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West Africa Ebola Transmission Still 'Persistent and Widespread,' WHO Says


Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The World Health Organization provided a new update on Wednesday, confirming that the number of deaths in the West Africa Ebola outbreak is at 3,338, with nearly 4,000 more sickened.

The disease has spread to five countries -- Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone -- infecting 7,178 people. The report also notes that 39 percent of the total number of cases confirmed, probable or suspected in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three most heavily impacted nations, have been identified within the last three weeks. That figure echoes foreboding predictions from numerous experts that if action isn't taken, the disease will only continue to spread.

The WHO warns that while the U.S. and other nations have sent health care workers and other forms of support, "there are few signs yet that the...epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control." The agency notes that "transmission remains persistent and widespread in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with strong evidence of increasing case incidence in several districts."

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Ebola Patient Released from Hospital Despite Saying He Had Been in Africa


Will Montgomery(DALLAS) -- Even though a sick patient later diagnosed with Ebola told an emergency room nurse at a Texas hospital that he had recently traveled from West Africa, the nurse failed to pass on that information to other hospital staff, and that man was released from the hospital with antibiotics, officials said Wednesday.

The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. was initially sent home after seeking care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for symptoms consistent with the virus on Sept. 26, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, experts are asking why he wasn't immediately isolated.

"The CDC says ask anyone with fever whether they have traveled. That's one thing CDC will look at," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' chief health and medical editor, who is currently in Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The patient was only hospitalized and placed in isolation two days later after returning to the hospital by ambulance when his symptoms worsened, according to the CDC.

Besser pointed to a CDC advisory sent to medical facilities and health care workers nationwide in early August advising them to flag and isolate patients who had recently traveled to West Africa, the epicenter of the outbreak, and who exhibited symptoms such as high fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage.

Anyone who has recently handled animals such as rodents or bats from high risk areas and also has symptoms should be isolated as well, the agency advised.

In a news conference earlier Wednesday, Dr. Mark Lester, the executive vice president of the hospital, said the patient did not fully communicate his status to hospital staff and his overall clinical presentation was not typical at the time for Ebola.

But he also said: "He volunteered that he traveled from Africa in response to a nurse operating the checklist and asking him the question. The clinicians did not factor that in. It was not part of their decision."

He added that a nurse who saw the patient did ask him if he had traveled to Africa and he said yes. She did not communicate with the rest of the team. He did not offer an explanation.

In a news conference Tuesday, Edward Goodman, the hospital's epidemiologist, said there was a plan in place for suspected Ebola cases.

"Ironically enough in the week before this patient presented, we had a meeting of all the stakeholders that might be involved in the care of such patients. And because of that, we were well prepared to deal with this crisis," he said.

But if that was the case, Besser questioned why this patient was sent home with a course of antibiotics instead of being admitted and isolated.

"A person with fever and diarrhea who has recently returned from Liberia should be considered to be a suspect Ebola patient and immediately isolated. To not do so is a breach of protocol," Besser said.

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It's 'Not Impossible' Others in US Could Contract Ebola, CDC Head Says


This undated photograph shows a CDC scientist pipetting specimens in the Biosafety Level 4 Influenza Laboratory, Atlanta, GA. (James Gathany/CDC)(ATLANTA) -- The country's top medical official who has vowed to stop Ebola "in its tracks" in the U.S., conceded Wednesday that it's "not impossible" that others will contract the disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said an extensive tracking process is underway in the wake of the first Ebola diagnosis in the United States, with special focus on the patient’s family and health staff.

“We have a seven-person team in Dallas working with the local health department and the hospital, and we will be identifying everyone who may have come in contact with him and then monitoring them for 21 days,” Frieden said.

Frieden believes the disease will be “stopped in its tracks” in this country.

The unidentified man’s safety, along with the well-being of the medical people treating him, is a primary focus, Frieden said. Since his diagnosis, the patient's condition was listed as critical. On Wednesday, the hospital upgraded his condition to serious.

“What we need to do first in this particular instance is do everything possible to help this individual who’s really fighting for their life, and then make sure that we’re doing that, that we don’t have other people exposed in the hospital, identify all those contacts and monitor them for 21 days. It’s not impossible that one or two of them would develop symptoms and then they would need to be isolated,” he said.

Frieden said he’s confident that passengers who flew on the same plane as the patient did not contract the disease.

“That was four or five days before he had his first symptoms and with Ebola, you’re not contagious until you have symptoms,” he said.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed 2,917 people and infected 3,346 others since the outbreak began in March.

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Happy National Kale Day, All You Haters


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Drew Ramsey has started a Change.org petition to declare today, the first Wednesday in October, National Kale Day.

“National Kale Day is a celebration that aims to increase awareness, access, and education about the positive health benefits of eating more kale,” said Ramsey, a practicing psychiatrist who also happens to be co-author of the book, 50 Shades of Kale.

Ramsey, who once spent an entire week carefully styling kale leaves with a tweezers for a series of photo shoots, said he considers kale his muse. He crusades for the coarse cruciferous veggie, he said, because it is economical, packed with nutrients and a versatile recipe ingredient.

“If we all ate more kale we could save the planet,” he said.

Kale is definitely having a moment. By some standards, including an analysis by Technomic, a food industry consulting group,the use of kale as a menu item has increased by over 400 percent in the past five years. And Whole Foods does a brisk business in kale, selling 20,000 bunches daily nationwide.

While most nutrition experts generally agree that kale is a healthy food, some find the sudden rush of kale love puzzling.

“I’m not against kale. Kale is fine. But when did kale get a public relations manager?” asked Mary Hartley, the registered dietitian in residence for the website, dietsinreview.com.

Hartley said that kale is indeed a nutritionally dense food. It delivers a whopping 1,000 percent of the daily recommended allowance for vitamin K and nearly 100 percent of the daily recommended intake of both vitamin A and C, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture nutritional database. Not to mention it offers a healthy dose of at least a dozen other essential vitamins and minerals.

But watercress, chard, mustard greens and even the lowly leaf lettuce rival or even surpass its vitamin, mineral and fiber content. Kale ranked a mere 15 out of 47 in a new study of super foods by William Patterson University, behind more pedestrian produce such as parsley, cabbage, and the aforementioned leafy greens.

Kale is in the spotlight now because everyone -- not just nutrition nuts -- feel righteous and noble when they make chips out of it, blend it into a smoothie or build a salad around it, Harley speculated. But she still finds its trendiness baffling.

“It’s raspy stuff and so darn green,” she said, adding that it’s so tough it must be massaged for several minutes to make it chewable.

She also pointed out to possible evidence that overdosing on it -- or any other cruciferous veggie such as broccoli or cauliflower -- could theoretically interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to uptake iodine potentially leading to a condition called hypothyroidism.

Ramsey, however, has no patience for kale deniers.

“I can’t remember this much crazy excitement about a vegetable so it doesn’t make much sense to dissuade people from having a first taste of kale in a smoothie or a sauté,” he said.

Besides, Ramsey added, there’s a national day for an entire assortment of unhealthy fare such as doughnuts, pizza, bacon, pie, sticky buns and pudding.

“We should have at least one day where we celebrate something that’s good for you and I will work tirelessly to promote this holiday,” he said.

Hartley said she has no real argument against a National Kale Day stating, “Anything that gets people to eat more vegetables is fine with me -- though I’m holding out hope for a lentil day. Now that would be great.”

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Amy Robach Reflects One Year After Breast Cancer Diagnosis


ABC NewsBy ABC's Amy Robach

(NEW YORK) -- It was a year ago that I agreed to have a live, televised mammogram in the middle of Times Square on Good Morning America.

I was persuaded by GMA producers and Robin Roberts, to help demystify this test that so many women my age avoid.

I was 40 years old and had put off having my first mammogram for a number of reasons: I was too busy, I was concerned about the discomfort of the test -- and most notably -- I wasn't concerned about actually having breast cancer. I had no family history. I felt safe. Boy did I have it wrong.

A few weeks later, a follow up appointment with a sonogram and biopsy revealed what was initially suspicious, was in fact a malignant mass in my right breast. After my surgery in November 2013, my surgeon found a second malignant tumor and determined the cancer had spread to my sentinel lymph node.

My journey this past year has included two surgeries, breast expanders for seven months, and eight rounds of chemo, but thank God I started on that path last October 1.

I shudder to think where I would be today if I hadn't had that mammogram.

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First Ebola Case Diagnosed in US Confirmed by CDC


Will Montgomery (ATLANTA) -- The first Ebola case has been diagnosed in the United States, but a top health official said there is "no doubt... we will stop it here."

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday the patient left Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20. The patient sought medical help on Sept. 26 and was put in isolation on Sept. 28, Frieden said.

Tests confirming the Ebola diagnosis came back on Tuesday.


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Frieden stressed that the patient was not sick on departure from Liberia or upon arrival in the U.S., and the disease can only be contracted by someone exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

Frieden said he was confident there would not be an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.

"There is no doubt in my mind we will stop it here," he said.


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Frieden declined to identify the patient other than to say, "The individual was here to visit family who live in this country." Frieden later indicated the patient was male when he modified the comment to say, "He was visiting family members and staying with family members who live in this country."

Health officials are tracking down the patient's close contacts to determine whether they contracted the virus, Frieden said.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa.


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Dr. Edward Goodman, head epidemiologist at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, said he could not reveal information about the patient’s symptoms or treatment, but said that “he is ill and he is under intensive care.”


Frieden said possible experimental therapies are being discussed with the family and may be announced later.

Ebola has killed 2,917 people and infected 3,346 others since the outbreak began in March.

The patient arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Sunday with possible Ebola symptoms "days" after returning from West Africa, according to the Texas state health department. The patient was placed in isolation until the CDC could confirm the diagnosis.

Ebola is spread via contact with bodily fluids, such as blood and urine, but it is not contagious unless Ebola symptoms are present, the state health department said. Symptoms can take between two and 21 days to appear after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC.

This has been the worst Ebola outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. More people have died from Ebola since March than in every other Ebola outbreak to date combined, according to data from the World Health Organization.

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'Thank You for Saving My Life': Amy Robach Meets Breast Cancer Survivor


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Amy Robach underwent her first-ever mammogram last year, live on ABC's Good Morning America for breast cancer awareness month, but never imagined she’d hear the words: "You have breast cancer."

Deb Greig was watching from her home in Charleston, South Carolina. The former news director at ABC News’ Charleston affiliate, WCIV, knew of Robach early on in her career, and was stunned when Robach shared the news of her breast cancer diagnosis in November 2013.

"I was actually putting my makeup on to get ready for work and I ran around to watch the story. And I was shocked," Greig recalled.

Robach decided to have a mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy. Fast forward a few months to when Robach was reading letters of encouragement from viewers and opened a thank you note from Greig.

"I had been driving around with my mammogram prescription in my car for a year when I heard you tell your story on GMA," the card read. "I booked by mammogram that morning, had the mammogram two days later...a biopsy the next day, and learned I had cancer the next day. ...I want to thank you for saving my life."

[ABC News Goes Pink: Take the pink pledge to understand your risk!]

The letter meant the world to Robach, who reached out to Grieg and later visited her family at home in Charleston.

Greig, who is in her 50s, had been putting off getting a mammogram for many of the same reasons as Robach and other woman around the country.

"I did self-exams. I was very aware of breast cancer, and I felt healthy. And I was really busy, like every woman in this country," she said. "So I kept thinking, 'I feel good, I can't feel anything, I'm fine.' And as it turns out, there was a tumor about the size of a lipstick tube hiding where it couldn't be felt."

[WATCH: 5 Things You Need to Know About Breast Cancer]

"If I had not had the mammogram it would've just continued to grow into a mass and I would've been in trouble,” she said. "From the time that it was detected and that I had the surgery it had doubled in size. But it had not yet spread out. So I was very lucky."

For Greig and her two daughters, Danielle and Nicole, who lost their father to lung cancer nearly two years earlier, the diagnosis was another emotional blow.

"I was very angry and very scared for them. ...That definitely was the hardest part," she said. "And I could not believe that God would do that to them and have them lose two parents. But I knew it was a possibility."

With her girls at her side, Greig had a double mastectomy on Christmas Eve 2013.

“I had been feeling sorry for myself beforehand," she said. "And one of the nurses had said, ‘Why don't you look at things a little bit differently and instead say, 'I'm having my surgery on Christmas Eve and I'm gonna wake up Christmas Day cancer-free'? And that's how the girls and I decided to look at it.”

Greig and Robach are two women who speak to the larger picture of breast cancer in America. Both were fortunate enough to get a mammogram, catch their cancer early and beat it, and now they want to inform others and encourage women to be vigilant.

Nine months later, Greig looks vibrant and healthy as ever. Her prognosis, according to her doctors, is good.

"I feel like a fighter,” she told Robach with a laugh.

"A warrior,” Robach replied with a smile. "We have our battle wounds."

Beating cancer has given Greig a new lease on life, said her daughter, Nicole, 23.

"Our mom beat cancer," she said. "She has a new outlook on life. And she's just so positive and strong. I feel very blessed."

Greig feels thankful for every day.

"I'm much more positive. I won’t hesitate at all to take a second to help anybody that needs anything. I'm thankful," she said. "Every day is a gift."

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Woman Finds Out She's Pregnant After Breast Cancer Diagnosis


Courtesy Mount Sinai Health System (NEW YORK) -- At age 34, Adele Rivas thought she was too young to have breast cancer, even though her mother had been diagnosed with the disease in her 40s.

But a persistent lump in her breast led Rivas to get a biopsy test. Her mother tagged along for moral support.

“My mother said, ‘I have to come with you,’” Rivas remembers. “She came, thank goodness.”

With her mother by her side, Rivas was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.

Doctors quickly ordered an MRI scan, but Rivas, a physician’s assistant, was hesitant. She and her husband had been trying to have a baby, and the MRI could affect an early pregnancy.

But even as Rivas asked to take a pregnancy test, she said she felt silly. She knew the chances that she was pregnant were small. Two different doctors had declared her infertile and said she had a minimal chance to get pregnant naturally.

At the time of her diagnosis Rivas and her husband were investigating adoption options. Rivas was afraid to try IVF or other hormonal treatments due to cancer risks associated with higher estrogen levels.

When Rivas asked to take a pregnancy test, she thought she was just delaying dealing with her cancer diagnosis.

“A voice told me ‘You’re really in denial,'” about cancer, Rivas recalled thinking at the time.

When a nurse came back after the test, she told Rivas it was likely positive but it was so early to be sure. They would have to wait another 48 hours for doctors to be completely sure.

“I left that day not knowing if I was pregnant but knowing I have breast cancer,” said Rivas.

Two days later doctors repeated the test and confirmed she was pregnant. While Rivas and her husband Luis Rivas were excited about the pregnancy, they now had to consider their options.

“I needed to figure out how to handle this, if we could keep the pregnancy,” said Rivas.

Rivas ended up at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York, where she was treated by Dr. Christina Weltz. While unusual, Rivas’ case is hardly unique, Weltz said. Approximately one out of every 3,000 women is diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The way that you treat it, really depends on a lot of factors including at what stage of the pregnancy [the cancer] is diagnosed,” said Weltz. “The question that really arises for every aspect of the treatment is whether the breast cancer treatment is compromising the safety of the pregnancy or if maintaining a safe pregnancy is compromising the treatment of the breast cancer?”

After talking to her doctors about options Rivas decided to keep the pregnancy, but go through a grueling treatment schedule that included a mastectomy in her first trimester and chemotherapy in her second and third trimesters.

Rivas’ doctors warned her that prolonged time in surgery could lead to miscarriage so Rivas was unable to have breast reconstruction at the same time as her mastectomy.

“I’m flat with no nipples and no breasts, but that was worth it to me,” said Rivas.

After having surgery at six weeks, Rivas also had to deal with morning sickness as she prepared for her chemotherapy in her second trimester.

Dr. Joanne Stone, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York, treated Rivas and said she hoped Rivas’ story would give other women comfort if they’re diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy.

“What I think is really important about this story is that people know you can get diagnosed and you can get treated when you’re pregnant,” said Stone.

At four months Rivas started chemotherapy treatments. Rivas and her husband moved in with her mother to save money and so that they would have support when the baby came. Rivas credited her husband Luis Rivas with keeping her sane. She said sometimes she broke down and cried, but mostly was able to focus on the positive.

“I can’t believe how fast things can change and how much you can endure,” said Rivas. "I think of myself as a pretty tough person. If anyone told me that I was able to go through this, I would say they’re nuts.”

After four rounds of chemotherapy, Rivas was finished with her cancer treatment. Her body had changed not only due to pregnancy but the treatment as well. While her appetite was steady, the chemotherapy led to hair loss.

“After the chemo was done, I was pretty much a normal pregnant person without hair,” said Rivas. “I looked pretty silly and no boobs -- it was just crazy.”

After getting through all her cancer treatments, Rivas remained worried about her son. She was afraid he could be at risk for being underweight or premature.

But on March 10, about two months after stopping cancer treatment, Rivas gave birth to a healthy boy. Rather than being underweight, Rivas’ son, named Conatantino or “Tino,” weighed in over 8 pounds.

“He’s a happy, happy soul,” said Rivas. “The only time he gets upset is when he’s hungry. He’s growing like crazy. He’s a big boy, he’s in the 95th percentile for height and weight.”

Now caring for a 6-month-old infant, Rivas and her husband are still at her mother’s home. But the couple is ecstatic over the birth of their first son. Rivas has now started working with other foundations for young women undergoing cancer treatment.

After giving birth, Rivas was also put on a medication to stop her from producing estrogen to diminish the chance of relapse.

If she stays on the medication as recommended, she won’t have a chance to have another child for 10 years, when she will be 44.

“This was our last chance at having a family. It almost didn’t happen,” said Rivas. “I can’t imagine not having him here. We don’t know why our prayers were answered in such a strange way. Maybe I can be a model of strength for other people.”

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A Granny Smith a Day Keeps Bad Gut Bacteria at Bay


iStock/Thinkstock(PULLMAN, Wash.) -- When it comes to knowing what’s best for your health, granny knows best. Granny Smith, that is, as in the tart green apple that’s very popular this time of year.

Washington State University researchers say that while all apples contain non-digestible compounds that have certain health benefits, it’s the Granny Smith in particular that possibly prevents some disorders linked to obesity.

In essence, the compounds from these apples help to create friendly bacteria in the gut because they resist changes that occur when in contact with stomach acids and digestive enzymes.

As a result, those who are obese might reduce the risk of contracting low-grade, chronic inflammation that can lead to diabetes.

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Snacking Makes the World Go Round


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Snacks are about as American as potato chips, chocolate and cheese. But they’re also popular in other parts of the world.

In fact, a Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking found that 91 percent of the 30,000 people polled in 60 countries say they snack at least once daily and one in five enjoy snacks three or four times on a typical day.

What’s more, snacking has become such a regular part of our routines that 45 percent of respondents say they sometime replace a regular meal. For instance, just over half claim to occasionally substitute a snack for breakfast while 43 percent have had one instead of lunch and 40 percent will make a snack dinner from time to time.

As for what people snack on in the U.S., the big three, in order, are chips, chocolate and cheese with close to two-thirds saying they’ve snacked on some kind of chip during the past month.

Meanwhile, the top snack globally is chocolate, although Europeans say their top pick is a piece of fruit.

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How the CDC Will Make Sure Ebola Doesn't Spread in US


Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(DALLAS) -- To stop the deadly Ebola virus from spreading in the U.S., health officials said they have already started tracking anyone involved with the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed here.

Officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control confirmed Tuesday that the first Ebola patient has been diagnosed in the U.S., after arriving from Liberia. In a press conference in Dallas, CDC director Tom Frieden said local health department officials were prepared and had already started tracking people who had come into contact with the unidentified Ebola patient now being treated in Dallas.

“I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country,” said Frieden, who confirmed a CDC team was also en route to help track anyone connected to the infected patient.

To track any potential exposures and stop the outbreak, Frieden said medical officials will first interview the patient and then family members. From there officials will outline and investigate all of the patient's movements after the symptoms appeared and he was contagious.

They will build “concentric circles,” with one circle representing everyone the patient could have exposed and then a second including all the other people those initial contacts have interacted with.

“With that we put together a map essentially that identifies the time, the place, the level of the contact,” said Frieden. “Then we use a concentric circle approach to identify those contacts, who might have had the highest risk of exposure, those with intermediate risk.”

Those at risk of being infected will be monitored for at least 21 days, which is the duration of the Ebola incubation period.

“This is core public health and it is what we do day in and day out and what we will be doing here to identify any possible spread and to ensure there aren't further chains of transmission,” said Frieden.

Frieden confirmed the unidentified man arrived from Liberia on September 20 and was staying with family when he started to exhibit symptoms. Frieden repeated the unidentified patient did not have symptoms on his flight to the U.S., and that patients are not contagious until they exhibit symptoms.

The patient did not show symptoms until September 24, four days after arriving in the U.S. He sought medical care on September 26 and was admitted and placed in isolation on September 28.

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Cancer Doctors Target Obesity in Battle Against Cancer


Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Top cancer doctors are calling for the recognition of obesity as a risk factor for some forms of cancer.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, obesity is considered a risk factor for breast, prostate and colon cancers, among others. It is not, however, sufficiently recognized, doctors say. About 84,000 cancer diagnoses are believed to be attributed to obesity each year, along with 15 percent of cancer deaths.

The ASCO announced an anti-obesity initiative on Wednesday, including education, policy advocacy, research and clinical tools.

The group says that cancer diagnoses could be a "teachable moment" to motivate patients to improve their diet and lifestyle habits.

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Researchers Consider Link Between Adolescent Obesity and Colorectal Cancer


AlexRaths/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Adolescents who are obese may face an increased risk of colorectal cancer later on in life, researchers say.

According to a study presented at the American Association of Cancer Research Conference, researchers looked at data from 240,000 Swedish men and found that those who were obese as teenagers were 2.37 times as likely to develop colorectal cancer compared to those who they deemed "normal weight."

The link between obesity and colorectal cancer has been seen in previous research, but the study is the first to find that risk begins at an earlier age.

Of note, the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and their restrictions for the categorization of "obese" are not clear.

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Thousands of West African Children Orphaned by Ebola


Bumbasor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 4,000 children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the ongoing Ebola outbreak, a staggering figure reported by the United Nations Children's Fund on Tuesday.

"Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola," UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Manuel Fontaine said in a statement. "These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned."

UNICEF's report suggests that the number of children orphaned by the disease has "spiked" in the last few weeks and "is likely to double by mid-October."

The organization is hoping to train 400 more mental health and social workers in Liberia to help support and provide care for those who "have been rejected by their communities or whose families have died." An additional 2,500 Ebola survivors -- now immune to the disease -- will be given training in Sierra Leone in the next six months in the hope of providing care to quarantined children in treatment centers.

UNICEF will also provide "psychosocial support" to about 60,000 vulnerable children and families in Guinea.

"Ebola is turning a basic human reaction like comforting a sick child into a potential death sentence," Fontaine said. "We cannot respond to a crisis of this nature and this scale in the usual ways. We need more courage, more creativity and far far more resources."

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Face-to-Face with Patients in the Ebola Ward


ABC NewsREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK By ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser

(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- "Before we enter the Ebola ward, we pray," Dr. Jerry Brown tells me as we stand just outside the second-oldest Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, clad in layer after layer of protective gear.

I’m about to become the first journalist allowed inside. My head tells me we’re safe, but my heart is pounding.

A few minutes earlier, three people watched and made adjustments as I put on scrubs, boots, a pair of gloves, foot covers, a full-body Tyvek suit, a second pair of gloves, a respirator mask, a second hood, goggles, a third pair of gloves and a heavy, yellow apron. Not a speck of skin is exposed to the air. After just five minutes in this cocoon, I am saturated in sweat.

My producer hands me two GoPro cameras, and I follow Brown inside to see his patients. Although the ward was designed to hold 40 people, I’m told there are 60 patients here today.

“When you leave the clinic and see people lying on the ground, sick with Ebola and wanting help, how can you say no?” a doctor who works with Brown told me. “We make room.”

Our first stop is the area designated for suspected Ebola cases. These people have symptoms consistent with Ebola and exposure to a known Ebola patient, but they have not yet been tested.

Children mix in with adults. Some of the patients are in individual patient bays divided by canvas walls. Others are in the main room, an open area containing no more than 10 cots. I notice one major infection control issue: there is only one toilet, and everyone shares it. This is problematic because Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. But it’s all they have to work with.

Brown makes his rounds, asking everyone how they are doing. If I saw some of these patients in my office, I wouldn't think they were sick. Others look near death.

Loud music blares over the radio. "I want them to have some entertainment," Brown explains.

I am struck by how frightening it must be for these patients, especially the children. To them, we are coming toward them in space suits with only our eyes visible to show we’re human. I focus on trying to smile with my eyes for each child I see.

We round a corner and move into the area with confirmed Ebola patients. The first two are out in the corridor under an awning. One man looks deathly ill. Dehydration from the diarrhea, Brown tells me.

Inside the main ward, there are more than a dozen patients. In a corner, I see 10-year-old Richmond, wearing an American shirt with “Wisconsin” written across the front. I catch myself before I ask him if he's ever been there. Contaminated clothes are taken away from each patient when they enter the ward. He got that shirt as a replacement when he arrived.

I ask how he's doing. He looks good.

"Fine," he says. "My chest hurts."

His mother tells us that he coughed up blood that morning, a very bad sign for someone with Ebola. Brown will keep a close eye on him.

Next, we stop by a single room no bigger than a closet to check on a 26-year-old man. He says he caught Ebola sharing a room with a man who had a fever. The man was tested for malaria and then typhoid fever. By the time he was tested for Ebola, he had infected his roommate.

"Brown, you gave me life!" he beamed as he reached down to touch Dr. Brown's feet in a sign of respect.

Brown jumped back. "No touching!"

"But you are God!" he countered.

"I am not God,” Brown said. “I'm so glad you are feeling better."

As we move into the main common room, I’m caught off guard. A flat screen TV hangs on the wall and 15 or so Ebola patients sit watching it, clearly no longer ill. Since the ward won’t release patients until they undergo two negative Ebola tests administered at least 10 days apart, patients need something to do as they get better. This room reminds me more of a community center than a ward for the deadliest disease on the planet.

Down the hall, I see many rooms with sicker patients: a nurse who'd been bleeding, a young man with anemia. Brown said he gave them blood transfusions.

"We can't match blood types here so we give everyone O-positive." He said, adding that the blood came from Ebola survivors -- the same treatment given to Dr. Rick Sacra, the American Ebola patient treated in Nebraska. The blood had been tested to make sure it didn't have HIV or hepatitis B.

Then, Brown explains one of the most amazing things about the unit. There were many health workers treated there, so as they started to improve, he put them to work. They became his monitoring system.

He gave instructions to a recovering nurse as we entered the room.

"I've just started blood transfusions on two patients,” he said. “Keep an eye on them. Look at their skin. If you see a rash, borrow a cell phone and call me."

"Do I touch the skin?" the nurse asked.

"No, just look and let me know."

What a wonderful idea, making use of the skills of the patients in the unit. It's so hard to stay in the unit in protective gear. After 30 minutes, I was already worried that I was getting dehydrated. But putting recovering patients and those who have already had the virus to work solves that problem because they don’t need to wear the cumbersome gear.

After 40 minutes, I tell Brown that I should probably leave. He administers a couple IV medicines to patients, gives a big goodbye to the ward before leading me toward the exit.

Getting out of the protective suit takes even longer thank it took to put it on. Between every layer I take off, a hygienist sprays me down with bleach. Another layer, more bleach.

Stepping out into the sunlight, I feel a weight lifting off my chest. I know the feeling is more than just relief to be leaving the ward. What I saw filled me with hope. Each patient was a person first.

The unit was doing everything it could to save each life and, at least for some, it was succeeding.

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