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Father of Psych Ward Stabbing Victim Says Mental Patients Treated Like 'Prisoners'


Joseph Camacho(SUN VALLEY, Calif.) -- The father of a man stabbed to death by his roommate in a southern California hospital psych ward won $3 million in punitive damages on Tuesday against the hospital where his son died. But money isn't on his mind. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

"Mentally challenged individuals have just as many rights as other people," Joseph Camacho, 79, told ABC News. "Most of the time, they [hospitals] just seem to ignore them and treat them like prisoners instead of a patient."

His son, Dean Camacho, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was attacked at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, by his roommate, Jerry Romansky in 2011, according to court documents.

The hospital put the two men in the same room of the hospital's behavioral health unit despite Romansky's violent history, and didn't check on them every 15 minutes as they were supposed to, according to the plaintiff's trial brief. Romansky was hearing voices that told him to "kill himself and others," according to the brief, and he had tried to strangle a previous roommate at Pacifica with a towel, it said.

Though rooms throughout the hospital were equipped with emergency buzzers, they had been disabled in the mental health wing, according to Joseph Camacho's lawyer, John Marcin.

Romansky, whose father testified against the hospital as well, stabbed Camacho with a metal bracket that he broke off from a toilet in the room, severing one of Camacho's arteries and causing him to bleed to death, Marcin said.

He said the hospital's deficiencies had mostly not changed in the more than three years since the murder.

"I think that's why the jury became so angry," Marcin said. "I asked the jury for $2 million in punitive damages, and they came back and awarded 3 [million dollars], they were so angry."

The jury awarded $5.2 million in damages in all.

"It gives you a good feeling that you're all on the same page," Camacho said. "The hospital wasn't."

Joseph Camacho and Romansky's father had a connection in a way because they each lost a son, Joseph Camacho said. Dean Camacho died, and Romansky is serving a prison sentence as a result of Camacho's murder. They'd both been wronged by the hospital, he said.

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The hospital's lawyer argued that its doctor had no knowledge Romansky would become violent and kill Camacho, and the two men did not have any prior conflict, according to the defense brief.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Measles


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The measles have made a comeback with 84 cases in the latest outbreak, not to mention 644 cases last year alone. Given that the infectious disease was eliminated decades ago by vaccines, it's not surprising that its resurgence has some people scratching their heads.

Here's what you need to know:

What is measles?

It is a viral disease that is extremely contagious, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every person who gets it can spread it to 18 other people.

It starts with a fever, a runny nose and a cough, but a few days later, tiny white spots appear in the mouth. Then a rash appears and spreads throughout the body, and that fever can spike to 104 degrees.

"The infection itself, uncomplicated, is seven days of abject misery as a child," said Dr. William Schaffner, chief of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

About one or two in every 1,000 people who get it will die, according to the CDC. The disease was so widespread that hundreds of thousands of children died before a vaccine was introduced, Schaffner said.

Complications include ear infections in about one in ten children who get the measles, and this can result in permanent hearing loss. Other complications include pneumonia, and swelling of the brain.

How is it spread?

The measles virus is airborne, meaning it can spread through the air and can remain airborne for a few hours. You can catch if from an infected person even after that person has left the room.

According to the CDC, a sick person will spread the measles to 90 percent of the people close to them that are not immune.

The virus can also survive on surfaces for up to two hours, according to the CDC.

Why is it making a comeback?

A measles vaccine was first licensed in 1963, and then lumped into the MMR vaccine in 1971, according to a timeline by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The vaccine is 95 percent effective and measles is considered a vaccine-preventable disease.

Cases steadily declined, reaching an all time low of 37 cases in 2004, according to CDC data. But thanks to "clusters" of unvaccinated people in the United States, coupled with increased international travel, cases are back up.

"Those clusters fuel the imported outbreaks," Schaffner said, adding that the clusters are often well-educated but misinformed parents who lack "respect" and "fear" of the disease because they've never experienced it.

Many fear that the MMR vaccine will cause autism, though the claim has since been debunked and the doctor who authored the fraudulent study has lost his medical license.

The CDC reported 644 measles cases in 2014 alone as part of about 20 separate outbreaks.


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Free Range Parenting: Should Kids Be Allowed to Roam Unsupervised?


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Rafi and Dvora Meitiv were walking home from the park recently in Silver Spring, Maryland, when they were suddenly confronted by strangers. Not a gang member, or a bully, or a child molester, but the police.

“We were over here about to cross the street the two police cars pull up here, stopped, the doors opened then the whole thing started,” Rafi said.

The Montgomery County Police gave the kids a stern warning about walking alone, put them in the squad car and drove them home.

“I look out and see the police and thought, ‘Oh my God, what did they do?’” said their father Alexander Meitiv. “I asked did they do something, they said ‘no,’ I said, ‘OK, I'll take my children,’ then I realized they wouldn't let me take them.”

Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect.

Before the police found them, Rafi and Dvora, ages 10 and 6, said they used to run around outside and cross the street by themselves all the time. Their parents, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv, said they trust their children and want to give them the freedom to make mistakes, away from the parental safety net.

It’s an approach known these days as “free range parenting,” which to the Meitivs is an age-old tradition.

“I'm just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented,” Danielle said.

Suddenly this middle-class suburban family found themselves smack in the middle of a national parenting debate.

In an era of helicopter parenting, many people wouldn’t dream of letting their kids leave their sight unattended.

Plenty of parents are rightly concerned about all the menaces of modern life -- kidnappers, perverts, violent crime, a broken bone, a drunk driver, having their kids snatched or lost, or fall victim to countless other horrors.

But there is also a growing movement of parents who refuse to hover.

Lenore Skenazy is a champion of free range parenting, and stars on a reality TV show on Discovery Life.

“The concept is that I...go to families that are extremely over-protective and nervous and I find out all the things the kids aren't allowed to do,” Skenazy said. “I make helicopter parents see what their kids can really do, stuff that they didn't believe because they never let them do it.”

The title of her new show: World’s Worst Mom. It’s an insult she has been called many times. ABC's Nightline first profiled Skenazy in 2009 when she let her then-9-year-old son Izzy take the New York City subway by himself.

“We thought, ‘Gee, you know, he knows the subway, he knows how to use the card that gets you on,’” she said. “We sat him down, we made sure he knew how to read a map, but he's been reading maps forever, and then we thought about the city. Is the city safe? Well our crime rate is back to 1963 and we’re talking about Sunday which is a nice, easygoing day.”

Izzy is now in high school. After that first trip, he was inspired to start pushing the boundaries further, gaining confidence and street smarts with every trip outside the nest. He is now an impressively confident, self-sufficient kid.

“Just because I know my way around doesn't mean I never get lost. That's part of the fun, find my way home from somewhere that my mom drops me off, it's really helpful,” he said, adding that he’s gotten stopped by the police three times for riding the subway by himself.

But in Maryland, the Meitivs are still under investigation. The Maryland Child Protective Services declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws.

But even some supporters of free range parenting say there should be limits.

“A 10-year-old should never be in charge of a 6-year-old,” said Susan Klein-Shilling, a child and family therapist. “It’s not about the 6-year-old being abducted or something terrible on the outside happening, but even potentially the 6-year-old spraining their ankle or having an asthma attack, or any kind of thing that could happen to a child of that age.”

But the Meitivs say they are the best ones to judge if their kids are ready, and if their neighborhood is safe enough, for them to be on their own, not the government.

“Frankly I think that raising independent children and responsible children and giving them the freedom that i enjoyed is a risk worth taking,” Danielle Meitiv said. “In the end it's our decision as parents.”

“It's essential for our development,” Rafi added. “I love it and it's just a part of our life.”

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Bullied Girl May Face Permanent Blindness, Parents Say


Patrick and Erin Quarles(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Gwendolyn Quarles has a brain disorder that appeared soon after another child lobbed a football at her face in October of last year, her parents said. Her father, Patrick Quarles, said the incident was no accident.

"On the day of the injury, Gwendolyn was in gym class and the coaches left the children alone," Quarles, a 43-year-old sales representative for an electrical supply company, told ABC News. "There seems to have been an argument and then she remembers a ball flying at her."

After complaining of a floating feeling, the 11-year-old was sent to the nurse, her father said. Later in the day, her parents took her to the emergency room near her home in Austin, Texas, where she was diagnosed with intracranial hypertension, a rare disorder where pressure inside the skull chokes off the optic nerve from the brain.

The family had notified the school numerous times about previous incidents in which Gwendolyn was pushed around, her father said.

The girl's mother, Erin Quarles, said that doctors have told the family that they cannot definitively confirm that the disorder is a result of the injury, but according to the Intracranial Hypertension Foundation, the condition is usually the result of a severe head injury.

The school where the incident occurred is The Founder's Classic Academy, part of the Responsive Education Solutions, a charter school system in Texas. Mary Ann Duncan, vice president of school operations for RES, said they wished the child a speedy recovery but would neither confirm nor deny the incident occurred.

"We are not allowed to speak about confidential student information but the school's policy is to investigate and notify parents promptly of any accident or bullying," Duncan said.

It's unclear whether Quarles will completely recover from the injury, said her parents, who fear she may go blind even if she undergoes risky and expensive surgery. Besides problems with her eyesight, her father said she was also experiencing other difficulties.

"She sometimes has trouble understanding me and sometimes she will trip over things. It comes and goes," he said, though her mother said her daughter's symptoms have improved in the last several days.

Gwendolyn is at the prime age for being bullied, according to government statistics. About a third of children report being threatened at school, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the likelihood of bullying peaks in the middle school years when kids are age 10 to 14.

"Kids who are bullied have higher rates of anxiety and depression and lower self-esteem," said Dr. Joe Shrand, the medical director of CASTLE, an adolescent addiction treatment center in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Though only a small percentage of bullying turns physical, Shrand said kids who are bullied have a higher risk of physical ailments such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and suicide throughout their lifetime. Sometimes kids who are bullied turn the tables and become "victim bullies" perpetuating the cycle, he added.

Quarles said his family has racked up substantial medical bills as a result of his daughter's condition, only some of which have been covered by insurance. The family has started a GoFundMe.com campaign to help cover the out-of-pocket costs, which Quarles said are piling up quickly.

The family said they sent at least 23 emails to the school, warning them that she was being pushed around by a group of other girls and that they feared the situation might escalate into something physical, Patrick Quarles said. The school did make attempts to remedy the situation, the parents said, but they wish everyone -- themselves included -- had done more.

And when something actually happened, he said he and his wife were in shock.

"You think, 'What’s the worst that can happen?' But you never think this," Quarles said.

Since no adult was present when it happened, it's impossible to get the entire story, Quarles said, adding that the family does not plan to sue.

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Officials on Alert for Measles During Super Bowl


NFL Media(PHOENIX) -- Arizona health officials are attempting to contain a measles outbreak that has already spread through multiple states as thousands of fans arrive in Phoenix ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl.

Officials are already monitoring 1,000 people in Arizona who were exposed to the contagious virus after seven people were found to be infected in the state.

“This is a critical point in this outbreak,” said Arizona Department of Health Services’ Director Will Humble. “If the public health system and medical community are able to identify every single susceptible case and get them into isolation, we have a chance of stopping this outbreak here."

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence and will infect an estimated 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus. The incubation period is on average 14 days, but an infected person can be contagious up to four days before they start to show symptoms.

With scores of fans expected to head to Phoenix this weekend to watch the game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, health officials have delivered stern warnings to try and keep the disease from spreading in the state.

Anyone not vaccinated for measles is asked to stay out of public areas for 21 days. In Phoenix’s Maricopa County, the health department is asking unvaccinated children to stay home from school or day care for another three weeks in order to protect them from potential infection.

“If we miss any potential cases and some of them go to a congregate setting with numerous susceptible contacts, we could be in for a long and protracted outbreak,” said Humble on the health department website.

The current measles outbreak has infected at least 84 people in 14 states after originating in the Disneyland theme park, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While immune globulin can be given to help mitigate symptoms, there is no way for health officials to stop those exposed from developing the disease. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and the tell-tale red rash, according to the CDC. In severe cases it can cause pneumonia, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, and death.

This week, the health department detailed their health and public safety plans for the Super Bowl.

In addition to monitoring for dangerous pathogens and suspicious substances, the department will conduct “illness monitoring at urgent care centers, and monitoring poison control center calls related to Super Bowl events.”

The department said the enhanced surveillance will allow them to more quickly “identify health threats” and respond immediately.

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Preemies Experience Social Development Problems as They Age


iStock/Thinkstock(HELSINKI, Finland) — In addition to physical problems that children who were born prematurely might suffer, scientists say they may encounter certain psychological problems during their teen and young adult years.

In a study of people born prematurely during the 1980s, scientists at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, says that many of these grown preemies tend to see themselves as less attractive than other individuals.

Another roadblock to their social development, according to Dr. Tuija Mannisto, is that they also have a harder time being sexually intimate with a partner or else, delay having sexual relationships.

While these problems are not insignificant, Dr. Edward McCabe of the March of Dimes says they should also not be too alarming.

McCabe, who was not involved in the study, contends that preemies typically have more cautious personalities than people who were born full-term and that putting off sex isn’t necessarily bad.

He also maintains that there have been advancements in the treatment of preemies at intensive care units so that those born in more recent times may not have the same issues as the older generation.

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Beer Ingredient Could Stave Off Alzheimer's Disease


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Move over wine. Beer might have important health benefits as well.

In a study conducted by the American Chemical Society, Jianguo Fang and his fellow researchers say that xanthohumol or Xn, an ingredient in hops, can prevent or slow down the onset of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

These conditions are brought on by oxidative damage to neuronal cells in the brain.

Xn works as an antioxidant that also offers protection to the heart and fights cancer.

But don’t start guzzling down beer after beer just yet. The researchers first have to learn what concentration of Xn is beneficial and how to deliver this compound to patients.

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Time to Get Hooked on Phonics Again


iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Remember Hooked on Phonics? Ads for this commercial system of reading education through phonetics were everywhere during the early 1990s until the company ran into trouble with the FTC, leading it to file for bankruptcy.

However, the basic concept of phonics to help kids read though sounding out words is making a comeback.

A University of Buffalo study says that phonics is more effective in teaching youngsters to read faster than the commonly taught technique of visually memorizing word patterns.

UB assistant professor of psychology Chris McNorgan contends that phonological information enables children to better identify individual words.

Furthermore, teaching them to be more sensitive to auditory information is key to improving reading performance, according to McNorgan.

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Possible Cure for Peanut Allergies Developed


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Have Australian researchers come up with a cure for peanut allergies?

It’s possible that they may have, based on the results of an experiment in which 60 youngsters with these allergies were either given a placebo or the probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus combined with peanut protein.

The trial conducted by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute lasted 18 months and by the end, eighty percent of children who took the probiotic became tolerant to peanuts. In contrast, only four percent in the control group could consume peanuts without an allergic reaction.

Lead researcher Mimi Tang remarked, “These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies.”

Tang, however, cautioned that more research needs to be done to determine if the treatment with the probiotic could produce long-term relief for those with peanut allergies.

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CDC: Already More Measles Cases in 2015 than Median Number from 2001 to 2010


Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Thursday that the number of measles cases in the U.S. since January 1 is already higher than the annual total case counts for several recent full years.

In total, the CDC said there have been 84 cases of measles in 2015, with 67 of those linked to the outbreak at California's Disneyland. The California outbreak includes six other states as well.

Between 2001 and 2010, the median number of measles cases per year in the U.S. was just 60.

Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said on Thursday that for every 1,000 U.S. children who get measles, one to three will die from it -- "regardless of best treatment."

Interestingly, the CDC also notes that the U.S. experienced the highest number of measles cases in 20 years in 2014, with 644 cases linked to 20 outbreaks.

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Study: Expensive Placebos More Effective than Cheap Ones


Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that placebos are more effective when they cost more.

Researchers looked at data from 12 patients with moderate to severe Parkinson's disease who were told they were being given one injection that was a more expensive version of a new drug and one injection that was a cheap version. In fact, patients were given saline -- a placebo -- both times. According to the study, published in the journal Neurology, patients had their brain activity and motor function measured to determine effectiveness.

While neither placebo was as effective as the Parkinson's drug levodopa, the expensive version of the placebo prompted better performance on motor skills tests. "Perceptions of cost," the researchers determined, "are capable of altering the placebo response in clinical studies."

Dr. Alberto Espay, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, said in a press release that "if we can find strategies to harness the placebo response to enhance the benefits of treatments, we could potentially maximize the benefit of treatment while reducing the dosage of drugs needed and possibly reducing side effects."

Because the study involved such a small sample of participants, further research may be needed to prove the findings.

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WHO: New Ebola Cases in West Africa Drop Below 100 Last Week


Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization on Thursday released a new report on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, showing that the number of new cases identified in the last week had fallen below 100.

According to the WHO's Ebola Situation Report, 99 new cases were detailed in the three countries most heavily affected by the outbreak -- 65 in Sierra Leone, 30 in Guinea and four in Liberia. The total number of Ebola cases since the beginning of the outbreak is now at 22,092. At least 8,810 of those cases has resulted in death.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have been the site of the vast majority of Ebola cases, with 22,057 cases in those three nations. A small number of cases have been detected in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

The WHO says that the response to the Ebola situation "has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing the transmission to ending the epidemic." Specifically, efforts are being shifted to ensure capacity for case finding and management, safe burials and community engagement.

Liberia and Sierra Leone each reported decreased incidents of new Ebola cases compared to last week, while the 30 cases in Guinea was up from 20 the week before.

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How Tom Brady's Cold Could Affect the Super Bowl


Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This is nothing to sneeze at ahead of the Super Bowl: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a cold.

Brady told reporters he's sure he'll be fine in time for Sunday's clash against the Seattle Seahwaks, saying, "It's been lingering, so I'm just trying to get some rest. A lot of garlic, old remedies, everything I can."

But epidemiologists aren't sold on the garlic -- but they also say there's a good chance Brady will be just fine in time for the big game.

"That will keep those linebackers away," Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said of the garlic remedy, which he called "folklore."

"People get better as time passes with colds, so I expect that he will indeed improve by the time Sunday comes along," he added.

Schaffner, who has not treated Brady, said most colds go away after about four or five days. He also said the most important thing Brady can do this week is stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep at night.

"That’s the stuff your grandmother told you which is actually is useful," he said.

Exercise also helps with symptom relief because it stimulates adrenaline production, Schaffner said.

Adrenaline constricts the blood vessels in the nose to relieve some of the stuffiness from a cold. He said most people have their favorite over-the-counter drugs for symptom relief, and those might help Brady, too.

"I think hydration, sleep, the passage of time and his exercise actually bode well for his performance on Sunday," Schaffner said. "He may not need that garlic to keep away the linebackers."

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Family Seeking Liver Donor to Save Twins Asks for Public's Help


Bhakpong/iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- A family desperately searching for a liver donor for their twin daughters have started a campaign in order to find a stranger willing to donate to save their girls.

Binh and Phuoc Wagner, 3, of Ontario, Canada, both need liver transplants because of a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome, which can affect bile ducts in the liver and lead to severe liver damage.

The twins were adopted from Vietnam in 2012 by Johanne and Michael Wagner, who were aware the girls’ livers were in trouble during the adoption.

“We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wagner said. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were supposed to be with us, and it just took a different path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were they were part of our family.”

Last year, the girls’ condition worsened to the point that they were able to be put on a transplant list. While the girls each need their own donor, the family was delighted to find out that Michael Wagner was a donor match.

Wagner can only give liver tissue to one child because of the way the liver regenerates. Doctors will determine which girl is sicker and she will undergo the procedure.

“We found ourselves to be very lucky that we qualified right away,” said Johanne Wager of her husband being a match. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

The family has now turned to social media and public outreach in the hope that a stranger could be a match and also be willing to undergo rigorous medical procedures and an operation in order to save their daughter’s life.

After starting a Facebook page to draw attention to the twins' story, Johanne Wagner said hundreds of people started flooding her Facebook page offering to be a living donor. Wagner is directing anyone interested to the Toronto General Hospital Living Donor Assessment Office to see if they fit the profile.

Dr. Les Lilly, the medical director of liver transplant at Toronto General Hospital, estimated that anonymous living donors account for a fraction of liver donations, but that with social media the practice could become more commonplace.

“We do have people who step forward and want to help out, and they’re considered anonymous donors,” said Lilly. “I think there’s a greater awareness,” of being a living donor through social media.

Lilly cautioned that becoming a living donor is not easy. A person’s blood type must be compatible with the recipient and they must pass a battery of tests to ensure they are healthy enough to donate. After the operation, they have to be out of work for weeks as they recover.

Lilly said hospital officials go slowly with tests so that donors are not overwhelmed and feel they still can change their minds.

“We’re very, very conscious of donor safety,” said Lilly. “We realize some people might go into process very enthusiastically,” but later decide it is not right for them.

Billie Potkonjak, director of health promotion and patient services at the Canadian Liver Foundation, said they’re seeing more and more anonymous living liver donor cases.

“Certainly, the proliferation of social media makes it easier for people to go public with their situation and to talk about it publicly,” said Potkonjak. “It definitely highlights the need for organ donation.”

Johanne Wagner said it’s likely her husband will donate his liver to one of the girls within the next few weeks.

In spite of the difficulties they’re facing, Johanne Wagner said they’re staying positive and thankful for the public’s support.

“We would travel this road all over again,” she said.

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Does Shaving Make Your Hair Darker and Thicker?


Jacek Chabraszewski/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When faced with a patch of unruly hair on your body, it’s tempting to grab a razor and cut it down to size. But should you think again before reaching for the blade to solve your over-active follicles?

Dr. Debbie Yi, an Emergency Medicine and Neurology physician at the Hospital of UPenn, cuts this myth down to size. Dr. Yi asserts that our hair is a lot like grass: thick at the bottom and thinner towards the ends.

“So when we shave, all you’re doing is causing a cut, that makes the hair more coarse and more stubbly. So it might appear to be darker, and might appear to be thicker, but sadly, it actually isn’t,” Dr. Yi says.

So the next time you reach for that razor to get rid of unsightly hair, never fear, the hair that remains isn’t thicker or darker -- it’s just an illusion.

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