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Surrogate Mom 'Felt Like Someone that Sold My Child'


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tanya Prashad thought she was the perfect candidate for surrogacy. Having given birth to healthy children of her own, the 33-year-old wanted to give others the same joy she had known, and decided to be a surrogate for a same-sex couple.

“Hundred percent motivated just to help another couple,” Prashad said. “As far as compensation was concerned it really was just enough to cover health insurance, life insurance, missed work, that was it.”

Although she had signed away her legal rights to be a parent, Prashad, an accountant who lives in the Minneapolis area, used her own egg and said she had worked out a deal with the couple allowing her to still be involved in the child’s life.

“I chose to have the baby with a gay couple because there’s not another mom,” she said. “The plan was for me to still act within the capacity as her mom.”

Prashad gave birth to a baby girl, but immediately after, she said she felt she had made a mistake serving as a surrogate.

“When she was right there in my arms, all those little pieces of paper that we signed kind of just fell away,” she said. “I never for a second thought about what was right for her and what she deserved.”

Prashad eventually had to fight to have a continued relationship with the daughter she gave birth to.

“We ended up in court,” she said. “We actually didn’t fight it out in court. We agreed on a joint custody order together.”

Her daughter is now 10 years old, but Prashad said she is still haunted by her decision.

“I felt like someone that sold my child,” she said.

For thousands of parents unable to conceive, surrogacy has been a viable option to still have biological children. But some are speaking out against surrogacy, claiming that there are risks involved and breaking that mother-newborn bond can have consequences.

Jennifer Lahl is one such woman, and she is on a mission to ban surrogacy in the United States.

Lahl, a mother of three and a former neo-natal nurse, is the filmmaker behind the critical documentaries, Eggsploitation, about egg donation, and Anonymous Father’s Day, on sperm donation. Her new film, Breeders: A Subclass of Women? features women who have deep regrets about being surrogates. Prashad shared her story with ABC News' Nightline at a recent Breeders screening.

Through Breeders, Lahl accuses the multi-billion-dollar global industry of concealing the health risks for prospective surrogates and equates it to selling organs.

“If you want to be a kidney donor, we say that's wonderful, but you are not allowed to be paid… because what happens when commerce enters in is people will make decisions that are not in their best interest for their health,” Lahl said. “Women are not breeders. Children are not products and commodities. Women are not easy-bake ovens baking cupcakes for nice, other people.”

Lahl is also the president of the conservative-leaning Center for Bioethics and Culture. Though she holds a masters’ degree in bioethics from a well-known evangelical university and books speaking tours with conservative groups, Lahl said her personal religious beliefs do not inform her position on surrogacy.

“I tell people all the time, I’m against surrogacy, I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, single,” she said.

But Lahl’s anti-surrogacy position is controversial, especially since children born through gestational surrogacy, meaning the child’s parents’ egg and sperm are inserted into a surrogate’s womb through in-vitro, is on the rise. Children born through gestational surrogacy increased 150 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“I’ve been threatened, I’ve been told I should have a bullet put to my head,” Lahl said. “The industry hates me because I’m not good for the bottom line and I might hurt business.”

In recent years, surrogacy has had some high-profile attention, from Nicole Kidman to Sarah Jessica Parker and Ricky Martin, all using the method to expand their families.

Traci Woolard, who gave birth to a child for a couple that wasn’t able to conceive on their own, has been protesting Lahl’s Breeders screening and publicly defends her right to be a surrogate mother.

“I have successfully carried for two families, delivering four babies, to help complete their families,” she said. “It is something that I can give back, and something that I can help another family achieve.”

But Lahl believes surrogacy is wrong, and says fracturing the bond between birth mother and newborn “can have significant damage, short and long term.”

“Just because somebody can’t have a child doesn’t mean that I have to say by all means, any way you can get a child is fine,” she said. “There’s a long step between I can’t have a child, and what are the ethical ways to fulfilling that need to getting a child.”

ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton says that there are many ways for someone to be a parent, not just through giving birth to a child.

"I think one of the most important things for people to remember when they talk about unconventional ways to become parents today, is that a lot more goes into being a parent than biology," she said. "It's very important to remember that. People can get very, very emotional when they talk about these types of issues. The medical ones are straight forward, the social ones get a little trickier."

British researchers at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge recently released a study that followed surrogacy children from infancy to adolescence and found these children were very well-adjusted and had good relationships with their parents. However, surrogacy children showed slightly higher levels of psychological problems at age 7 in comparison with a group of non-surrogate children. The researchers found this difference usually disappeared by age 10.

However, Ashton cautions that more research is needed.

“They’re very small studies. They are very limited in number and any differences tend to disappear or resolve themselves by early adolescence or late childhood so I think we have to be careful in interpreting this data and literally not throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak,” Ashton said.

The Cambridge researchers believe the raised levels of psychological problems for surrogate children happen at age 7 because that’s when they gain a better understanding of how they were born, and they have questions.

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Fake Smartphone Designed to Comfort Technology Addicts


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's a low tech way for smartphone addicts who suffer from nomophobia -- the fear of being without their mobile devices -- to cope with being away from their beloved electronics.

Introducing the noPhone.

The brainchild of a group of Dutch creatives, the noPhone is designed to ease owners' separation anxiety from their devices.

Everyone knows someone who texts at dinner, in a movie, sleeps with their phone next to their pillow and basically won't let it out of their grip until its pried from their cold, dead hands.

The noPhone looks like a smartphone and feels like a smartphone, but that's where similarities end, Ingmar Larsen, one of the designers of the project, told ABC News.

"What inspired us is the fact that a lot of people around us nowadays are focused on their mobile devices and not on the social environment anymore," he said. "We wanted to make people aware of their addiction by creating a product that can be used for their addiction. It works as a placebo."

Larsen said the group is still figuring out "the possibilities" for manufacturing and selling the noPhone and said it's something they hope to do in the future.

"It’s easy to take it and to play with it," Larsen said. "It helps [people who use it] to stay calm."

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Are Athletes More Likely to Be Diagnosed with ALS?


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just one year ago, Tim Shaw was playing football with the Tennessee Titans. Now, he’s battling ALS, the fatal neurodegenerative disease at the center of the viral ice bucket challenge.

Shaw, 30, revealed his diagnosis in a video posted Tuesday to the Titans website.

“I'm here today to stand up and fight with all of you against this disease,” he said before dumping a Gatorade bucket full of ice water over his head. He then challenged the Titans organization, the Penn State football team and coach James Franklin, and his community in Clarenceville, Michigan, to follow suit.

Shaw is the latest NFL player to be diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, joining former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance and former Philadelphia Eagles fullback Kevin Turner, to name a few.

ALS is considered a rare disease, affecting an estimated two in every 100,000 Americans each year, according to the ALS Association. But some studies suggest football players have a higher risk, with one 2012 report finding NFLers were four times more likely to die from the disease. Some evidence points to a higher risk among soccer players, too.

“It remains unclear whether exercise is indeed a risk factor and what types of exercise may be of concern,” the ALS Association’s website reads, noting that “pesticides or some other chemical encountered on maintained playing fields” might also be involved. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE -- a neurodegenerative disorder linked to concussions -- also shares symptoms with ALS.

Pete Frates, the 29-year-old behind the ice bucket challenge, played baseball, like Lou Gehrig himself.

"The concept that this disease could be over-represented among athletes has been in the medical literature for a long time, and no one underscores that concept more than Lou Gehrig," Dr. Robert Brown, chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and president of the ALS Therapy Alliance said in a 2012 story about Frates’ diagnosis. "But the interesting question is: Does athleticism set the stage for motor neuron degeneration, or does that same property that makes a person a great athlete also make them susceptible to the disease?"

Most people with ALS are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70, according to the ALS Association, and only 25 percent of them are alive five years later.

Brown said the “sense of tragedy looms even larger” for people diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, like Frates and Shaw.

"The irony is that at a time when their muscles are wasting away, we see extraordinary courage and motivation, and what can only be called strength,” he said.

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US Hospitals Have Had 68 Ebola Scares, CDC Says


iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- American hospitals and state labs have handled at least 68 Ebola scares over the last three weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitals in 27 states alerted the CDC of the possible Ebola cases out of an abundance of caution amid the growing outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fifty-eight cases were deemed false alarms after CDC officials spoke with medical professions about patient exposures and symptoms, but blood samples for the remaining 10 were sent to the CDC for testing, the agency told ABC News Wednesday.

Seven of the samples tested negative for the virus and results for the remaining three are pending, the agency said.

Once a hospital or state lab notifies the CDC of a possible Ebola case based on travel history and symptoms, CDC officials talk to someone familiar with the suspected patient’s history to determine whether blood testing for the virus is necessary, said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. They discuss symptoms and determine whether the patient may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure can happen if the patient is a health care worker, has buried someone with Ebola, has lived in a house with someone who had Ebola or has lived in a place where Ebola is spreading.

“If somebody had traveled to Guinea and came back and had a fever and has never been to a place where Ebola is transmitted, there’s no reason to suspect there’s Ebola just because Ebola is circulating in Guinea,” Nordlund said, explaining that the CDC takes suspected cases seriously but has to narrow them down.

The latest scare to make headlines involves a patient at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento who "may have been exposed to the Ebola virus," the hospital said in a statement. The patient has been isolated in a negative pressure room while awaiting blood test results from the CDC.

Earlier this week, a 30-year-old woman arrived at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque with a fever, sore throat, headache and muscle aches after returning from Sierra Leone, according to the New Mexico Department of Public Health. She is currently in isolation and awaiting test results from the CDC, according to the department.

Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland and an undisclosed hospital in Ohio have also tested patients for Ebola over the past several weeks.

The CDC has urged health care providers to ask patients about their travel history to help identify potential Ebola cases.

The death toll of the outbreak stands at 1,350, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. At least 2,473 people have been infected since March 2014.

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Athlete Who Raced While Pregnant Gives Birth to Baby Girl


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The athlete who made headlines for running an 800-meter race later in her pregnancy has given birth to a healthy baby girl.

Alycia Montaño, 28, gave birth Friday to Linnéa Dori Montaño, her first child with husband Louis Montaño.

In an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, the California resident said she felt great.

“I mean, I had the birth that I wanted…my natural birth, no meds at all,” she said, adding that believed she achieved her goal of remaining “mentally intact, physically intact.”

Her goal is to now ease back into her regular fitness routine. In two weeks she’ll start doing daily 20- to 30- minute runs and progress gradually from there, she said.

Since being released from the hospital 12 hours after the delivery, she has been going on leisurely daily walks of about a mile, she said, adding that she isn’t overdoing things.

Many questioned her decision to run the 800-meter race at the US Track and Field Championships in June. The five-time national champion came last in that race.

She told ABC News that she was surprised by the reaction to her participation in that event.

“That’s what I do for a living -- and it was so mild compared to what I normally do,” she said. “It was just kind of a stroll for me...”

She said she checked with her doctors and was told it wouldn’t be a problem, adding that it was important for her mentally and physically.

In fact, she remained physically active right up until the day she gave birth. “Well the day I delivered, the day I went into labor I ran five miles,” she said.

She labored for about eight hours before delivering the baby.

Montaño noted that she went into her pregnancy and labor without fear because of her husband’s support. She called him the unsung hero.

“He was such an amazing birthing partner. We labored together in the house and he was just a rock the entire time. You know like, nobody’s perfect but he was perfect on that day. He was perfect,” she said.

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Schoolkids Need to Be Extra Cautious in September


iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The end of summer means the start of school, and September is when most younger children head back to class. While it’s an exciting time, Safe Kids Worldwide reports it’s also the month that the most children are struck by automobiles, largely because of distractions.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts recommend a variety of precautions that parents can undertake to help ensure their youngsters’ safety.

First and foremost, children need to be taught to make eye contact with motorists before stepping off the curb, while also turning off all digital devices. If the kids have cellphones, they should only use them in an area away from traffic.

Another important reminder for parents whose children might be old enough to walk to school themselves is to go over a safe route that has crossing guards at every intersection. Even then, children should also be versed on all pedestrian safety rules.

Motorists are cautioned as well to slow down before reaching all stop signs, crosswalks and intersections, while remembering that cars stopping inside crosswalks may force kids into danger zones.

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Healthier Hearts Found in Tight-Knit Neighborhoods


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’ve lived in a neighborhood for a while, chances are that you take your neighbors for granted. Well, you shouldn’t, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal, because the folks from your community may be helping your heart health.

Researchers surveyed more than 5,000 volunteers in the U.S. who reported no health problems, asking them a variety of questions over four years about their relationships with their neighbors.

During that time period, 148 people reported suffering a heart attack. Using the information collected from the survey, the researchers determined that those participants who reported positive experiences with neighbors were 17 percent less likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t feel as friendly or trusting of others.

The study seems to dispel other findings that have shown people put their health at risk by living in neighborhoods where there is a preponderance of fast food restaurants, violence, drug use and noise.

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Certain Seniors Advised Against Cancer Screenings


TongRo Images/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Cancer screenings can help people detect early signs of the disease or put their minds at ease if no trace of cancer is found.

However, Dr. Ronald Chen, a radiation oncologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says in a new study that too often elderly patients are screened for certain cancers that are of little consequence to them if they are only expected to live up to ten more years.

In particular, the aged are tested for prostate, breast, cervical and colon cancer, which are certainly serious but not so much as a person nears the end of life.

Chen and other cancer experts say quality of life may be adversely affected through biopsies and treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

According to Chen, both patients and physicians may have to be educated about the pros and cons of cancer screening.

Dr. Cary Gross, who wrote an accompanying editorial to Chen’s study, contends, “People should ask about their probability of dying from cancer if they are screened, compared to if they are not screened. Also, they should ask about which type of test is best for them, and why the doctor recommends it.”

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Report: Big Drop in Teen Pregnancy Rate


Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teen pregnancies continue to drop, with the latest figures from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showing that the teen pregnancy rate is less than half of what it was in 1991.

In 2013, the NCHS says that there were just 26.6 births per 1,000 teens, 9.5 percent lower than the 2013 figure. That drop-off is the second-largest one-year dip in teen pregnancies since 1945.

The National Vital Statistics Report released recently indicated that teen pregnancies are lowest in the Northeast and highest in the South.

Still, however, the teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. continues to outpace that of other developed nations. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the latest data indicates just 21.8 births per 1,000 teens.

The NCHS warns that teen pregnancies bring heightened risk of low birth-weight and premature birth, which are linked to a number of health complications."

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California Patient Being Tested for Ebola


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A patient in California is being tested for Ebola on Tuesday.

According to a statement from Dr. Stephen Parodi, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Director of Hospital Operations at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, the patient, "may have been exposed to the Ebola virus."

The statement does not provide any identifying information about the patient, their recent travels or their symptoms.

The hospital says it is acting cautiously to protect its other patients and its staff, even though the patient has not been confirmed to have Ebola. The patient is reportedly being isolated in a specially-equipped negative pressure room, and hospital staff in contact with the patient are using personal protective equipment.

Doctors and infectious disease experts at the hospital are also working with local and state public health agencies to monitor the latest developments and share information on the case.

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Study: Couples Who Wait Longer to Have Sex, Live Together, More Likely to Report Higher Marriage Quality


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia finds that survey subjects who waited longer to have sex with their significant other were more likely to have a higher quality marriage.

The study, conducted as part of the National Marriage Project, found that nearly one-third of respondents said that their relationship with their eventual spouse began as "a hook-up." The researchers did not define "hooking up," rather, allowing the respondents to do so themselves. However, those respondents who said their relationship began as a "hook-up" were less likely to have a higher quality marriage. Of those who said their relationship began that way, only 36 percent ranked in the top 40 percent of overall respondents for marriage quality. Forty-two percent of those who said their relationship did not begin as a hook-up placed in the top 40 percent of marriage quality.

Researchers also said that the longer into their relationship that couples waited to have sex, the more likely they were to see higher levels of marital quality.

A larger gap in marriage quality, however, was seen when looking at responses to whether or not respondents and their spouse had lived together before making the commitment to get married. According to the research, just 31 percent of those who cohabited before having plans to marry ranked in the top 40 percent of overall marriage quality. However, 43 percent of respondents who had waited until after making plans to marry one another ranked in that same upper class of marriage quality.

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Brita Recalls Children's Water Bottles Due to Safety Concerns


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Consumers are being urged to stop using Brita hard-sided water filter bottles for children after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that the lid can break into pieces with sharp points.

According to the CPSC, about 242,500 of the bottles have been recalled, including four different styles. Among the recalled products are versions featuring Dora the Explorer on a violet bottle, Hello Kitty on a pink bottle, SpongeBob Square Pants on a blue bottle and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a green bottle.

Brita has reportedly received at least 35 reports of the lids breaking or cracking, which poses a threat to children drinking from the bottle. No injuries have been reported, however.

Consumers are asked to stop using the bottles and contact Brita to receive a pre-paid shipping package to return the bottle. Customers will receive a full refund.

The bottles were sold at a number of retailers, including Target and Walmart stores and online on Amazon.com between June 2013 and July 2014.

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Experts Blast Rob Schneider's Parkinson's Drug Twitter Rant


Vince Bucci/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Comedian Rob Schneider’s Twitter rant blaming Parkinson’s drugs for Robin Williams’ death has highlighted the delicate balance between the risks and benefits of the prescription drugs millions of people take every day.

In a series of tweets Monday, Schneider blasted the “evil pharmaceutical industry” for admitting that “100,000 people in the USA die a year from prescription drugs,” some of which list suicide as a side effect.

But Parkinson’s disease experts say Schneider is out of line.

“Suicide is of no more concern in patients with Parkinson’s versus those who don’t have Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Irene Richard, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a science adviser to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

In fact, a 2008 Howard University study found that people with Parkinson’s are 10 times less likely to commit suicide than the average person. Williams' widow revealed after the comedian's death that Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition of the nervous system marked by tremors and general difficulty with movement. It attacks the nerve cells that produce neurotransmitters associated with mood and, along with the shock of the diagnosis, can lead to depression, studies suggest.

More than 50 percent of people who receive a Parkinson’s diagnosis develop clinical depression, according to Parkinson's Disease Foundation. The foundation notes that about 30 percent of patients reported being depressed even before their diagnosis and that antidepressants are often an effective treatment. Parkinson’s medications like pramiprexole even have an antidepressant effect, according to the foundation.

However, some Parkinson’s drugs do list an increased risk of suicide as a possible side effect.

For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that patients taking either levodopa or SINEMET, two drugs commonly used to treat Parkinson’s, “should be observed carefully for the development of depression with concomitant suicidal tendencies.”

Some Parkinson’s drugs have also been shown to increase impulsive behaviors that can lead to out-of-control gambling, sex addiction and other compulsive disorders. But Richard, who studies Parkinson’s related depression, cautioned against linking impulsiveness to suicidal tendencies.

The only Parkinson’s treatment that has an outright possible association with increased suicide risk is deep brain stimulation, Richard noted, a surgery where electrodes are implanted in the brain to control its electrical activity. Any candidate for such an operation would be carefully screened for history of depression and other mood disorders, Richard said.

Several prescription medications list suicide as a possible side effect -- a labeling requirement based on safety data, patient reports and other relevant information, according to the FDA.

“It is limited to those events for which there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship between occurrence of an adverse event and the use of a drug,” FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh told ABC News.

The agency is currently examining concerns about suicidal tendencies linked to a diverse list of medications, including some for asthma and controlling seizures, and even one for quitting smoking. All antidepressants in the United States carry a warning that they are associated with an increased suicide risk in adults aged 18 to 24 during initial treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health.

So long as their depression is properly managed, James Beck, vice president of scientific affairs for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, said that suicide shouldn’t be a primary worry for the majority of Parkinson’s patients. He added that if Schneider did not know the specifics of Williams’ treatment, then his tweets were ill-informed and irresponsible.

“Williams had a lot of issues and it’s hard to say what was going through is mind,” said Davis, who was not involved in Williams’ care. “I don’t think you can blame his suicide on one particular thing.”

Schneider’s spokesman told ABC News that the comedian, who was a longtime friend of Williams’, would not be commenting any further.

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How Children Are Struggling Through Ferguson Unrest


Fuse/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- As the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, continue, some children in the community have shown signs of anxiety and stress -- such as nightmares -- as inflamed tensions between local authorities and residents continue for a ninth day.

Angela Tate, a counselor and director of the region’s Behavioral Health Response, said her 14-year-old daughter keeps asking over and over what exactly is going on.

“Her questions [are], ‘How long is this going on.’ She wants to go back to school,” Tate said. “Her questions haven’t been the deeper-thought level questions. It’s been more on the surface is what happens first and what happens next.”

Tate’s daughter is just one of 11,000 students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district who remain unable to go to school because of the protests. The district has postponed school twice since the protests began, meaning thousands of children have been left without their normal day-to-day routine.

The delayed school date is more than a minor annoyance because it can create more stress for young students already living through a stressful and new event, some experts say.

Dr. Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, said an everyday routine is key to keeping down stress levels.

"Routines and rituals help keep a lid on anxiety,” Kazdin said. “You can’t reason a person out of these things.”

Tate said her daughter didn’t talk too much about her fears surrounding the situation, until a window was broken at a store next to Tate’s husband’s barber shop.

"'Is Daddy’s shop still safe?'" Tate recalled her daughter asking. "We have responded to her by watching the news reports together but not too much because that can become overwhelming. We can watch it once a night and try to talk to the facts."

Tate said her goal has been to support her daughter but also be transparent with her if she does not know the answer to a question and to be clear it is ok to feel scared, afraid or unsettled.

“We talk about normalizing these emotions and the effects of this type of trauma,” Tate said.

Kazdin said monitoring how much children -- both teens and younger ones -- are exposed to events, either on TV or in person, is key in helping them feel safe and calm.

“Many children during September 11 [terrorist acts] had post-traumatic stress symptoms and it was perplexing,” Kazdin said. “They had no contact with September 11[events.] It turns out it was related to the amount of TV they watched [of events.]”

Carolyn Landis, a psychiatrist and professor of pediatrics at the UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, said parents can frame the scary events happening outside in a more positive manner to make children feel safe and secure.

“They can be anxious about going back to school and now there is unrest,” Landis said. “Definitely with younger children [parents should] be very careful about having a TV on because [of] nightmares. What they’re exposed to is what they’re going to be dreaming about, try to be as positive as possible.”

Gayle Babcock of the Ferguson Youth Initiative said she has heard from parents that young children have been unable to sleep after seeing or hearing violence in their neighborhood or on the television.

“As an adult I’m traumatized; most of the kids are [too,]” said Babcock, who works mainly with teenagers in the area as part of a traveling youth center. “The kids are saying the police need to talk to youth and need to hear them. The youth are not bad just because they’re teenagers.”

Both Tate and Babcock are working to provide young people and children in the community with access to counselors or other resources so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Tate has been going to rallies with other counselors to talk to families or teens.

The St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund is planning to send an additional 25 counselors to the school district when classes start, effectively doubling the amount of counselors available to students.

While younger children may be without a clear schedule because of the protests, older teens have had the opportunity to participate in large daily protests likely for the first time.

Amy Hunter, director of Racial Justice at the YWCA in St. Louis, said she has talked to many of the younger protesters, some of whom are the same age as her teenage children. She said she has found signs of hopefulness among the protesters, in addition to their anger over the death of Michael Brown.

“For many of the young people it’s one of the first times to have their voice and have their voice heard,” Hunter said. “This is how social movements change forever. I think a lot of the older middle-aged people are encouraging them to have their voices heard in a nonviolent way.”

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Impact of Ebola Outbreak Grows with Reports of New Cases


Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Ebola outbreak continues to spread with an additional 113 cases reported over two days.

The virus has killed at least 1,229 and sickened 1,011 more, according to numbers released Tuesday by the World Health Organization.

The outbreak is already the deadliest on record and has shown no signs of slowing. About 44.2 percent of all Ebola deaths since the virus was discovered in 1976 have occurred since March 2014, according to WHO data.

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