High Schoolers Make 9-Year-Old a Prosthetic Hand for Less Than $10

Universal Images Group via Getty Images(ROCKFORD, Ill.) -- A high school class in Rockford, Ill., may dramatically change a local girl's life with just a few dollars' worth of plastic.

The students at Boylan High School are using a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand for Kylie Wicker, a 9-year-old from nearby Roscoe, Ill., who started coming home from school last month upset about children staring at her underdeveloped left hand.

Kylie's parents, Jeromy and Sharon Wicker, have looked into getting their daughter a prosthetic hand before, but their insurance would only cover 80 percent of the cost of a single prosthetic. That had them thinking they would have to wait to buy Kylie's expensive prosthetic until she was older and not growing anymore.

However, Jeromy Wicker found a video online of another father who made a 3-D printed hand for his son, who had a condition similar to Kylie's.

“I was just Googling 3-D printers in my area and I saw that the Boylan students had [a 3-D printer] donated to them,” Jeromy Wicker told ABC News. "I just emailed them and then they got back to me a few days later that they have already started working on it."

The $2,000 3-D printer was donated to Boylan last fall, prompting the school to get a 3-D printing educational license.

“I didn’t know anything about [3-D prosthetic printing]," said Bud May, an engineering graphics teacher who now teaches an upper-level class that uses 3-D printing technology. "I found instructions online on how to make it. I asked the class if they were interested and it was a unanimous yes.”

May found online instructions at the website for Robohand, which says it is a group that has been making prosthetic hands for individuals in recent years using 3-D printers as an alternative to standard prosthetics.

Since getting the request from Kylie's father and finding the instructions online, the class has been working on creating the prosthetic hand to fit over Kylie’s knuckles, eventually allowing her to grasp and hold items as a normal hand does.

“We had just finished a section of the class on linking system" for 3-D printed objects, May told ABC News. "Now the students are involved in sanding, smoothing and assembling our hand. How lucky can you be? It fell right into our curriculum.”

Kylie actually will receive two prosthetics, one in pink and one in purple, costing less than $20 in total. She had a second fitting for the prosthetics on Monday and will be receiving the first of the finished products Friday.

“She hasn’t stopped talking about it," Sharon Wicker said. “This is huge for [the students], too. To give a girl a hand; how many people can say that? This is great for everybody.”

The school is now planning to help out another child with a similar issue as an extra service project for the students.

“I have been here at Boylan for 10 years, and when you combined technology and emotions and feelings, this is the neatest thing I have ever done,” May said. "This is just a great application of technology making life simpler and easier for people.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Girls Called 'Fat' Are More Likely to Become Obese, Study Says 

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Young girls who are called "fat" are more likely to become obese, a new study finds.

Females who were told they are too fat at age 10 by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate, or teacher had greater chances of becoming obese by age 19, according to psychologists from the University of California-Los Angeles.

More than 2,000 girls living in Northern California, Cincinnati, and Washington D.C. participated in the study, which will appear in the June issue of the journal JAMA Pediatriacs. Fifty-eight percent of 10-year-olds were told they were too fat, and all had their height and weight measured at the beginning and end of the nine-year time period.

Girls who were labeled were overall 1.66 times more likely to be considered obese, according to researchers. As the number of people who commented on the weight increased, so did the likelihood of obesity.

"We nearly fell off our chairs when we discovered this," A. Janet Tomiyama, the study's senior author, said in a statement. "Even after we statistically removed the effects of their actual weight, their income, their race and when they reached puberty, the effect remained."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Lab Mice May Be Stressed by Men

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Decades of research could be in question following a new revelation about lab mice. Scientists learned that the rodents are afraid of men, so much so that they tend to go numb when male researchers get close.

The mice become stressed with an increase in the hormone corticosterone, according to the study published Monday in the journal Nature Methods.

Exposure of mice and rats to male, but not female experimenters, produced "pain inhibition," which can skew tests as a result of differing biological reactions. After the men left, the rodents resumed exhibiting signs of pain.

Scientists tested mice with men and women wearing T-shirts that had been worn overnight by males. The animals reacted to the presence of particular pheromones produced by men. Authors of the report hope future studies on mice will include the gender of the experimented when published.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


E-Smokers Stage 'Vape-In' to Protest NYC Ban

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 300 e-smokers showed up for a "vape-in" at Manhattan's Museum of Sex Monday night to protest a New York City ban on indoor e-cigarette smoking.

They thumbed their noses at e-cigarette prohibitionists by dancing and vaping the night away until well past midnight, when the ban went into effect.

Reason magazine, the Museum of Sex and Henley Vaporium organized and hosted the vape-in. Prominent critics of e-cigarette regulations, including Bill Godshall, the director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania, and Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director of the American Council on Science and Health, delivered presentations and fielded questions from the audience and press.

Many of the vapers who attended the event took to social media to express their disapproval of "nanny state politics" that place restrictions on e-smoking.

Tara Lober, a 21-year-old from Brooklyn who attended the event, said she thinks the ban is silly.

"This is a health issue, yes, but I see it as closer to a civil rights issue," Lober said, adding that she currently smokes about three packs of tobacco cigarettes a month and hopes that vaping will help her kick the habit.

But so far there's no evidence that vaping is better for overcoming tobacco addiction than any other type of smoking cessation tool. In a few small studies, e-cigarettes seemed to be about as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers kick the habit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for more research on the topic.

But many vape ban protesters claim the public health community is ignoring the science.

They point to the FDA's own report, which found that the toxicity levels in e-cigarettes are far lower than those found in tobacco cigarettes.

But the FDA only tested two brands of e-cigarettes, and there are dozens on the market. The agency recently proposed new rules requiring all ingredients in e-cigarettes be approved and listed on the packaging.

Some vapers even see the rules and restrictions as a plot by the government and drug companies.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Fat Shaming Documentary Spurs Death Threats

Lindsey Averill(NEW YORK) -- When Internet trolls told Lindsey Averill to get off the couch and stop eating doughnuts, she laughed it off.

The Fattitude filmmaker doesn’t eat doughnuts because she’s allergic to gluten, and she exercises with a trainer three times a week.

“I can laugh at those people because [they] believe the stereotype that fat is a simple concept,” Averill, 35, said. “It’s foolish. I’m going to help educate you by making this film.”

Then the trolls started calling her home with death and rape threats. They sent pizzas to her house to prove they knew where she lived. They called her husband at work and found her parents’ numbers, too. They harassed the people featured in the film and the investors who backed it on Kickstarter.

She knew from other “body-positive” filmmakers and bloggers to expect trolls when she launched her 45-day Kickstarter fundraiser on April 10, but she never thought she would be a target for death threats.

“I didn’t expect it to get this ugly,” she said.

Her goal was to show that the relationship between eating and fat isn’t as linear as people think, but she also wanted to highlight how common fat discrimination really is.

She just didn’t know her own experience with cyber-bullying would be part of the lesson.

The trolls first started taking her video and putting it on YouTube under the title “Cakes: The New Comedy Hit,” Averill wrote in a blog post detailing the attack for Then, they spliced it with racist, anti-Semitic and violent images.

Averill filed a complaint for copyright infringement, and a troll tweeted at her to retract it “or else.” That’s when the threats started coming in.

The blog drew comments from trolls, but even more comments from her supporters, Averill said. It didn’t make her feel safer, but at least people thought her project was important. She said her own harassment experience won’t be part of the Fattitude movie, but it will likely be a mini-documentary on the DVD.

“I really do feel like we do live in a culture that’s brutally cruel to fat people of all ages -- children and adults alike,” she said. “If you’re like me and you’re living in a fat body, no one should be mean to you.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Scans Catch Fetuses Making Faces

Nadja Reissland/University of Durham(NEW YORK) -- Practice for all those baby smiles starts early, according to a new study.

The study of sonograms found that fetal facial expressions start ramping up during the second half of pregnancy. And they’re not just cute; they’re a crucial consequence of brain development.

“As the brain matures, more and more movements come together,” said Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study published in the April issue of the journal Physiology and Behavior. “In the end, [babies] seem to be ready to come out of the womb and have emotional expressions.”

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the face, and it’s also thought to play a leading role in the expression of emotions. After analyzing 176 mouth movements, Reissland found that the majority -- 64 percent -- occurred on the left side of the face thanks to signals from the right side of the brain.

It makes sense, according to Reissland, because newborn babies have to bond with their parents. And because they can’t talk, they make faces.

Reissland previously caught fetuses yawning in the womb, but not because they’re bored (even though nine months is a long time to be curled up in the dark). She said yawning, too, is a byproduct of brain development. It’s hard work!

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Burned Dog Given a Second Chance with Skin Grafts

iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A Milwaukee dog who suffered severe burns and abuse was given free skin graft surgery this week -- a procedure typical for humans, not dogs.

Beatrice, a 5-year-old Chihuahua mutt, vanished from the backyard of her loving owner, Karen Burns, on March 13, and was found 11 days later, abandoned outside a casino with burns over 90 percent of her body.

Milwaukee police believe a 21-year-old man being held on unrelated charges was responsible for Beatrice’s abuse.

Horrified by the story, veterinarian Marla Lichtenberger at the Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals and surgeon John Weigelt offered to treat the dog for free.

“She’s doing wonderfully, resting comfortably this morning,” said Debra Lopez, a spokeswoman for the animal hospital. “We will know in two weeks if she rejects the pigskin, but the surgery was just awesome.”

The procedure takes pigskin and places it over the dogs’ burns, letting the skin underneath heal. This may be the first time that pigskin has been used to treat dog burns.

If the services and skin weren’t donated, the surgery would have cost $4,000 on top of $5,000 additional veterinary costs.

In addition, Beatrice will still need additional skin grafts in the future. To pay for the remaining costs, Animal Fairy Charities is raising money to help Burns.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Girl Planks for 80 Minutes on Way to Guinness World Record

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’ve ever been forced by a fitness instructor to spend even 30 seconds in an abdominal plank position, then what Gabi Ury accomplished will amaze you.

The Boulder, Colo., teen held a plank for one hour, 20 minutes and five seconds April 19, two days after her 16th birthday.

Gabi found out on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday that her marathon plank -- a position in which you rest on your forearms and toes with your abs and glutes engaged -- has earned her a Guinness World Records title for the Longest Time in an Abdominal Plank Position by a female.

“I’m here to officially recognize you as the new Guinness World Records titleholder,” Guinness official Kimberly Patrick told Gabi.  “Congratulations.”

A “thank you” was all Gabi could muster in reply to Patrick because she accepted the award while on GMA in a plank.

The teenager has been trying for a Guinness World Record title since fifth-grade, according to her website.  She zeroed in on the plank in August after her high school’s volleyball coach told her to hold a plank while the rest of the team ran.

Gabi has trouble running because she was born with VATER syndrome, which has left her with scoliosis and missing muscles in her calves, glutes and abdominals. The syndrome has also forced her to undergo 14 surgeries since birth, the first of which when she was 4 months old.

She used her attempt at the Guinness World Record title as a way to raise money for the hospital that treated her, pulling in over $50,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Colorado.

“Most of my 14 [surgeries] were at the Children’s Hospital so they really helped me to be healthy enough to do this,” Gabi said.

Her medical history makes it all the more amazing that she was able to blow past the previous Guinness World Record for a female plank, 40 minutes and one second, set by Eva Bulzomi.

Even Gabi says she has “no idea” how she did it.

“I was definitely very happy when it was over with,” she said on GMA.  “It was very stressful.”

For everyday gym-goers without Gabi’s drive, or abs, the teenager has one piece of advice for mastering the plank.

“Keep yourself distracted,” she said. “That helps a lot.”

ABC US News | ABC Business News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Five 'iFears' for the 21st Century

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Arachnophobia is so last century. Nowadays, we have things far trendier to fear than spiders.

Tweet Chat Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET on Facing Phobias

"Any thing or situation can cause so much anxiety that it rises to the level of a phobia," said Dr. Jesse Contovasilis, a psychiatrist at Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, N.Y. "If it's something you constantly think about and worry about, it could be a phobia."

Here are five phobias that didn’t exist before we became a world of Web surfers and app addicts:


If the thought of your mobile device doing a disappearing act makes your hands go clammy, you might have nomophobia.

One way to cope is to invest in a good "find my phone" app. Or, if the terror is too great, consider exposure therapy where you will first be asked to imagine being without your phone and then go for longer and longer periods without your phone in sight.


Taken from the Latin words for "face" and "book," the word editiovultaphobia translates to "fear of Facebook." Whether it's Facebook you dread or you’ve got the Twitter jitters, anxiety over social media can be very real, Contovasilis said.

While older folks sometimes stress over how to use the technology, teens can experience high levels of anxiety when embarrassing pictures go viral or they endure some form of cyber-bullying, Contovasilis said, adding that the younger generation often continues to surf social sites even when their qualms meet the threshold of a phobia because it's their social norm.


Selfies are everywhere these days. And that's a bummer if you've got ipovlopsychophobia: a fear of selfies.

Actually, being camera shy to the point of apprehension is as old as the camera itself. Many cultures, including American Indians, believed that photographs imprisoned the soul. In this century, those who avoid the camera typically do so because of poor self-image, Contovasilis said.


This is the term for the fear of losing one's password.

Given the head banging number of passwords we're asked to remember, it's no wonder that a growing number of people feel phobic about forgetting their strings of coded characters. A Microsoft study found that the average Internet user has at least 25 different password protected accounts requiring them to recall at least eight passwords a day. And another analysis by found that the average person would rather compromise their information than face another security question about their first pet.


OMG, that's a long word for the fear of texting.

Considering the average smartphone owner aged 18 to 24 sends over 2,022 texts per month and receives another 1,831 texts, according to the marketing company Experian, it's no wonder that all that messaging has become so maddening for some.

There is an entire Facebook page devoted to this condition, which you can check out yourself if you don’t suffer from editiovultaphobia. However, it's not even clear this is a real condition since no major psychological organizations include the term in their literature. If it's a phony phobia, well then LOL.

Some of these phobias are slightly tongue in cheek. But a true phobia -- experienced by about 5 percent of the population according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America -- is no laughing matter. If you're so overwhelmed by fear of any object or situation that it affects your life and you can no longer function normally, then it’s time to seek professional help, Contovasilis said.

Although you won't find specific medical advice on Tuesday’s ABC Health "Facing Phobias" Tweet chat, it will be an informative discussion. The chat will be moderated by Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News. We’ll also be joined by experts, advocates, researchers and patients.

Connect with us Tuesday at 1 p.m., ET. If you've never participated in a Tweet chat before, here’s everything you need to know to get up and running.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Vet Helps Develop Life-Saving Device for Treating Battlefield Wounds

U.S. Army veteran John Steinbaugh in Afghanistan in 2010. (Courtesy of John Steinbaugh)(NEW YORK) -- Growing up in Erie, Penn., John Steinbaugh loved the outdoors, guns and hunting, he recalled, so becoming an infantryman seemed a natural fit. So, he joined the Army in 1987 as something to do out of high school.

“The plan was to join the infantry, be there for four years, get out and go to college,” Steinbaugh said.

While in the Army, he discovered the Special Forces. “When I joined Special Forces, I joined with the intention to be a weapons guy or something tactical similar to the infantry,” he said.

But Special Forces had a different plan for him. After the selection process, he was chosen to be a medic.

The job of medics changed dramatically after 2001, he said, from a “total training environment” to a relative paucity of training.

“No more fake deployment stuff. Everything you do is real combat for 12 years. I did that for 12 years of my life,” he said.

Steinbaugh spent 20 years in the Army as a Special Forces medic and had several deployments and rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Four years before his retirement, he was approached by the Army to work on a project to speed up the process of saving wounded soldiers. They needed an expert in research and development in the Special Operations Command.

“Medics returning from the battlefield would say we need a lighter aid bag, a lighter litter; we need a better hemorrhage-control product,” he recalled.

It was Steinbaugh’s job to reach out to the civilian industry to find something that was available or could be modified to fulfill the medics’ needs in the battlefield.

While Steinbaugh was working in the Army, his predecessor started a project for hemorrhage control with RevMedx, a company based in Oregon that creates medical products designed specifically for combat medics and civilian first responders focused on controlling hemorrhages in pre-hospital settings. He took over the project and when he retired from the Army in 2012 he went to work with them.

He is now the liaison between the military and RevMedx. “I make sure that the products we are designing stay on track to make sure the medic in combat gets exactly what he wants in the battlefield,” he said.

One of the company’s ground-breaking hemorrhage control products is the FDA-approved XStat, a device used to treat gunshot and shrapnel wounds on the battlefield. It works by injecting a group of small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity using a syringe-like applicator. Once in, sponges expand and swell to fill the wound cavity within 15 seconds of contact with blood, creating a barrier to block blood flow and provide pressure.

“The product puts internal pressure in the wound, which frees up the medic to continue to work on other wounds or even to stabilize another casualty in that three minutes he would have had to hold pressure,” he said.

Many medics complained about antiquated gear and wanted better technology, Steinbaugh said.

“The modern medic wants a modern product. They want something that’s light, fits. You fit it in the wound and the bleeding stops in seconds and they can move on to treat another person and be more efficient,” he added.

RevMedx founder and president Andrew D. Barofsky noted the importance of having a veteran medic on his staff. “What’s very important about having John here is that he’s an experienced combat veteran medic that understands that environment and the challenges of treating bullet wounds in the battlefield, so he brings that direct experience to us so that we can ensure that the design inputs for medical devices incorporate that,” Barofsky said.

For Steinbaugh, being part of the RevMedx team allows him to interact with the military.

“After 25 years in the military, I had an abrupt interruption and transitioned to civilian life. Being part of RevMedx gave me purpose and focus to keep working on products for guys that I still know in the military and medics that I’ve been in combat with several times. They are my friends,” he said.

The company has four other products, including XGauze, Air Wrap, TX Tourniquets and Shark Bite Trauma Kit -- all designed to stop hemorrhages. The XStat product is currently in pre-production and will be available for battlefield use later this year. The company also hopes to provide the product to law enforcement agencies.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio