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Friday
Feb172017

Teen's rescue highlights dangers of riding snowmobiles on ice 

iStock/Thinkstock(WATERBORO, Maine) — Three good Samaritans rescued a teenage girl after she was thrown off a snowmobile into a frozen lake in Waterboro, Maine.

The three rescuers — Brandon Jackson, Bill Rodgers and Taylor Dion — were fishing and snowmobiling near Little Ossipee Lake Feb. 4 when they saw someone struggling in the frozen water.

Jackson, Rodgers and Dion threw a thick rope out to the victim in the water, who turned out to be a 16-year-old girl, and yelled instructions to her, saying, "Hold on tight. Get both hands. Kick your feet really hard."

"All three of us pretty much decided, 'Hey let's get out there,'" Jackson said, adding he and the other rescuers were there at the "right place and the right time."

"We were there and we helped and we had what we needed to get the job done and it worked out very well."

Jackson, who captured the video on his helmet camera, Rodgers and Dion were able to pull the victim, who was not named, safely to shore.

The teen's dramatic rescue demonstrates the dangers that can come with riding snowmobiles on ice.

Snowmobiles can reach top speeds of over 90 mph and weigh over 600 pounds. Ice needs to be at least 5 inches thick in order to support the weight of the snowmobile, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Individual drivers' own decisions, not the machines, may be responsible for a portion of the 14,000 reported injuries that occur on snowmobiles each year, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association.

"Snowmobile safety is the responsibility of all snowmobilers to conduct themselves in a safe manner and follow the snowmobiling laws and regulations," association president Ed Klim said in a statement to ABC News.

Individuals who fall into frozen water, whether caused by a snowmobile accident or other things, should try to control their breathing, remain calm and focus on putting their arms on top of the ice and kicking their legs to pull themselves back onto the ice.

The teen who was rescued in Maine also made a potentially lifesaving decision to remove her boots while in the water so they would not wear her down, according to police.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb172017

Your Body: Should you trade your dermatologist for a smartphone app?

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Research suggests that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. But now, researchers from Stanford University have turned to artificial intelligence to develop an app for distinguishing a common form of skin cancer -- carcinoma -- from the deadly melanoma.

Their study showed that the app had a 70 percent accuracy compared to a 65 percent accuracy for the 21 board-certified dermatologists used in the study.

Despite the results, there is no substitute for a doctor’s interaction and judgement.

Here’s my take when it comes to your skin: You should regularly check all parts of your body for changing moles or marks on your skin. Also, ask a friend to check your back, scalp and any areas you can’t see.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb162017

Mother of 4 gets life-saving heart transplant after surviving 2 heart attacks

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas woman is hoping to raise awareness about heart disease after she survived two near-fatal heart attacks, underwent a heart transplant and lost her mother to a heart attack
in a single year.

Kristen Patton, 41, suffered her first heart attack with no warning on Christmas Eve 2015. She had just brought home her fourth child after giving birth two days prior and the family enjoyed a
normal Christmas Eve. She first noticed something was wrong when she was feeding her infant daughter.

"I had this horrible pain in my jaw ... it felt like it was drilling into my jawbone," Patton, of Austin, Texas, said. She instantly knew something was wrong and put her child back in the bassinet
before calling for her husband.

"He came into the room to find me unresponsive and called 911," Patton said. By the time paramedics arrived she no longer had a heartbeat and they had to use a defibrillator to get her heart
started again.

Once she was at the hospital, the doctors were able to stabilize her heartbeat but they remained mystified to why her heartbeat had been dangerously irregular.

Days later, after multiple tests and no clear answer, they planned to let her leave the hospital with a defibrillator vest that could shock her heart if she had another heart attack. But before
they could prep her for that device, Patton had a second heart attack.

"It was the same exact pain and progression," Patton recalled. "But I felt like I was drowning and I could not get a breath."

During the second heart attack doctors realized that Patton had a rare heart condition called spontaneous coronary artery dissection. The layered walls in her artery had partially torn, cutting off
desperately needed oxygen to portions of the heart muscle, effectively killing the heart tissue.

Dr. Mary Beth Cishek, a cardiologist at Seton Heart Institute in Austin Texas, treated Patton and said the heart was so damaged doctors knew she would need a transplant in the future.

"It was so extensive and damage to her heart was so great ... it was no longer able to support her body," Cishek said.

To save her life doctors performed a triple bypass and attached Patton to a machine that can oxygenate blood called an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.)

After the surgery, Patton remained unconscious at the hospital for weeks on life support. She could not be put on the transplant list because her kidneys started to fail and her heart could no
longer effectively pump her blood. The ECMO machine and later a similar more portable device called an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) used to pump blood were the only way she could stay
alive.

After her diagnosis, Patton's doctors realized that her pregnancy, with the accompanying rise and fall in hormones, was the likely cause of the rare and dangerous heart condition.

"It's thought that the shifting hormones in a way may kind of loosen the cell to cell connections," Cishek explained.

In late January, weeks after arriving in the hospital, Patton finally woke up, but was unable to speak due to a tracheotomy.

"It was a really horrible feeling to not be able to communicate effectively with the people around me," she said. "I also just felt pretty horrible ... I had lost all strength in my arms and legs."

Slowly she was able to recover to the point that she could get into a rehab facility as she gained her strength. The LVAD meant she had to be connected to a battery 24 hours every day to keep her
blood pumping through her body.

Over the course of 2016 Patton continued to get stronger and was even able to return home where she went on a hike with her family and started to get back to her normal life. In November, her
doctors were able to put her on the wait list for a heart transplant, giving her hope that a new heart could mean no longer relying on the LVAD to stay alive.

"You walk around with your cellphone in your hand waiting for your call," Patton said, explaining that every call from an unknown number was exciting. "You think, 'Is this a telemarketer or a
heart?'"

Eventually, on her 41st birthday, Patton got the call that a heart was available.

"I got the call on my birthday, it was really beautiful," Patton recalled, explaining she was with her husband at the time. "We both just hugged each other and cried."

Patton successfully underwent the transplant surgery in November, approximately 11 months after her first heart attack. When she woke up, she said she could feel her heart beat for the first time
in nearly a year after being put on the ECMO machine.

"It [felt] like horses galloping through my chest because the heart beat was strong," she said. Now nearly three months after her transplant, she continues to get better and more active with her
children.

"I do feel so good now it is hard to fathom that all of this could possibly happen, sometimes it feels like another person's story," Patton said.

She is hoping that sharing her story she can raise awareness about the need for people to be proactive about their heart health. While she knows her condition is rare, she also lost her mother to a
heart attack last February. The cause was atherosclerosis -- a build-up of plaque in the arteries that is a common cause of heart attacks.

"Heart attacks are devastating and my hope is to raise awareness so that people go get their heart screened," Patton said.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb162017

Couple reveals pregnancy with twins in amazing photo with 452 IVF needles

Lauren Walker/Facebook(THE WOODLANDS, Texas) -- One Texas couple is finally expecting not just one, but two babies, after struggling with infertility for two years.

Lauren Walker shared her story, with a moving photo featuring two onesies and 452 needles used for her In-Vitro Fertilization treatments in a photo that has since gone viral on Facebook.

"We prayed for 953 days...452 Needles, 1000's of tears, 1 corrective surgery, 4 clomid/letrozole attempts, 2 IVF rounds, 3 failed transfers and & 1 Amazing GOD," the yoga instructor wrote as a
caption before explaining her inspirational journey.

Walker, 28, had been trying to have a child with her high school sweetheart, Garyt, since 2014.

"When we started, we knew off the bat that I was having issues," Walker told ABC News, "which I guess is a blessing."

So Walker decided to undergo IVF treatments at Houston Fertility Institute "and we expected it to work." Still, she miscarried two embryos on Sept. 10, 2014. After another round of treatment,
Walker miscarried two more embryos three months later.

"It's every mother's job to be able to protect their children and keep them safe," Walker said through tears. "And every time they kept putting them inside me I couldn't do it."

The couple had one embryo left and decided to "give it one more shot," Walker said. But two days before Christmas in 2014, they discovered they still weren't pregnant.

After two years of struggling with infertility, Lauren and Garyt Walker are welcoming twins in August.

Walker said she made her husband take the call from her fertility nurse because she was too afraid to hear any more bad news.

"He went into the bedroom to take the call. He came out and just looked at me and he started to tear up [and said,] 'I'm so sorry, sweetie,'" Walker recalled. "We just held each other and I let out
this blood curdling scream. I was completely broken."

It didn't help that, by then, they had spent approximately $30,000 on treatments. Thankfully, their marriage was still in tact.

"We have heard stories of how going through infertility can really cause wear and tear in a marriage," Walker said. "[We decided] we come first. We need to make sure we are always taking care of
each other first and foremost."

After two years of struggling with infertility, Lauren and Garyt Walker are welcoming twins in August.

The couple credits the strength of their marriage and their faith in God for giving them the courage to try to have a baby again.

They moved to The Woodlands, Texas, from Houston, in May 2016. After taking out a $14,000 loan, they began treatments again last October.

This time, they decided not to tell family and friends they were trying again to have a baby.

Instead, they surprised their family with the news that Walker was indeed pregnant -- with twins -- just a week before Christmas by handing them the pregnancy test wrapped in a bow.

Walker said that despite her long journey, she wouldn't want it any other way.

After two years of struggling with infertility, Lauren and Garyt Walker are welcoming twins in August.

"Life happens the way that it's supposed to happen," she said. "Had this all happened the way I wanted to back in 2014, we would have different children and we would have a different life, and I
know that these babies right now are meant to be here."

"The reason why we were waiting so long is that we were waiting for them," she gushed.

Walker is due in August and she said she's looking forward to introducing her twins, that she's named Duke and Diana Walker, to her 6-year-old goldendoodle, Fenway -- and of course they rest of
their family.

"They're the first grandchildren," Walker said. "Everyone's just so excited."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb162017

Flu-related doctor visits cut by 48% thanks to vaccine, study finds

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you've been spending flu season living in fear of getting sick every time someone near you coughs or sneezes, researchers have good news about the flu vaccine.

The current seasonal influenza vaccine has been found to be 48 percent effective in preventing flu-related medical visits, according to a preliminary report in the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The researchers looked at data between late November to early February from the 3,144 children and adults, 1,650 of whom were vaccinated, to see who sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms.

While the vaccine was found to be 48 percent effective in preventing flu-related medical visits for all ages, it provided slightly better protection for young children between the ages of 6 months to 8 years and older adults between the ages of 50 to 64, according to the report. The vaccine was found to be 53 percent effective in preventing flu-related medical visits for the young children and 58 percent effective for the older adults.

Meanwhile, it was found to be less effective in children between the ages of 9 to 17 years old (32 percent effective), those 18 to 49 (19 percent effective) and those over the age of 65 (46 percent effective).

"We know that influenza vaccine is a good but not perfect vaccine," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News.

Schaffner pointed out that it is especially important that the elderly, and those who will be around the elderly, get the vaccine, since the dominant flu strain A(H3N2) spreading across the country is more likely to cause severe complications among the elderly.

The current flu vaccine has been found to protect against the A(H3N2) strain 43 percent of the time, and it can also lessen the chances of an infected person developing serious symptoms, according to the MMWR report.

"It disproportionately affects older people and makes them sicker," Schaffner explained of the A(H3N2) flu virus strain. "There is a perfect match between that strain and what is in the vaccine."

The flu vaccine is developed every year to try and match the virus strains that are expected to be most common during flu season in the U.S. Currently, the U.S. is in the middle of a flu epidemic, which occurs almost every year. The CDC report found that high levels of flu activity is likely to continue for the next few weeks.

Flu can cause symptoms of headache, fever, joint pain and cough. The seasonal flu generally spreads across the U.S. from November through March, with the peak number of cases often occurring in February. The number of people affected every year can vary widely, but generally, the CDC reports that "millions of people are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu every year."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb162017

For children who survive gun violence, healing from a bullet wound is just 'the beginning of their suffering'

Handout via WLS(CHICAGO) — Three children have died from gun violence in Chicago this week, a city that has seen a record number of shootings and homicides in the last year.

There were 762 homicides and 4,367 shootings in Chicago in 2016, police said. Of those shot, 76 where children younger than 15 years old, according to data from the Chicago Tribune.

Since Jan. 1, 2017, shootings are up 8 percent in the city, and nine children younger than 15 years old have been shot, the Tribune reported.

The recent killings have taken a toll on the community, and even the most hardened of law enforcement officers.

"When this violence touches the innocent or the young, that is when it is no longer just a part of your job," Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference on Wednesday. "It becomes personal."

Johnson announced the arrest of a suspect in one of the three shootings. He said that Antwan Jones, 19, was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, who was struck in the head by a stray bullet on Saturday while sitting in the back seat of a car. She died in a hospital on Tuesday.

Just less than 30 minutes before Holmes was shot, a 12-year-old girl named Kanari Bowers was caught in a crossfire, according to authorities. Kanari had been playing basketball outside at an elementary school when a stray bullet struck her in the head. She died in the hospital on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a 2-year-old boy named Lavontay White was fatally shot in the head in a gang-related incident that was streamed in part on Facebook Live, according to police.

The deaths this week are a window into the violence many young kids in Chicago face on a regular basis.

For those who do survive — and for those who have to live with the pain of losing a friend or classmate, or witnessing a violent incident — the road to recovery and healing can be a long and difficult one, according to child trauma experts.

"We think that the incident is over after their bullet wounds recover, but really, this is just the beginning of their suffering," said clinical psychologist and Loyola University Chicago criminology professor Arthur Lurigio of children who survive gun violence.

"When the physical wound is repaired, there's still another wound -- one that can be lifelong," Lurigio told ABC News. "Once a child has been shot, their illusion of safety is completely and utterly shattered."

That shaken sense of safety can lead to a wide array of symptoms, including many that are a part of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Maryam Kia-Keating, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara.

"They may be struggling with distressing memories of what happened, such as having nightmares and flashbacks, and this can make it difficult to concentrate and pay attention," Kia-Keating told ABC News. "They can experience hyper-arousal, which is when you are more likely to have a startled response or be very frightened in situations where you are not necessarily facing the same threat, but you feel like that same threat is there."

Other symptoms include trouble eating and sleeping and experiencing aches and pains that aren't related to an acute illness, Kia-Keating said.

Both Kia-Keating and Lurigio emphasized that trauma almost always extends beyond the child who has survived being shot.

"It's important to view trauma as happening to an entire community," Lurigio said. "Classmates and friends of a child who was shot can also feel traumatized ... so it's also important that schools have the necessary resources to help kids cope with these kinds of tragic incidents."

Moreover, adults who are parents of a child who survived a shooting can also be affected.

"It's important for parents, teachers and caregivers to know that if they're not taking care of themselves first, they will be compromised in their ability to take care of children," Kia-Keating said. "These incidents can be just as frightening and disconcerting for adults as well, and sometimes adults can even struggle more with them."

First responders and law enforcement officers, who often witness extreme levels of violence on a daily basis, may experience second-hand trauma and burn-out, Kia-Keating pointed out.

Despite the challenges that surround the road to recovery for children and their loved ones affected by gun violence, "there is hope," according to Robin Gurwitch, a professor of psychology at Duke University Medical Center.

"Unlike a broken arm, we can't say everything will be hunky-dory within six to eight weeks," Gurwitch told ABC News. "Recovering from psychological trauma doesn't have that kind of a clock or time frame, but we do know that healing is possible."

Gurwitch said that there a variety of "very, very effective treatments out there" for children who have been exposed to trauma, and the "dissemination of those kinds of treatments is growing."

"Of course, they aren't as widespread as we'd like them to be, but they're growing, and there's been a huge leap of awareness about trauma and how it affects children and what can be done to help," she said. Gurwitch added that many types of therapies are "relatively short," such as parent-child interaction therapy, which is generally completed within 20 sessions.

"The biggest roadblock in the way to treatment is the continued stigma that surrounds mental health services," she said. "A lot of times, parents may think getting mental health treatment for themselves or their children is a sign of weakness or that 'something's wrong.'"

But, Gurwitch said, seeking help and mental health services is actually "such a huge sign of strength."

"If you have a cold, you go to the doctor, and likewise, if you've been exposed to trauma, it's important to go seek treatment for that too," she said. "There are great resources out there, and it takes great strength to seek them."

Anyone seeking help or resources for a child dealing with traumatic stress can visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's website here.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb162017

Your Body: Facts about the flu virus

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

The only thing that’s predictable about the flu is that we will have a flu season every year.

January through March tends to be peak flu season, so if you haven’t already gotten the vaccine, it’s not too late. It takes about two weeks for it to do its work, so the sooner the better.

And there’s good news: This year, the particular strain that we’re seeing is included in the new vaccine.  

There are so many myths about the flu and the flu shot, but I want you to know the facts:

  • The vaccine cannot give you the flu virus because it doesn’t contain live virus.
  • While it’s only about 65 percent effective in preventing the flu, the vaccine can decrease symptoms and severity if you do get sick.
  • If you do get the flu, you could miss weeks of work and infect others, so I recommend you take this seriously.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb152017

Transplant patient holds her own heart after life-saving operation

Ugreen/iStock/Thinkstock(NEWARK, N.J.) -- For decades, Lisa Salberg, 48, has grappled with complications from a dangerous form of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. She had a stroke at 21 and multiple
operations over the years to try and preserve her heart.

After her heart began to fail, her doctors decided she need a transplant. She was placed on the organ donor list last November. Earlier this month, Salberg was matched to a new heart and underwent
the life-saving transplant surgery.

But, before she went into the operating room she had an unusual request for her surgeon: save the damaged heart.

Salberg has been an activist for heart disease research and started the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association after her sister died from the same heart disease she was diagnosed with at 12 years
old. In total, five of her family members have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscles enlarge and cause the ventricles to thicken.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, between 600,000 and 1.5 million people are afflicted with the disorder in the U.S., or one in 500 people.

Salberg said she wanted her damaged heart to become a tool to raise awareness of the condition and educate others.

"We were friends for 48 years," Salberg said about her heart.

Her transplant surgeon at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Margarita Camacho, said she was surprised by the request.

"I've never had anybody ask that, the first thing I thought was how wonderful she wanted to do that," Camacho told ABC News.

Four days after her surgery, Salberg's husband and Camacho presented Salberg with her original heart, which had been preserved by freezing. After nearly a lifetime of hearing her heart beat extra
loudly in her chest, she said she was surprised to see what the damaged organ looked like in person.

"I was struck by the density and the weight to it," Salberg said. "It was really, really heavy."

While Salberg said she initially greeted her damaged heart with a profanity, she also felt grateful that it had been functional long enough to get her through until her transplant.

"I said, 'Thank you, you worked hard for 48 years,'" Salberg told ABC News. "It [was] with me every moment of the day of my life, it was nice to be able to say goodbye."

Salberg said that, after the transplant, she instantly felt a difference in her energy and overall well-being. The renewed energy has pushed her to focus on the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Association and help others who are afflicted with the same conditions she has.

"The reality clicked in I have an entire community of people who feel badly," Salberg said, referring to other people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. "I have an entire life ahead of me to
find ways to improve their health and I'm doubling down. You ain't seen nothing yet."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb152017

Cluster of rat-related disease discovered in section of NY; One dead

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A rare bacterial outbreak in New York City linked to rats has infected three people, one of whom died, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The cluster of three people in one city block of the Bronx borough were diagnosed with leptospirosis after becoming severely ill within the last two months, the department reported Tuesday. One of the infected people, a man in his 30s, died.

"The Health Department has identified a cluster of three cases of leptospirosis on one block in the Concourse area of the Bronx," officials from the New York City Health Department said in a statement Tuesday. "Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is most commonly spread by contact with rat urine and is very rarely spread from person to person. This illness can be serious, but is treatable with readily available antibiotics."

Two of the patients were diagnosed in December and one was diagnosed in February, the department said, after they were hospitalized with acute liver and kidney failure.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira interrogans, which is found in nature. The bacteria can cause infection if they enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth or through open wounds or cuts in the skin. It is often spread by rat or other animal urine and can cause fever, headache, chills, vomiting or diarrhea. In rare cases, the disease causes severe complications in the kidney or liver that can result in organ failure and death.

New York City had 26 cases of leptospirosis between 2006 and 2016, averaging between one to three cases per year, the department added. All but one were men.

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 to 15 percent "of untreated cases can progress to a more severe and potentially fatal stage." Normally the entire city sees just one to three cases in a year, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Health department officials said they were working with the New York City Housing Preservation and Development and the Buildings Departments to lower the rat population in the area and educate residents about the disease.

City officials advise concerned residents to avoid contact with rats or places where rats may have urinated, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, use a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water to clean possibly affected areas and wear shoes and protective gear in rat-prone locations.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb152017

Your Body: Is there a link between where you live and dementia?

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

There are plenty of downsides to living near a major roadway -- it’s noisy, it’s not as private and it can be dangerous for kids. But a new study suggests that it may also increase your risk for developing dementia.

Researchers in Canada followed two million people over 11 years. They found that patients who lived close to major roadways had a 7 percent higher risk for developing dementia.

Researchers believe that traffic-related air pollution and noise were two of the possible reasons for this uptick in risk.

Now, obviously, we need much more research here, so here’s my take when it comes to the relationship between your environment and your health:

  • We can’t always choose where we live but we can control how we live.
  • If you want to resuscitate your home environment, start with air quality first. Indoor plants or air purifiers may help.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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