More than 30 Cases of Viral Meningitis Documented at University of Maryland

UmerPK/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) -- More than 30 cases have been documented in an outbreak of viral meningitis at the University of Maryland since mid-October.

According to the University of Maryland Health Center, the school is aware of 31 confirmed or suspected cases of the disease among their 37,000 students. About 19 of those 31 have been hospitalized for treatment.

The outbreak began in October, the school says. While being careful to note that the outbreak is confirmed to be viral meningitis and not bacterial meningitis -- which is more dangerous -- the school's statement urged students to frequently wash their hands, stay home and rest if feeling unwell, clean surfaces that are touched frequently and avoiding kissing and sharing glasses and utensils.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, light sensitivity and a stiff neck.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Why Some People Are Always Late 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio is notorious being for constantly being late, but the politician's chronic tardiness made headlines this week when he was so late to a memorial service for 265 people who died in a plane crash that they held the moment of silence without him.

The mayor later apologized and blamed a "rough night" and fog that slowed his Police Department boat that took him to Queens for the anniversary of a 2001 plane crash, but he left people irked with his persistent lateness.

De Blasio's inability to be on time mirrors many other people with lower profiles than the mayor of the country's largest city.

Time management expert Julie Morgenstern told ABC News there are two main types of perpetrators: people who are routinely 10 or 15 minutes late, and people whose lateness varies.

If people are always late by the same amount of time, the problem might be psychological, said Morgenstern, who is not a doctor but has extensive experience studying time management.

"If you think about it, they're precise," she said. "They always arrive exactly 10 minutes late. If you're always late by the same amount of time, you have to realize you're arriving at the exact time you want to. There is some sort of fear or discomfort of down time. There's a lot of anxiety about sitting around and doing nothing."

The fix? Set a goal to be early -- instead of just on time -- and give yourself an incentive. If you're 10 minutes early to dinner, that time can be spent browsing Instagram or shopping online on your smartphone, for example.

The other group of latecomers has a bigger problem with managing their time, said Morgenstern, author of "Time Management from the Inside Out."

"It typically means you're really bad at estimating how long things take," she said. "You think, maybe I'll do this quick thing or take this call, and you end up running over."

This type of person doesn't necessarily mean to be late. They just think a quick stop by the post office won't make them late to lunch, when in reality it's out of the way and there could be a long line, for example.

"I've had clients tell me, 'Even when I'm on time getting somewhere, I find myself adding something and then I'm not on time anymore,'" she said.

Morgenstern said those people need to pay attention to how long things really take, and also learn how to say no.

"If the phone rings when you're walking out the door, just keep going and don't stop," she said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


How Rules May Loosen for Gay Blood Donors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A ban that has prohibited gay men from donating blood in the United States may be loosened after more than three decades, although not enough to totally satisfy all gay rights activists.

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recommended Thursday changing the policy that bans men who have had sex with other men since 1977 from donating blood.

The committee voted 16 to 2 to recommend allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have abstained from sex with men for at least one year.

Gay and bisexual men have been banned from donating blood by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1983 after doctors realized the AIDS virus could be transmitted through blood transfusions.

The news was cheered by major blood banks and transfusion medicine associations including the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and AABB, a nonprofit representing institutions and individuals in the transfusion medicine field.

In a joint statement, the three organizations said the ban is “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

“We believe all potential donors should be treated with fairness, equality and respect,” a portion of the statement said. “And that accurate donor histories and medically supported donor deferral criteria are critical to the continued safety of blood transfusion.”

The recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability will be presented at the FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee on Dec. 2, which will discuss making changes to the policy.

The new recommendations come after years of mounting pressure from both medical groups and gay rights groups criticizing the ban as being outdated and focused too much on sexual orientation rather than actual risk.

The American Medical Association voted last year to oppose the FDA ban and recommended evaluating gay men on an individual level for blood donors rather than lumping them together in a high-risk category.

"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," AMA board member Dr. William Kobler said in a statement at the time.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, said even if these new screening rules are approved, they are still problematic.

“While this represents a change in how donors are currently screened, it still strikes me as discriminatory and not based on risk,” Besser said. “Why should gay men who are not engaging in high-risk sexual activities be forbidden from donating blood? Prospective donors should be screened for risky behavior, not sexual orientation.”

Ryan Yezak, the founder of the National Gay Blood Drive, which has fought the ban with annual protests since 2013, said he was heartened by the changes but said there was more work to do.

“I think yesterday’s voting in favor of a one year deferral instead of lifetime ban is a huge step in the right direction,” Yezak said. “Our whole goal is eliminating sexual orientation from the blood donation process altogether.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Why It May Be Dangerous to Bundle Kids Up in Carseats

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Experts say bundling up children with puffy jackets and thick blankets in carseats can be a bad idea because they can leave them loose in an accident.

Phyllis Larimore with Children's Mercy in Kansas City says babies should be tucked in with a blanket, but not near the head, to avoid obstructing air flow around the face.

Larimore also said down-filled coats can be dangerous if they leave a gap between the harness and the baby.

"What will happen in a crash is that crash force will collapse that, compress it, and the babies will be loose," Larimore said."

According to Larimore, better options are an extra layer of clothes, a blanket, or a Thinsulate jacket.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Bret Michaels Returns to Performing After '2-Week Painful Ordeal'

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (NEW YORK) -- Bret Michaels has resumed his tour.

The singer had been sidelined after undergoing kidney surgery and being hospitalized six times in two weeks.

"Jacksonville here I come! I’m going to try and gives y’all I got!" he wrote Thursday on his website. "Thanks to everyone for all your well wishes and prayers and to all the great medical staff that helped me through a two week painful ordeal. Got more in my right kidney, but let’s deal with that later. Again thanks to all!"

Michaels, 51, had two stents put in his body recently, according to his friend and guitarist, Pete Evick, but hurt himself by performing immediately after the procedure. As a result, he was hospitalized and was forced to miss a charity event where he'd planned to perform. Luckily, he healed quickly, and was able to resume his tour in time to make his concerts in Florida.

"Bret Michaels survived the first show back and although in obvious pain he rocked the party, stating he was happy to be there in Jacksonville!" his team added on his website.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Fifth Birthday Bittersweet for Girl Losing Ability to Speak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The O'Neills' birthday celebration for their 5-year-old will be bittersweet this weekend. When they launched their fundraising campaign to find a cure for her disease nearly a year ago, they said they expected her to lose her ability to speak by this birthday.

Eliza can still talk, her father Glenn O'Neill told ABC News, but sometimes the words don't come as easily to her. And she seems to have stopped learning new things in the last three months. Some days, she can rattle off her numbers and the "Happy Birthday" song. Others, she can't.

"It's the disease beginning to catch up with her," he said. "This disease just kind of taunts you. You don't know when things are coming but you see them happening."

Eliza was diagnosed in July 2013 with Sanfilippo syndrome, a genetic disorder that means she lacks an enzyme to break down heparin sulfate, which naturally occurs in cells, causing it to build up over time. This buildup renders cells unable to function properly and can affect everything from sleep to speech to movement. The disease affects about 1 in 70,000 live births, said Doug McCarty, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who has been working on a cure with his colleague, Haiyan Fu.

So the O'Neills launched a fundraising campaign to help McCarty and Fu fund a clinical trial for a gene therapy they hope will cure Eliza. They've already raised 1.3 million on a GoFundMe.com page and another $400,000 elsewhere. They hope to raise an additional $500,000 on Eliza's birthday.

There's no guarantee the treatment will get approved or work -- or that Eliza will get into the clinical trial -- but Glenn O'Neill said he and his family had to try.

"If we don't get the trial funded, and we don't get it up and running, the guarantee is that she has no chance," he said.

The family has remained in their home for the last six months to keep Eliza from getting sick. They're afraid a virus will prompt a decline in Eliza's condition or disqualify her from the clinical trial when it starts, so Eliza's mother, a pediatrician, left her job, and Eliza and her brother were taken out of school.

Glenn O'Neill said the birthday celebration will be in their Columbia, South Carolina, backyard, where he plans to dress like a clown and juggle. He said the family will "turn inward" to cherish Eliza's good days. The future is uncertain, he wrote on the campaign's GoFundMe page.

"We're trying to do everything we can to keep her as happy and as healthy and as sharp as she can be," he said. "For the next however many months it takes to get to the point where, hopefully, she can be treated."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Seniors Look for Love Through Speed Dating

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many of Janice Ledtke’s friends thought she had lost her mind when the 78-year-old New Yorker decided to try out speed dating.

“My friends said, ‘What, are you crazy? Why would you do that?’” the Rochester woman recalled.

But at her age, Ledtke said she finds it harder and harder to meet new people.

“I’m kind of a bit adventurous and I thought that was a new adventure,” she said of trying out speed dating.

Ledtke wasn’t the only senior in town looking for love and companionship. At least 29 other people signed up for the speed dating event.

All the subjects were followed in a new documentary called The Age of Love. Directed by Steven Loring, the film follows all 30 seniors as they try out speed dating at a special event designed solely for those between the age of 70 and 90.

The film was inspired by Loring’s seeing an elderly uncle fall in love for the first time at 79.

Loring followed the seniors for months as they prepared to try out speed dating. For some, the event would be the first time they had been out on a “date” with a new person in decades.

“Everybody just came to life,” Loring said of the subjects as they prepared for speed dating, some with the same worries about dating as people half their age.

“The idea of ‘What if I’m rejected? How do I look? What if they find me boring?’” Loring said of common worries.

Dr. Phillip Dines, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said when people lose a partner they may want to immediately search for another person to have companionship and love in their lives again.

“This is a very significant issue,” Dines said. “They want to have meaning in their life.”

But Dines said he warns his patients to be thoughtful in how they go about meeting new people and dating, especially if they just lost a lifelong spouse or partner.

For Ledtke, she was able to get three dates from her first round of speed dating and said she’s happy she tried it out.

“You know five minutes isn’t very long, but it’s amazing what kind of a judgment you can make,” Ledtke said. “There were a lot of really great guys there.”

As for details, she didn't want to elaborate more on what happened. “I don’t want to take the mystery out of the movie,” she said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Elisabeth Hasselbeck Reveals She Had an Abdominal Tumor

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Elisabeth Hasselbeck returned to her post on Fox and Friends Friday after a month away.  She also revealed the surprising reason for her absence.

"I had a tumor in my abdomen," Hasselbeck explained. "[The] doctor said, 'Look, you've got to get it out by the end of the month. We don't like how it looks.' I was facing something that potentially could have gone either way."

"I did what they said, had a phenomenal surgeon, and I had a scary week where we didn't know what the results were, but I'm okay," she went on. "Everything came back okay. Surgery's not fun, but it is necessary to find out if you have something really terrible in you or not. And thankfully I had the blessing of it not being cancer."

Along with thanking Fox, the former View co-host thanked her husband, Tim, for his support and for being her "hospital buddy."

She added, "I'm not a person who thinks or believes that I take a lot for granted, but I certainly don't take it for granted now."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Doctor Contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone, to Be Flown to Nebraska for Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A surgeon from Sierra Leone and a permanent resident of the United States who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa will be flown to the U.S. to receive treatment for the deadly virus, according to a government official.

Dr. Martin Salia is expected to arrive in the United States on Saturday and will receive treatment at Nebraska Medical Center, the official told ABC News.

It is unclear how he contracted Ebola, but the official said he was in Sierra Leone at the time.

A hospital spokesman would only say that he would soon be evaluated for possible treatment. He would not give any other details.

In a statement, Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said they were working "in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" and were in touch with the family of a U.S. legal permanent resident working in Sierra Leone who has contracted Ebola.

"His wife, who resides in Maryland, has asked the State Department to investigate whether he is well enough to be transported back to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for treatment," the statement added.

This comes two days after Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted Ebola treating patients in West Africa, was discharged from a New York City hospital Ebola-free.

Spencer, 33, who treated Ebola patients in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders, spent 20 days in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after testing positive for Ebola there on Oct. 23.

Spencer was the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the ninth Ebola patient to be treated in this country. Only Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who was diagnosed in Dallas, Texas, in late September, has died of the virus in the United States.

More than 5,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak that is ravaging parts of West Africa, the World Health Organization reported on Wednesday.

This is the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded -- the vast majority in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Why People Cry When They're Happy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — Crying is a normal response when something terrible or sad has occurred. Yet, crying also happens during times of joy or pleasant surprises. Who hasn’t shed tears during a dramatic movie or TV show that ends on an upbeat note? The same can happen to a parent when a child returns from college or the military or to an athlete whose performance turns a certain loss into a shocking victory.

Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon decided to investigate why people display negative reactions such as crying at positive events. In one experiment, she discovered that people who pinch cute baby’s cheeks, which is certainly not pleasant for the infant, are usually the type who also cry during graduations.

Aragon concluded that these negative reactions “seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”

Clearly, people who cry when they’re happy probably don’t know why they do it but as Aragon explains, it likely helps them avoid more extreme forms of emotion.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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