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Bajak/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) --  Godfrey Cuotto of Hamilton, Ontario, showed a stranger a random act of kindness and is now being applauded for being a Good Samaritan.

The 21-year-old student was photographed holding the hand of a man with special needs in the middle of a crowded bus to comfort him. The photo, which was posted to the Facebook page "Only In Hamilton", has been shared over 50,000 times.

ABC News spoke to Cuotto about the incident. Cuotto said he initially believed the man was asking for a handshake; however, after taking Cuotto's hand, the man "held it tight" and "didn't want to let it go."
"I had to be selfless in that situation," said Cuotto. "He seemed like a happy guy, so I didn’t want to let him down."

Cuotto stayed with the man, known only as Robert, for the entire 30-minute bus ride.

Cuotto said that Robert held his hand, leaned on him, hugged him and kissed his hands as they sat together.

The anonymous poster of the photo was sitting across from Cuotto and Robert.

Cuotto said that two nieces and a sister-in-law of Robert messaged Cuotto on Facebook after reading about his selfless gesture, and thanked the student for being so kind to Robert.

The family also informed Cuotto that Robert suffers from cerebral palsy and is also deaf.

"He had more problems than what I perceived at first," said Cuotto.

The student humbly acknowledged the praise that he's received since the photo of him went viral on the Internet, saying, "I feel thrilled people are recognizing that I did such a good thing, but it's not about the recognition. I don't think I'm a role model or hero, I just hope that I've inspired people to do the same thing."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The family of a Massachusetts teen are taking solace in a moving picture of the teen taken minutes before she collapsed from a fatal brain hemorrhage.

Casey Dunne, 16, was at field hockey practice on Friday when she collapsed suddenly due to a brain hemorrhage. The teen died hours later at a local hospital, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

Casey's father Matthew Dunne said the picture of their daughter has helped the family with their grief since it seemed to show her personality so clearly.

"It was very helpful because what my wife and I saw of her that afternoon was in the worst possible situation," Dunne told ABC News. "To see that photo of her that day and that happy and that joyous and fabulous was a very uplifting."

Dunne said that Casey, who was born on July 1, had always loved everything about the Fourth of July celebrations. Casey, a high school junior, was the middle of five children and loved working as at tutor for low income middle school students, he father said.

"Everything that comes through is how personable she was and how people were drawn to her and my wife has talked about her quiet charisma," Dunne told ABC News.

A funeral will be held for Casey on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Steve Hamblin/Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whether choosing employer-sponsored plans or health exchange coverage, the financial stakes of choosing the right health care plan have been raised even higher this year.

An individual must have some kind of coverage or pay a penalty. For 2016, that's $695 per adult, which will have to be paid the following tax year -- more than double the previous penalty of $325.

With children under the age of 18, who are on the hook for half as much as adults, fees can come to a maximum of $2,085 per household (from $975 previously), or 2.5 percent of taxable income, whichever is greater.

"There’s a danger that people are not going to realize when they start working on their taxes in February, March or April," said Timothy Jost, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Jost urges everyone to get some kind of coverage and offered some tips about what you should know when choosing health care:

1. Deadlines

Know your employer's open enrollment period.

"The basic message is open enrollment is opening soon and people who are not enrolled need to enroll to avoid the much larger penalties for 2016 because it may be too late when they realize," Jost said.

Open enrollment for all healthcare exchanges is earlier for 2016: Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, compared to Nov. 15 to Feb. 15 last year. Individuals may qualify for special enrollment periods beyond this time frame if they have a life event such as getting married, certain changes to your income, having a baby or moving to a new state.

If you want coverage to start right on Jan. 1, you must sign up no later than Dec. 15, said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. If you wait to the end of open enrollment, your new coverage won’t take effect until March 1.

2. Employer-sponsored vs. exchange coverage?

Some employees can decline employer-sponsored insurance and purchase coverage through the exchange if it meets the law's definition of "unaffordable." If the employee's contribution toward a plan is less than 9.5 percent of the employee's individual adjusted gross income, then it is deemed affordable.

An employee with low enough wages may also be eligible for Medicaid, Jost said.

3. Research a plan’s total cost

Don't just price shop, Pollitz said. Some employers offer very minimal benefits, Jost said. What's the out-of-pocket limit? Does your employer offer a Health Savings Account (HSA), which can roll over and is yours to keep?

"When you’re considering different plan deductibles, ask yourself if you could really afford to pay that much in medical bills," Pollitz said. "Often it’s best to pick the most comprehensive plan coverage you can afford."

4. Vocabulary and mechanics

Healthy people who need less care should be more comfortable paying lower premiums (the amount paid for your health plan by you and/or your employer) with less coverage.

"Plans with cheaper premiums tend to have higher deductibles and co-pays, which means if you get sick and need care, you might end up spending more out of pocket for doctor and hospital bills than you saved on your monthly premium," Pollitz said. "So look at both the cost of coverage and the content."

Without appropriate health literacy, Americans may find it more difficult to navigate the health care system, including choosing a health plan or filling out complex forms, said Kinte Ibbott, vice president of health communications at Maximus Center for Health Literacy.

5. Don't forget about providers and drugs

Make sure any doctors and specialists key to you are in a plan's network, that there are enough providers near your home or work and that your prescribed drugs are covered.

Pollitz advises people look at health plan formularies, or the list of prescription drugs a plan will cover. This year the federal marketplace will have a tool to help you search plans that cover drugs you take regularly. In addition to online tools, all plan "Summary of Benefits and Coverage" (including for plans your employer may offer) must include a link to their provider network directory and their drug formulary, Pollitz said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A deadly 2014 Listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples has puzzled researchers attempting to understand how the favorite Halloween treat could be the source of the deadly bacteria.

The 2014 outbreak left at least seven dead and 35 infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, thanks to a new study, scientists think they have cracked the code on how Listeria bacteria can quickly grow on caramel apples even though it rarely grows easily on apples or caramel.

The scientists had been puzzled about why the outbreak was linked to apples, which traditionally are too acidic for Listeria bacteria to grow quickly. Additionally, caramel doesn't often grow the bacteria because of low water content, according to the study.

The new study published this week in the medical journal mBio examines how the Listeria monocytogenes could grow in large numbers. To figure out how the desserts developed the bacteria, the team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Food Research Institute swabbed the apples with the bacteria, then dipped the apples in caramel and, using either sticks or tongs, allowed them to cool.

The apples were then stored for four to six weeks at temperatures ranging from 77 to 44.6 degrees. The researchers were surprised to find that even dipping the apple in hot caramel did not kill all the surface bacteria. And the coating of caramel created an ideal layer for bacteria to grow.

Because Listeria bacteria can grow even in refrigerated temperatures, researchers found that the apples could potentially have caused infection if they were consumed weeks after being made.

"If someone ate those apples fresh, they probably would not get sick," lead study co-author Kathleen Glass, associate director of the Food Research Institute, said in a statement. "But because caramel-dipped apples are typically set out at room temperature for multiple days, maybe up to two weeks, it is enough time for the bacteria to grow."

Additionally, in the apples with sticks, researchers found that bacteria concentrations were found around the stick inside the apple. They theorized that the stick pushed the bacteria into the apple where it was protected from hot caramel and could grow.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, said that while cases of Listeria linked to caramel apples remain low, those concerned can trade in the sweet treat for a fresh apple that is carefully washed with soap in the sink.

He explained that Listeria can be an infection difficult to pin down because the incubation period can be weeks.

"Listeria is an infection that also is a little bit tricky because it can have a long incubation period," Schaffner explained to ABC News. "But Listeria can smolder after you ingest it, you can be sick up to a month later. The illness is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, chills."

In rare cases, the infection can cause meningitis or swelling of the brain and is associated with miscarriage in pregnant women.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A baby who was not expected to live and captured the heart of the Internet last month with her stunning photos has defied all odds, according to her parents and doctor.

The story of Abigail Jones and her family, first reported by ABC News, began when she was diagnosed in utero with deadly brain cancer. Doctors told her parents she would likely die soon after birth and that surgery or chemo would likely kill her. Her parents took her home with pediatric hospice care and waited for what they thought was the inevitable.

But Abigail thrived, her parents said. And while her tumor was in fact still large and present, the baby girl -- who was also born with Down syndrome, also diagnosed before her birth -- continued to grow and develop.

"She is the chillest baby ever," her mother, Erika Jones, told ABC News in September. "She just loves to be held. She watches your face, tracks it with her eyes. She's had her feeding tube removed and is gaining weight."

With every day that passed, her parents said they dared to hope. And despite being told there was nothing to be done, the Jones family found a doctor who felt differently.

"The family was sent home from the hospital in Florida having been given a death sentence for Abigail," Dr. Alan R. Cohen, neurosurgeon-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in an email to ABC News. "They [the Jones family] contacted Boston Children's Hospital and Mark Kieran, chief of neuro-oncology, and I reviewed the MRI and thought the tumor actually might not be malignant. I spoke to mom on the phone and told her that I thought there was enough question about the diagnosis that we should not give Abigail a death sentence."

Last week, the Jones family traveled to Boston. "We repeated an MRI, which again made me suspicious that the tumor was not, in fact, malignant. We operated on Abigail through a left frontoparietal craniotomy and removed the tumor, which, in fact, was benign."

Cohen said he does not believe the tumor will return.

On her Facebook page, Abigail's Joy, her parents' posted: "Praising Him this morning! So consumed with joy. Can't hardly breathe looking at this beautiful girl. My girl. I get to keep you!! I can't wait to see your story unfold. To tell you how you are a living testimony of healing. Amazing. Overwhelmed!"

And as they prepared to leave the hospital Monday: "We can never express how much BCH means to our family. It has changed our lives forever. We are eternally grateful."

Of the future, Cohen said, "Her prognosis is excellent. This is a story with a very sad beginning and a very happy ending."


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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moodboard/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

You've heard of the saying, "You snooze, you lose." But is napping bad or good for you?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But, according to the National Institutes of Health, 40 percent of American adults are sleep deprived -- which is why Google, NASA and The Huffington Post are among those employers encouraging their employees to catch some Z's in sleep pods.

So how can you improve the sleep that you do get?

First, start with a commitment to good sleep hygiene. I know that if I don't get a good sleep on a consistent basis, I can't possibly do all the things that I need to do each day.

Also, taking a pre-bedtime bath, practicing yoga and meditation, and keeping your bedroom dark and cool can help you sleep like a boss.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study in the Journal of Obesity confirms that inmates tend to gain weight while behind bars, but determined that female prison inmates gain far more than do their male counterparts.

In fact, the study revealed that female offenders gained "significantly" more weight than male prisoners, and that race wasn't a factor in the increase.

What's more, the researchers determined that obesity was "prevalent" among female offenders, and that both male and female inmates, "were more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their non-offender counterparts."

Incidentally, a non-profit called Gearing Up is attempting to combat the battle of the bulge with female prisoners by hosting spin classes at various facilities, including California's Riverside Correctional Facility.

The organization also trains women "in transition" -- that is the formerly incarcerated, victims of domestic violence, and recovering addicts -- so that they can enjoy the health, social, and other benefits of biking.  

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, OH) -- One Ohio mom is not happy about what a hospital employee said to her daughter.

Merritt Smith posted a picture of 4-year-old Joni on the Internet covered in bruises after a little boy in her class hit her with a toy metal tea pot.

According to Smith, a hospital employee working at the registration desk told Joni, "I bet he likes you."

She posted on Facebook an open letter to the hospital about how what the worker said could make people believe that violence was acceptable.

"That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior," she said. "My four year old knows 'That's not how we show we like someone. That was not a good choice.'"

Smith continued to say that the employee was in a position of influence, even if they didn't realize it, and she left them with a warning:

"Do Not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her 'I bet he likes you.' NO."

As of Monday night, the post had been shared over 34,000 times.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(LEAVITT, Maine) -- A football injury could've been something a lot worse for one high school teen in Maine.

During the fourth quarter of the football game between Leavitt and Greely on Saturday, Hornets' head coach Mike Hathaway found himself in a situation he was not prepared for, reports ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV.

After suffering a back injury earlier in the game, senior Adam Smith took a hit to the abdomen during a special teams play late in the game.

Once Smith collapsed twice, Dr. Kate Quinn was on hand to treat the football player.

She diagnosed him with a shattered spleen, an injury that became life-threatening as Smith's blood pressure was dropping during the ambulance ride to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, doctors diagnosed the player with a severe Grade 5 injury and he needed surgery.

WMTW-TV reports Smith is doing a lot better now, and he's still being monitored at the hospital but he could be home in the next few days.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Tennessee bride proved she really is on-call 24/7 when she left her wedding to fulfill her duties as a paramedic by responding to a car wreck in the area that involved her own relatives.

"There are a lot of people that are using the word 'hero,'" Sarah Ray of Clarksville, Tennessee, told ABC News on Monday. "I don’t think what we did was heroic. It's just anything that any first-responder would have done.

"We had stopped at accidents before and in regular clothes," she added. "It just so happened that this time, I was in a wedding dress."

Ray, 29, said she received a call Oct. 3 -- an hour after her 4 p.m. 'I do’s’ -- that her father and grandparents had been involved in a collision a few miles away.

"We were still at the church," she said. "Paul [her husband] and I are both paramedics and a lot of our groomsmen and bridesmaids are also. My father, grandmother and grandmother were all riding to the reception and we all stayed behind. We just knew they had been in a wreck and the car had been totaled. We didn't know any injuries at the time."

Ray, who has been a paramedic for five years, said she and her groom jumped into a car and rushed to the scene without a second thought.

Ray said her grandmother was hospitalized for a short time because of injuries to her forearms from the airbags’ deploying, as well as chest injuries from the force of the seatbelt.

Her father, she added, suffered from similar, minor injuries. Her grandfather was not injured.

"I trusted my co-workers to know what they are doing," Ray said. "We were just there to check up on the situation. It doesn't matter if it's your wedding day or not."

Ray's mother, Marcy Martin, snapped a photo of her daughter dressed in her wedding gown upon her arrival to the scene of the accident.

"I think the photo is great," Ray said. "It definitely makes for a memorable wedding. I hate that the actual accident had to happen, but everyone is going to be OK, so we can kind of laugh about it [the photo] now."

Chief Jimmy Edwards, paramedic and registered nurse in Montgomery County, expressed his gratitude for Ray's selflessness.

“Professionally, Sarah is an outstanding paramedic and exemplifies what it means to work in EMS," Edwards said. "Personally, she is humble and compassionate and sets a good example for us all. We are all very proud of her.”

Ray said Chief Edwards plans on hanging the photo of her in her gown in the office.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study reveals teen athletes who get concussions are possibly being kept out of the game longer than they need to be.

Student athletes with concussions are generally required to see a healthcare professional before they return to play.  They are evaluated for “post-concussive syndrome (PCS)” -- one symptom in these categories:  cognitive, somatic, emotional, or sleep-related. 

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics took 30,000 student athletes without evidence of injury, and evaluated them for these symptoms before they started playing their sport for the year using a standardized Post-Concussion Scale. 

About 20 percent of teenagers said they had symptoms that met the criteria for mild PCS, and another 6 percent met the criteria for moderate PCS. 

Overall, girls reported symptoms more often than boys. 

In boys, a history of psychiatric illness and having received treatment for migraines were most predictive of having PCS symptoms. 

In girls, it was a history of psychiatric illness, a history of substance abuse, and a diagnosis of ADHD that were most predictive of symptoms.

Having a concussion in the past didn't make a difference.

The study's results question the validity of a set of symptoms we now use to define PCS, and whether doctors are keeping athletes out of the game longer than they need to after suffering a concussion.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How much does it matter what season you were born?

Your birth season, according to a study published in Heliyon, has some correlation with birth weight, puberty timing, adult body size and educational attainment. 

The article used a large, standardized population and divided it both by birth season (e.g., March, April and May = “Spring”) and by birth month.  Wild outliers in birth weight and age of puberty were excluded (assuming they were “special cases”).  

Overall, babies born in the winter had statistically significantly higher birth weights, while babies born in the autumn had lower; you see the effect most starkly when comparing February and September babies.

For puberty in girls, summer births were 0.11 years before average, while autumn births were 0.09 years behind.  

With respect to adult height, “winters” were 0.12cm taller, “summers” were  0.13cm shorter. 

No significant difference was found in adult BMI (in contrast to some previous, smaller studies).   Part of it may be due to exposure to sunshine; sun exposure during the second trimester of pregnancy mattered most

Age and sex were not related to season of birth, but education was.  “Autumn” babies were more likely to continue in education after college, with a significant difference between September and August, and with a much larger effect in men than women.  

While the authors discuss the potential role for Vitamin D playing a part in these relationships, there were no analyses performed using Vitamin D.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new Israeli study shows that moderate intake of red wine may lower the risk of metabolic disorders. 

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, used 224 well-controlled diabetic patients (patients whose diabetes is being well treated) who were followed over a two year period.

They were split into three groups; one group drank white wine, one red wine, and one mineral water at dinner every night.  Each group also adhered to a Mediterranean diet (high in fish, nuts, olive oil). 

The study showed that the group of red wine drinkers had an increase in HDL, or “good cholesterol.” 

Both wine groups had an improvement in total blood sugar control, but white wine drinkers saw a greater decrease in their blood sugar number in the mornings, after fasting overnight.

Although this study showed improvement in a few markers for cardio-metabolic disease, there were pitfalls.  Because the group was made up of already well controlled diabetics, it is difficult to know whether or not alcohol truly improves glycemic control in all diabetics. 

Also, equal amounts of alcohol were given to men and women even though it is know that each sex metabolizes alcohol in different ways.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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alffoto/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- When a small community in Illinois learned of a local farmer's terminal cancer diagnosis, they pulled together the way they usually do and harvested all of his 450 acres of corn - in one day.
Carl Bates, 55, of Galva, Illinois, has a "fast, aggressive cancer," according to his younger brother Ernie Bates, that is affecting many parts of his body, including his kidney and spinal column, according to his family.

While he was resting at home in hospice care, choosing not to undergo treatment, his family said, the community decided to come together to complete the harvest in a day for what should have taken about a week.

Carl's cousin, Dan, first had the idea to get the community together to help out the ailing farmer. From there, about 40 people donated trucks and labor to harvest 450 acres in 10 hours. It's typical to harvest 80 acres a day, he said.

Melissa Bates, Dan Bates' daughter-in-law and Carl's first cousin once removed, said the family has been surprised by the national attention on the community pulling together.

"It’s not a new thing. Farmers have been pulling together like this forever, when someone is ill or has an accident, just in our daily life," she said. "It wasn’t like it was a big deal to organize it. People are just like, 'Oh yeah I’ll come and donate a day.' It wasn’t even thought about. We just come together and do it. Even people who were not very close to their family wanted to be involved. I think if they are in the same situation, you can’t do it by yourself."

Local grain broker Rumbold and Kuhn donated 12 of 16 trucks for the work that took place on September 25.

"It was very awe inspiring," Ernie Bates, 53, told ABC News. "The small town came together and put on a tremendous showing, from bringing food to working. We enjoyed the camaraderie. Everyone was very pleasant and worked extremely hard and that is attributable to Carl. He’s a very likable individual."

Farming runs in the Bates family, which has lived in the tight-knit community in Galva for generations.

"Carl has been a farmer since he was 4 or 5 years old. My dad farmed forever. And his dad farmed forever," Bates said. He describes his brother as a "quiet, reserved guy," and "probably one of the toughest people you'll ever meet."

Carl, who "has never complained and never given up," Ernie said, is the type to refuse charity, but he was appreciative of the community's support.

"He was very pleased and impressed," Ernie said. "He’s the type of guy that has always done for himself. He doesn’t ask for any help and doesn’t want any help. He was very pleased with everybody and happy they came out."

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Coffee might do more than perk you up in the morning. Research shows it may also reduce your risk of developing gynecologic cancers.

One study found that women who drank more coffee had a decreased chance of developing endometrial cancer, which is the most common form of gynecologic cancers. Those who drank more than three cups a day had an 18 percent lower chance of getting the cancer than women who only drank one cup.

When it comes to uterine cancer, conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity and diabetes are known to increase the risk. But more research shows that enjoying some coffee might help your uterus, too.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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