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Deciphering the Signs of Anorexia in the Very Young


iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Until the age of 10, twins Reagan and Grace Freeman were like two peas in a pod living in a Houston, Texas, suburb.

After they moved to another state, their mother, Cindy Freeman, noticed that Reagan started rejecting foods she used to love, exercised nonstop and complained daily of a stomachache.

Believing her daughter was reacting negatively to the move, Freeman tried to take her to a psychiatrist but ran into a roadblock. “I called every psychiatrist in the city and no one would see her until she was 11,” she told ABC News.

Determined to get her daughter treated, Freeman then brought her to a medical doctor.

“He said, ‘Well, she’s a little on the thin side. She just needs to eat more,’” Freeman said.

She said he didn’t recognize how serious Reagan’s situation was, despite her losing 30 pounds in a six-month period.

Freeman finally began calling eating-disorder clinics across the country in an effort to get a psychiatric recommendation.  One by one, each of the clinics told her Reagan needed more than a psychiatrist; she needed to get admitted to inpatient treatment immediately.

Reagan was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a classified mental illness. She was just 10.

Experts say the national focus on obesity has meant that doctors and parents aren’t trained to look for treat eating disorders in the very young. An estimated 33,000 U.S. children between the ages of 8 and 15 are diagnosed with eating disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes for Mental Health.

Doctors say the distinction between healthy activity and overexercising can be hard to recognize in children. It can also be difficult for doctors and parents to distinguish between a child’s predilection for picky eating and a drastic change in eating patterns, they said.

In Reagan’s case, she often jogged in circles inside her room and ran four miles a day while walking the dog. She then started throwing away her lunch at school or hiding food in toilet paper dowels.

“We would spend two hours just trying to get food down her stomach,” Freeman said.

Reagan once sat at the table for more than four hours until she ate dinner. “It’s hard for someone to eat food and there’s this voice inside their head telling them not to,” Reagan said.

Verbally expressing concerns about weight gain is crucial in diagnosing adults and adolescents but young children often don’t have words for what is at the root of the illness: fear of weight gain and distorted body image.

After spending three months at an inpatient facility 1,000 miles away in Colorado, Reagan returned home before Thanksgiving. The whole family is involved in her ongoing recovery.

“It’s hard on her sister....Everyone has to watch her during every snack and every mealtime. She’s gotten very good at hiding and sneaking and throwing things away,” Freeman said.

Working with a nutritionist and therapists, the Freemans attend family-based therapy, also known as the Maudsley Approach. It has a 50 percent to 60 percent full recovery rate within a year, according to a 2013 Journal of Adolescent Health study.

It encourages parents to take the reins, counterintuitive to a doctor’s inclination to take over, but, parents and experts told ABC News, the method has shown the most effective results.

“It’s getting easier,” Reagan said of her recovery process. She said she still thinks about her eating disorder “a lot.”

Reagan and her family came forward with their struggle because they hope it will help other families who have children struggling with anorexia.

F.E.A.S.T., or Families Empowered and Supporting Treating of Eating Disorders, is a nonprofit organization helping families overcome eating disorders.

The group provides a 24-7 online forum for families and sufferers of the disease, a localized list of eating disorder support groups, a recipe book geared toward those recovering from eating disorders and countless other resources to educate people on eating disorders and the recovery process.

Freeman advised parents to “open your eyes and look.”

“Don’t listen to necessarily what a doctor or a psychiatrist or anyone else tells you, because you know your kid better than anyone,” she said. “And don’t think, ‘No, this can’t be an eating disorder, they’re too young.’ Go get help.”

To learn more about F.E.A.S.T., visit here.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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UK Doctor: 'I'd Rather Have HIV than Diabetes'


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A U.K. doctor has stirred up controversy after writing an op-ed in the U.K. paper The Spectator where he argued that he’d "rather have HIV than diabetes."

Dr. Max Pemberton, author of The Doctor Will See You Now and who works in mental health, wrote the article to highlight how having diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, can be thought of as “worse” than being HIV-positive, which is now often treated as a chronic, and not necessarily fatal, disease.

“The risk of stroke in newly treated type 2 diabetes is more than double that of the general [U.K.] population,” Pemberton wrote in his article. “To put it starkly, the latest statistics show that because of Haart (Antiretroviral medications), HIV now no longer reduces your life expectancy, while having type 2 diabetes typically reduces it by ten years. But this isn’t an easy thing to say publicly.”

Pemberton highlighted facts such as the life expectancy in the U.K. for those with HIV is only minimally lower.

However, at least one expert says that Pemberton’s argument does a disservice to both diabetes and HIV, by arguing that one life-threatening disease is “better” than another. Dr. Kenneth Mayer, professor of medicine at Harvard University and medical research director at Fenway Health Clinic, which provides primary and specialized HIV/AIDS care, noted the two diseases are very different in how they are acquired and treated.

“My whole point [is it] shouldn’t be either or. They’re both important,” said Mayer. “There may be more people at risk for diabetes [globally], but HIV is transmissible,” between people.

Pemberton could not be reached immediately by ABC News for further comment.

One important distinction, experts said, is that Pemberton is speaking as a U.K. citizen. In the United Kingdom, HIV affects far fewer people than in the U.S., with approximately 77,600 people infected in the U.K. versus approximately 1.1 million in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.K. National AIDS Trust.

However, not every expert completely disagreed with Pemberton’s article.

Dr. Joel Gallant, chair of the HIV Medical Association and medical director of specialty services at Southwest Care Center in Santa Fe, N.M., said the statement is not preposterous if you look at how effective HIV/AIDS medications are today in comparison to the treatment options for diabetic patients.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to interpret my words as wanting to have HIV. ...We don’t know, for example, that a person with HIV, even very well controlled, is going to have the same exact quality of life as someone without it,” said Gallant. “Nobody should think of it as a non-issue [but] as chronic diseases go the treatment for this is better than most.”

But Mayer said it’s important the articles such as Pemberton's don’t make people complacent about the status of HIV treatment in this country or globally.

“I’m not very happy with the article. I think comparing two serious illnesses is not very useful,” said Mayer, who explained there are still many hurdles towards treating people with HIV in the U.S.

Although Mayer concedes Pemberton's point that medications have made HIV very manageable, he said it has been difficult to effectively diagnose people who have the disease.

According to the CDC, about 25 percent of people with HIV are successfully keeping their virus under control through medication. Worldwide, fewer than 11 million people are being treated while more than 35 million people have the disease, according to UNAIDS.

Rates of HIV infection in the U.S. have remained about the same since around the mid-1990s at about 50,000 new infections every year, according to the CDC. And according to a 2011 CDC report, there are still around 15,000 deaths from HIV/AIDs in the U.S. every year.

Mayer said approximately 20 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. do not realize they are infected with the disease and it can be years before they show symptoms. Additionally, while medication has been shown to help keep the disease in check, experts are concerned about the effects of long-term use.

“That again is why I’m not so thrilled about the article,” said Mayer. “We don’t know what long-term consequences of HIV combined with aging. HIV might lead to higher risk of cardiovascular [complications.]”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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French Lab Loses Thousands of Vials of Deadly SARS Virus


iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

The Pasteur Institute in Paris, France announced this week that it realized it was missing the vials and contacted the country’s National Security Agency of Medicines and Health Products to conduct an investigation on April 8, according to a news release.

Although the fragments are not dangerous, they do raise concerns by revealing the lab’s vulnerability, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"It’s actually not in itself so scary but you wonder about the procedures in that laboratory,” said Schaffner, who is also a former president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “Could that lab and perhaps others actually misplace vials that have the complete virus so that it might escape?”

SARS, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, sickened more than 8,000 people a decade ago, and as researchers started to study it, some of them acquired the illness, Schaffner said. That was when they realized they needed to be more careful with it.

There have been no reported cases since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, SARS as a whole virus is considered a “select agent,” meaning it has the “potential to pose a severe threat to both human and animal health, to plant health, or to animal and plant products,” according to CDC.

Its symptoms start out seeming like the flu with a fever and chills, but within a week they progress to a higher fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic.

The virus is believed to have originated in Chinese horseshoe bats in 2002 before spreading to cats sold at animal markets for food, and then spreading to humans. The outbreak in Hong Kong brought it to global attention, and it spread to two dozen countries, according to the CDC.

Schaffner said the virus fragments were stored in a in a lab refrigerator and forgotten about until the lab did inventory. He said the best case scenario is that they were accidentally incinerated and destroyed. The worst case scenario is that we will never know what happened to them.

“It reminds us that each and every lab must have rigorous safety procedures,” Schaffner said. “People must be trained, and there has to be good supervision.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Digital Mirror Reveals Internal Organs


iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- By combining Microsoft Kinect’s motion-capture camera with medical imaging tests, French researchers have created a “digital mirror” that appears to peel back the skin of users and expose their organs.

Scientists from the University of Paris-South collected high-resolution images from the Pet scans, X-Rays and MRI scans of volunteers. Using the Kinect camera to track the movement of two dozen joints, they were able to translate the medical images into life-like animations and then project them onto the mirror-like screen. When users stepped in front of the mirror, they were treated to what looked like the insides of their bodies moving in real time.

Not surprisingly, users had a mixed reaction to the inside out reflections. In one experiment, the researchers left 30 people alone with the mirror for several minutes. Women seemed especially creeped out by the experience, with some gasping and covering their chests to block the view. About a third of people of both sexes were so uncomfortable they were reluctant to let anyone else have a look.

“When you’re a child and you discover your own image in front of the mirror, you don’t know it’s you,” lead researcher Xavier Maître told New Scientist Magazine. “The initial reaction to the digital mirror is often similar. It’s as if you’re inside your body. You’re discovering something that belongs to you.”

Maître said the device was built to “explore the philosophical questions about how we relate to our bodies” but believes it could eventually prove useful for doctors to help their patients emotionally prepare for surgery. As he told New Scientist, “Normally, the physician might show you an image of a CT or MRI of your body, but it is not in relation to your actual body. It might as well be someone else’s CT. If you’re able to actually relate it to some parts of your body, it may give you a little more information about where the problem is.”

This mirror isn’t the only gadget being used to reflect an alternate reality in the name of medicine. The “Mirracle” mirror developed by the Technical University in Munich, Germany projects slices of medical graphics directly onto a person’s body for the purpose of helping both surgeons and patients visualize what will take place during an operation. Another project is underway at George Washington University which will employ similar technology to show preliminary images of the body’s insides so that surgeons can keep their hands sterile as they map out a surgical plan.

Up next, the French research group will program in a beating heart and expanding lungs to make their images even more realistic.  They will display the mirror and present their findings at the Computer-Human Interaction conference in Toronto, Canada later this month.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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No Shots, No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Unvaccinated kids could spend 25 days at home if someone at their school develops mumps -- a contagious disease making the rounds in Columbus, Ohio.

At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus, which causes fever, aches and swollen glands.

The outbreak emerged at Ohio State University in January, but has since spread off-campus.

“Clearly we’re seeing a very large number of cases of mumps associated with what was first an outbreak at Ohio State and now is now a community outbreak,” said Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health. “We continue to be concerned about those who are unprotected; those who do not have their two doses of MMR.”

The MMR vaccine guards against measles, mumps and rubella. A single dose, administered around a child’s first birthday, immunizes 95 percent of kids who get it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a second dose, given before the child starts school, covers virtually all of the remaining 5 percent.

But not all kids are vaccinated, allowing the disease to spread through schools.

“In Columbus and Franklin County, we have at least 17 cases and growing in schools,” Rodriguez said, adding that no one school has seen more than two cases yet. “That’s when we are get really concerned, because then it becomes a cluster.”

To quash mumps clusters in public schools, any child who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine will have to stay home for 25 days -- the incubation period of mumps -- if someone at their school contracts the virus.

“The incubation period of the disease can be as long as 25 days,” said Rodriguez, explaining that schools were notified Tuesday of the 25-day rule. “We hope that parents will give it some consideration, and if their children aren’t vaccinated, they’re able to protect them before we have an outbreak.”

Ohio requires public school children to be vaccinated, but allows medical and philosophical exemptions.

“Some children have medical conditions that don’t allow them to get vaccines,” Rodriguez said. “In the event of outbreak in a school, we want to make sure we have as many kids protected as we can.”

An estimated 1.3 percent of Ohio kindergartners have non-medical exemptions, according to CDC data.

While most mumps sufferers recover after a week or two, the disease can cause serious complications like inflammation of the testicles, ovaries and brain as well as deafness, according to the CDC.

Rodriguez said he hopes the new 25-day rule will serve as a stark warning to parents about the importance of vaccines.

“We want them to know they can go ahead and get their children vaccinated now if they haven’t,” he said. “That way kids can stay in school and learn.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Smoking Marijuna May Lead to Brain Changes, Study Says


Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some people might want to rethink their views about marijuana being relatively harmless, a new study from medical school researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests.

Anne Blood, a senior study co-author, said, "There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem -- that it is a safe drug. We are seeing that this is not the case."

For the study, the researchers examined the parts of the brain that control emotion and motivation of people ages 18-25 who don't smoke pot and those who use it casually.

What they found was abnormalities in two neural regions of the brains of the marijuana smokers, even those who use as little as the equivalent of one joint a week.

More studies will be necessary to determine how this reshaping of the brain might affect pot smokers over the long-term but for now the researchers say the findings indicate that those who believe marijuana isn't harmful may be in for a rude awakening.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Cat Owners Should Avoid Displaying Easter Lilies


Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s that time of year when people adorn their homes with the flowers of the holiday season, such as Easter lilies.

But while these flowers might look great on your coffee table, they can be murder on your cats -– literally.

Health officials at the Federal Drug Administration warn cat owners to keep Easter lilies -- and in fact, all flowers in the lily family -- out of the reach of cats because the animals can become deathly ill if they happen to chew on the petals or leaves.

FDA veterinarian Melanie McLean says toxins in lilies cause kidney failure in cats, which may start as vomiting, followed by frequent urination and then failure to urinate. Death can result within four-to-seven days after ingesting the toxins.

At the first sign of illness, cat owners should bring their pet to the vet, who will treat it with intravenous liquids to keep the kidneys functioning.

While dogs aren’t as susceptible to getting sick from Easter lilies, a Lily of the Valley is dangerous as well to canines. Other plants pets should stay away from are aloe vera, Daphne, Kalanchoe, foxglove and yew bushes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Formerly Conjoined Twins Leave Dallas Hospital


Jenni and David Ezell(DALLAS) -- Jenni Ezell, the mother of conjoined twins who will be released from Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas on Tuesday, said the family feels "relief, joy and elation."

The Ezell twins, Owen and Emmitt, were born joined from their breastbone to their hipbones, sharing several organs, including their liver and intestines. Doctors told the Ezells their babies would probably not survive for very long. If they did, it was likely they would undergo multiple painful medical procedures.

Now 9 months old, the baby boys are doing great, Ezell said. They’re being sent to a rehab facility in Dallas for several weeks to several months before finally going home to spend time with their two older brothers, 2-year-old Liam and 7-year-old Ethan.

The twins were successfully separated six weeks after their birth in August. During the nine-hour surgery, a team of surgeons separated the liver and intestines, with the most difficult part being the separation of a shared blood vessel in the liver.

Dr. Tom Renard, the lead pediatric separation surgeon, said the boys have more than doubled their size since birth and are alert and thriving. Infection is always a concern but he said he was encouraged by their progress.

“You can never predict what can happen but these little guys are definitely survivors,” he said.

David Ezell, the father of the twins, said the family is relieved the babies are leaving the hospital, but they’re nervous, too.

“I’ll finally have my family together but we are about to face some serious challenges,” he said. “The really frightening life-or-death stuff is behind us but now we worry how about how we are going to pull the rest of it off.”

In the rehab facility, the Ezells will learn to juggle diaper duty with cleaning tracheal tubes, managing the home ventilator that helps the babies breathe and working with the boys on rehabilitation exercises. Jenni Ezell said the task is daunting but that she’s looking forward to caring for her children without relying on a team of doctors and nurses for help.

“I think my 7-year-old will at least help with diaper duty, though I guess it depends on what kind of diaper we’re talking about,” she joked.

Jenni Ezell said she’s grateful that one of the biggest challenges they now face is learning to tell the identical tots apart. The hospital staff painted their nails to make identification easier. Dave Ezell said anyone who spends a little time around them can easily tell them apart from the different personalities:

“Owen opens his eyes a little bit wider and is a little more excitable. Emmitt is more relaxed. His eyes are usually softer and more closed.”

Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 deliveries, the doctor said. Renard said odds of survival for conjoined twins are typically around 40 to 50 percent.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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‘Glow’ Parties Projecting the Wrong Kind of Light?


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With throbbing lights and crowds of kids, privately promoted events known as “glow” parties are quickly becoming the go-to parties for teens across the country.

The parties are billed as safe and alcohol-free events for kids as young as 16.

In a new warning, however, officials say the parties, which come with up to a $40 entry fee, are not always just about music and dancing.

“Molly is a drug we have seen being available at many of these ‘glow’ parties,” Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, told ABC News.

Molly is a form of Ecstasy that has been linked to overdoses and is mentioned frequently in pop culture and music.  Molly, short for molecule, is supposed to be the purest form of MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy.

“Glow” party-goers are using the party’s signature glow sticks to get more from the drug, officials say.

“The glow sticks that they use, the neon colors, enhance the effects of the drug Molly,” said Andrew Carey, the acting prosecutor for Middlesex County, N.J.

Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey told ABC News they are now increasing their monitoring of “glow” parties and similar events after several attendees needed hospitalization after using Molly.

Officials say they have increased the police presence outside of clubs where the parties are taking place and are doing outreach to educate parents.

Party promoters, some of whom, officials say, have hired their own private ambulances in order to avoid calling 911, tell ABC News they are creating a safe environment for teens and don’t condone illegal drug use.

“We have a countless number of procedures put in place to ensure a secure environment for our customers and peace of mind for parents,” HyperGlow Tour LLC, which bills itself as “America’s largest touring EDM glow party,” said in a statement to ABC News.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Team Hoyt to Run Last Boston Marathon


Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Team Hoyt has become a fixture on the Boston Marathon course, but after running it more than 30 times, the father-and-son team has decided it’s time to say goodbye.

Dick Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair for their first race in 1977. It was a five-miler, but soon the duo went on to compete in 1,100 athletic events, including more than 30 Boston Marathons. But now that Dick Hoyt is 74 and Rick is 52, they believe it’s time to slow down.

For Dick Hoyt, the best part has been watching people first accept Rick and then embrace him.

“When Rick was born, they said, ‘Forget him. Put him away. Put him in an institution. He’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life,’" Dick Hoyt told ABC News. “And here he is. He’s 52 years old and we haven’t figured out what kind of vegetable he is yet.”

Rick Hoyt graduated from high school and college, and Team Hoyt has inspired people all over the world, Dick Hoyt said.

After their first race, Rick Hoyt told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

Their first marathon was the Boston Marathon, and if Rick Hoyt could only do one race a year, he's told his father it would be that one.

Their fans stand along the 26.2-mile route holding Team Hoyt signs.

During last year’s marathon, they learned about the bombs at mile 23 and tried to run to the finish line to make sure their families and their foundation members were OK. A Good Samaritan offered to drive them to their hotel, but they had to leave Rick Hoyt’s wheelchair, which wound up in the crime zone and unavailable for two or three days, Dick Hoyt said.

“So, he got to sit in his father's lap for five hours,” Dick Hoyt said.

Still, the following morning, they decided to run the Boston Marathon in 2014 in honor of the bombing victims. It’s Rick Hoyt’s favorite race, after all.

"Boston was very strong last year and they’re going to be a lot stronger this year," Dick Hoyt said. "There’s no doubt about it. I just love Boston and the people who live in Boston."

He said he was impressed by the way the city handled the bombing.

"And there were like 5,500 runners behind us and people were coming out of their homes and feeding these people and letting them use their bathrooms and everything else," he said. "It was just amazing the way it was handled."

He said running their final Boston Marathon will be emotional, but they're looking forward to it.

“We’re going to be happy that we finished it,” Dick Hoyt said. “And we’re going to be so happy to see all our runners and family members are going to be there.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Brides Say ‘No’ to Makeup for Their Wedding Day


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Beyonce flaunted her natural beauty while on vacation in the Dominican Republic this week -- and countless other celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga and Cameron Diaz have all posted fresh-faced selfies for the world to see.

But would you go makeup-free for your wedding day?

For Carolynn Markey’s big day, she did just that. She says she typically doesn’t wear any makeup and didn’t want to change just because it was her wedding.

“I wore flowers in my hair, I wore a really pretty white dress, I wore heels,” Markey, of Lynchburg, Va., told ABC News of her November 2012 nuptials. “I wanted to look presentable for my wedding day, but didn’t feel like makeup was part of that process.”

Now, more and more brides are ditching the base, blush and smokey eye to look more natural for their big day.

“I think it’s a big trend for brides and couples alike to want to feel as much like themselves as possible on their wedding day,” Anja Winika, TheKnot.com’s site director, explained.

Bridal experts partially attribute the shift to celebrity brides wearing a more natural look on their wedding day, from Anne Hathaway to Keira Knightly.

But if wearing no makeup seems extreme, maybe try just minimal makeup. “Wear a little mascara, a little eyeliner, some blush goes a long way,” said Winika.

As for Markey, 27, she says she didn’t need makeup to be a blushing bride.

“I don’t think you need to wear makeup to look beautiful,” she said. “On my wedding day, I felt amazingly beautiful and I was shaking in anticipation and I was completely shocked I was getting married.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Boston Bomb Victim Dances Her Way Back Despite Prosthetic Foot


Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Adrianne Haslet-Davis went to last year’s Boston Marathon with her husband to celebrate his safe return from Afghanistan. But 6,500 miles away from the war zone, a bomb went off in their own neighborhood.

“I wrapped my arms around him, underneath his arms, around his chest, and I said: ‘The next one’s going to hit.’ And I buried my head in his chest. And it hit,” Haslet-Davis told ABC News recently.

Haslet-Davis, 33, was a professional ballroom dancer. The bomb severely damaged her left foot.

“I remember them saying ‘You might have lost your leg,’ and I said, ‘No, no, that's not going to happen. I'm a dancer,’” said Haslet-Davis, 33, of Boston.

Doctors ultimately had to amputate her foot.

But Haslet-Davis teamed up with MIT bionic limb wizard Hugh Herr to waltz her back to the dance floor.

Herr became a double amputee in 1982 after becoming stranded on Mount Washington for four days in minus 20 degree weather. He vowed to climb mountains again, and by developing specialized prosthetic feet, he became a better climber than he was before the accident, he wrote in an essay for the Wall Street Journal. In that essay, he pledged to help Haslet-Davis.

He had 200 days to make the perfect bionic limb foot for a dancer, which would be difficult, Herr told ABC News. Most bionic limbs are built for the repetitive motion of walking, but dancing is different, he said. The steps, turns and dips required a limb that could do more than repeat the same motion over and over.

But he did it.

Haslet-Davis danced for an audience for the first time in nearly a year when she performed last month at the TEDx convention, a conference that celebrates new and innovative ideas.

“In 3.5 seconds, the criminals and cowards took Adrianne off the dance floor,” Herr said from the stage before the performance. “In 200 days, we put her back.”

Backstage, Haslet-Davis became emotional, but a stage manager gave her some tissues and a few words of encouragement.

“We stopped for a quick second and stood in front of the curtain before we walked out, and I just started bawling,” Haslet-Davis told ABC News afterward. “Before the dance even started, I wasn't going to let this stop me. When I think I can't do something, I just tell myself I'm not going to let them win.”

She danced the rumba with her partner, Christian Lightner, while Herr watched from the wing.

“I recognized my passion prior to my limb loss was climbing, and it was an amazing experience to build technology and be successful in returning to climbing,” Herr told ABC News. “I’m kind of reliving that through Adrianne...Her expression when she has an opportunity to move and dance again, it’s absolute joy.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Pregnancy Weight Has ‘Goldilocks Effect’ on Baby’s Obesity Risk


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women who gain more or less weight than recommended during pregnancy give birth to kids with an increased risk of childhood obesity, new research suggests.

Researchers found that normal-weight women who gained more weight than recommended had children who were 80 percent more likely to become obese. On the other side, normal-weight women who fell short of the recommended weight-gain guidelines were 63 percent more likely to have had a child who will eventually become overweight or obese, according to the study published Monday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Call it the “Goldilocks effect” in pregnancy weight gain. And while research is uncovering numerous factors that can influence the risk of childhood obesity, the results of this new study suggest that weight gain during pregnancy is an important factor.

Indeed, while only 14 percent of children born to women who gained the right amount of weight according to recommendations set forth by the Institute of Medicine were overweight or obese, 20 percent of the children born to women who gained more weight than recommended were above a healthy weight themselves. And 19 percent of the children born to moms who did not gain enough weight while pregnant were overweight or obese.

Obese children are more likely to have more medical problems earlier in life, and most will remain obese into adulthood, according to past research.

“We need to find ways to help women achieve appropriate weight gain -- for her health and the child’s -- during pregnancy,” said study author Monique Hedderson of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, who added that the notion that a woman is eating for two is a misconception.

“Sixty percent of women gain too much during pregnancy, and there needs to be more intervention to help women achieve a healthier weight gain during pregnancy,” she said.

More surprising, perhaps, is the idea that women who do not gain enough weight have children who face similar obesity risks as those born to women who gain too much.

“Women that come to clinic that are self-conscious about weight gain during pregnancy, we now have data that shows that not gaining enough is an actual detriment to both the mom and child,” said Dr. Amanda Calhoun, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente who has worked with the research group. “This study shows that, for clinicians, we need to take the Institute of Medicine seriously about the benefit of target range weight gain for both mom and child.”

In 2009, the Institute of Medicine created an updated set of guidelines regarding weight gain in pregnancy. According to the guidelines, obese women should gain 11 to 20 pounds over the course of a pregnancy. Overweight weight women should gain 15 to 25 pounds, normal-weight women 25 to 35 pounds, and underweight women 28 to 40 pounds.

The study is an important reminder that pregnant women should keep an eye on weight gain, both for their health and for their baby’s, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.

“We know in obstetrics that a mother’s weight gain can and does have important fetal and neonatal effects,” said Ashton, who is also a practicing ob-gyn. ”The take-home message here is that pregnant women should strive for the middle ground: ‘average’ weight gain during pregnancy: not too little, and certainly not too much.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Mom Whose Child Died of Chicken Pox Advocates for Vaccines


Shannon Duffy Peterson(NEW YORK) -- Abby Peterson was just a few weeks shy of her sixth birthday in 2001 when she caught a severe case of chicken pox that made her so weak that she came down with pneumonia, her mother recalled. Her little body couldn’t fight against two infections and after 10 agonizing hours in the hospital, she died in her mother’s arms.

Both chicken pox and pneumonia are preventable with vaccines, but Abby’s mom, Shannon Duffy Peterson, who lives in the rural area of Sleepy Eye, Minn., said her pediatrician steered her away from vaccinating her daughter.

“I asked for them and my doctor talked me out of it,” Duffy Peterson recalled. “He said vaccines were too new and recommended I expose my children to diseases instead because he felt they could build up their immunity naturally.”

Duffy Peterson said that she wishes she had questioned the doctor’s recommendations more forcefully. It was only discovered after an autopsy that Abby was born without a spleen, an organ that is an essential part of the immune system. This made her especially vulnerable to germs and viruses, Duffy Peterson said.

Since Abby’s death, Duffy Peterson has become a pro-vaccine crusader, speaking before the Minnesota legislature and helping to pass laws requiring childhood immunization in the state. She said that the small but vocal minority of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for fear of adverse reactions including autism are well-intentioned but irresponsible.

“Not vaccinating is not taking full medical care of your child,” she said.

Most of the medical establishment agrees completely with Duffy Peterson. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and dozens of other public health groups have stressed for years that vaccines are safe and necessary. They also say that the large majority of children must be immunized to protect both individuals and whole communities with so-called “herd immunity” from diseases such as measles, mumps and chicken pox.

“From a scientific point of view this is a closed question,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “Vaccines have virtually wiped out a number of diseases that used to plague this country -- and they do not cause autism.”

Some parents understand the importance of vaccines but are still fearful they may cause harm to a child’s developing immune system. In a recent essay for the Chicago Sun-Times, actress Jenny McCarthy questioned whether a delayed vaccination schedule would be advisable for some children, saying she has never been “anti-vax” but that she does believe that there is a gray area when it comes to the current vaccination schedule laid out by the CDC.

“My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the 'one size fits all' philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule,” McCarthy wrote in her essay. "This is an extremely important discussion and I am dumbfounded that these conversations are discounted and negated because the answers are not black or white. ...God help us all if gray is no longer an option."

But Schaffner said creating worry over the recommended immunization schedule -- up to 24 shots by the age of 2 and up to five pokes per visit -- is misleading and unfounded.

“The area is not gray. There is no injury to children getting vaccinations simultaneously. A child’s immune system is more capable, powerful and flexible than you would think it is,” Schaffner said.

Through a spokeswoman, McCarthy said she had no further comment and asked that the Sun-Times piece speak for itself.

Schaffner said that altering the timing of vaccines may seem like a compromise but it still poses a serious health risk because a child remains susceptible to vaccine preventable illnesses for longer periods of time. He said it also puts others, including people with compromised immunity and even fully vaccinated individuals, at risk by exposing communities at large to preventable diseases. And, he said, delaying vaccinations is more costly and makes it more likely a child never completes the full schedule necessary for protection against disease.

“Vaccines spread out are often vaccines not received,” he said.

Duffy Peterson said she is sure all parents have their children’s best interest at heart but they have to follow the science and make educated choices when it comes to vaccines.

“Not vaccinating can kill your child,” she said. “No one wants to have a child die in their arms when it could have been prevented.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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How Fast You Grow Up Could Affect Tumor Growth


moodboard/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- It's not something anyone thinks about during their teen years but the longer it takes one to reach their full height, the greater the risk of developing certain brain tumors during adulthood.

Add that to the list of adolescent worries.

Study researcher Rebecca Little from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at about 2,600 people, mostly in their 50s, who either had no brain tumor, developed brain and spinal tumors called glioma or another tumor, meningioma, which forms in the brain's lining.

Generally, males reach their full height at 17 while females stop growing at 16. What Little learned was that the risk of developing glioma increased by 14 percent for boys and 11 percent for girls for each year they took to reach full height.

Those who take until year 19 to stop growing are twice as likely to form the glioma tumors than their counterparts who finished their growth spurts at 15.

Little theorized that the increased risk of glioma might have to do with the body being exposed longer to growth hormones. However, since the study only involved people in the southeast, researchers will have to repeat the study in other areas to verify the results.

Gliomas make up 30 percent of all brain and central nervous system tumors and 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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