Girl Now 'Smiling' After Major Surgery to Reshape Her Face

Alicia Taylor/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- A girl who had her face reshaped, thanks in part to 3-D printing, is now smiling and laughing again nearly six months after her operation, her family told ABC News.

Violet Pietrok, 2, has spent the past few months laughing and dancing with her twin sister and older siblings, according to her mom, even as she recovers from major surgery to reshape her face.

"She’s fantastic. She’s taking it all in stride," Violet's mother, Alicia Taylor, told ABC News. "She’s so happy...all the time. If she’s not smiling, she’s generally asleep or throwing a fit."

Violet underwent a major surgery in October at Boston Children's Hospital with both a plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon to help reshape her face after she was born with a rare condition called frontonasal dysplasia.

In Violet's case, the condition resulted in a widening of certain facial features, including the nose and space between the eyes and a large central cleft in her face.

Just 100 cases of frontonasal dysplasia have been documented, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Because of the unique way her skull was formed by the condition, Dr. John Meara, the plastic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, used a 3-D printer to create models of Violet's skull over time. Meara and his team knew they wanted to operate, but they had to be careful in how they approached the surgery so as to not interfere with her brain or other nerves.

"The value of the model like this is huge," Meara said in a video for Boston Children's Hospital. "This gives me the ability to see on this model better than I will in the operating room."

The operation was lengthy, going over six hours as Meara, along with a neurosurgeon and other members of the medical team, tended to the girl. The doctors even brought in the 3-D models to the operating room and when they ran into a complication, used the models to find a solution.

Meara told ABC News that the model was extremely helpful in practicing the surgery.

"This allows us to understand what needed to be modified or addressed on the model before making an incision or bone cuts in the [operating room]," Meara said. "For Violet, I actually modified my osteotomies [bone cuts] based on something that I was able to see happening in the model."

Violet’s mother said her daughter remains a happy child in the months after the surgery. While a recent complication in February meant Violet had to go back to the operating room for a procedure, Taylor said her daughter is doing well.

"She’s fantastic even with the surgery," said Taylor. "She still was just sweet and compliant and she tried to smile."

Meara said he's very excited with the surgery results and doesn't expect any major issues for Violet in the future.

"I have high hopes for her," Meara told ABC News. "She is so bright -- in both personality and cognitive ability. I will want to see her and follow up on her progress every year. At some point in the future she may require some revisions procedures."

Taylor said that her daughter will likely have more procedures as she grows up, including a rhinoplasty to add cartilage to her nose and another to help with her eyelids.

"We love her new face, but we miss her old face," Taylor said of Violet. "I was so worried that they were going to take her and she was going to be unrecognizable. ...I miss that little face because you love it."

Taylor said she wanted to share her family's story so that people would be aware of the condition and not be as shocked by it.

"If you see someone staring at you and [they] turn and walk off, it makes you feel different and it will make her feel shunned," she said.

Instead, if children are pointing because they're confused or curious, parents should walk over and gently introduce themselves instead of pulling a child away or yelling at them for pointing, Taylor said.

"It would be far better if they introduce themselves and say, 'Hi, I’m so-and-so, I wondered if you can explain to [my kids] what happened,'" Taylor said.

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Obama Says Climate Change's Impact on Health Is Personal for Him

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama says that climate change became a personal issue for him when his older daughter Malia, now 16, was rushed to the emergency room with an asthma attack when she was just a toddler.

“Well you know Malia had asthma when she was 4 and because we had good health insurance, we were able to knock it out early…,” the president told ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, in a one-on-one interview yesterday. “And if we can make sure that our responses to the environment are reducing those incidents, that's something that I think every parent would wish for.”

Besser, who met with the president Wednesday at Howard University's Health Sciences Simulation Lab, asked the president why people should care about the impact of climate change on public health when there are so many other pressing health problems.

“Keep in mind that climate change is just one more example of how the environment will cause health problems, and I think most people understand that,” the president responded.

Obama said that when he went to college in 1979 in Los Angeles, he could feel his lungs burn after about five minutes of running outside because the smog and pollution were so bad.

"We took steps to deal with it, and today, it's not perfect, but it's a whole lot better,” Obama said. “And the same thing is true with climate change.”

The science of climate and its effect on health is indisputable, the president said. More severe wildfires that send more particulates into the air and longer-lasting allergy seasons will lead to higher rates of asthma. Higher temperatures could also mean that heatstroke in cities will become a severe public health problem.

“So the idea here is that by having doctors, nurses, public health officials who've come together highlighting the consequences of warmer temperatures, not only can communities start thinking about adapting and planning around those issues but individual families can also recognize that there is a link here, and collectively we can start doing something about it,” he said.

Besser’s interview with the president comes on the heels of a White House announcement earlier in the week setting out a series of initiatives to deal with the impact of climate change on the well-being of Americans. The actions include the upcoming White House Climate Change and Health Summit featuring the surgeon general and a challenge later in the year that invites tech experts to use government data to help resolve unanswered questions about climate change's impact on public health.

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Walk Your Work Stress Away During Lunch

iStock/Thinkstock(PERTH, Australia) — So it’s been a rough morning at work and your lunch break can’t come soon enough. Are you going to spend it at your desk to pour out your troubles on social media?

An Australian researcher warns that’s the last thing you should be doing.

Curtin University psychological scientist Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani says the best way to relieve stress is to get out in the open air and walk around -- really walk around.

After conducting an experiment with university colleagues who ordinarily got less than 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise, Thogersen-Ntoumani and her team discovered that the group that was sent on three half-hour group-led walks at lunch over the course of several months noted a marked improvement in their work attitudes.

The walkers felt less stress, less tension, more relaxed and, perhaps most significantly, believed that their work performance improved.

The study compared their brightened outlook following walks to what’s known as the “runner’s high,” which comes from the release of endorphins that produces a mild sense of euphoria and helps to relieve stress and depression.

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Married Teens May Be at Greater Risk of Having Children with ADHD

iStock/Thinkstock(TURKU, Finland) — Here’s another reason for young people to postpone marriage until they at least reach their 20s: marrying in your teens might greatly increase the likelihood of having a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In fact, researcher Roshan Chudal of the University of Turku, Finland says that even if one parent is younger than 20, the risk of childhood ADHD jumps by 50 percent.

The findings of Chudal’s study were based on examining data from 50,000 Finnish people.

Chudal explains that teens who get married are often the product of young parents, which may come with the genetic risk of ADHD, particularly if there is a history of family psychiatric problems.

What further boosts the risk of having this disorder characterized by lack of concentration and impulsive behavior are physical and environmental factors such as the mother’s social and economic status and whether she smoked during the pregnancy.

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Cigarette Warning Labels Pack More Punch with Graphic Images

iStock/Thinkstock(PULLMAN, Wash.) — Powerful anti-smoking public service announcements on TV that depict sick or dying people are believed to have had a powerful effect on many viewers, convincing some, in fact, to give up the habit.

However, the written warning labels on packs of cigarettes, while certainly stark, might not deliver the same punch as the TV spots since the visual consequences of smoking’s side effects are missing.

As a result, Washington State professor of psychology Renee Magnan surveyed young people ages 18-25 who were both smokers and non-smokers as well as students and non-students. They were asked their opinions about simple cigarette warning labels and those that were enhanced with graphic images.

By and large, the respondents felt that the text-image combinations helped them to better understand the long-term effect of cigarettes by presenting them with more knowledge about various consequences such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and even impotence.

They also admitted that these enhanced labels made them worry more about what might happen if they smoke and, as a result, acted as better deterrents than just a written warning.

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Most Young Adults Find Birth Control Morally Acceptable

Fuse/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The availability of birth control has become something of a hot-button topic since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

But the Public Religious Research Institute had a different, more fundamental question that it posed to 2,315 young adults ages 18 to 35 -- namely, is birth control morally acceptable?

An overwhelming majority of respondents, 71 percent, answered yes, it is. Just nine percent felt birth control is not morally acceptable.

Although the Roman Catholic Church preaches against birth control, 72 percent of white Catholic millennials and 68 percent of Hispanic Catholic millennials said it's morally acceptable to use contraception.

Meanwhile, 81 percent of survey respondents say that all women should have access to contraception.

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Blue Bell Creameries Expands Ice Cream Recall

Marzia Giacobbe/iStock/Thinkstock(BRENHAM, Texas) – Blue Bell Creameries said on Tuesday it is expanding the recall of products produced at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, manufacturing plant where ice cream contaminated with a deadly strain of listeria was traced last month.

The company announced on its website the recall now includes Banana Pudding Ice Cream pints that tested positive for listeria, and additional products manufactured on the same line.

The products being recalled were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores, and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The company said the items have the potential to be harmful to young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. No illnesses have been confirmed to date from the recently recalled products.

Last week, Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily suspended operations the Oklahoma plant to inspect the facility. The company announced in a statement that it was taking the action out of an “abundance of caution” to determine what caused the initial contamination.

After eating ice cream products from Blue Bell Creamery at a hospital in Wichita, Kansas between January 2014 and January 2015, five people were sickened. Three of the patients who were sickened at the Wichita hospital later died, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a warning last week, recommending that people not eat any Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma production facility.

A full list of the recalled items is available on Blue Bell’s website.

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More Teens Would Require Cholesterol Medication if Treated Under Pediatric Guidelines, Study Says

Zoonar RF/Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teenagers are a medication gray zone for many pediatricians, straddling both the child and adult guidelines.

When it comes to high cholesterol, a well-recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease that often emerges during adolescence, doctors will often use adult’s guidelines.

However, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics examines what would happen if the pediatric guidelines for cholesterol were used for teens. Researchers found that doing so would put more than 400,000 individuals ages 17 to 21 into a category for which medication would be required.

The reason? Pediatric guidelines figure in other risk factors such as high blood pressure or obesity, according to researchers.

Even though these teens would not require any cholesterol medication under the adult guidelines, under the pediatric guidelines they would.

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Is Breast Milk Sold Online Really Breast Milk?

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People sell human breast milk on the Internet, but there’s no oversight when it comes to quality.

Now, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics further examines Internet-purchased breast milk.

Researchers anonymously purchased 102 breast milk samples online from U.S.-based websites and used DNA markers specific to cow or human DNA to determine the source.

All of the samples contained breast milk, testing positive for human DNA, but 11 percent also tested positive for cow DNA, according to the study.  

In 10 of the 11 mixed samples, at least 10 percent of the milk was cow’s milk, perhaps to increase the quantity levels for sale, researchers said.

Milk that contains any form of cow’s milk might be harmful to babies with an allergy. The study’s researchers say parents should bear that in mind before purchasing breast milk online.

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Girl Gets Facial Deformity Fixed Thanks to Anonymous Donor

Dr. Gregory Levitin/Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital (NEW YORK) -- Just hours before a 3-year-old was supposed to have lengthy surgery on a facial malformation, the pint-size patient told her doctor how the operation would make her feel.

“Feel pretty,” Kaitlin Nguyen told her surgeon Dr. Gregory Levitin, director of the Vascular Birthmark Center at Mount Sinai Roosevelt in New York.

Kaitlin is undergoing a procedure Tuesday funded by an anonymous donor to remove a large lymphatic malformation that has left part of her face bulging out.

“She’s not shy,” Levitin said of Kaitlin. “She’s walking around here charming all the nurses and pushing the wheelchairs.”

Kaitlin was born with a large lymphatic malformation on her face, meaning lymphatic tissue was growing under the skin on her face similar to a cancerous tumor.

While the growth wasn't cancerous or life-threatening, Kaitlin's mother was eager to get it removed.

"I know kids are very cruel at school," Kaitlin's mother, Thuy Nguyen, told ABC News. The family from the Los Angeles area had tried to have Kaitlin's malformation removed before, when she was just a year old.

But in that case the surgeon came back unable to remove much of the tissue due to the complicated placement of growth, according to Kaitlin's current physician, Dr. Levitin.

"It’s projected and droopy and kind of unusual appearance. They grow in a very deforming way," he said of lymphatic malformations.

Levitin is planning to remove the malformation in a possibly lengthy surgery. Removing the growth may seem simple, but Levitin said it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish due to the facial nerves.

"We want to remove abnormal tissue but preserve normal tissue including that nerve," said Levitin. "It’s a needle of hay in a haystack.”

Levitin said the operation could go for three to six or even more hours if they run into complications. He refuses to remove any part of the growth until he identifies the facial nerves.

Comparing it to a “wedding,” Levitin said of the operation, “You know when it starts but not when it ends.”

Levitin said it is key to do this surgery when a child is younger because it means it will be easier to manage over time. While the growth could come back as Kaitlin goes through puberty, it will be unlikely to reach the same size it is now.

“If you operate at an early age such as now, there’s only 20 percent left,” said Levitin.

The surgery is being funded by an anonymous donor. Levitin went to the donor, who he had worked with before, when he found out Kaitlin's family was searching for a way to cover the cost of the operation.

“Just by the pictures he fell in love with this girl. He’s happy to do this,” Levitin said of the donor.

Nguyen said she was “thrilled” when she heard the news about the anonymous donor who could help her daughter have the surgery.

“I wanted to say thank you to the donor who made this happen for Kaitlin, I would love to thank him,” she told ABC News.

Levitin said patients with these kind of vascular birthmarks are doubly special to him after his own daughter went through a surgery to have her facial malformation removed 14 years ago.

After Kaitlin told her doctor Monday she wants to "feel pretty" after surgery, Levitin kindly disagreed with the toddler.

"We're going to do our best, but you're already pretty aren't you?" Levitin told the girl.

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