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Monday
Jun092014

72-Year-Old Vietnam Vet Earns Taekwondo Black Belt

iStock/Thinkstock(CASTLE ROCK, Colo.) -- Wayne Cooper is still mixing it up with kids young enough to be his grandchildren.

Cooper, 72, a Vietnam veteran, has been training for a black belt in taekwondo for the last four years, even while battling prostate cancer.

His grit and hard work paid off this past weekend when he passed the rigorous exam at the Douglas County High School gym in Castle Rock, Colorado.

"I never had the time in my life to learn taekwondo," Cooper said. "Now I finally do."

Cooper, who is originally from Kansas, attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a bachelor's degree in science and business in 1965. He was drafted right after he got out of college, and was deployed to Vietnam in 1966. On the day after Christmas in 1967, he suffered from two serious battlefield injuries, one in his left shoulder and one on his head, he said.

After Cooper returned to the U.S., he was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. And if that wasn't proof enough of his mettle, Cooper said he raised five children as a single father for 10 years.

Cooper was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999. He underwent surgery, but six years ago, he found out that there were residual cancer cells in his body, and had to go through radiation therapy for eight weeks. In addition to prostate cancer, Cooper has also been battling diabetes for 43 years. But the cancer is now in remission, he said.

Grandmaster Han Won Lee, founder of Han Lee Taekwondo Academy, where Cooper studies the martial art, said Cooper has a very special place in his heart.

"There were many incidents where he fell behind," Lee said. "But he always caught up."

This past weekend, Cooper stood in a crowd of young children and teenagers waiting for the two-day black belt test, which includes completing weapons sequences, competing in sparring, and kicking and breaking boards.

Cooper lives with his wife Linda. He has five daughters, two stepdaughters and nine grandchildren, with one grandchild on the way.

When asked what his next goal in life was, Cooper said he wants to master Spanish.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

Eight Ways for Divorcees to Cope with Father's Day

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Adjusting to the change that comes from celebrating holidays as an intact family to one altered by parental divorce is emotionally challenging, particularly in the immediate years following separation.

Father's Day is a reminder for all parents that consistently placing your children's needs first after divorce can be difficult. Dr. Julie Gowthorpe, author of Tainted Love: Why Your Ex is Making You Miserable and What You Can Do About It, shares eight strategies for keeping kids of divorce happy this Father's Day.

1. Remember that Children Love Both Parents:
Father's Day is a wonderful opportunity for moms to show their children how supportive they are of the father-child relationship. Even a gesture like purchasing a card from the children to Dad or encouraging children to craft a card for their father demonstrates support of the father-child relationship.

2. Parenting is Forever:
Although your former partner is no longer your husband, they will forever be your children's father. Allow and encourage your children to enjoy Father's Day as a time to celebrate with Dad. Father's Day should be reserved for time with Dad, even if it falls on Mom's scheduled time.

3. Encourage Ample Father-Child Time:
Avoid the desire to schedule other events on Father's Day that may interfere with the children's time with their father. For example, far too often moms say to dads, "Yes, you can take them from 11 to 1 but I need them back then because I have other plans." This narrowing of time only creates unnecessary stress for children and resentment within the parental relationship. Moms should consider Father's Day a hands-off time for scheduling other activities.

4. Children Worry Even if They Don't Tell You:
Parents constantly need reminders of this point. If children feel that you are not going to have a good day because they are not with you, this will interfere with their ability to enjoy Father's Day with their dad. Remind children that you WANT them to enjoy time with their father.

5. Make Father's Day and Mother's Day Holidays That Do Not Require Problem Solving:
Father's Day should always be spent with Dad and Mother's Day with Mom unless there is an exceptional circumstance. For parents in the early stages of developing a parenting plan, have this written into the agreement.

6. Children Have One World:
Father's Day is an opportunity to remind children that they have a family that loves them unconditionally. Unconditional love means not only allowing, but promoting time between your child, their other parent, grandparents and extended family.

7. Sharing the Day Should be Purposeful and Child-Focused:
If you are balancing time with the children's father as well as maternal grandparents and extended family, ensure that you are making these decisions purposefully and implement strategies to make the juggling as stress-free as possible for kids.

8. Parents need to Be Healthy for Children:
Moms may use Father's Day as a self-care occasion. Be mindful that this is an opportunity for you to move forward for yourself and your child.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

L-Z Grace Retreat: Helping Veterans Recover After Deployment

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Since the 2010 death of her husband, a 32-year veteran Navy SEAL, Lynnette Bukowski has been working to fulfill a dream the pair shared: to create a space for returning military veterans to transition to civilian life.

“Over the years he [Steve] realized, after 9/11 and after we went to the war, that the need was greater to bring the men home and have them have a place to decompress,” said Bukowski, 55, of Virginia Beach, Virginia. “The pressure under which they work is so extreme.”

The Bukowskis’ dream is slowly becoming a reality. Landing Zone Grace Veterans Retreat just received its 501(c)(3) designated charity status and is expected to open in six months. The services will be entirely free for the veterans that attend.

L-Z Grace will be a haven for returning military to transition back into civilian life. It will initially be open for Special Forces personnel to recover from PTSD and any combat-related issues, before expanding to include any military veterans or those on active duty.

“I think that the thing that will set us apart at the end of the day is that this is a place they can rest and heal. They don’t have to go through hoops. There’s no graduation. There’s no necessary end result. They just have to find their own individual healing,” Bukowski said.

After investing thousands of her own money, starting a GoFundMe campaign that has so far raised $15,000 and receiving funding from an angel investor, Bukowski is now closing with the bank on a 4,000-square-foot house on a 35-acre property in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach that will serve as the retreat.

Twenty veterans will be able to participate at a time in seven- or 14-day retreats.

L-Z Grace will offer traditional and nontraditional methods of therapy. There will be equine therapy, a kennel for up to 10 service animals, chiropractors, yoga, guided medication, climbing, kayaking, and more. There will also be an assortment of mentors — up to six volunteer staff members at a time — to foster conversation and a therapeutic atmosphere.

Attending meals at the retreat will be mandatory. Bukowski hopes they will serve as a time for veterans to connect with each other and share their experiences. Many Special Ops veterans don’t talk about their time in combat because of their high security clearance. Bukowski hopes to work around this by only registering veterans with the same security clearance at one time.

“I want them to be able to talk about what they often can’t talk about,” she said.

There will be an application process within the military structure. Eventually veterans will be able to sign up to attend the retreat with their spouses, and their families.

“A huge problem among Special Ops is the high divorce rate, and it’s just not necessary,” Bukowski told ABC News.

According to a 2012 study by RAND Corporation, 14 percent of Army soldiers have reported symptoms of PTSD after deployments. The odds of divorce among deploying soldiers with PTSD symptoms are 50 percent to 90 percent higher than those without symptoms.

Bukowski experienced firsthand what combat missions did to her husband’s psyche.

“Steve practiced mediation when he came home from missions and deployment. It was something we unwillingly lived through for the 32 years we were married. He always needed a little time to isolate himself.”

Sean Evangelista, 40, of Ketchum, Idaho, a SEAL, has been in the Navy for the last 20 years. He has had more than 10 deployments in combat zones and suffers from a brain injury he received while in combat. His wife heard about L-Z Grace through Bukowski’s blog.

“I have some other war-related stressors that affected me after being exposed to war and conflict for extended periods of time,” Evangelista said. “There’s a dark cloud after a while....Everywhere you go memories come up, just little triggers.”

He and his wife, JoAnne, said they thought the retreat was not only a great idea but an entirely necessary one.

“[After combat] you’re almost extremely desensitized…So it’s [L-Z Grace] something that needs to be done to get people to bring it down a couple of notches before you go full steam ahead,” Evangelista said.

He hopes L-Z Grace will help his fellow veterans get the help they need before fully reintegrating themselves after deployments.

“What she’s doing, I think it’s right on target where you kind of want to go see your families and have a decompression time before you get fully integrated,” Evangelista said. “It can be a little bit of a shock coming from one extreme environment to another…you can be in combat and four days later you’re home in a restaurant and it’s just weird.”

Bukowski will continue to raise money for the retreat via the GoFundMe campaign until June 20.

“None of this is easy,” Bukowski said. “But there’s some understanding of what can be done to help these guys and then they can take those experiences back out to the world.”

To learn more about L-Z Grace: www.lz-grace.com


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

Mother Defends Breastfeeding Her Baby During Graduation

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A photo of Karlesha Thurman breastfeeding her baby during her graduation from California State University Long Beach was supposed to be just a sweet shot captured by a fellow classmate of a beaming mother with her 4-month-old daughter.

That photo has since become the most recent battleground about the propriety of breastfeeding in public.

Thurman, 25, posted the photo Saturday night to the comments section of the Facebook group Black Women Do BreastFeed in support of a post from a mother who was outraged that she received dirty looks after breastfeeding in public.

The Facebook group used Thurman’s photo as a separate post and that got a lot of attention. By Sunday morning, social media was hotly debating Thurman’s photo.

Thurman said she didn’t post the photo to get attention, and it’s since been deleted. But she said she doesn’t understand what the big deal is about the photo.

“Nobody there had a problem with it,” Thurman told ABC News about her breastfeeding during her May 22 graduation ceremony.  “I was facing the other graduates. The crowd couldn’t see me.”

Her daughter, Aaliyah, was hungry and needed to be fed, she said.

Molly Peterson, manager of Healthcare for Lansinoh, told ABC News that breastfeeding in public shouldn’t be a concern.

“This was a beautiful natural expression of a mother’s love for her baby,” Peterson said.

“Seeing pictures like this is something that normalizes it so that more mothers are able to feed their babies whenever, and wherever, they need to,” Peterson added.

The Facebook group where Thurman posted her photo uses the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding in their posts to spread awareness. The group, according to their blog, was created as a means to “highlight the many black mothers in the United States (and beyond) who do indeed breastfeed their children.”

For Thurman, having her daughter by her side at graduation was important since Aaliyah helped her get to that day.

After finding out she was pregnant in her last year of school, Thurman contemplated dropping out or taking a break, she said. However, once she had her daughter, she said she knew she had to finish.

“With me having a better education, I would be more likely to provide her with the things she wants and needs in life,” Thurman said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

Tony Winner Says Theater, Not Meds Helped Hyperactivity

Heather Wines/CBS(NEW YORK) -- Weeping in a red-and-white strapless gown, now-six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald gave a shout-out to "the most important people in my life," as she acknowledged a childhood struggle with hyperactivity.

"Thanks mom and dad up in heaven for disobeying doctors' orders and not medicating their hyperactive girl, and find[ing] out what she was into and, instead, pushing her into the theater," said McDonald, accepting the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at the 68th annual Tony Awards on Sunday.

McDonald now has more Tony Awards than veteran Broadway stars Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris, who have five apiece, and has won in all four major female acting categories -- as Best Lead Actress and Best Featured Actress in both plays and musicals.

It was not clear that the actress was ever officially diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that is usually diagnosed in childhood and often continues on into adulthood.

ABC News reached out to McDonald’s publicists for comment, but they did not immediately return calls or emails.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disorder's hallmark symptoms are having difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior and being hyperactive, but many children outgrow those behaviors. Other symptoms can include excessive daydreaming, forgetfulness, talkativeness and risk-taking.

An estimated 5 percent of children in the United States have ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. However, the CDC has said that community samples show “higher rates.”

The CDC has said that about 11 percent of children aged 4 to 17 -- or 6.4 million -- had been diagnosed with the disorder as of 2011. That rate continues to rise an average of 3 percent a year.

From 2003 to 2011, boys (13.2 percent) were more likely to be diagnosed than girls (5.6 percent), according to the CDC. The highest rates have been seen in Kentucky; the lowest in Nevada.

But a March 2014 report from Express Scripts, a company that provides prescriptions to insurance carriers, revealed that the largest jump in prescriptions for treatment of ADHD was among women 19 to 34. The company looked at the pharmacy claims of 15 million people aged 0 to 64 who were privately insured.

Dr. Patricia Quinn, a pediatrician and co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based national Center for Girls and Women with ADHD, said McDonald’s message was “one of empowerment” not a chastisement of the proper use of medication.

“This is a very complex issue with females, and we don’t have simple answers,” she told ABC News.

More girls have been diagnosed with ADHD in late adolescence and early adulthood because their symptoms -- very different from boys’ -- were overlooked as children, according to Quinn, who is co-author of Understanding Girls with ADHD.

“We find that early on, though, girls may be more inattentive than hyperactive and they don’t draw attention to themselves," she said. "They internalize more.”

Longitudinal studies have revealed that girls with ADHD in childhood often go on to develop more serious issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, self-injury and depression.

Like McDonald’s parents, Quinn said she looks for an “island of confidence” to help girls.

“We need to prevent a sense of shame and stigma, and loss of self-esteem,” she said. “Girls suffer tremendously.”

“These girls don’t feel smart,” she said.

“Instead, what we need to do is empower them and provide support them,” said Quinn. “And part of that are medications we know work for certain of their issues like attention, focus, concentration and impulsivity.”

She said research shows a combination of strategies that includes both medication and behavioral or cognitive therapy can help girls with their coping skills and self-esteem.

“Not everyone is as talented as [McDonald] and rise to the top,” said Quinn. “We want to help them be successful so that ADHD does not interfere with their pursuits, relationships, academics or career issues.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

World’s Oldest Man Was Younger than 65 Women

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Alexander Imich, a 111-year-old New Yorker, was the world’s oldest man when he died on Sunday. But the late doctor was actually the world’s 66th oldest person.

There are 65 women older than Imich, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps track of supercentenarians -- people over the age of 110.

As of last weekend, there were 76 supercentenarians worldwide, including Imich, who had been declared the world’s oldest man in May. Of those 76, only three were men. The remaining 73 supercentenarians were all women.

The world’s oldest woman, Japanese Misao Okawa, is 116. She was born in 1898.

The average life expectancy for American women is 81.92 years, according to 2014 government estimates. Men, on the other hand, live an average 77.11 years.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

How Clean Is Your Kitchen?

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many cities across the country are adopting a letter-grade inspection system that requires restaurant operators to publicly post their health inspection grades for all to see.

But what about your own kitchen at home?

ABC's Good Morning America Investigates decided to give some home kitchens a surprise visit with former New York City health inspector Kervyn Mark, who now works with Letter Grade Consulting, a private company. GMA scored violations based on New York City’s points system, in which every health code violation gets you points. The higher the points, the lower the grade.

With a score of 13 points or lower, an operator will earn an A grade. A B grade is earned with 14 to 27 points. Anything at 28 points or more earns the operator a C.

GMA inspected Wanda Stathis-Jurgensen’s kitchen. Mark checked the temperature of food in her refrigerator, finding that stored rice was four degrees warmer than the 41 degrees it should have been. Stathis-Jurgensen didn’t have a meat thermometer, which is important to ensuring the proper minimum temperature of cooked meat.

Dust was also found under the hood of the stove.

“See all this dust. It can drop into the food and cause physical contamination,” Mark said.

GMA Investigates also checked under the sink and found little bits of food.

With a few other violations, Stathis-Jurgensen’s score was 40 points, or a grade of C.

Around the corner, Christian Hobbis kitchen appeared spotless. The dishwashing sponge was clean, all vents were clean and all chemicals were stored away from food. But a closer inspection revealed an expired milk carton.

With a few others issues uncovered, Hobbis earned a B.

In Jennifer Madison’s kitchen, GMA found separate cutting boards -- one for fish, one for vegetables and one for poultry. It’s a good way to prevent cross-contamination.

But Madison, who has three children, was shocked to discover she had violated a major rule about leaving dinner out on the stove.

“I try to have dinner ready at like, 5, but I will let it sit out on the stove until 8:30,” she said.

After so many hours out, Mark told Madison she couldn’t put that food into the refrigerator because “it would have accumulated too much bacteria.”

We also found mildew inside her dishwasher, and Madison wanted to know whether that was making her dishes dirty.

“No, but at the end of the day it can contaminate if not treated properly,” Mark replied.

Two other violations gave her 12 points -- GMA's scoring system did not penalize her for leaving food out -- so she ended up scoring an A.

Overall, these home kitchens made the grade, and their violations could be easily fixed in an afternoon. Wanda Stathis-Jurgensen, who got a C, said she was going to get to work on the violations in her kitchen right away.

One other violation GMA Investigates spotted in several of the homes was deeply dented cans, which raises a concern about botulism.

Because cans are lined in the inside, when they are dented, the chemicals from the lining can seep into your food.

You don’t have to throw the cans away; take them back to your grocery store and ask for a new can.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun092014

College Students in Taiwan Feel Post-Hook-Up Guilt

XiXinXing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- College students are the same no matter where you go in the world. Or are they?

In a survey of more than 2,000 people, the Taiwan Association for Sexuality Education wanted to find out about the heterosexual habits of college students in that country.

The survery discovered that 44 percent of males and 30 percent of females said they were sexually active. Meanwhile, half of the men in that group and 23 percent of women in the survey said they had hooked-up at least once.

However, these one night stands seem to make a lot of college students feels guilty. In fact, 45 percent of males and 43 percent of females said they have regretted it after hooking up.

Another surprising finding: just three in ten male college students and 28 percent of females said either they or their partners used condoms.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun082014

Study Finds Fasting May Help Rebuild Immune System

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Researchers at the University of Southern California believe that fasting for about three days could help rebuild a person's entire immune system.

In a recent study at USC, researchers found that engaging in a prolonged fast -- defined as between 48 and 120 hours -- may provide benefits for the immune system as well as for individuals undergoing chemotherapy. When a person fasts, the study determined, their white blood cell count falls, which researchers say flips a "regenerative switch," triggering regeneration of the immune system by way of stem cells.

The USC study also found that fasting can reduce an enzyme linked to aging and a hormone linked to higher cancer risk.

While the benefits of a three-day fast may sound enticing, anyone considering a fast should talk to a doctor before proceeding.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun082014

Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The blond gods and goddesses worshiped by ancient Greeks and Romans may have owed their glamorous locks to an extraordinarily complex but incredibly tiny change in the part of the genome that determined what they looked like.

And all these years later, that same mutation is still at work, grinding out humans with golden hair, some of whom are worshiped today.

New research showing how one small change in DNA -- the master plan for each organism -- altered the course of human history by introducing blonds to the world thousands of years ago also adds a little credibility to the notion that gentlemen really do prefer blondes.

"Blond is a color that has been alluring for a long time in European culture," where the first blonds appeared as early humans worked their way north, David Kingsley, professor of development biology at Stanford University and senior author of a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, said in a telephone interview.

Kingsley really isn't all that interested in why blondes are held in such high esteem, or even why a small percentage of humans have blond hair. He wants to know how that change came about.

For the past few years scientists have been intrigued by the traits that make me different from you, and they are making significant progress in figuring out how different genes do different things.

It seemed so much simpler just a couple of decades ago. It was widely believed that genes were turned on, or off, (called expressed) so if you wanted to cure cancer, all you had to do was figure out which gene to shut down, or crank up, depending on whether that gene caused or cured cancer.

But the human genome project shattered that simple myth.

Kingsley's study vividly demonstrates that a single gene can do many things, and it doesn't have to be turned on or off. It can be "dialed up, or down," said Kingsley, who is also a scientific investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

To create a line of brown mice with blondish hair, the scientists just had to tweak the expression of a single gene by about 20 percent. That same gene is responsible for many other functions throughout the mouse genome, and it continued on with its other duties, unaffected by that small change.

That is the same process that has been passed from one human generation to the next since the first blonds appeared.

Kingsley said scientists now think only a very small percent of DNA actually does what they used to think was the only function of genes, producing proteins to build everything from heart muscles to skin cells. Instead, he said, most of the DNA is part of the genome's internal regulatory system, turning some genes on or off, or dialing them up or down.

That's why a single gene -- like the one that produces blond hair -- can do many things in many places.

"I like the analogy of zone controlled heat," he said. "You have a furnace in the house, you've got thermostats in different rooms and you can dial up or down the heat and adjust the temperature in a single room."

If the furnace stops working, every room gets cold. But if a thermostat in one room is changed, only that room is affected. And that's what occurred in his mice.

Adjusting the "thermostat" by just 20 percent produced a change in hair color, but other functions attributed to that same gene elsewhere in the body continued uninterrupted.

 

This gene is not the only one involved in producing blond hair color. There are about six other genes involved, but it's significant that tweaking this gene, and only this gene, produced such a dramatic result.

Again, these scientists aren't trying to figure out how to produce more blonds. That ambition died out with Nazi Germany. What they want to do is determine which of the millions of genes needs to be tweaked, and how much, to help the body fight a specific illness, or respond to a certain drug, without messing up the entire system.

That's a huge challenge, but this research, like others, suggests it's possible.

But does it really say anything about an evolutionary preference for blonds?

Evolution is based on natural selection -- an organism selects a mutation because it is useful -- like a cave man who can whip every guy in the clan. He's so admired that he mates often, passing on his muscle genes to many offspring, who eventually become dominant.

However, Charles Darwin and many biologists since have argued over something called "sexual selection." Do we select some mutations because they make us sexy?

Birds do, obviously. Bright plumage attracts mates, so the birds with fancy feathers produce more offspring.

That would suggest sexual selection is why so many women become blondes, either with or without chemical aids.

But not necessarily, according to Kingsley. The same gene that produces blond hair also is involved in lighter skin pigment. As early humans moved north out of Africa, they encountered a much less sunny climate and no longer needed the dark skin that protected them from ultraviolet radiation from the sun, so they "selected" for lighter skin, which helped them absorb more vitamin D.

That clearly is a survival advantage. But blond hair?

Maybe we like blonds just because they are different. Humans started out with dark hair, dark skin and dark eyes. The first blonds appeared in northern Europe and Scandinavia, and have since turned up in other areas, including the Solomon Islands northeast of Australia, known for the darkest skin outside of Africa.

The appearance of blond natives in the Solomon Islands was due to a gene mutation that was completely different from the change that introduced blondness to Europe, and it had an unpleasant effect. The first natives on those islands who showed up with blond hair were treated as freaks.

By the way, not all blonds were gods and goddesses among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Prostitutes also colored their hair blond.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio







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