Entries in Hillary Clinton (7)


Hillary Clinton's Glasses Are for Concussion, Not Fashion

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) -- The thick glasses Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been wearing in public since returning from a concussion and blood clot last month are the result of lingering effects of her health problems, a Clinton aide confirms.

"She'll be wearing these glasses instead of her contacts for a period of time because of lingering issues stemming from her concussion," said spokesman Philippe Reines.  "With them on she sees just fine."

During more than five hours of testimony before Congress, Clinton could be seen wearing glasses that appeared to have a thick left lens with lines across it.

Reines did not specify what type of lens the secretary was wearing, but medical experts say a fresnel prism is common in cases like these.  Fresnel prisms usually come in the form of a piece of thin, transparent plastic that can be adhered to existing lenses.  The special grooves in these prisms change the way light enters the eye, making them useful in treating double vision.

Dr. James Liu, director of the Center for Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery at the Neurological Institute of New Jersey, said that a concussion and head injury can lead to blurred or double vision in some cases, and that this symptom can linger for a while during recovery.

"It is possible that blurred or double vision can last up to weeks and even months," he said. "This really depends on the severity of the head injury.  In cases of concussions, these symptoms are usually temporary and eventually resolve with time."

The glasses did not seem to affect Clinton's demeanor during her testimony, where she became emotional when talking about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans killed in the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  The secretary confidently answered questioned posed by senators and House representatives, and even sparred with some over her handling of the Benghazi crisis.

New York Magazine published an article showing a slideshow of Clinton adjusting her glasses during her testimony, with comments about what her expressions meant.

Reines said that the secretary "got a kick out of the" article, using her special glasses to see the slideshow "crystal clear."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton's Blood Clot Could Have Been Life-Threatening

ABC/ Martin H. Simon(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton's latest health update -- cerebral venous thrombosis -- is a rare and potentially life-threatening condition, according to medical experts, but one from which the globe-trotting secretary of state is likely to recover.

An update from Secretary Clinton's doctors says brain scans revealed a clot had formed in her right transverse venous sinus, and she was being successfully treated with anticoagulants.

"She is lucky being Hillary Clinton and had a follow-up MRI -- lucky that her team thought to do it," said Dr. Brian D. Greenwald, medical director at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center for Head Injuries. "It could have potentially serious complications."

The backup of blood flow could have caused a stroke or hemorrhage, according to Greenwald.

"Imagine this vein, where all the cerebral spinal fluid inside the head and spine no longer flows through this area," he said. "You get a big back up and that itself could cause a stroke. In the long-term…the venous system can't get the blood out of the brain. It's like a Lincoln Tunnel back-up."

A transverse sinus thrombosis is a clot arising in one of the major veins that drains the brain. It is an uncommon but serious disorder.

According to Greenwald, the clot was most likely caused by dehydration brought on by the flu, perhaps exacerbated by a concussion Mrs. Clinton recently suffered.

"The only time I have seen it happen is when people are severely dehydrated and it causes the blood to be so thick that it causes a clot in the area," said Greenwald. "It's one of the long-term effects of a viral illness."

Drs. Lisa Bardack of the Mt. Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University discovered the clot during a routine follow-up MRI on Sunday.

"This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear," they said in a statement. "It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage. To help dissolve this clot, her medical team began treating the secretary with blood thinners. She will be released once the medication dose has been established."

Clinton is "making excellent progress," according to her doctors. "She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff."

Clinton, 65, was hospitalized at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Sunday. She suffered a concussion earlier this month after she hit her head when she fainted because of dehydration from a stomach virus, according to an aide.

Dehydration can also precipitate fainting, according to Dr. Neil Martin, head of neurovascular surgery at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center.  He agreed that the condition could potentially have caused a potentially fatal brain hemorrhage or stroke.

"In patients with no symptoms after many days, full recovery is the norm," said Martin. "However, some cases show extension of the thrombus or clot into other regions of the cerebral venous sinuses, and this can worsen the situation considerably -- thus the use of anticoagulants to prevent extension of the thrombus."

However, said Martin, anticoagulants can be a "double-edged sword." With even a tiny injury within the brain from the concussion, these medications can cause "symptomatic bleed," such as a subdural or intracerebral hemorrhage.

The clot location is not related to the nasal sinuses, but are rather large venous structures in the dura -- the protective membrane covering the brain -- which drains blood from the brain.

There are both right and left transverse venous sinuses. "If one is blocked by thrombosis, the other one can take over as a detour," he said. "Thrombosis of the other non-duplicated sinuses -- the superior saggital or straight sinuses -- is usually much more dangerous."

Dr. Keith Black, head of neurosurgery Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said he was "surprised" by Clinton's diagnosis. "If I were her treating physician, you would have to ask, why did she develop a thrombosis? A very unusual event following a concussion without a skull fracture."

He speculated that Clinton may have had a "predisposition to clot formation." She had a deep vein thrombosis, a clot in the leg, in 1998.

"It is likely she will be evaluated for a clotting abnormality," he said.

Treatment of Secretary Clinton's condition consists of reversing the cause when known, controlling seizures if present, controlling the blood pressure in the head, and anticoagulation. Anticoagulation is the most essential.

The doctors all agreed Clinton's prognosis was good, providing the clot does not expand -- a likelihood of about one percent, according to Black. Over time the clot will either reabsorb or scar down.  A worst-case scenario would be that the vein would occlude and she could get a venous infarct or stroke in the temporal lobe, the area responsible for speech.

Greenwald is convinced Clinton's health care team "caught it early."

"Assuming it was a follow-up MRI, that probably would not have happened for regular people," he said. "I suspect a lot of other people have poorer outcomes. I would call her lucky."

Clinton's doctors say that with regular monitoring, she will have a "full recovery."

"Knowing Hillary Clinton, she can do plenty of stuff from home and at her bedside," said Greenwald. "It's not a situation where you want to throw her on a long plane ride to the Middle East, though. She will need to be followed closely medically. But she'll be back to herself in no time."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton Talks Maternity Leave, Balancing Work and Family

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned an official event at the State Department focused on the importance of balancing work and family into a personal conversation, sharing her own experiences as a mother, wife, daughter, lawyer and stateswoman.

Speaking to a packed crowd at the kickoff of the department’s 2012 National Work-Life and Family Month, Clinton seemed particularly proud of how she managed to get her old law firm in Arkansas to establish a maternity leave program.

“Many years ago when I was pregnant, I was in a law firm,” she said. “I was the only female partner.  And they’d never had a female partner, and certainly not a pregnant female partner.  And they literally just were not sure what to do with me.  I would walk down the corridor, getting more and more pregnant, and the men in the firm would, like, look away. Shh. Never say a word. And I just kind of thought I’m just going to wait to see if anybody says anything to me about the fact that I’m going to have a baby.  So nobody ever did. ”

An animated Clinton had to pause for audience laughter several times during her story.

“Eventually, Feb. 27, 1980, I gave birth to my daughter,” she added. “And I was in the hospital when one of my partners called to say congratulations, and then in the course of it asked, ‘Well, when are you coming back to work?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe in four months.’  And that’s how I created the firm’s first-ever maternity leave policy.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

The former first lady and senator talked about how the State Department has implemented more programs, better day care, rooms for mothers to breast feed and more flexible hours to help accommodate working families. She also stressed that balancing time for life is not only about women.

“I think that this is an issue that is not a woman’s issue,” she said. “It is a human issue and a family issue.  After all, there is little doubt that balancing work and family responsibilities is done in one way or another by people everywhere, every day.”

Clinton said that employer support should extend beyond parenting needs and also consider employees who are taking care of aging parents, which is a growing trend. She again used her own experience, having cared for her mother, who died last year.

“My mother lived with me until her death a year ago,” she said. “And it was wonderful that she was in good health, but it was also something I had to consciously think about to ensure that we were getting a step ahead of what her health needs were and her physical challenges. … And it took time, which I was happy to give, but it’s something that more and more of us are going to be having to do.”

Clinton stressed that these conversations, which have often been dubbed “the mommy wars,” should be about acceptance and understanding, not judgment.

“Sometimes, conversations about balancing family and work lead to arguments instead of a search for agreement,” said Clinton. “And it is absolutely clear there is no right or wrong way to have a family, or even whether you do have a family.  There is no right or wrong way to build a career, or even if you do have a career.  Women and men need to find approaches that work for them, and that approach may change over the course of your life.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Clinton Says US Is Committed to an AIDS-Free Generation

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s only public event of the day was a speech to the 2012 International AIDS Conference being held Monday in Washington D.C.; it's the first time in two decades that the conference is being held in the U.S. The conference had stayed away from the U.S. to protest the longtime ban on people with the virus entering the country. That ban was lifted two years ago.

Like other administration speakers at Monday’s conference Clinton spoke of America’s goal for an AIDS-free generation.  An energetic Clinton said, “I’ve heard a few voices from people raising questions about America’s commitment to an AIDS-free generation, wondering whether we are really serious about achieving it. Well, I am here today to make it absolutely clear:  The United States is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation. We will not back off, we will not back down, we will fight for the resources necessary to achieve this historic milestone. ”

Although she said she was preaching to the choir, she said it was needed. “We need the choir and the congregation to keep singing, lifting up their voices, and spreading the message to everyone who is still standing outside. So while I want to reaffirm my government’s commitment, I’m also here to boost yours. This is a fight we can win. We have already come so far -- too far to stop now.”

“If we’re going to beat AIDS, we can’t afford to avoid sensitive conversations, and we can’t afford not to reach the people who are at the highest risk,” she said. Clinton spoke about new U.S. funding totaling $150 million to fund programs dealing with some of those sensitive conversations.

She spoke about the feasibility of eliminating the transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their babies by 2015 and how this can be achieved by getting mothers onto anti-AIDS drugs.  Currently 370,000 women globally are being treated this way and PEPFAR’s on target to reach an additional 1.5 million women by next year.  The U.S. will provide an additional $80 million to bridge the gap so pregnant women who are identified as being HIV-positive get the medical assistance they need. She also announced an additional $40 million in U.S. funding to support efforts in South Africa to boost voluntary medical circumcisions for males.

Clinton cited statistics that show how women in Africa are an at-risk population for HIV.  She said that in Sub-Saharan Africa today, women account for 60 percent of those living with HIV and that about 12 percent of female sex workers were HIV-positive.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sec. Hillary Clinton Highlights Need to End Female Genital Cutting

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- By the time she was 14, Oureye Sall had been sent to live with her husband in Nguerigne, Senegal. She also had a profession of sorts: She was trained to be a female genital cutter. And it wasn't long before she was performing the customary rite of passage into womanhood for girls in her village and the surrounding region.

But through Tostan, a nonprofit organization created to empower women in Africa, Sall later learned that those longstanding rituals cause severe physical and emotional harm to the women and girls. So she decided to abandon her profession and instead campaign against female genital cutting and child marriage throughout Senegal and other African countries. Now in her 60s, Sall remains a face and advocate for change.

During his global health initiative trip to Senegal in March 2011, Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor at ABC News, met Sall, along with Molly Melching, the founder of Tostan, who is originally from Illinois but has lived in Senegal for nearly 40 years.

Through Melching's efforts with Tostan, women throughout the poorest regions of Africa are empowering themselves with a better understanding of the myriad of violent effects that FGM has on the body and mind.

On Thursday, Melching joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington D.C., to celebrate International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. The press conference was intended to highlight the continuing need for policy changes and new strategies to end FGM and promote support for women who have undergone the procedures.

"Molly is a real hero of mine, a friend of mine," said Clinton at the conference Thursday.

Melching's program in Senegal was successful where so many others failed because the program approached women and culture through empowerment, not condemnation. When discussing her approach to the program, Melching explained at the conference Thursday that the Senegali women told her, "Don't talk about fighting a tradition, talk about promoting health and human rights."

"[The program] talks about health as a fundamental human right and gives women the skills to exert control over their health decisions," Besser wrote in an email Thursday. "Decades of efforts by international bodies to condemn and outlaw this practice have been unsuccessful. We need to see replication of programs that work if we are to see an end to this brutal practice."

Melching created the Community Empowerment Program, a non-formal education model that builds on local language, culture and tradition to enable communities to take ownership of their own development and lead massive movements for positive social change. Since 1998, more than 6,000 villages in five African countries have publicly declared their abandonment of FGM under Melching's guidance. Tostan estimates that over 800,000 girls have been spared FGM because of these declarations.

For centuries, FGM has been culturally entrenched in customs and practices throughout the world. Between 100 and 140 million girls and women throughout the world are estimated to have undergone the procedure, according to the World Health Organization.

There are no health benefits to FGM. But the risks are profound. The pain and trauma of the initial procedure can begin a lifetime of severe physical and mental health complications.

Despite the severe consequences, in parts of the world where the ritual is practiced, many believe the procedure ensures cleanliness and better marriage prospects, prevents promiscuity and excessive clitoral growth, enhances male sexuality and encourages childbirth by widening the birth canal.

"Let's be clear, this is a deeply entrenched practice in many places," Clinton said at the conference Thursday. "So we have to be both unrelenting in our efforts to end it and understanding about what works and what doesn't work...We enter into this with a lot of humility."

Nevertheless, Clinton went on to say that excusing the practice as a cultural tradition is unacceptable.

"We cannot excuse it as a private matter because it has very broad public implications," she said. "This is such an important issue that deserves attention from the United States Congress and from leaders across the globe."

In moving forward, Clinton said the United Nations and other partners in foreign relations and global public health initiatives will be looking at laws and resolutions, new efforts and strategies to raise awareness of the damaging practice. The secretary of state also announced a partnership with the University of Nairobi to fund a pan-African Center of Excellence in Kenya to advance African research to address female genital cutting.

"This is not a women's problem, this is not a women's issue," said Clinton. "This affects the human family, and therefore, we all have a stake in it....We want to create conditions for every child, girl and boy, to have a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ellen DeGeneres Named Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra(WASHINGTON) – Secretary of State Clinton announced the decision to name Ellen DeGeneres as the Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness during her speech on AIDS to the National Institutes of Health Tuesday.

The Emmy Award-winning talk show host is expected to use her celebrity status to help raise awareness about the global fight against AIDS. Clinton also drew attention to the fact that DeGeneres is able to reach millions of people each day, including 8 million followers on Twitter and 5.8 million Facebook fans.

Ellen has also worked with ONE, an advocacy organization to raise awareness about the fight against AIDS.

In the speech, Clinton also announced the U.S. would spend an additional 60 million dollars to ramp up prevention measures in some sub-Saharan African countries, and challenged other countries to follow suit and step up their prevention and treatment efforts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Millions Awarded for Innovations that Save Mothers and Infants

Tom Stoddart/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- About $14 million was awarded to innovations aimed at saving the lives of mothers and children around the world Thursday in a landmark event hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

"Saving Lives at Birth," the first in a series of Grand Challenges for Development led by the U.S. Agency for International Development, brought together doctors, health workers, engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to showcase innovations with the potential to prevent maternal and newborn deaths.

Awardees' projects included gadgets and health care delivery models, but all utilized creative, simple and inexpensive techniques designed for the developing world.

Diagnostics for All, a non-profit based in Boston, showcased postage stamp-sized pieces of paper that can detect anemia and hypertensive disorders in pregnant women and babies, life threatening but easily treatable medical conditions. An oxygen blender developed by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) in Seattle doesn't require electricity and targets the millions of preterm infants born each year with immature lungs, making it hard for them to breathe.

A People's Choice award was given to ARMMAN, a tiny non-profit from India with a cellphone-based program that uses voice messages and animations to help women learn about pregnancy and potential complications.

More than 600 applications were received for 25 award nominee spots as part of the "Saving Lives at Birth" challenge.

Despite improvements in health in recent decades, maternal and newborn deaths remain high in many countries where resources, infrastructure and health services are lacking. A woman dies every two minutes in childbirth, and 99 percent of them are in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. About 1.6 million neonatal deaths occur each year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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