though the photo wasn't "pretty," she thought to herself: "I want to document this.”

"After I took a shower that morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize myself. I looked beat-up," said Wormell.

She is grateful for her three-week-old baby, Emmett and her two other children Owen, 3 and Chloe, 2. But Emmet's delivery was hard, she told GMA, harder than the other two.

"Everything about the pregnancy was different," she said. "The minutes and hours after I delivered felt different. I was in a lot of physical pain compared to my other two births. People kept telling me, 'the more kids you have the worst it gets,' and oh boy, it is so true. The contractions while breastfeeding was the absolute worst."

Wormell posted the photo to Instagram, she said, to let other moms know "they are not alone. Those first few days are hard. And there’s going to be a lot of unexplained tears, that’s okay. Let them all out. Take all the time you need to heal and take it easy. Ask for help, don’t let your pride get in the way of asking for help and being vulnerable."

The comments on the post were full of gratitude.

"I felt honored that people felt safe and comforted in reaching out to me who is a random stranger on the internet," she said. "It’s been three weeks since that post and I still receive messages daily. I know not everyone’s birth experience and postpartum recovery will be the same but I believe a majority of women can raise their hand and say, 'I am so grateful for my child but it wasn’t easy.”'

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

Adopted California woman takes DNA test to learn about family's health history, but finds her father and sisters

(Courtesy Christine Shepherd) Christine Shepherd took a DNA test to test her health history and found her birth father and three sisters. (NEW YORK) -- A California woman who never knew her parents took a DNA test to learn more about their health history, but came away with the results of a lifetime: a family.

Christine Shepherd, who turns 54 on Saturday, was adopted at birth in 1953 and didn’t know anything about her birth mother, birth father or possible siblings, she told ABC News on Tuesday.

Now, thanks to a 23andMe test, she has met her three sisters and will soon meet her father for the first time.

"I never thought I would find my family … I’ve never had sisters," she said. "I’ve been an only child all my life so to have this wonderful group of women who are so loving and caring is so phenomenal."

Shepherd said she is flying out to Oklahoma from Hanford, California, on Thursday to meet her father, days before she’ll celebrate her 54th birthday.

"For my 54th, I got a full family," she said. "Not many people get that."

It all began back in January 2018, when she took the test to learn about her family’s health history. Her adopted mother had died in 2015 and her adopted father passed in 1994, leaving her without any immediate family to tell her anything they knew. And because she was privately adopted, she could not get information from the state.

About a month after first taking the test, she heard from 23andMe and learned that she had a first cousin on her mother’s side.

The two got in touch and Shepherd soon learned that her first cousin's aunt was Shepherd’s birth mother. Shepherd knew that her birth mother had gone to Vallejo to have the baby and the baby’s father was in the military. Her cousin confirmed to her that was the story he also knew of his aunt.

Shepherd’s mom died 16 years earlier, but she was told that towards the end of her mother’s life she tried to find Shepherd.

"She just wanted to tell me that she loved me," Shepherd said.

In February of this year, Shepherd got another message from the genealogy company, notifying her that there was another relative.

This time, it was on her dad’s side.

The cousin who she was matched with on her dad’s side put her in contact with her three sisters, and they quickly hit it off.

"Everyone has been so welcoming, so loving. That has been something I truly didn’t expect," she said.

She met two of her younger sisters, 53-year-old Kimberly and 50-year-old Cheryl, in her California home and the three spent hours going through old photos and learning about one another.

"We just literally hung out and talked because it was such an easy, seamless situation," Shepherd said. "It was just like three sisters hanging out."

She’s looking forward to meeting her youngest sister, 43-year-old Autumn, when she visits her father, Kendell Fors.

It will also be the first time she celebrates her birthday with her birth family.

"There’s a party and everyone’s going to meet me," she said. "They have family and friends and their church, so apparently it’s a big to do."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

Many women say 1st sexual experience was forced in teens, new study finds

Boyloso/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the #MeToo era continues to unfold, a new study shows how often the first sexual experience for women is forced or coerced.

One in 16 women reported experiencing forced sexual initiation, usually in their teen years and usually with someone a few years older, according to research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

When expanded nationwide, that number totals more than three million women in the U.S., according to the study.

The study’s authors described the experience of forced sexual initiation as rape.

"This data represents reported experiences, which means there many, many more [women] who have also had this experience who may not feel they could disclose it," sexual education expert Elizabeth Schroeder, who was not involved with the study, told Good Morning America. "My guess is the number is much higher."

The study found that women who were forced to have sex during their first sexual encounter were more likely to be younger in age (approximately two years) than women who engaged in consensual intercourse.

Researchers who conducted the study also found that instances of forced sexual experiences led to lasting health and economic repercussions for many of the women.

Compared with women whose first sexual experience was voluntary, women with forced sexual initiation were more likely to experience an unwanted first pregnancy or an abortion, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and problems with ovulation or menstruation, according to the study.

Survivors of forced sexual initiation also more frequently reported illicit drug use, resided below the poverty line and had lower levels of education than women who engaged in consensual intercourse, the study said.

The study's researchers based their data on a sample of more than 13,000 women between the ages of 18 and 44.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an anti-sexual violence organization, defines consent as "an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity."

The organization emphasizes that consent "should happen every time," saying, "Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact."

Consent is something people learn about when they're very young, but the lessons of it often fall aside in later years, according to Schroeder.

"Such messages as 'hands are not for hitting' and 'hands on your own body' are repeated throughout children’s formative years," she said. "The problem is, we stopped teaching those lessons and then failed to connect them to romantic and sexual relationships as kids get older."

Some states are adding information about healthy relationships and consent to their sex education curriculum.

In May, Colorado became the ninth state in the U.S. to require teaching about consent as part of sex education in K-12 schools.

"I wholeheartedly believe we should be teaching more about consent, but at the same time can’t expect that having a few class sessions on consent are sufficient to counteract the toxic masculinity that is pervasive in and valued by the dominant power structure in the US," said Schroeder.

Other experts hope they are seeing a sea change as young people, particularly boys, grow up with different expectations of sexual encounters.

Dr. Harold Koplewicz, a psychiatrist and president of the Child Mind Institute in New York City, told ABC News last year he believes "there's a very big difference between young men who are between 18 and 22 and older men who, let's say, are above 40 years of age. A lot of these guys have grown up with a different sensibility."

"Part of growing up is learning to make informed choices, not to give in to impulsivity," Koplewicz said. "Becoming a man means learning to think about people other than yourself right now -- including how you’ll feel in the future."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

First case of eastern equine encephalitis confirmed in Connecticut, health officials say

RolfAasa/iStock(EAST LYME, Conn.) -- The first case of eastern equine encephalitis has been confirmed in Connecticut as the virus continues to spread across North America.

The mosquito-borne virus was detected in an adult from the town of East Lyme, who fell ill in August, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell announced on Monday. The patient remains hospitalized, according to the release.

The rare virus can cause inflammation in the brain and is potentially deadly. About a third of patients who develop it die, and many who survive end up having mild to severe brain damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages," Mitchell said in a statement, urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent and covering their skin with clothing.

There have been seven recorded cases of EEE in Massachusetts and three in Michigan, including one patient who died, according to health officials.

In July, health officials in Orange County, Fla., announced an uptick in the virus among sentinel chickens, which show the presence of viruses such as EEE and West Nile but don't develop the symptoms associated with them.

Symptoms of EEE begin about four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and include a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting that could then progress into disorientation, seizures and coma, according to the CDC.

Typically, about five to 10 cases of EEE are reported in the U.S. annually, according to the CDC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

Scientists step closer to cure for common cold: What you need to know

dragana991/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Scientists in California believe they may be on the brink of a medical breakthrough for the common cold.

What did they find?

Research teams at Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco found that temporarily disabling a single, noncritical protein in cells may halt the replication of viruses that cause half of all common colds, polio and other diseases.

The teams made their discovery in both human cell cultures and in mice.

The same approach of targeting proteins in cells also worked to stop viruses associated with asthma, encephalitis and polio, according to a Stanford Medicine press release.

How does it work?

ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said the enterovirus, which causes the common cold, can evade targeting which makes it impervious to being disabled.

"So what they did at UCSF and Stanford is they actually targeted the receiver of the virus," she explained.

Stanford University associate professor and senior author of the findings Jan Carette, PhD said, "Traditional anti-viral drugs target the virus itself. But the virus is very smart and it can mutate its way around it. What we do is make the host inhospitable for these viruses. So it's much more difficult for these viruses to mutate around."

Think of it like a lock and key, Ashton said.

"If the lock is actually the cell that gets infected, and the key is the virus, instead of disabling this, they disabled the protein on the cell that is found to be nonessential so that virus cannot infect those cells," Ashton explained.

What does this mean?


While this testing is not yet a cure, scientists would have to develop a drug that blocks that protein in cells. At that point, any drug would need to be tested further.

In the meantime, Dr. Ashton suggested washing hands regularly and sneezing into your arm.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep172019

1-year-old meets doctor who might be the only one able to cure his rare disease

UPMC Children's Hospital(NEW YORK) -- When Jason and Tara Borofka took their 1-year-old named J.T. in for a checkup when he was 2 months old, the pediatrician said he looked a little pale. The doctor ran a blood test and it showed J.T. had lower levels of iron and hemoglobin -- a blood cell count -- than a typical baby at his age.

They later discovered that J.T. had a type of anemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells.

The Borofkas were referred to another hospital. While there, his parents said J.T.’s hemoglobin blood cell level dropped so much that he needed an emergency blood transfusion.

“At that point, we knew something was really wrong,” Jason Borofka said.

J.T. was then diagnosed with triosephosphate isomerase deficiency, or TPI. It's a rare, inherited gene mutation that causes the deficiency of triosephosphate -- an enzyme-- and leads to the anemia. Doctors only give him two to five more years to live if untreated. But since there is no cure for the disease, even with supportive medical treatments, kids with TPI don’t typically live beyond childhood.

That’s likely because it is extremely rare. So rare, that there are less than 70 cases of it in the world, according to estimates from a doctor who studies TPI.

“Have you ever Googled something and only one page of Google is there?” asked Tara Borofka. “That’s how rare the disease is.”

The symptoms include muscle loss, muscle wasting and irreversible brain damage. Jason Borofka said the panic of searching and looking for help was driving them to the edge.

“In the beginning, it definitely felt like our world was crumbling,” Tara Borofka said. “There was no hope.”

There is believed to be only one doctor who studies TPI. The Borofkas, with the help of Stanford Children’s Health, found him.

And this is where the hope comes in.

Dr. Michael Palladino studies metabolic diseases, including TPI deficiency.

Palladino has been studying it for 16 years. During that time, he said he’s been contacted every 12 to 18 months by parents or a clinician. His patients hail from France, Russia and Italy.

And now, a couple from California.

Because the disease currently lacks a treatment, they don’t have access to anything preventive or curative. One patient, like J.T., is on a diet change. It isn’t proven that it works, but the families understandably want to try anything they can.

“Kids are dying a horrible death of this disease and someone should be studying it,” Palladino said. “Biotech companies aren’t going to pursue it. There’s no profit to be had in it. So it seems like a good thing for an academic to study.”

The Borofkas exchanged texts, calls and emails with Palladino. They even traveled to meet him at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Now, the clock is on to fund research that could save J.T.’s life. The Borofkas are aggressively fundraising so Palladino can hopefully find a cure. Their goal is to raise about $1.2 million. They have raised about $200,000 so far. They have events scheduled through November to try and reach this goal.

“It’s one event after another,” Tara Borofka said. “We have hockey tournaments coming, bowling tournaments coming, a barn dance coming, paint nights coming.”

They even started a clothing line in honor of J.T. Jason Borofka said they sold more than $10,000 worth of clothes to people all around the country.

“All of that is going right back to [Palladino's] lab," Jason Borofka said. "As much as we can possibly fund and funnel it back here because right now, we truly believe this is our best shot.”

There’s no happy ending yet. But there is something else.

“When we discovered that Michael Palladino could find a treatment and could discover something, you go from being down here to like, ‘Yay!’ you know? It gives us hope," Tara Borofka said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Sep162019

No new measles cases suggests that spread of the disease is slowing

Devonyu/iStock(ATLANTA) -- The fight against the record-breaking number of measles cases in the U.S. appears to have had a small victory.

There were no new cases of measles reported from Sept. 6 to 12 in the U.s., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported Monday, which appears to signal that the spread of the previously eradicated disease is slowing.

This is the first time since the start of 2019 that no new cases were reported, the CDC confirmed to ABC News.

The CDC also noted that there are only two active outbreaks in the country right now, which they describe as areas where there are three or more cases.

Both of the ongoing outbreaks are in New York, with one in Rockland County and the second in Wyoming County.

That means that the sizable outbreak in New York City is over, which the CDC confirmed on Sept. 3. They also noted that the outbreak in El Paso, Texas, ended on Sept. 12.

Monday's update proves that the areas of concern have dropped dramatically, as there were confirmed cases in 31 states throughout the year, which is now down to one.

The month-by-month number of cases shows a clear peak in April, when there were 314 reported cases. That has since dissipated steadily since.

All told, there have been 1,241 cases this year, which is the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since 1992, the CDC reports. The next-highest number of cases in the past decade came in 2014, when there were 667 cases reported.

Of the total number of cases, more than 75 percent were tied to the outbreaks in New York.

The CDC also noted that the ongoing outbreaks in Rockland and Wyoming Counties were linked to travelers who had gone to Israel, Ukraine or the Philippines, where there are large active outbreaks.

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