Top NFL Rookie Retiring Over Head Trauma Concerns

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- One of the NFL’s top rookies last season announced on Monday he plans to retire because of concerns over the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland told ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Monday he notified the team of his decision on Friday.

The 24-year-old told ESPN he made his decision after consulting with family members, concussion researchers, friends and current and former teammates, and studying what is known about the relationship between football and neurodegenerative disease.

"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told Outside the Lines. "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

Borland now becomes the most prominent NFL player to leave the game in his prime over concerns about brain injuries.

World News Videos | US News Videos

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Police Departments 700 Miles Apart Help Rescue New York Woman

Gewoldi/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A quick-thinking graduate student and two police departments separated by over 700 miles came together to help save a woman suffering a medical emergency.

Ji-Hoon Seo, a student at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, was on Skype with his long-distance fiancée, a student at Pratt Institute in New York, when she suddenly passed out on the floor Tuesday.

"I called her name I think more than 10 times. She didn't reply," Seo, 24, told ABC News. "I didn't know what to do."

A worried Seo dialed 911 but was connected to the Lafayette Police Department.

"I thought 911 is connected through all the States, but it's not," Seo said. "I told them, 'My fiancée is passed out, please help her.' But they said, 'We have to connect to the New York department.'"

Seo stayed on the line as dispatchers in Indiana relayed information to the New York police and fire departments, according to Lafayette police, and the video chat was used to help find the right apartment.

New York officers forced their way into the apartment, where they found Seo's fiancée unresponsive but breathing, according to Lafayette police. She was taken to a hospital.

Seo said he remained on Skype during the entire ordeal.

Seo, who flew to New York on Friday to be by his fiancée's side, said they're still not sure what caused her to pass out. He declined to give ABC News her name.

"She's at home," Seo said. "Now I think she's okay."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


American Health Worker Diagnosed with Ebola in Critical Condition

ABC News(BETHESDA, Md.) -- An American who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa is now in critical condition at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C., authorities said on Monday.

The patient’s status was changed from serious to critical, according to a statement made by the agency earlier on Monday. The patient was flown in isolation from Sierra Leone on a chartered plane last week back to the states, authorities said.

The patient’s name has not been released but the patient is known to have been a person working with Partners in Health, a Boston nonprofit group.

An additional 12 individuals transported from West Africa are being monitored for the Ebola virus, officials said.

Three of the other returned health care workers are also near the NIH clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four of the returned workers are in Atlanta near Emory University Hospital and another five arrived at the Nebraska Medical Center in Oklahoma.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest in history. Though it has slowed down since its peak last year, there have been nearly 25,000 confirmed cases and more than 10,000 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Woman Speaks For First Time, Wishes Mom Happy Mother's Day

Thousand Word Media(CHELTENHAM, England) -- Jennifer Burt was born a perfectly healthy child in Southern England. When she was just 19 months old, the now 21-year-old suffered a major seizure that changed her life forever.

"The seizure left her unable to walk and unable to talk, so she's basically brain damaged," Jennifer's mother, Helen Burt, told ABC News. "Doctors said there was a small chance that she'd survive. She was in a coma for a week and then she came out of it and gradually improved."

When Jennifer was three years old, her parents were able to enroll her in a school for children with special needs where, Burt said, her daughter began to excel.

Jennifer began beating the odds against the seizure that left her blind and immobile; regaining her sight and some of her hand and arm movements as well.

Then on Sunday, Burt said her daughter did something she thought she'd never accomplish in her lifetime.

For the very first time, Jennifer was able to tell her mom "Happy Mother's Day."

"How do you put that feeling into words? From having been through everything with her, we never ever expected her to be able to do something like that," Burt said. "It was just so special."

Thanks to a communication device provided by Jennifer's school, National Star College, she was finally able to speak to her family.

"The device has been implemented because Jennifer cannot make her feelings known," Burt said. "It's a touchscreen with different buttons for her feelings. She can ask for things to drink, to eat, she can ask to go to different places, and even switch on the television."

Thanks to the technology, Jennifer has been able to communicate with her family and mentors at school. Her loved ones recently gathered to see her use the device, and her mother said she's been over the moon ever since.

"We asked her how she was feeling and she pressed 'happy,'" she said. "She loves being the center of attention. She revels in it and she loves the applause."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Is Open Heart Valve Surgery Passé?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Open heart surgery has been the treatment for patients with symptoms from narrow heart valves.

Now, two new studies published Sunday in the journal Lancet show that a much less invasive technique – threading a replacement valve into the heart through the blood vessels in the leg, arm or chest – may be just as effective and could work on patients too sick for open heart.

One study followed 348 heart valve patients at 25 different hospitals across the world for 5 years. Researchers found that patients did just as well after the first procedure as those who had the traditional open heart approach.

In another study, researchers looked at 358 patients with aortic problems so severe they were deemed inoperable by traditional surgical means.

In the second group of patients, the less-invasive procedure cut their risk of death from 93.6 percent to 71.8 percent, according to researchers.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


New, Powerful Class of Cholesterol Drugs?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For many of the approximately 71 million Americans with high LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, taking a statin is part of their daily routine.

Now, a new class of injectable drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors may change the way patients with high cholesterol are treated.

In two new studies published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine involving over 2,000 and 4,000 patients at multiple hospitals, the medications were found to reduce bad cholesterol on average by 60 percent.

In the first study, researchers compared one of these drugs against a placebo, while in the second study a separate group of researchers tested this drug as an add-on to statins.

In both cases, the patients taking the PCSK9 inhibitors saw dramatic reductions in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, according to researchers.

Moreover, patients taking this new class of drug were also found to have lower rates of heart attacks and strokes.

Both of the medications are injected under the skin either biweekly or monthly, as opposed to statins, which are taken in pill form daily.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Family's Bittersweet Journey Spares One Son From Rare Disease, But Not the Other

Marshalls Moments/Facebook(DAYTON, Ore.) -- To look at 4-year-old Michael Wilson as he runs and plays and smiles, you would never know he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. That's because a cord blood transplant stopped it in its track, saving his life.

His older brother, Marshall, wasn't so lucky.

"My son lost his eyesight. My son lost his hearing. He can't hear me. He can't see me," his mother, Tammy Wilson, told ABC News. "He has seizures on a daily basis, on average six, sometimes 12 seizures a day."

Marshall's decline and diagnosis prompted doctors to quickly diagnose Michael and give him the treatment that would save him.

As a baby, Marshall met every milestone until he was a year old in June 2010, Wilson said. But at 13 months, when Wilson was about 6 months pregnant with Michael, Marshall stopped walking. Then, he stopped crawling. Soon, he couldn't hold up his own head.

It took five months for doctors to diagnose Marshall with Krabbe, an inherited degenerative disease, Wilson said. Doctors immediately told Wilson to test her newborn for the disease as well, and in December 2010, they learned he, too, had it.

Doctors could save Michael by giving him a cord blood transplant, providing him with the enzyme he lacked to maintain the protective coating on nerve cells called myelin. He got the transplant on Feb. 10, 2011, and the Wilsons consider it his re-birthday.

"Marshall was no longer a candidate for this transplant because he was too symptomatic," Wilson said. "From July to December, with the regression he went through as fast as he did, he was no longer a candidate for lifesaving treatment."

Had Marshall been tested as a newborn, he could have been running and playing with his brother. So Wilson is fighting to get Oregon to mandate a test for Krabbe as part of its standard newborn testing.

Similar legislation has already passed in Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Missouri, said Anna Grantham, a spokesman for Hunter's Hope, a foundation that helps fund Krabbe research and push newborn testing. Grantham said ten states are considering bills this legislative session.

Wilson's representative in Oregon, Rep. Jim Weidner, sponsored a bill on her behalf last legislative session in 2013, and they hope it will pass this year.

"When there's a cure for something, then we should be testing for it, so we can give a child an opportunity for a full life," Weidner said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these transplants can help pre-symptomatic infants by slowing the progression of the disease, but they still experience difficulties with "speech, walking and other motor skills."

So far, Michael is doing well. And Wilson said she thinks 5-year-old Marshall is still aware of his surroundings, so she'll press her lips to his cheek to talk to him.

"I’m in full-blown tears because my son is communicating with me," Wilson said. "Which is very rewarding and comforting to me because I knew this disease may take everything from him....I know in my heart and soul that he knows I'm mom. I’m thankful for the first year we had together."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Kate Winslet on Her Body: ‘I Really Do Love the Fact That I’m Curvy’

Lionsgate(NEW YORK) — Kate Winslet is looking great after giving birth just one year ago. The mom of three flaunted her post-baby body on the cover of InStyle's April 2015 issue, and says she's fully embracing her new figure.

“I still dip in and out of feeling confident as much as the next person, but I can genuinely say, now more than ever, that I really do love the fact that I’m curvy," Winslet told the magazine. "I’ve got boobs and a bum and a man who loves me."

"When you go through the sort of scrutiny that I have, you have to choose a means of dealing with that level of judgment," she continued. "My way has always been to take a good look at how my career is going. The way I see it, I have an incredibly fulfilling, rewarding career that has nothing to do with the size of my arse.”

The issue hits newsstands on Friday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


More than 16 Million Insured Since Affordable Care Act Passage

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Just one week away from the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s passage, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage since the law’s passage. The report, released Monday, marks the largest change in the uninsured numbers in four decades.

"Because of the Affordable Care Act young adults are able to stay on their parents' plans until age 26, states can expand their Medicaid programs, and tax credits are available to millions of Americans in all 50 states, making health care coverage more affordable and accessible," HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a department release.

Burwell added that evidence shows that Obamacare is “working,” regarding affordability, access and quality health services. This may be true, particularly for young adults.  The Health Department states that an estimated 5.7 million young adults gained health coverage between 2010 and March 4, 2015.

The report said health coverage gains were especially strong in Medicaid expansion states and concentrated among middle and low income groups. Changes were small and even nonexistent, however, among higher income households.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Is Artificial Turf Harmful to Kids' Health?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whether they're tossing a football or running on playgrounds, kids could be at risk of more than bumps and bruises if they're playing on artificial turf.

The surface itself may contain enough lead to be hazardous, according to a new analysis by USA Today of at least 10 studies of the rubber crumbs in turf, which come from recycled tires and could be ingested.

The research found lead levels exceeded what's considered safe for children, even though federal agencies promote artificial turf as safe.

The U.S. has more than 11,000 artificial turf fields, USA Today reports. Removing and replacing one could cost a million dollars.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio