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Printed Books Better than Tablets for Pre-Sleep Reading

innovatedcaptures/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that people who read before bed to help fall asleep would be better served picking up an old-school book than a tablet.

According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, the use of light-emitting electronic devices -- including tablets, smartphones and others -- delays the circadian clock and keeps people awake longer. Further, the use of such devices may also suppress production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.

The study was prompted by a recent survey in which 90 percent of 1,508 Americans surveyed said they use electronics at least a few nights per week within one hour of the time they hope to fall asleep. According to researchers, that very practice could play a big role in causing sleep deficiency.

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CDC Director Sees 'Real Momentum and Real Progress' in Ebola Fight in West Africa

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday that there has been "real momentum and real progress" in the fight against the spread of Ebola in West Africa, but that more work still needs to be done.

"There's a world of difference between what it was like when I was there in August and September, and what it's like now," Frieden said. Still, while he called the international response "inspiring," he noted that the challenge remains "sobering."

"Until they get to zero, we in the U.S. will not be safe from other potential imported cases," Frieden acknowledged.

Of the three most heavily impacted countries in West Africa -- Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia -- Frieden said that as of Monday, "Liberia has the upper hand against the virus."

Still, Frieden declined to provide a projection regarding the timeframe in which the outbreaks of Ebola in Western Africa could be ended.

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US Airports with Healthiest Food Ranked

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If long hours in airports in the coming days has you far more worried about derailing your healthy eating habits than all the candy canes that await you at your destination, read on.

Turns out that the majority of U.S. airports actually offer some semblance of healthy eats, according to new research from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The group's December 2014 report -- its 14th annual -- found that 75 percent of restaurants at 23 of the busiest U.S. airports offer at least one "healthful plant-based entrée."

From October to November 2014, Physicians Committee dietitians reviewed restaurant menus at 23 of the 30 busiest U.S. airports.

"Each airport’s score is determined by dividing the number of restaurants offering at least one healthful plant-based entrée by the total number of restaurants in the airport," the report's methodology states.

"A restaurant ranks as healthful if it serves at least one high-fiber, cholesterol-free menu item, which includes a breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrée. The healthful option must resemble a meal by including at least two of the four food groups on the Physicians Committee’s Power Plate: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or legumes," it continues.

Baltimore's BWI Airport tops the list for healthy eats for the first time in the report's history. At BWI, 92 percent of restaurants offered healthy options, the report found.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic, remains in last place for the fourth year in a row, with healthful entrées available at about half of its restaurants.

The entire report, complete with specific restaurant and meal recommendations for your holiday travels can be read here.

Here are the top 10 airports for healthiest eats:

  1. Baltimore/Washington International Airport (92 percent)
  2. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (90 percent)
  3. Los Angeles International Airport (88 percent)
  4. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (87 percent)
  5. Newark Liberty International Airport (86 percent)
  6. (tie) LaGuardia Airport (84 percent)
  7. (tie) Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (84 percent)
  8. Denver International Airport (83 percent)
  9. San Francisco International Airport (82 percent)
  10. Washington Dulles International Airport (80 percent)

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New Tick-Borne 'Bourbon Virus' Blamed for Kansas Man's Death

iStock/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- A new tick-borne virus has been discovered in Kansas and dubbed the "Bourbon virus."

The never-before-seen virus was named for Bourbon County, Kansas, where its only known victim lived. The man got sick over the summer and died, and it's taken six months for doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital as well as state and national epidemiologists to solve the mystery of his death.

"Its genome is similar to viruses that have been found in eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, but no virus like that has ever been identified in the western hemisphere," University of Kansas Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Dana Hawkinson said in a video prepared last week by the hospital.

Hawkinson said even similar viruses found elsewhere rarely cause illness to humans and animals.

The illness is similar to another tick-borne illness called the heartland virus, which is also passed via tick and mosquito bites, in that they both cause fever and malaise. But unlike heartland, Bourbon virus also boasts anorexia as a symptom.

"They just feel bad, and they don't really feel like eating," Hawkinson said.

Muscle aches, elevated liver enzymes and damaged blood platelets are other symptoms, he said.

Hawkinson said finding the cause of the patient's death has been "frustrating."

"We just couldn't answer questions for the family and ourselves as to why this was happening to this gentleman," he said.

Hawkinson and his colleagues worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to solve the mystery after the patient died.

Ticks cause more than a dozen different illnesses in the United States, but many of them -- including Lyme disease -- are bacterial, according to the CDC. But because this disease is viral, the standard antibiotic treatment doesn't work, Hawkinson said.

Tips to avoid tick-borne illnesses include avoiding tall grass, using insect repellent containing DEET outdoors, conducting full-body "tick checks" and avoiding sleeping next to dogs, according to a state health department statement.

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How Two Hospitals Are Taking 'Food as Medicine' to Heart

Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital System(NEW YORK) -- St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosts a farmers market every Wednesday in its main lobby featuring produce gown on the hospital’s 25-acre farm.

The land used for the farm was a hospital lawn until 2010 when a horse-drawn plow broke ground on the first 4 acres. The farm, now known as “The Farm at St. Joe’s,” has since expanded to include three large “hoop houses,” greenhouse-like structures that provide seasonal produce for the market -- as well as patient meals, the hospital’s cafeteria and local food banks -- all year long.

“We began the farm in response to health of the community and the health of our own 6,000 hospital workers,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals, which are located in Michigan.

Casalou said the farm grows “anything you’d find at your local grocery,” including tomatoes, potatoes and kale. They even keep bees to produce their own honey.

A few years ago, the hospital made one of the hoop houses disability-friendly by widening the aisles and raising up the planter boxes to make it easier for a person in a wheelchair to work the soil, Casalou said.

An exercise bike pumps water to irrigate the plants so patients with neurological disorders from the hospital and the nearby Eisenhower Center can water plants by pedaling away.

Across the country in Long Island, New York, Stony Brook University Medical Center has also embraced the idea of “farm to bedside.” Iman Marghoob, a registered dietician and horticultural specialist in charge of the hospital’s 4,000-square-foot rooftop garden, said the project is just as important for educating staff, patients and students as it is for providing seasonal vegetables and herbs.

“It is a big teaching tool for agricultural education on Long Island, which is lacking in this part of the state,” she said.

Stony Brook’s farm project has been so well received, it has been granted a face-lift to make it larger and expand its irrigation system. Marghoob said she hopes to add berries and other perennials to the menu next year.

Casalou noted that his hospital’s farm has already grown more than 16,000 pounds of produce and has donated about a third of that to families in need.

“We wanted to make sure we were getting fresh produce to those who might not be able to afford it. That’s a big part of our community outreach,” he said.

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How Hairstylist, Marketing Executive Shed About Half Their Body Weight

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For Conner Rensch, weight has been a lifelong struggle.

“I knew I was overweight when I was 6 years old,” Rensch, now 25, said.

A chronic overeater, Rensch dieted for the first time when she was in the third grade. By the time she was in the eighth grade, Rensch weighed more than 200 pounds, and she tipped the scale at 271 pounds after her freshman year in college.

She knew she had to do something. She looked into the mirror and resolved to not be overweight anymore. Through determination and hard work she lost 130 pounds.

Her story, and the stories of others who’ve also shed a lot of weight, is detailed in People magazine's special "Half their Size" edition.

Rensch, a hairstylist, told ABC News' Good Morning America she resolved to change the way she ate. For her, a typical dinner consisted of three big bowls of creamy chicken pasta with fried chicken, a small loaf of sourdough bread and a piece of cheesecake.

Now, her typical dinner is ½ a cup of whole wheat pasta, blended cottage cheese as a sauce with a little pepper and salt, 4 ounces of grilled chicken and a little broccoli. She eats five to six small meals a day to keep her metabolism going, and tries to balance protein, fat and carbs at each meal.

She also follows a strict exercise routine that includes weight-lifting four days a week. In addition to modifying her diet, she did a lot of cardio, kickboxing and interval training to lose the weight.

Rensch went from 271 pounds to 141 pounds, and says she has a whole new level of confidence about dating and her work.

"I’m just happier," Rensch said Monday on GMA. "I can be myself without this covering me up. I think that’s the best thing about it."

For 40-year-old Mark Bryant, weight didn’t become a problem until later in life. A sales and marketing executive for a dietary supplement manufacturer, he never exercised any discipline in his diet.

“When I graduated from high school I was about 185 pounds…over the next 10 years gained about 250,” the married father of three told GMA.

At his heaviest, Bryant weighed 442 pounds.

“Lunch would typically be a couple of hamburgers and large fries and a milkshake and then dinner would be an extra-large pizza with garlic butter sauce and ranch,” he said.

His turning point came after he went to the hospital suffering from chest pains. Bryant was only having an anxiety attack, but a cardiologist gave him a wakeup call.

“The cardiologist told me, ‘If you don’t change your ways real quick, you’re not going to live to see your daughters get married,’” he said.

The scare motivated him into changing his life, and he lost 261 pounds.

Bryant, who now weighs 181 pounds, started off by counting calories. Now, instead of an extra-large pizza, his dinner consists of lightly sauced, grilled teriyaki chicken along with a big plate of steamed broccoli topped with a light olive oil drizzle and Parmesan cheese.

Like Rensch, he, too, works out. He lifts weights, bikes and does high-intensity interval training on the bike. His regimen includes about two hours of training a day, four days a week.

"It was a gradual process," Bryant said of his transformation.

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How Scarlett Johansson Maintains Her Figure over the Holidays

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- The holidays are the one time of the year everyone throws caution to the wind and eats whatever they want while getting together with friends and family. Scarlett Johansson is no different.

But the actress, 30, does have a plan of action on how to stay in shape, especially after welcoming a baby girl with husband Romain Dauriac earlier this year.

"I make sure I hit the gym a lot before the holidays," the Avengers star told People magazine. "Then I don’t feel guilty about over-indulging!"

Johansson also dished about her family's holiday traditions and what makes the time so special.

"The smell of rice pud­ding always reminds me of the holidays. My father makes a traditional Danish pudding with a cherry sauce that is totally decadent and delicious," she said. "And, my family cooks a Christmas pudding every year that is like a tapioca sort of a pudding with a cherry sauce, warm fruit sauce. It cooks like for the entire day before and the entire house smells like vanilla, because the recipe calls for fresh vanilla."

Finally, she revealed her favorite movie to watch during the break. "My favorite holiday movie is Home Alone 2, believe it or not!" Johansson added.

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A Lack of Teeth May Take a Bite Out of Your Memory

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Does the number of teeth in a person’s mouth have any link to decreases in their memory and walking ability?

A new study by researchers at University College London suggests that total tooth loss could provide an early warning of increased risk of physical and mental decline in older people.

In a study of more than 3,100 participants 60 and older, participants with no teeth did about 10 percent worse on tests of memory and of walking speed than those with at least some choppers.

The connection between total tooth loss and mental and physical problems was strongest in participants aged 60 to 74 years old compared to those 75 and older.

The study’s authors note that socioeconomic factors, such as education and income, may be the common links between tooth loss and poor physical and mental health.

The authors point out that the findings don't prove that tooth loss causes the physical or mental decline.

"Regardless of what is behind the link between tooth loss and decline in function, recognizing excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life," notes study lead author Georgios Tsakos, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Flu Widespread in 29 States

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Flu season is gaining steam.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity in 29 states--twice as many states as last week.

Hospitalizations are increasing and 11 children have died from the virus.

Maryland State Health Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, whose state is one of those impacted, says, "It happens every year. There's always a point where enough people get it and the virus is very infectious and it can be transmitted from person to person before the illness starts."

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App Shows What 200 Calories of Holiday Treats Look Like

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This season there's plenty of holiday cheer, but also holiday treats and goodies that can wreak havoc on any diet.

To help those trying to stay healthy while enjoying seasonal treats, the app Calorific has created a handy guide that shows what 200 calories of holiday treats look like. The weight-loss app displays pictures of a single food in the amount that would equal 200 calories.

Apparently it takes a whole plate of Brussels sprouts to equal 200 calories, but just a single glass of mulled wine.

"We saw some apps that showed how many calories are in a meal but we thought it would be useful to show the individual foods," Nic Mulvaney, the British graphic designer who designed the app, told ABC News in a November interview.

The app is free with 30 images preloaded to but to unlock all the holiday-themed foods, you’ve got to pay $2.99.

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Child Discharged from Chicago Hospital After Testing Negative for Ebola

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A child who had symptoms of Ebola has been discharged from a Chicago hospital after testing negative for the disease.

The child, who recently traveled from West Africa, was admitted to University of Chicago Medical Center Friday after having a fever during an Ebola screening at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

On Saturday officials said the child, whose age and gender were not released, tested negative for Ebola and was discharged.

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Caramel Apples Linked to Four Deaths in Multi-State Listeria Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Health officials are warning consumers to avoid eating caramel apples after linking the fall treats to a multi-state listeria outbreak that has been linked to at least four deaths.

Officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that at least 28 people from 10 states, including Minnesota, Arizona and Texas, have been infected with Listeriosis due to Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can cause life-threatening illness.

Of those infected, five died and Listeriosis definitely contributed to at least four deaths, according to the CDC.

Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC warned all consumers to avoid eating prepackaged caramel apples while they investigate the outbreak alongside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health organizations.

The outbreak reported on Friday has infected people across a wide swath of the U.S. from North Carolina to California and across a large age range, from ages 7 to 92, according to the CDC.

Listeriosis is usually caused when a person ingests listeria monocytogenes bacteria and it can cause particular harm among the elderly people, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal distress, fever and muscle aches.

In severe cases, people can develop encephalitis, swelling of the brain, or bacterial meningitis, inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Of the 28 infected, three were children between the ages of 5 and 15 who developed severe meningitis symptoms, and nine cases involved either a pregnant women or a newborn infant, according to the CDC.

Fifteen of 18 sickened people who were interviewed by the CDC told investigators they ate prepackaged caramel apples before they were sickened.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the outbreak is particularly troubling because Listeriosis can have a long incubation period from three to 70 days.

“We can anticipate that more illnesses will occur over time,” said Schaffner. “Even [if] the product is removed from the market a lot of these [caramel] apples have been consumed.”

Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer based in Seattle, said listeria can be a particularly difficult bacteria to control because its growth is not inhibited by refrigeration.

“I can see caramel apples sitting in your refrigerator for a long time,” he said. “Listeria has evolved and it has evolved to grow really well at refrigerated temperatures.”

The CDC reported the caramel apples can have a shelf life longer than a month and officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said they were concerned people may eat tainted apples left over from the fall.

The outbreak was first reported by the Minnesota Department of Health, which found four people between the ages of 59 and 90 had been infected. The four patients had eaten caramel apples during the months of October and November and all four were hospitalized. Two subsequently died after being infected.

Those sickened in Minnesota bought caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried the Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brand of caramel apples, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The apples are no longer being carried in stores because they are a seasonal item.

Dr. Jay Ellingson, the corporate director of food safety and quality assurance for Kwik Trip stores, said the pre-packaged caramel apples have been off the shelves for weeks and the company has been working with state and federal authorities "to make sure public health is protected."

A spokesperson from H. Brooks and Company, which released the Carnival brand caramel apples, told ABC News the company was aware of the situation and working with local health officials during the investigation.

Officials at Cub Foods and Mike’s Discount Foods could not immediately be reached for comment. A number for the Kitchen Cravings brand of apples could not immediately be found.

Listeriosis was linked to one of the worst food-borne outbreaks in recent years when 147 people became infected after eating tainted cantaloupe in 2011. Of those infected, at least 33 died.

In 2013, the CDC estimated approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths caused by Listeriosis occur annually in the United States.

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Conjoined Twin Babies Undergo First Step Toward Separation

XiXinXing/iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Elysse Mata leaned over her 8-month-old conjoined twins, kissing their faces as tears streamed down her face and she whispered "I love you."

The babies were about to undergo a skin-stretching surgery, the first step in their eventual separation at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. They share a chest wall, diaphragm, intestines, lungs, lining of the heart and pelvis.

Five hours later, it was over.

In recovery, the Mata family leaned over groggy Knatalye and Adeline, smoothing their hair back and kissing them in the recovery room.

"We are so thankful for the support and thoughts and prayers for our girls as they continue to grow, recover and prepare for the next step in their journey," Mata said in a statement.

The twins will spend the next six to eight weeks recovering as a team of surgeons spanning six departments plans their separation, which is expected to take place early next year.

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The Science Behind Nailing Your New Year's Resolution

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New Year's resolutions seem so full of promise on Jan. 1, but by the middle of the week, many people have already skipped the gym, eaten the stacked burger and been a jerk to their in-laws.

No one said goal-setting would be easy.

Fewer than one in five adults who made health-related New Year's resolutions were able to make any significant strides in weight loss, healthier eating, exercise or stress reduction by March, according to a 2010 poll by the American Psychological Association.

Still, psychologists say there's no time like the present to give your goals a try. And if you want to be a better version of yourself in 2015, there's a science to conquering your resolutions.

Read on to find out how to stack the deck in your favor and do your New Year's resolutions right this year:

Choose Your Goal Wisely

The key to accomplishing your goal is to make it concrete and easy to break down into pieces, said Jeff Janata, chief of psychology at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Weight loss is actually an example of a resolution that sets you up to fail.

"Weight loss really isn't in our control," Janata said, explaining that no matter how rigid the diet and exercise, weight loss naturally plateaus. "That's one of the reasons people fail at weight loss. They focus on 'I need to lose a certain number pounds per week.'"

Instead, cutting out fried foods or deciding to work out a few days a week are better goals, he said.

"Don't start off with these grand resolutions," said psychologist Joe Taravella, the supervisor of pediatric psychology at NYU Langone's Rusk Rehabilitation Center who also specializes in marital and family psychology.

Don't Beat Yourself Up If You Mess Up

No matter how perfect the goal is, Janata said people are going to slip. But that doesn't mean they should give up completely.

"Re-adjust the goal according to how difficult it is for you," Janata said.

He advised taking 2015 goals week by week or day by day.

"I remind people that we're human and we're not perfect," Taravella said. "We're going to mess up throughout our entire lives."

He said one bad day "doesn't mean we're total failures and all progress we made isn't meaningful."

Reward Yourself

Building in days off is an important part of goal-setting, Taravella said.

"Being totally rigid 24/7 is not sustainable over the long haul," Taravella said.

Go Public

Want to make sure you nail your 2015 resolutions? Make them public, psychologists advised.

"Talk to people about what you're doing, so you can be accountable," Taravella said, explaining that you'll be motivated to succeed because you won't want to fail in front of your friends.

Make Sure You're Doing It for the Right Reasons

Tackling a goal because someone told you to or because you simply think you "should" might backfire, Janata said. Sometimes, taking on a goal because of outside pressure just makes people want to rebel, he said.

"There's an important distinction to be drawn between goals that we feel that we should accomplish and those we believe we truly want to accomplish," he said. "Rarely do we attain goals unless we truly embrace the goal."

So make sure you're only picking goals because you're ready and eager to fulfill them.

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School Takes Away Blind Boy's Cane as Punishment for Acting Up

iStock/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A school took away an 8-year-old blind boy's cane as punishment for acting up and replaced it with a pool noodle, his father told ABC News on Thursday.

Dakota Nafzinger, who was born with no eyes, was listening to his music on the school bus when the driver took it away from him, his father, Donald Nafzinger said. Dakota often taps his cane to the music, but this time, his father said he threw it in the air. Nafzinger said school officials told him they thought Dakota was getting violent.

Then they gave Dakota a foam pool noodle in its place and sent him home with it, Nafzinger said.

"It is his eyes," Nafzinger, 35, told ABC News. "He said he was upset because that's something he needs to get around with."

Dakota was born with a rare condition called bilateral anophthalmia. Nafzinger said Dakota's mother chose to call the local news media because she feared that "there weren't caring people left in this world."

"They shouldn't treat my kid any different than the kids that have eyes," said Nafzinger, who works in Kansas City, Missouri, as a stage hand. "My kid is normal except he doesn't have eyes."

The school district, North Kansas City Schools, admitted to the mistake and has since given Dakota his cane back. Nafzinger said not only was that a good outcome, but sharing the story has shown his family how many supporters they have.

"The District has reviewed the situation," North Kansas City Schools wrote in a statement. "We regret that a mistake was made in making sure the student was in possession of his cane when he boarded the bus Monday evening. The District has apologized to the family and is working to rectify the situation. When we were made aware of the mistake, corrections were made. It is always the District’s policy when we become aware of situations like this, we thoroughly and immediately investigate to ensure a safe learning environment for all students."

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