Ronald Poppo, before the attack. Miami Beach Police Department via Getty Images(CUTLER BAY, Fla.) -- Nearly one year after Miami face-chewing victim Ronald Poppo endured severe injuries in a gruesome cannibal-like attack, he thanked his supporters in a new video.
Wearing a Miami Heat hat and a wide grin, Poppo sat and strummed an acoustic guitar on a hospital bed at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center, a long-term care facility in Culter Bay, Fla., in a video released by Jackson Health System.
"People in my predicament need to be helped out," he said. "I thank the outpouring of people in the community. I'll always be grateful for that."
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Poppo had more than 75 percent of his face chewed off, including his nose, mouth and eyes, after Rudy Eugene attacked him in May 2012. Poppo suffered nearly 18 minutes before police shot and killed Eugene to stop the assault.
Poppo was rendered blind from the attack, and he continues to work with an occupational therapist at Jackson Memorial, who taught him how to dress himself, feed himself, shower and shave, according to a news release. He has gained more than 50 pounds in recovery.
Dr. Wrood Kassira, a plastic surgeon at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital who treated Poppo, told ABC News that since the series of facial surgeries, Poppo has "adjusted quite well."
"In terms of reconstruction, he's been a trooper," said Kassira. "His main issue is blindness, having to adapt to his surroundings without being able to see."
Kassira said that while she had treated many patients who had endured trauma similar to Poppo's, this was her first time encountering a patient who had been the victim of such a grizzly assault.
University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital plastic surgeon Dr. Urmen Desai, who also treated Poppo, said that Poppo was not interested in pursuing further facial reconstruction, nor does he want to wear specially made prostheses to cover his nose and eyes.
"He's a very simple guy. These things aren't important to him," Desai said. "He doesn't care how he looks, and he doesn't care what people think about him."
Desai said the doctors who treated Poppo initially grappled with his decision to not pursue more surgeries.
"We may be used to seeing people with a missing arm or leg as we walk down the street. But if you ever see anyone with eyeballs missing, that's not as socially accepted in our society," he said. "It's something that was hard for us to let go of and have him go on his way and live the rest of his life [that way]."
"It took us a while to let go of that and realize it's not about what we want, it's about what he wants," Desai said.
Poppo remains at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center, and still sees doctors for his facial injuries. Miami Lighthouse for the Blind also is providing services to help him regain his independent living skills, the hospital said in a statement.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents can add one more thing to the list of worries that go with young drivers: skipping sleep. A study in the journal Pediatrics suggests young drivers who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be in car accidents.
For the study, researchers looked at more than 20,000 Australian drivers ages 17 to 24, comparing their sleep habits with their driving records. They found that young drivers who sleep less than six hours a night are 20 percent more likely to get into an accident that's reported to the police.
According to the study findings, those who reported getting less sleep on weekends were more than 50 percent more likely to be in crashes at night and in crashes in which they run off the road.
Not surprisingly, the hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. were found to be the most dangerous, with the highest rate of accidents for sleepy, young drivers.
In another separate study from Australia, researchers found that 60 percent of young-driver deaths happened at night.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- Frown lines, forehead creases and crow's-feet, oh my!
If the rise in Botox procedures is any indication, the fountain of youth might be found in a syringe, even for 20-somethings whose signs of aging are often invisible to the naked eye.
"I think as I've kind of gotten a little older, I've just kind of realized that my skin is not the way it used to be in my early 20s," Nicole Harper, 29, told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston about getting her first Botox treatment.
And she's not alone.
The number of Botox procedures among 20-somethings rose 8 percent in 2012 to 92,955 from the prior year, according to the 2012 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Many of them targeted the forehead, between the eyebrows and crow's-foot areas. All told, there were about 6.1 million incidents of Botox injections for Americans in 2012, making it the no. 1 minimally invasive cosmetic procedure across all age groups, the plastic surgeons report noted. The procedure registered the second-largest percentage increase of all minimally invasive procedures for people age 20 to 29, after hyaluronic acid (Juvederm) treatment.
"I figure, why let it get worse, you know?" Lilliana Gonzalez, 24, told Houston's KTRK of her reasons for getting her first Botox treatment.
Others want to get a jump on the process, using Botox as a preventive measure to keep from getting wrinkles in the first place.
Dr. Michael Vennemeyer, a Cincinnati plastic surgeon and author of Plastic Surgery Myths Dispelled: A Consumer's Guide, told ABC News that he has noticed the growing interest among young people.
He suggests thinking of skin as a piece of paper that gets folded into a crease over and over again, which creates the wrinkles. The longer people can stave off skin-creasing with Botox, for example, the less severe wrinkles will be at a given age, he says.
Although generally safe in appropriate doses, Botox can have side effects.
If the botulinum toxin travels to muscles other than the target, it can result in drooping eyelids or double-vision for a period of time, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
And then there are the less visible potential side effects, as in those to a young woman's psyche, clinical psychologist Nanine Ewing of Houston says.
"It's a mindset that's about externalizing one's sense of self by how one looks," Ewing told ABC News.
With that comes the concern that the more people externalize their sense of self, the more they lose touch with their internal, authentic self, she said.
Ewing acknowledged that there is nothing wrong with women wanting to look better. "Enjoying their beauty and adornment … is a classic part of the feminine," she said.
But she cautions that problems arise when cosmetic procedures become an obsession, as when people begin to "correct" their skin before anything is showing.
Dr. Robert Murphy, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is of a similar mind. "Don't start treating wrinkles for fear of developing wrinkles," he advised.
A plastic surgeon for the past 20 years, Murphy recognizes the cultural pressure to look younger but says people don't have to chase youth. For the wrinkle-free, youthful faces of most 20-somethings, he counsels that Botox is probably "best kept in the quiver until a time that is more appropriate."
Besides, there are several cheaper, noninvasive options to keep your face younger longer.
Author and plastic surgeon Vennemeyer recommends avoiding the sun, not smoking and maintaining a stable weight as the best preventative medicine for your skin.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brett Deering/Getty Images(MOORE, Okla.) -- Hospital emergency department manager Nick Stremble didn't need the television to tell him the tornado would hit Moore Medical Center. All he had to do was look outside the window.
"There's a big window area that faces southwest," Stremble said, recalling his final check before heading to the safe area on the first floor of the hospital in Moore, Okla., about 10 miles from Oklahoma City. "I could see the tornado in the neighborhood across the street from us. I could see the debris. It was more than obvious it was going to be there in under a minute."
The day started off with a lighter-than-usual patient load, Stremble said. Only four patients were in the emergency room. The 45-bed hospital had just 30 patients in all.
"We were actually pretty lucky," he said. "On a typical Monday, we would have had a lot more than that."
Shannon Largent, a nurse manager on the second floor of Moore Medical Center, said she'd practiced moving patients to the hallway to get away from windows, but decided to move everyone to the first floor at the last minute. Although Largent said she heard they would have survived if they stayed on the second floor, she said there would have been some injuries and it would have been harder to get people out once the tornado passed.
In the windowless safe space on the first floor, Largent said, she didn't hear the roaring of the tornado as she covered her head and waited. But she heard things hitting the roof and felt her ears pop with the sudden change in pressure. A few ceiling tiles fell, but no debris flew around the room. No one was hurt.
When Largent emerged, she saw the destruction.
"There were wires hanging down from the ceiling, debris. Everything was really dusty afterwards," she said. "We were in a really safe place."
Stremble managed to climb out the destroyed front entrance to the hospital, which was where first responders pulled up three minutes after the tornado hit. He told them the front entrance was barely passable, and patients would be exiting out the back.
No patients or staff members were injured during the storm, and "at least" nine patients were transported to other hospitals in the Norman Regional Health System, according to a hospital news release. The rest left to be with their families.
Another 250 to 300 people from the surrounding neighborhood sought shelter at Moore Medical Center, hoping that the hospital would be able to withstand the storm better than their homes would. Although some of them were injured because they were not in the windowless safe space, Stremble said he saw mostly bumps and bruises. One girl may have suffered a broken leg.
"As far as the people inside the building, there was surprisingly little injury," Stremble said.
Once everyone moved to a nearby parking lot, hospital staff and emergency responders were able to move patients nearby hospitals. They also tended to "folks walking up with various injuries," Stremble said, but he couldn't remember how many people there were.
Largent said she was impressed by the hospital staff's great work and ability to stay calm in a frightening situation. Neither Largent nor Stremble had ever experienced a tornado before.
"I haven't had a lot of time to process things, so I think that it's probably going to hit me today," Largent said, adding that her husband is a firefighter and she was lucky that her family was safe.
"In the next couple of days," she said, "I'll go through the grieving process. It was a really scary situation."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brett Deering/Getty Images(TULSA) -- Monday’s devastating tornado strike in Moore, Okla., ripped through many homes, displacing irreplaceable possessions, in some cases, more than 100 miles away. In an attempt to reconnect victims with lost valuables, Facebook users across Moore and neighboring areas have created online groups to share information of found items and pets.
Tulsa, Okla., resident Leslie Hagelberg lives roughly 100 miles from where the tornado touched down, but when she began seeing what she realized was storm debris in the form of family pictures and other valuables turn up in her yard, she wanted to help get these items back in the hands of the owners.
Hagelberg quickly created the Facebook group “OK Tornado Doc & Picture Recovery” to act as a bulletin board of sorts, allowing users that have found items and pets to post images and information all in one place.
“I have children. My pictures are precious to me… you can’t recreate them,” she said of creating the group.
Hagelberg got the idea to create an online lost and found type Facebook group after seeing posts spread out among several other local news Facebook pages. Hagelberg’s group currently has over 8,600 members.
“There have been so many posts of animals, pictures, even an urn,” the longtime Oklahoma resident said. Though Hagelberg was originally surprised to find displaced belongings turn up in her neighborhood, about an hour from Moore, Facebook users from even further away have reported finding items.
“Some people have found things in Catoosa [about 125 miles from Moore]. I’ve even heard of things turning up in the Joplin area [over 200 miles from Moore],” said Hagelberg.
For a Facebook user to post to the group page, they must first be manually added by one of the three administrators, Hagelberg being one of them. With the number of group members approaching 9,000, Hagelberg admitted that the task has been tedious, but she told ABC News, “I just want to help.”
“That’s just how people are in Oklahoma,” she said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a massive tornado ripped a path of devastating destruction through Moore, Okla., parents are once again faced with the task of talking to their children about a frightening event.
Experts stress that there is no right or wrong way to have these conversations with your kids. There are, however, ways to make these discussions more meaningful.
"Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions," said Dr. David Fassler, an adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Burlington, Vt., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "Children will usually know if you're making things up, and that may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future."
Fassler emphasized the importance of limiting television and Internet viewing, especially for very young children. But assume your children already know, or will soon find out about it, even if you try to shield them from the devastating images.
Jeffrey Brown, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agreed that even kids who aren't asking questions may know more than they let on, which is why it's important to control your child's first exposure and response to potentially scary information.
"Even a young child may overhear a telephone conversation or talk to their friends, so it's wise to give very basic information about events directly to them. You want them to hear what's happening from you before they may hear things they don't understand elsewhere," Brown said.
Brown advised keeping information simple and sticking to concepts geared to the child's age, language and developmental level. Some kids will ask you to repeat your explanations several times. Brown said that's perfectly normal, especially if the news is hard for the child to comprehend or accept.
Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News, said that while it's essential to acknowledge and validate the children's thoughts, feelings and reactions, the worst thing you can do is tell them there is no need to be afraid or that there won't be another tornado or some other bad thing.
"You need to be reassuring, but you shouldn't make unrealistic promises," he said.
Instead, Besser recommends telling your kids that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe. He also added that this is a good time to do some advance preparation for other emergencies.
"Sit down as a family and talk about what you should do if there is any type of emergency in your community. Talk about what you can do to be prepared. This can be very empowering, especially to a child who is afraid of what they just saw," he said.
Brown said that some children might not want to talk about their feelings, but that doesn't mean their insides aren't churning or that the latest bad news isn't weighing heavily on their minds.
"Keeping them active helps give them a physical outlet to release tension and anxiety," he said.
Fassler added that some kids might be most comfortable expressing their fears by drawing pictures, playing with toys or writing about them.
Most kids are amazingly resilient, Besser said. If you see signs, though, that your child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, it's worth a trip to the doctor.
"You want to monitor for physical symptoms, including headaches and stomachaches, or if they're having trouble sleeping, loss of appetite or taking no pleasure in playing with friends," he said.
According to Besser, children who are especially preoccupied with questions or worries about the latest natural disaster should be evaluated by a trained and qualified mental health professional. And keep in mind that kids who've experienced trauma or losses in the past may be particularly vulnerable to prolonged or intense reactions to news or images of natural disasters, and therefore may need extra support and attention.
Despite how tragic the Oklahoma tornadoes and other disasters are, Fassler said he believed they could offer teachable moments too.
"Children learn from watching how their caregivers react in situations, so they will be very interested in how you respond to world events," he said. "Let your kids know that lots of people are helping the families affected by the most recent tornado. It's a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Andrew Kelly(NEW YORK) -- The words "zen" and "child" don't exactly go together, but that hasn't stopped a growing number of parents from "ohm schooling" their kids in the art of yoga, meditation and relaxation.
Andrew Kelly of Boston said he and his 10-year-old son, Hayden, have been meditating together since Hayden was 7 years old. Each morning before school, father and son sit on cushions, legs crossed, eyes closed, quietly monitoring the rise and fall of their chests as they breathe.
"We do this for exactly 12 minutes because 12 is his favorite number," Kelly explained.
Kelly said they practice "mindfulness" -- a series of meditation techniques that slow the mind and fix attention on the present. The brain chills out, slows down and focuses on what is happening at the moment.
Teaching meditation to children has attracted some high-profile advocates. Perhaps the highest-profile children's meditation advocate is actress Goldie Hawn, whose MindUp program has shown more than 150,000 children worldwide how to find their brain's happy place.
"We teach the kids to take brain breaks, because every brain needs a break, and because we know that meditation builds a stronger brain," Hawn told ABC News. "We start them on these mindfulness and relaxation techniques very young so they can carry them their entire lives."
Hawn said she has spent the past 10 years studying how the brain works and consulting with neurologists and psychologists to create her program. For the stressed-out kids she can't reach directly, she's written a guidebook, 10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children -- and Ourselves -- the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happy Lives, which takes parents and educators through a step-by-step meditation practice suitable for kids of all ages.
Film director David Lynch started a foundation eight years ago to provide scholarships for school-age children all over the world to study transcendental meditation.
And Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, championed "The Skills for Life" program that teaches deep breathing exercises, meditation and problem solving as part of the elementary school curriculum in several Ohio school districts.
Studies seem to emphasize the benefits of meditation.
A University of California, Los Angeles study found second- and third-graders who practiced "mindful" meditation techniques for 30 minutes twice a week for eight weeks had improved behavior and scored higher on tests requiring memory, attention and focus than the nonmeditators.
Another study of more than 3,000 children in the San Francisco Unified School District found a dramatic improvement in math test scores and overall academic performance among students who practiced transcendental meditation, a form of mediation that promotes relaxation and "an awakening" of the mind. The study also found a decrease in student suspensions, expulsions and dropout rates.
And other recent studies have demonstrated the ability of "mindfulness" techniques, especially those used in meditation, yoga and tai chi, to reduce impulsiveness, control emotions and ease stress.
Children today are certainly more stressed out than their parents likely realize. One in five children said they worried a lot or a great deal about things going on in their lives, and more than 30 percent admitted to such stress-related symptoms as difficulty sleeping, according to the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America report.
Yet, the same report found that only 8 percent of parents were aware that their children experienced any stress at all.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Singer Miguel tweeted that he just "got caught up in the moment" when he leapt over the crowd at the Billboard Music Awards and landed on a fan's face Sunday night.
The televised accident serves as a reminder that although most concert-goers find themselves in the medical tent because they're dehydrated, more serious injuries can happen.
For instance, concert medical tent volunteer Penny Miller said she watched in horror when a Rolling Stones fan fell from a third-floor stadium balcony, bounced off the second floor balcony and fractured his skull at the Oakland Coliseum in 1981.
"He only lived to tell the tale because he received medical care right on the spot," said Miller, a nurse practitioner in Sacramento, Calif., who has volunteered for Rock Medicine since 1977.
Concert injuries vary depending on the performer, said Gordon Oldham, who directs Rock Medicine, a 40-year-old volunteer organization that provides free "nonjudgmental" medical care at more than 700 concerts and events in Northern California each year.
For example, the Grateful Dead fans are going to have different medical needs than the hard-core punk crowd, which forms "mosh" pits in front of the stage, where people slam-dance into each other, said Oldham.
But between stage dives and panic attacks, even the best crowd can experience a situation that gets out of control.
"If you're in front of the stage at a rock concert, you have to prepare yourself as a fan that anything can happen," Oldham said. "Nobody goes to get hurt. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, but sometimes it happens."
And Rock Medicine promises to take care of concert-goers without handing them over to police afterward if they've broken a law, Oldham said. That trust keeps patients from avoiding medical care when they need it.
"It's a person who may have made a bad choice today," Miller said, adding that concert-goers often drink more than they can handle. "They don't necessarily need to be arrested."
That willingness to seek on-site medical help also keeps concert-goers from clogging up emergency rooms with minor health problems, Miller said.
Dehydration is perhaps the most common health concern at concerts because people stand in line starting early in the morning to get into an evening concert, but they often forget to drink enough water, said Rapheal Castellanos, the president of the Central Park Medical Unit, which provides free care to the park's 35 million annual visitors and handles summer concerts.
"The first thing to do is make sure you have enough water with you -- and also something to eat," Castellanos said. "Some folks don't eat all day because they want to get a place on line."
He said when people start to feel faint, get dizzy, have an altered mental state or feel disoriented, they should head over to the medical tents. These can all be signs of dehydration.
On a hot day, outdoor concert-goers also run the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion usually involves excessive sweating, and heat stroke -- the more serious of the two -- occurs when the body is overheated but can't sweat.
"That's really a true emergency," Castellanos said. "You have to get cooled down and sent to the hospital."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Residents of Portland, Ore., will vote Tuesday on whether to add fluoride to their drinking water -- a move hailed by some as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. But critics say a “yes” vote would expose residents to a “risky” chemical in the name of stronger teeth.
Minute amounts of fluoride have been added to American drinking water since 1945 to help curb cavities in kids and delay decay in adults.
In 2008, 72.4 percent of the U.S. population had access to fluoridated water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in Oregon, the percentage drops to 22, which has created a statewide “dental crisis,” according to state epidemiologist Dr. Katrina Hedberg.
“Tooth decay is a serious problem and fluoridation is an effective, affordable and, most importantly, safe way to improve the public’s health,” Hedberg said in a statement, noting that one in three of the state’s first- through third-grade children has cavities, and one in five, has rampant tooth decay. “It is also consistent with the state’s effort to focus health care on prevention rather than after-the-fact acute care.”
Like cereal fortified with folic acid, milk fortified with vitamin D and salt containing iodine, tap water containing fluoride delivers a healthful supplement that busy bodies don’t even have to think about, according to the CDC. Water fluoridation has been shown to reduce a person’s risk of tooth decay by 25 percent, and a lifetime supply costs less than a single filling.
But skeptics question the safety of fluoride, citing a 2006 report by the National Academy of Sciences that suggested fluoridation could have serious consequences for certain subgroups of people, such as the very young, the elderly and the sick.
“Our campaign is not saying there’s complete consensus in the science on either side,” said Kellie Barnes, a volunteer with the anti-fluoridation group Clean Water Portland. “We’re saying the emerging science shows a reasonable amount of concern.”
Barnes, a physiotherapist and mother of two, said she hadn’t thought about fluoridation until her dentist voiced his skepticism.
“I grew up on the East Coast not thinking about it,” she said, referring to her hometown of Baltimore, where water is fluoridated. “But he raised questions about the effectiveness of the policy, and that was concerning to me.”
Clean Water Portland has taken safety concerns to heart, publishing a list of 12 reasons to vote “no” on their website. The list also highlights the cost of water fluoridation, and suggests a possible alternative.
“Instead of spending up to $7 million on a fluoridation plant and $500,000 or more a year on fluoridation chemicals, a comparable investment in increased access to care would better help at-risk kids while protecting the entire community from the health risks of fluoridation,” the group’s website reads. “While fluoridation activists like to focus on Oregon’s ‘untreated decay’ rate, this rate highlights the real issue: a lack of good access to dental care.”
Ballots must be delivered to a ballot drop-off location by 8 p.m. PT.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Binge drinking has become a bigger problem for college females than for their male classmates, according to new research.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest says 44 percent of students at four-year colleges at some time drink alcohol at binge levels. But a new study from Harvard Medical School finds female students are more likely to exceed weekly alcohol limits than males.
For the study, researchers at Harvard's Center for Addiction looked at nearly a thousand students at three New England universities during their first year at college. They found the women exceeded their recommended limit of no more than three drinks a day and seven per week more frequently than the men outdid their limit. For males, the recommendation is no more than four drinks a day and seven per week. In fact, women were 1.57 times as likely as men to exceed weekly limits, and exceeded those limits for 15 percent of the weeks. For men, it was 12 percent of the weeks.
And while the men's drinking declined over time, the women's drinking did not.
The study authors warn that women who do not grow out of this drinking behavior after they leave college increase their risk for liver disease and breast cancer as they age.
This study's findings have been published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The $165,000 fine against Yale University for underreporting the frequency of sexual assaults might be a catalyst needed to remind colleges of their obligation to protect students from such crimes, according to a victims' advocacy group.
"I think once these cases come to light, it actually draws victims from other cases to speak up," Tracy Cox, spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said. "I think it says something about the culture everywhere."
"This may very well be a tipping point."
More than 90 percent of sexual assaults on U.S. campuses go unreported, according to a 2000 U.S. Department of Justice Study, and students have filed complaints this year against two universities for the way administrators handled students' reporting sexual assaults.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education has fined Yale for its underreporting of sexual assaults on campus more than a decade ago.
In a letter last month issued to the New Haven, Conn., university's president, Dr. Richard Levin, the Department of Education cited Yale for failing to report four "forcible sex offenses" that took place in 2001 and 2002. The school also failed to designate parts of Yale-New Haven Hospital as part of its campus and, subsequently, report crime statistics in those areas to the federal government, for which it was fined.
The university was also fined for failing to include several statements that disclosed campus crime statistics, including sex offenses, in its 2004 Annual Security Report issued to enrolled and prospective university students and employees, according to the April 19 letter.
While the letter stated that the university had since corrected its crime reporting, "the correction of violations does not diminish the seriousness of not correctly reporting these incidents at the time they occurred."
The Department of Education characterized Yale's violations as "very serious and numerous."
The Department of Education initiated a review of the Ivy League university's compliance with the Clery Act after a 2004 Yale Alumni Magazine article questioned the university's policies with respect to sexual misconduct, according to the letter.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal statute that requires colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to record and disclose campus crime statistics to students, faculty and staff, as well as the Department of Education.
Failing to abide by the Clery Act might jeopardize an institution's ability to provide federal aid to students.
University spokesman Tom Conroy told ABC News Monday that the university has requested that the fines be reduced, and is waiting for a final determination from the Department of Education.
"Yale has a structure in place to address these issues that is as strong as any school in the nation," he said. "Whatever guidance that the Department of Education gives to Yale in interpreting the Clery Act, we're going to follow."
Conroy said he was not aware of any student community reactions to the fines, but noted that the crimes in question, "were from over a decade ago."
"There is nothing Yale needs to do as a result of its letter with regard to its reporting," he said.
This isn't the first time a university's handling of sexual misconduct has come under fire.
Students at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif. filed complaints this year with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights against their universities for the way administrators allegedly mishandled students' reporting sexual assaults.
Cox, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center spokeswoman, said underreporting of sexual assaults on college campuses is still a major issue, despite its recently becoming a subject that victims are more comfortable taking to authorities.
Raw numbers are difficult to come by, but the perceived increases in the number of rapes on U.S. campuses in recent years might be a result of more people reporting rather than more assaults, Cox said.
She added that university leadership should be out front of the charge to change policy, which is difficult when enrollment is often a school's top priority.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword for them," she said. "They want to promote safe campuses, but when you have more people reporting [sexual misconduct], and more people going to the police, it may look like they don't have a safe campus.
But Cox said the increase in sexual assault reporting might result, in part, from improvements in campus policies that allow for victims to come forward more easily.
"In order for change to happen, there has to be a level of transparency at schools and institutions," she said.
Abigail Boyer, a spokeswoman for the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit that works to prevent crimes on university campuses, including violence, said, "We always caution people to look past just the data, to look beyond the numbers."
She said that when institutions provide support and resources for students, it is possible for the number of sexual assaults reported on campus to increase.
"It's not a reflection of how safe a campus is," she said of the reporting. "It's a reflection of institutions using best practices and doing things correctly."
Cox said the Yale University fines might serve as a wakeup call for college campuses that they can still be penalized for failing to report sexual assaults more than a decade after the fact.
"It still says that just because they happened 10 years ago doesn't make them any less important," she said. "If anything, it does show that if these crimes are committed on campus and there is a failure to report, they will be addressed."
"No one is going to skate through without any accountability," Cox vowed.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Sleep. It occupies about one-third of our lives. We need it for our mental and physical health, and for our survival.
Compared with other health behaviors such as smoking or exercise, sleep is unique because for most adults, it is a behavior they “share” with a partner. But according to studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Psychological Association, sharing a bed doesn’t always produce sweet dreams.
Research by Wendy Troxel, a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist at the nonprofit RAND Corporation and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues found that for men, poor sleep predicts more negative interactions with his partner the next day. For women, the converse was true: How she interacts with her partner during the day predicts how soundly she sleeps at night. In other words, for women, marital strife can lead to a sleepless night; for men, a sleepless night can lead to marital strife. Taken together, these interactions can create a vicious cycle, potentially increasingly poor sleep and distressed relationships.
Despite the fact that most adults share their bed with a partner, and that sleep problems and relationship problems co-occur, only a handful of studies have investigated how sleeping together affects the sleep of both partners.
Evidence from these studies suggests that there may be costs to sharing a bed with a partner. That is, on nights when couples sleep together, they tend to have more fragmented or restless sleep than nights when they sleep alone. Some evidence suggests that these consequences are stronger for women. On the other hand, people generally prefer to sleep with a partner and believe that they sleep better when sharing a bed.
So why do we prefer to share our beds when, at least by objective measures, we tend to sleep better alone? Looking to our evolutionary past may help answer this question.
Sleep is a universal and essential health behavior, but it is also extraordinarily dangerous from an evolutionary perspective. Think about it: Sleep occurs while a person is lying down, in a semi-conscious state, and highly vulnerable to potential threats from the environment. But it is nearly impossible to fall asleep if you are feeling unsafe or insecure.
Humans are inherently social beings, and we derive a sense of safety and security from our social environment. This fundamental need for safety and security at night may explain why we generally prefer to sleep with another human being, even when sharing a bed may not always result in the best quality sleep.
Humans may no longer depend on sharing a bed to protect them from harm in the hostile environment of our evolutionary past. But focusing on the potentially adverse consequences of sleeping with another may obscure the importance of stable, good-quality relationships for healthy sleep.
For example, some research has indicated that women in stable, long-term relationships have better quality sleep than their unpartnered counterparts, and women who are in highly satisfying relationships have lower rates of insomnia than those in distressed relationships.
Should couples sleep together or sleep apart? The answer may be … it depends.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Couples need to decide what works best for them and consider how to optimize their sleep as well as their time together so that they can be the best possible partner for their loved one.
Ultimately, the time couples spend together before falling asleep may be the most important time for connecting, being intimate and just being “alone together” without all of the other distractions of the day. Whether couples sleep in the same bed or separate beds, they need not give up on that important and satisfying pre-sleep time together. Perhaps the real benefits of “sleeping together” are realized in the precious lull before sleep comes.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Allana Maiden wanted her mother to feel beautiful again after she’d undergone a radical mastectomy. But Victoria’s Secret, the company she hoped would design sexy lingerie for women who’ve had breast cancer surgery, has rejected her appeal for a “survivor line” of bras.
The Richmond, Va., 28-year-old was 6 years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had her surgery. But she was always aware of her mother’s struggle to feel good about herself -- and to find a bra that not only fit but was reasonably priced.
Maiden was particularly disappointed in Victoria’s Secret’s decision after actress Angelina Jolie announced that she’d had a preventive mastectomy after learning she had the BRCA gene, which predisposes a woman to breast cancer.
“She put the news out there that you can still be attractive after having breast cancer and mastectomy,” Maiden said of Jolie. “But a beautiful bra would have been a great thing to have, and now these bras are very limited."
“My mom and I have always said how much we appreciate Victoria’s Secret research efforts,” said Maiden, who works at an animal shelter. “But cancer research doesn’t help survivors feel beautiful after the battle is over -- mastectomy bras do. This is a company that prides itself in innovation that helps women feel beautiful. I don’t think cancer survivors like my mom should be the exception to the rule.”
A representative from Victoria’s Secret called Maiden two weeks ago to tell her that the company would not be creating a new line of “survivor” bras.
“Through our research, we have learned that fitting and selling mastectomy bras … in the right way … a way that is beneficial to women is complicated and truly a science,” said Victoria’s Secret Tammy Roberts Myers in a prepared statement Monday. ”As a result, we believe that the best way for us to make an impact for our customers is to continue funding cancer research."
“I was disappointed, obviously,” Maiden told ABC News. “I understand her decision, that there is a science that goes [with these] bras, and it’s more complicated than a regular bra would be. But I felt that if anyone could do it, they could. They have everything in place.”
According to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and it estimates that more than 1.6 million new cases occurred among women worldwide in 2010.
Maiden’s mother, 57-year-old Debbie Barrett, works in the admissions office at Virginia Highlands Community College. She was 36 when she found a lump during a self-examination and soon learned it was malignant.
Barrett wears a prosthetic because at the time of her mastectomy, insurance did not cover the cost of breast reconstruction. Because she lives in a rural part of Virginia, she has to drive 1½ hours to find a store that sells bras that hold prosthetic breasts.
“It’s a huge ordeal,” her daughter told ABC News earlier this year after she filed a petition on change.org, asking Victoria’s Secret to consider her proposal for a “survivor” line of bras. To date, the petition has garnered 120,000 signatures.
The bras that Barrett wears have little pockets to hold the prosthetic breasts. They can be bought online, but it’s hard to get a good fit without being measured in person, say both mother and daughter.
Maiden and Barrett met with Victoria’s Secret representatives twice -- once when they delivered petition signatures to the company’s New York office and again when they were flown by the parent company to Columbus, Ohio, to meet with additional team members and cancer researchers.
Victoria’s Secret parent company, Limited Brands, has donated more than $1.6 million to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. Additionally, in the past two years, it has raised nearly $10 million for cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, according to the company.
Limited Brands just participated in the local Komen Race for the Cure with the largest team in the world.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tracy & Kevin Keegan(NEW YORK) -- In the year since the death of 23-year-old activist/writer Marina Keegan in a car crash, her mother said the power of her daughter's words sustain her and continue to inspire others in the art world and beyond.
"My daughter totally inspired me and moved me," Tracy Keegan, 55, of Wayland, Mass., told ABC News. "Her words are how she will live on, and it's really important to me."
Marina had just graduated from Yale University, where her prophetic and inspirational essay, "The Opposite of Loneliness," appeared in a special graduation issue of the campus newspaper.
After her death on May 26, 2012, the celebrated writer's haunting words: "We're so young. We're so young. We're 22 years old. We have so much time" went viral.
Marina and her boyfriend, Michael Gocksch, were driving to the Keegan's summer house in Wellfleet, Mass., when the car hit a guard rail and spun across the road, rolling over twice. He survived, but she died instantly.
"It's been an unbelievably hard journey for all of us and of course, Michael," she said. "I am plodding along -- she would not want us to stop living. But it's unbelievably hard and Mother's Day was tough."
In the months since, Tracy and her husband Kevin Keegan, a cyber threat specialist, and their two sons, 18 and 26, have received hundreds of messages from around the world.
"Her words actually pushed people to make positive changes in their world view -- not only in their head, but their actions," said Keegan. "That to me is her legacy. As her mother, I really feel that my daughter continues her work as long as her words reach people."
And now Marina's sense of optimism and social justice will be memorialized in the national premier of her play, Utility Monster, at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater -- opening on the anniversary weekend of her death.
The play, written while she was a sophomore at Yale, is about two idealistic 15-year-olds who realize that 35,000 children die of hunger each day, and for only the price of a lunch at Taco Bell, two could be saved.
"This is a play that can change lives," said Dan Lombardo, artistic director for the theater, who met Kevin Keegan by accident and learned his daughter was a playwright. He asked to see the script.
"I knew immediately I was reading someone who was extra-gifted," said Lombardo. "I get hundreds of scripts a year from well-known playwrights ...It's rare that a play comes in this brilliant."
The car accident hit the small Cape Cod community "so hard," he said. "It just leaves us utterly bereft, and I cannot imagine what it is like for a parent to lose a child -- and then turn it around in a way that we have something tangible we can do to celebrate her genius."
Utility Monster was written while Marina was at Yale and produced in 2011 by the Yale Dramatic Association (DRAMAT), the first student show in four years.
Throughout her college years, she had been mentored by playwrights Donald Margulies and Deborah Margolin. Writer and critic Harold Bloom considered her an "unofficial granddaughter," according to the family.
Just before her death, Marina had been offered a full-time job on the editorial staff at The New Yorker.
Marina's musical, Independents, also written at Yale, won best overall production at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2012 as well as a New York Times Critics Award.
Additionally, a collection of Marina's writings will be published by Scribner and proceeds will go to creating a foundation for causes aligned with her passion for art and activism, according to Keegan.
Marina's former high school, Buckingham Browne and Nicols, has established a summer fellowship in her name that will inspire students to explore "artistic pursuits or activist causes." And Yale established its first playwright award, the Marina Keegan Award for Excellence in Playwriting.
At both schools, awardees have already been named.
"We did not want an entire school year to go by without having our daughter's spirit continue to breathe through the acts and deeds of others," said Keegan. "This is what helps heal me."
Marina cared about whales (and wrote about it), the legalization of same-sex marriage, the decriminalization of marijuana and helping college-bound undocumented immigrants realize their dreams, according to her parents.
She was active in the Yale Democrats and the Occupy Morgan Stanley campaign.
Her mother said she, too, had been inspired by her daughter, who, like her younger brother Pierce, 18, was born with Celiac disease.
She volunteers with her son's charity, Pierce's Pantry, a gluten-free food bank. Their goal is to partner with national organizations to provide allergy-free foods for disaster relief.
Marina's father, Kevin Keegan, said the year since his daughter's death had been like an "emotional roller coaster."
"Regardless of what your son or daughter has accomplished, it's the same for any parent who loses a child," said Kevin Keegan, 56. "It's just horrible and what I've realized is that it happens every day to somebody."
Keegan said Marina would likely have not liked all the attention on her post mortem successes.
"She is looking down and laughing, 'Have you had enough now, Dad?'" said Keegan. "She never allowed anyone to brag about her accomplishments."
One of the last times he saw his daughter, Keegan told her how proud he was of her. "She said, 'I am going to live for love -- the rest will take care of itself.' That was her philosophy." "More than anything, she was a great daughter and a lot of fun to be with," he said. "She was a comet who shone very brightly, then she was gone."
Utility Monster will open at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on May 25.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- News reports suggest Colgate-Palmolive applied to patent a caffeinated toothbrush, but the actual patent application only referred to a proposed device that hypothetically could release caffeine or any other substance or flavoring, and create sensations in a user’s mouth.
So maybe they did plan a caffeinated toothbrush; maybe not.
Colgate-Palmolive did not return a request for comment.
In any event, Colgate’s application for an “oral care implement” actually was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, but for reasons that had nothing to do with caffeine.
Caffeine-addicted people and the media were drawn to the story after backlash over other caffeine-laced products.
Earlier this month, Wrigley said it was withdrawing its new caffeinated gum from stores after the Food and Drug Administration said it would investigate into the safety of caffeine-added foods.
In April, Wrigley released Alert gum, a stick of which had an amount of caffeine equivalent to half a cup of coffee.
In Colgate’s application, the company described the technology as “an oral care implement [that] includes a releasable sensory material that invokes a sensory response when in contact with tissues or surfaces of a mouth of a user.”
The company added that “the oral care implement may also include a soft tissue cleaner provided with the sensory material.”
The word “caffeine” was mentioned only once in the company’s application. That sentence read: “Other homeopathic teething or inflammation soothing additive include, but are not limited to Belladonna (atropa belladonna), caffeine and Passiflora Incarnata (Passionflower).”
The application also showed drawings that seemed to depict a toothbrush with various flavors or “sensory materials” such as lemon and mint.
Tracy Durkin, a director at the law firm Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, and a registered patent attorney, said the fuss over what sounded like Colgate’s plans for a toothbrush with caffeine actually appeared to be a material that only included caffeine as a possible element.
“They’re not trying to patent any material or flavoring,” Durkin said. “It’s about Colgate patenting a user experience.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actually rejected the patent last month after an initial review showing that the combination of two other patents issued to parties other than Colgate had similar elements.
One was a chewable toothbrush and the other was a flossing patent. “There are all sorts of crazy things patented,” Durkin said.
The application was filed in October 2012, and Colgate-Palmolive had three to six months to respond to the initial review.
Durkin said it typically takes three or four years to get a patent issued from the time it is filed.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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