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Tuesday
Oct092018

29-year-old chef with terminal cancer describes how she plans to live out her final days

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You may know Fatima Ali from her time on "Top Chef," but after a candid, witty and heartbreaking essay she recently penned for Bon Appetit, you'll quickly realize that the best way to describe this New York City chef isn't as a TV star, but with words like courage and bravery.

In a remarkable, moving essay for the site, Ali reveals that a rare form of cancer she dealt with last year has returned "with a vengeance" and that she has just about a year to live.

But this terminal diagnosis isn't going to stop the 29-year-old from living out her final days in style or sharing them with the ones she loves.

As her essay opens with an anecdote about flying first class, Ali admits that the diagnosis has "forced me to upgrade my life" and that though, "I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving," she'll instead settle on stepping "it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose."

"It’s funny, isn’t it?" she writes. "When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living."

"When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel," she continues. "I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before."

It's really incredible how Ali is able to keep her humor and wit, even as her body fails her. She next admits that she DM-ed a restaurant and even used her "illness as a tactic" in order to get a reservation.

"I’m floored when I receive a reply from chef Rene Redzepi himself. Turns out that people respond when you tell them you’re dying of cancer," she quips.

"It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living. When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel. I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before."

But the young chef is also able to make sure to include the more heartbreaking aspects of what's to come like the napkin she keeps in her wallet, the one with names written on it for people she plans to reach out and make amends to.

"I have to learn how to ask for forgiveness without expecting to receive it. It’s probably the most frightening thing I have ever had to do, and I’ve experienced some seriously terror-inducing moments," she writes.

And even as she's enjoying "knowing that I can finally live for myself, even if it’s just for a few more precious months," she admits that she's scared of what's to come.

"I suspect I won’t last very long," she adds. "There’s a faint feeling deep inside my gut like a rumble of passing air, ever expanding and filling slowly until, one day, I’ll pop."

Until that time comes, much like her first-class foray and her direct messages to elite restaurants, Ali is going to use each day she has left to "experience something new."

"I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life," she closes.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct082018

Second person dies from allergic reaction after allegedly eating food at Pret a Manger in the UK

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A second person believed to have died from an allergic reaction after eating a Pret a Manger product has been identified as 42-year-old dental nurse Celia Marsh.

Marsh died at Royal United Hospital in Bath, England, after allegedly ingesting a dairy product in a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” on December 27, 2017, according to the BBC.

The food giant has recently faced a backlash after an inquest by the West London Coroner’s Court found that their policy of food labelling for allergens was “inadequate” after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from an allergic reaction to sesame in a baguette in 2016, according to the New York Times.

Pret a Manger CEO Clive Schlee promised there would be “meaningful change to come from this tragedy” after the death of Ednan-Laperouse, according to the BBC.

However, in the case of Celia Marsh, Pret has blamed the product supplier COYO for providing them with a defective product, which they said contained dairy.

“COYO, the dairy-free yoghurt brand which supplies supermarkets and shops across the U.K., mis-sold to Pret a guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt that was found to contain dairy protein,” a spokesperson for Pret a Manger told ABC News. “This is believed to have resulted in the tragic death of a customer from an allergic reaction in December 2017.”

Pret said they have terminated their relationship with COYO, and are now in the process of taking legal action against the company. They added that “deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our customer in this terrible case and we will seek to assist them in any way we can.”

COYO have since hit back at the food chain, describing Pret’s claims as “unfounded.”

“The dairy-free product we provided to Pret in December 2017, at the time of this tragedy, is not linked to the product we recalled in February 2018,” COYO said in a statement.

They added that they will continue to cooperate with all authorities and assist the inquest in finding the true cause. "We urge all parties to work together, and not to speculate on the cause of this tragic death which is unknown as far as we are aware and is still being investigated by the Coroners court.”

A spokesman for the coroner told the BBC that they were still awaiting results of pathology tests into Marsh’s death.

A charity called Allergy UK, which supports people with allergies, declined to comment on the ongoing Pret investigation, but CEO Carla Jones has expressed “huge concern” after the inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death.

“We are seeing so many fatal incidents caused principally by a lack of communication on the allergen content of food,” she said. “Whilst those living with allergies must be vigilant on their own behalf, the broader food industry needs to do more than just the bare minimum when it comes to catering for the allergic community.”

Allergy UK estimates that 2 million people in the UK currently suffer from a food allergy, and that around 10 people die every year from allergen-induced anaphylaxis.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct082018

Makers of LaCroix hit with lawsuit alleging their sparkling water contains 'synthetic' ingredients, including a 'cockroach insecticide'

ABC News(COOK COUNTY, Ill.) -- The makers of the wildly popular sparkling water LaCroix, which has become a phenomenon over the past year, were hit with a lawsuit alleging the beverage contains "non-natural flavorings," including an ingredient said to be used as a "cockroach insecticide."

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, was filed in Cook County, Illinois, against the drink's parent company, National Beverage Corporation, and slammed what it said was the "practice of mislabeling their signature product, LaCroix Water, as 'all-natural,'" according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The beverage makers "mislead consumers into believing that their product is natural when it is not," the complaint added. Moreover, the suit alleged the bubbly water contains the ingredient "linalool" which it says "is used as a cockroach insecticide."

The National Beverage Corp. "categorically denies all allegations" in the suit, the company said in a statement, slamming it as "without basis in fact or law regarding the natural composition" of LaCroix sparkling waters.

"Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors," the statement added. "The lawsuit provides no support for its false statements about LaCroix’s ingredients."

Legal expert Areva Martin told Good Morning America, that if the suit's "claims are substantiated, this could have a dire effect on the company."

"It may be forced to change it's labeling, we know the company prides itself on providing a natural and organic water, so if they have to change that labeling, that can change their entire marketing strategy," she added.

But experts say that even if the allegations are true, consumers shouldn't jump to conclusions about the bubbly beverage, saying LaCroix would have to contain 50 percent of the linalool in order to pose a health risk, and that the natural chemical is often found in fruits and spices such as cinnamon.

"The consumer should not be alarmed by this lawsuit," Roger Clemens, a food safety expert from the University of Southern California, told GMA. "The compounds under discussion occur naturally and citrus beverages like orange juice, lime juice."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct052018

Some fruits evolve to smell stronger when ripe and attract animals that eat them 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Fruit scents tell animals when a fruit is ripe, but they also help the plant reproduce, as it's seeds are moved from one place to another.

In a new study, researchers show that certain fruits growing in areas with large lemur populations have evolved to smell stronger when ripe to accommodate for the stronger sense of smell lemurs have.

The researchers, from the University of Ulm in Germany, the University of Connecticut and the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar, looked at 30 plant species in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar to see if fruit scents had evolved as a signal to attract their target "seed dispersers," which were lemurs in this case.

They found that fruits lemurs ate most produced two times as much scent as fruits that were eaten by birds. Moreover, these fruits also showed the largest differences in the chemical composition of the scent when the fruits were ripe compared to when they were unripe.

“These changes are substantially smaller in [fruit] species that are dispersed exclusively or to a large extent by birds,” lead author Omer Nevo, of the University of Ulm, told ABC News. “This indicates that the changes in fruit scent in lemur-dispersed species are not an inevitable byproduct of fruit maturation, which is present in all fruits, but unique to species which rely on smell-led animals like lemurs.”

According to the study, most lemurs are red-green color blind and nocturnal, so relying on their sense of smell to find food is paramount — in fact, their olfactory bulbs are relatively large. Therefore, it makes sense that lemurs would use their sense of smell to feed on fruits "that provide a reliable chemical signal of ripeness," Nevo said.

In all, the study took about four months to collect samples and another three months to conduct the chemical and data analysis.

Although the study found that fruit scents signaled ripeness, it's still unclear what other information they could divulge about the fruit.

This is an area of study Nevo said he plans to tackle next.

“I next plan to try to understand if fruit scent also encodes information on fruit quality,” Nevo said. “what chemicals do that and whether the lemurs are particularly attuned to them.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct052018

Flu season is here: What you need to know

By Dr. Jonathan Steinman

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s the start of fall, which means flu season is here.

Last year, flu hospitalizations were the highest they’ve ever been; 106 out of every 100,000 people were hospitalized for the flu in the 2017-18 season, with people over age 65 accounting for 58 percent of those hospitalizations and 180 pediatric deaths.

Flu and the common cold can both make you feel crummy, but they are caused by different viruses. Colds are usually milder and do not result in serious health problems associated with the flu, like pneumonia or hospitalizations.

Right now, being prepared is the best thing you can do before the season hits. Here’s what you need to know.

When does flu season start?

Flu season may start as early as October in North America, but generally, it begins sometime in the fall and ends in March. The flu virus, however, can be detected at any point throughout the year, which is important to know if you ever have symptoms, even in the summer. Experts can’t really predict the severity of each flu season, as different strains of the virus can have different impacts on timing and length of the season.

Should I get the flu shot? When?

Yes. With few exceptions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated every year. It is the first line of defense in treating the flu. Although people who are moderately or severely ill should wait to recover before getting the shot. Only people with severe, life-threatening allergies to the vaccine or any of its ingredients should avoid the shot. According to the CDC, anyone who is between 2 and 50 years old should get either the shot or the nasal spray. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, says the flu shot is the preferred choice over the nasal spray for children

You can get vaccinated at any time as fall approaches, but October is probably the best time to get it done. The CDC recommends that everyone get vaccinated by the end of October, which gives your body the roughly two-week period it needs to develop an immune response to the vaccine prior to the start of peak flu season. If you miss this deadline, however, the vaccine can still offer some benefit. So it's important to get it as long as people are still getting sick.

What if I’m pregnant?


It is highly recommended that all pregnant women get the flu shot. The body changes during pregnancy — heart rate and oxygen consumption increase while lung capacity decreases. That means if a mother-to-be gets the flu, they are more susceptible to life-threatening complications than the general population. So all women who are or expect to be pregnant should get the flu vaccine. This is all the more important considering a recent CDC survey showed that only half of pregnant women get the vaccine.

I heard the flu shot makes you sick. Is that true?

No. The flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus, which means that the virus contained in the vaccine can’t actually infect you. It does take one to two weeks for your immune system to protect you from the flu. So, if someone becomes sick after their shot, it is most likely because their body wasn’t protected from the flu yet, not from the vaccine itself.

Similarly, there are sometimes mismatches between the virus strain someone gets sick with and the strains used to make the vaccine. In these cases, the vaccine might be imperfect at fighting all strains of the flu that might exist, but it's still the best defense we have.

How do I know if I have the flu?

Flu symptoms often come suddenly, and can vary significantly depending on the person. These include fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, headaches, and fatigue. While the flu may seem similar to a common cold, colds are usually slower to develop, and less likely to result in fevers.

Some patients with severe infections may have symptoms — like difficulty breathing and confusion — that are cause for concern and might require immediate medical attention to treat them. Medical attention should also be sought for children with the flu who develop bluish skin, aren't waking up or aren't eating. In all cases, if the person's symptoms suddenly worsen after appearing to initially improve, a visit to a clinician is warranted.

I think I have the flu. What do I do next?

In most cases, if symptoms are mild, staying home and leaving only to get medical care is the best course of action. If you must leave the house, wear a face mask, wash your hands, and cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

People with severe symptoms, as well as people at high risk from the flu (young children, people 65 and older and pregnant women), should contact their doctors if they develop symptoms. In some cases, people may get antiviral medications, which can lessen symptoms, shorten the time of illness and reduce complications.

How is the shot made?

Manufacturers have many methods of producing flu vaccines. The most common method is the egg-based vaccine, where strains of the virus are injected into eggs and incubated for several days. They are then weakened or killed and afterward purified to be used in a shot or nasal spray.

The next method is through cell-based technology. In these vaccines, the eggs used to incubate the virus are replaced with animal cells. This method is faster in producing vaccines than the older egg-based method.

Another method uses recombinant technology. In these cases, a certain gene is taken from the flu virus, to be inserted into a different non-flu virus which grows in insect cells. This genetically altered non-flu virus then replicates in insect cells. After the virus has been replicated, manufacturers purify the protein produced from the flu gene, which is used in the vaccine. The advantage of this method is that it doesn't use eggs, so people with severe egg allergies can be vaccinated.

For all these methods, the FDA must test and approve the vaccines prior to their release to the public.

What are the side effects of the flu shot?

Most side effects are mild and resolve quickly on their own. Soreness in the area of the shot is pretty common. In addition, people may have headaches, fevers and nausea. Seek immediate symptoms if someone is showing signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, hoarseness or eye and lip swelling.

Where should I get the flu shot?

Grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and hospitals are all offering flu shots. Experts say it doesn’t matter where you get it, as long as you get it.

Flu season is here. Preventing its spread requires good hygiene and high vaccination rates. If you are experiencing any symptoms, avoid contact with other people. If symptoms are starting to get severe, contact your doctor. Working together will be critical in halting flu season.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct042018

Recent Salmonella outbreaks have made hundreds ill

iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. TAMBETTA OJONG

(NEW YORK) -- At least 57 people in 16 states have been reported with Salmonella infections after consuming some of the more than 6.5 million pounds of contaminated beef produced by an Arizona company, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services said.

Over the past few months, several outbreaks of Salmonella have been reported. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that a multistate outbreak linked to eggs from an Alabama farm was even larger than expected, with 135 people infected across 36 states. As a result, Gravel Ridge Farms in Alabama recalled its cage-free large eggs. In another outbreak, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks was recalled and production of the cereal was stopped.

This is not unusual. Salmonella bacteria are some of the more common causes of food-borne illnesses, commonly called food poisoning. It’s responsible for about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to CDC estimates. Most people infected develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within six to 48 hours.

Below are some of the answers to common questions about Salmonella infection, also called salmonellosis.

What is Salmonella and is it dangerous?

The name of the bacteria comes from Daniel E. Salmon, an American veterinarian who first isolated Salmonella Choleraesuis from pigs in 1884. It is one of the causes of food-borne illness more colloquially known as food poisoning. Most often, the infection results in illness, but it can require hospitalization or even lead to death.

How is Salmonella infection spread?

Salmonella infections usually begin with consumption of contaminated foods. Most common sources include beef, poultry and eggs. However, improperly prepared fruits, vegetables, dairy products and shellfish have also been implicated as sources of Salmonella.

How can Salmonella infection be avoided?

According to the CDC, there are four quick steps that can help keep people safe from food poisoning at home: “clean, separate, cook and chill.” Washing hands and surfaces often and rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables under running water helps. Using separate cutting boards for different foods can help prevent cross-contamination from one food to another.

Placing foods that are more prone to carry Salmonella bacteria, like raw meat, poultry and seafood, in separate drawers or spaces in the fridge can also help.

Cook foods to the correct, recommended temperatures, as well. Use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the cooked food is high enough to kill germs.

The last step is refrigerating food promptly, ensuring that the fridge temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and knowing when to throw food out.

What are the symptoms of Salmonella infection?

Signs that a Salmonella infection is present will usually begin six to 48 hours after ingesting a contaminated food. People who are infected will often report abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, vomiting and even bloody stool.

When to seek medical help

If more severe symptoms are present, a trip to the doctor is recommended, including severe stomach pain or cramping, inability to eat or drink or the presence of blood in vomit or bowel movements.

A fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two or three days also warrants medical attention.

Is there a test for Salmonella infection?

Yes, but not everyone needs to be tested. If symptoms are not severe, there is little need for a test. Some people are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from Salmonella infection, including those with weak immune systems, babies under 1 year old and adults older than 50.

Results of Salmonella test can take two or three days to be returned, so doctors may prescribe antibiotics right away if an infection is suspected.

What is the treatment?

Most patients with Salmonella are monitored carefully and told to drink lots of fluids first, before antibiotics are used. The drugs are reserved only for those who become very ill with severe diarrhea, high fever or some signs of systemic illness.

Dr. Tambetta Ojong is a family medicine resident at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and a part of the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct042018

6.5M pounds of ground beef recalled after salmonella outbreak sickens 57 in 16 states

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX, Ariz.) -- An Arizona-based company is recalling more than 6.5 million pounds of raw beef that may be contaminated with salmonella -- after 57 people in 16 states have gotten sick, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The raw beef items from JBS Tolleson, Inc., including ground beef, were packaged on various dates between July 26 and Sept. 7 of this year, and are marked with the establishment number “EST. 267” inside the Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection, according to the agency.

The affected meat is sold nationally under the labels: Showcase (sold at Walmart), Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural Beef, JBS Generic. The entire product list is here.

The 57 affected patients have reported getting sick after consuming the meat between Aug. 5 to Sept. 6, 2018, according to the USDA statement.

Salmonella is one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, and can last from four to seven days.

Most people recover without treatment, but older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and may need to be hospitalized.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct042018

Slightly fewer people died in car crashes last year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After observing increases in 2015 and 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report showing that 1.8 percent fewer people in 2017 died in crashes involving motor vehicles.

Last year, 37,133 died on U.S. roadways, compared with 37,806 in 2016, according to the NHTSA.

There were noticeable decreases among occupants in passenger cars (1.1 percent fewer), occupants in vans (5.8 percent fewer), occupants in pickup trucks (4.5 percent fewer) and motorcyclists (3.1 percent fewer), while the data showed an uptick among occupants of SUVs (3 percent more) and large trucks (9 percent more).

Fatalities linked drunken driving also fell 1.1 percent but still accounted for 29 percent of all deaths.

In 2017, Texas had the most deaths, at 3,722 -- 39 percent of which were linked to alcohol.

"Over the past 40 years, there has been a general downward trend in traffic fatalities," the report stated. "Safety programs such as those increasing seat belt use and reducing impaired driving have substantially lowered the traffic fatalities over the years. Vehicle improvements such as air bags and electronic stability control have also contributed greatly to the reduction of traffic fatalities."

The rate of overall fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled fell to 1.16 in 2017 from 3.35 in in 1975, when 44,525 were killed, the data show.

The leading cause of death in the U.S. remains heart disease, which claimed 635,260 lives in 2016, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct032018

Boy whose condition keeps him inside for recess patrols with school officer instead

Bay Minette Elementary School(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) -- A boy whose rare condition keeps him from playing outside for long periods of time has found a friend in his elementary school resource officer.

Braylon Henson, 6, was diagnosed with ectodermal dysplasia at 1-year-old. The condition affects his sweat glands and causes him to overheat easily, mom Jamie Wright told "Good Morning America."

Due to high temperatures in Alabama, Braylon has been forced to stay inside during recess ever since he started first grade at Bay Minette Elementary School.

"Right now it's extremely hot, so he hasn't been out at all," Wright told "GMA." "He hangs out with Miss Stewart, his counselor, she is so awesome with him. They bought him little drum pads, he'll play on those [inside], and they would read."

One day, when Braylon was in his counselor's office, Ronnie Saladin, the school resource officer, asked why the boy was not outside at recess.

"I didn't understand why he was in there every day," Saladin told "GMA." "She said he had a skin condition and he would cry sometimes and feel left out. I said, 'Well, he's not going to feel left out. He's going to walk with me.'"

Saladin, 29, bought Braylon his very own police uniform and invited him to come along on patrol.

Braylon helps Saladin look for safety issues in the school and writes "tickets" for teachers and students who are breaking minor rules.

"When they're running in the hallways, he will yell at them and keep the order," Saladin said, laughing. "He's very smart and even though he has that skin condition, he's really positive. He has a lot of talent. He wants to be a drummer and I feel like he's going to be very intelligent."

Wright said she couldn't be more grateful for Saladin's kind gesture.

"He really did a wonderful thing, inviting Braylon to walk with him," she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct032018

Fewer young people are dying in the US, but some minorities are harder hit

iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. AMISHA AHUJA

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has long lagged behind other developed countries when it comes to one important statistic – the number of deaths of children and young people under the age of 25. The CDC has previously pointed out that infant and child mortality rates are an indicator of the overall health of a society.

A new study released by researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health adds more nuance to our understanding of these deaths, and how the U.S. compares to other nations worldwide. While over the past few years fewer people in the U.S. under the age of 25 are dying, there’s an even higher death rate among Black Americans and Native American/Alaskan Native populations compared to other ethnicities.

“These disparities are a result of long-standing social and economic inequality, which influences access of care, quality of care, and attitudes of patients and clinicians,” the study’s authors wrote.

Previous research has explained higher death rates in young Native American/Alaskan Natives by pointing to greater alcohol and substance use rates, as well as unintentional injuries. But the authors point out other factors in play: poverty, unemployment, limited access to education, and limited access to healthcare.

The researchers looked at death certificates for all people younger than 25 years old from 1999 to 2015. They paid particular attention to racial and ethnic identities of those who died, and what caused their deaths. They then compared the U.S. data to numbers from the U.K. and Canada, countries selected because their population demographics are similar.

Over the course of 16 years there were substantial declines in the U.S. for “all-cause mortality” -- any kind of death -- among infants and youths across all racial and ethnic groups. Approximately 12,000 fewer young people died in 2015 in the U.S., compared to what would have been predicted from earlier data. Strides against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome account for some of this improvement, along with lower rates of accidental deaths among young people.

But even those declining rates among U.S. youths are still higher than death rates in the U.K. and Canada. Overall, mortality was two and a half times in the U.S. what it was in the UK. The UK also showed more rapid declines in youth mortality -- more than 3 percent reductions per year, compared to less than 1 percent annual reductions in the U.S.

Some of the study’s mortality data reveals some harrowing and uniquely American problems.

Rising rates of suicide among adolescents and young adults cuts across all ethnic groups. In 2015, there were 1,400 more death from suicide than expected, based on data from 1999.

Young Americans are dying from unintentional drug poisonings as well: 2,100 additional deaths in 2015 compared to years past.

Firearm related deaths among young people increased by about 25 percent in the two years leading up to 2014. America’s statistics are startling when compared with those of other countries; firearm homicide rates were 82 times higher for Americans in certain age groups than they are for those in 19 other wealthy and populous countries named by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Those statistics are bleak; they are even bleaker for Black and Native American/Alaskan Native communities. Black infants are more than two times more likely to die than white infants. Among teens, Black Americans were 50 percent more likely to die than their white counterparts. The highest mortality rates in the U.S. were experienced by Native American/Alaskan Natives over the age of one.

To catch up with the progress of other countries, the study’s authors suggest possible solutions: mental health campaigns, initiatives to cope with the U.S. opioid epidemic, and improved implementation of gun control legislation.

Poverty and identity are built into American health care data. But if our child mortality rates are higher than similar countries, this study suggests that our unique national problems can offer important avenues for public health intervention, so all young Americans can live longer.

Amisha Ahuja is an internal medicine resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

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