Number of ER Visits for Traumatic Brain Injuries on the Rise

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Trips to the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries are on the rise.

A new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found a 30% increase from 2006 to 2010.

The study attributes the rise to increased awareness and diagnosis -- with the majority of patients suffering from concussions or unspecified brain injuries.

The assistant medical professor who led the study, Jennifer Marin, says head injuries must be taken seriously.

"About 40% of patients who sustain a traumatic brain injury will have either physical or psychological complications as a result of their injury for up to a year after that injury," Marin said.

Marin says knowledge is key in prevention.

"This is not a small issue and certainly one that results in discomfort and pain and missed school, missed work...So I think that it's an important one to address."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Are Red Wine and Chocolate Really Good for Your Heart?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Red wine and chocolate have been known as heart-healthy indulgences. But a new study says these sweet treats might not have any health benefit.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins found no evidence that resveratrol -- the antioxidant in red wine and chocolate -- actually fights heart disease, prevents cancer, or extends your life.

The study tested urine samples of about 800 Italians 65 and older.

But don't worry, chocolate addicts -- dietitian Julia Zumpano, who wasn't part of the study, says if you "include a little bit of dark chocolate, red wine and grapes in your diet, I wouldn't make any change."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Baby Born with Rare 'Butterfly' Skin Condition

RTV6(NEW YORK) -- Brittany Weingart knew something was wrong with her son Lane about a week after he was born when she found tiny blisters on his chin and mouth and couldn’t explain them.

Lane is now 6 months old, and doctors are almost certain he has a rare condition in which his body cannot properly make the protein that anchors skin in place, resulting in painful blisters on his skin.

“Up until about a week ago, I would have told you that he is the happiest baby,” Weingart, 24, of Edinburgh, Indiana, told ABC News. “He still smiles and he’s still happy most of the time, but now he fusses and whines. When you touch him, he flinches.”

As Lane gets older and becomes more mobile, he gets more blisters, which Weingart has learned she must pop and bandage before they can grow and spread, she said.

The condition is called epidermolysis bullosa, and it affects about 1 in 50,000 live births, though it can vary in severity, according to the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry. Nicknamed the "butterfly" skin condition because it makes the skin so fragile, epidermolysis bullosa has no known cure.

Lane’s case is so mild that only a genetic test will tell whether he has the condition for sure, but Medicaid has refused to pay for it, Weingart said.

At a loss, Weingart created a Facebook page to raise awareness about the condition, and share Lane’s story. Through the page and other fundraising efforts, she said she’s been able to afford the $3,000 test out-of-pocket.

The genetic test can take up to 12 weeks to process, but her family should have answers this summer.

“The diagnosis is important to us because it's scary knowing he has something but not know for sure what it is,” Weingart said. “No, there is no cure or treatment, but a confirmation will give us peace of mind just knowing what exactly it is.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Meteorologist Describes Suffering Stroke at Age 24

KABC(LOS ANGELES) -- As a morning meteorologist at KABC in Los Angeles, Bri Winkler’s job is to keep residents informed about the latest weather affecting their city. But what most viewers don’t know is that two years ago, on Sept. 12, 2012, when ABC7′s Winkler was just 24, she had a stroke.

“I couldn’t even let it process I was having a stroke,” she told ABC News. “I didn’t even know what that meant.”

After setting her alarm for 5 a.m. to exercise on her day off, Winkler says she thought she was fainting.

“The numbness went down to my face and down to my arm and my leg,” she said. “And when I went to stand I really couldn’t, so then I had to get on the floor and crawl.”

Winkler says the entire left side of her body went completely numb.

“I went to put on my workout shirt and that’s when I lost hearing in my right ear and that is when it spread,” Winkler explained. “The next you know, I couldn’t walk.”

Doctors say strokes are unusual in young people, but they do happen. Malcolm in the Middle star, Frankie Muniz, suffered his first stroke at 26, and had another a year later.

“Something was not right,” Muniz, now 28, said. “I knew I didn’t feel right. I couldn’t say words and I thought I was saying them, and my fiancée was looking at me as if I were speaking a foreign language.”

Muniz had what is called a “mini stroke,” when blood temporarily stops reaching the brain.

In Winkler’s case, doctors found a blood clot in her brain.

“Young people often don’t recognize the stroke symptoms because they can’t imagine that this would be happening to them, and because of that, they don’t seek medical attention,” said Dr. Arbi Ohanian, a neurologist at Huntington Memorial Hospital where Winkler was treated.

“Of course it is shocking. I was so young,” said Winkler, adding however, “I do view it as a positive thing in my life because I do appreciate everything a lot more.”

Winkler is not only back at work giving her forecasts, but is also now sharing a story that she hopes encourages others to be on the lookout for signs of a stroke, no matter their age.

“From here on out, I just want to spread awareness as much as possible,” she said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Shailene Woodley Opens Up About Her Weight Loss, Body Image 

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- As the star of Divergent, Shailene Woodley has worn her fair share of couture on the red carpet. However, her body doesn't necessarily look the way it always has, she said. It's smaller!

"I feel healthier than I've ever been, and my body is exactly where it wants to be. I feel like I’m a woman," she told InStyle magazine. "My boobs shrank. No one tells you that when you lose weight. No bra, no problem!"

Woodley, 22, has been outspoken during her press tour, opening up about her natural approach to health, including one interview in which she suggested people eat clay for its health benefits. She's equally open about dating.

"I have zero expectations and zero rules. I’m open," she told the magazine, which hits newsstands on May 16. "I can’t see it being another actor, except that they understand this lifestyle. Hey I could fall in love with an Aussie and move to Australia. Who knows!"

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Get Out of My Way! Houston Drivers Are Least Courteous

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Houston, we have a problem with your drivers.

The city was judged as the least courteous when it comes to motorists in AutoVantage’s 2014 Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey of 2,500 adults.

AutoVantage, which specializes in car and roadside assistance, ranked the nation's most courteous and least courteous cities based on behavior, observation, and attitudes related to road rage.

The last time AutoVantage commissioned the survey in 2009, New York City was ranked least courteous but the Big Apple has fallen in that category to number six.

Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon, was ranked at the top of most courteous cities when it comes to drivers, the same as 2009.

Here are the top five least courteous cities in order: Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Boston.

Cities with the most courteous drivers from one-to-five: Portland, Oregon, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Rosie O'Donnell Focused on Being 'Totally Heart-Healthy'

Beck Starr/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- The new and nearly 50-pounds-leaner Rosie O'Donnell is buckling down when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle.

"I feel a lot better. I got very scared when I had a heart attack and they told me I really should not have survived it," she told People, referring to her 2012 heart attack. "It changed a lot of things for me -- the way I look at the world, and the way I look at my own health. I can't ignore it anymore."

In July 2013, the comedian decided to have gastric sleeve surgery, which removed two-thirds of her stomach. But that was just the first step to losing weight. Now, the star is making a conscious effort to reduce her sugar intake, an ever-present temptation she compared to alcoholism.

"I read in a magazine article that sugar is eight times more addictive than heroin," she said. "Because of giving up sugar, I walk past one of those kiosks selling newspapers and I'm like, 'There's the Swedish fish. They're right there.' Almost like how alcoholics can't go into a bar. They want to grab the bottle. I want to do that with the Swedish fish."

The 52-year-old TV personality is pushing through by incorporating exercise into her daily routine along with a positive mind frame.

"[Heart-healthy] means to be a certain weight that doesn't put stress on your heart," she said, "to exercise every day, to be aware of your blood pressure and all of your heart stats."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Why Halle Berry Isn't Worrying About Dieting Post-Baby

Dale Robinette/CBS (LOS ANGELES) -- X-Men star Halle Berry welcomed son Maceo Martinez with husband Olivier Martinez in October 2013, but she isn't in any rush to start dieting.

Her son brings "more love, more joy" to her life, which is all she's concerned with.

"I'm healthy and that's really good," Berry told People magazine at the 21st annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women in Los Angeles on May 10. "When you're nursing you can't really diet because you have to keep producing milk."

"I'm healthy and I'm happy and that's all that matters," she added.

The 47-year-old doesn't have too much free time to worry about dieting. She has her 6-year-old daughter Nahla to take care of, the new baby and her TV show, Extant, to work on.

"[A new baby means] less sleep," she said. "And I'm working on the TV show. It's a new grind, it's a new rhythm. We're trying to get used to that. We're managing."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Robotic Arm Aims to ‘Repay Some of the Debt’ to Wounded Warriors

DARPA(WASHINGTON) -- A robotic arm commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense to “repay some of the debt” owed to wounded military service members has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration eight years after its inception.

The cutting-edge prosthetic, known as the DEKA Arm System, was dreamed up in 2006 as part of a “Revolutionizing Prosthetics” program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA.

“DARPA is a place where we can bring dreams to life,” said Dr. Geoffrey Ling, director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office and a retired Medical Corps neuro-critical care doctor.

Ling launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program to provide better care “to repay some of the debt we owe to our service members,” according to a statement.

The battery-powered arm, developed by DEKA Integrated Solutions in Manchester, New Hampshire, uses wireless signals activated by sensors on the feet to move multiple joints, and has six user-selectable grips that can handle delicate objects like grapes and eggs as well as hardy tools like power drills.

It was approved on Friday for adults based on the results of a Department of Veterans Affairs-funded study of 36 patients.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Older Women May Have Higher Cervical Cancer Risk Than Previously Thought

AbleStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Older women may have a greater risk of cervical cancer than previously thought.

A new report from the University of Maryland shows that previous rates were based on a population that included women who had had hysterectomies -- and were therefore no longer at risk of cervical cancer.

Dr. Anne Rositch from the University of Maryland School of Medicine says taking them out of the mix shifted the "high-risk" group upwards.

"We previously thought that the peak rate was among middle-aged women, 40 to 45 years old," Rositch said. "But now we see that the peak is actually older, so there continues to be an increase."

"It's really showing us that older women, women 65 to 69, are at higher risk of cervical cancer than we've previously recognized," Rositch said.

Rositch says current guidelines do not recommend screenings for women over 65 if they haven't tested positive before.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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