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Health
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Alicia Silverstone's Son Has 'Never Had a Drop of Medicine'


MJ Kim/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Alicia Silverstone has long been a proponent of attachment parenting. Now, she has written a book about it.

In The Kind Mama, Silverstone opens up about raising her nearly 3-year-old son, Bear.

"He's never been sick-sick, just feeling a little off from time to time. And he's never had a drop of medicine," Silverstone writes. "Because his body is a super-clean, healthy machine, it can defend itself against and flush out all the nasty stuff much more quickly than a baby whose diet isn't as kind. He actually never had to deal with the achy ears, gooey eyes or rashy bottom that a lot of other babies experience."

Silverstone, 37, advocates for a clean, vegan diet, and even includes recipes in her book. She also wades into the vaccination debate a bit ("There is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was 'never the same' after receiving a vaccine," she writes) and warns parents against overmedicating their children.

"In most cases, those [over-the-counter] meds aren't necessary. Antibiotics should also be used with care," she writes. "Sometimes they are truly useful and can save lives, but when we over-administer them, we challenge bacteria to grow stronger and more resistant to treatment. ...More often than not, you can make baby well with minimal medical intervention. The key is patience, love, and a few natural remedies to bring her comfort."

Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News, agrees with Silverstone about antibiotic use, though he adds, "I have some concerns that she is lumping these in with overmedication."

"I can’t think of anything I do for my patients as a pediatrician that has more proven value than getting them vaccinated fully and on time," he says. "Thanks to our vaccination programs, we no longer see so many of the diseases that plagued our parents’ and grandparents’ lives."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Dogs Can Be Important Members of Families with Autistic Children


AnneMS/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Owning a dog can be a family’s great pleasures, particularly those with special needs children, at least according to one study.

A University of Missouri study seems to allay the fears of parents who have youngsters diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

After interviewing 70 parents of children with autism, Gretchen Carlisle with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine said that two-thirds owned dogs and in those homes, 94 of autistic kids bonded with the pet.

Even when there were no dogs in the house, seven in ten parents said their children liked the animals.

Dogs have been shown to provide companionship for autistic youngsters and can act as a bridge to forming relationships with other kids.

As for the kind of pooch to pick, Carlisle said, “Many children with autism know the qualities they want in a dog. If parents could involve their kids in choosing dogs for their families, it may be more likely the children will have positive experiences with the animals when they are brought home."

Naturally, not every autistic child may be drawn to dogs, which shouldn’t exclude other possible pets such as cats or rabbits.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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The Closer You Sleep, the Stronger the Relationship


BartekSzewczyk/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sleeping together doesn't have such a sexual connotation when you're talking about how couples actually fall asleep in bed.

University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman wanted to find out about the most popular sleep positions so he interviewed 1,000 people and learned that a whopping 42 percent sleep with their backs to each other.

Meanwhile, 31 percent said they slept facing in the same direction while just 4 percent sleep face-to-face.

Wiseman also investigated how the strength of a couple's relationship also affected sleep habits. For instance, 94 percent who said they touched each other during sleep reported being happy in their relationship while just 68 percent of non-touchers said the same thing.

The physical distance between sleepers also seemed to indicate how figuratively close they were to each other.

For example, 66 percent of people who slept 30 inches or more apart said they were happy with their relationship while 86 percent of folks who were less than an inch apart reported being satisfied with their significant other.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Extroverts May Hold the Key to Happiness


Digital Vision/Thinkstock(PULLMAN, Wash.) -- Pharrell Williams’ song "Happy" is everywhere these days although there’s been no study to show if it actually makes people happy.

However, Timothy Church, a Washington State University professor of counseling psychology, believes there is something that puts people in a brighter mood and that’s by exhibiting extroverted behavior.

In a study of behavior that encompassed college students in the U.S., Venezuela, China, the Philippines and Japan, Church learned that acting positively, such as smiling at a stranger, seems to have the same effect, whether it’s in either Western or Eastern cultures.

Church also conducted additional research in these same countries and found that when people are able to act the way they want to, without the pressure of society holding them back, they have an easier time exhibiting what are referred to as the Big Five personality traits.

These traits are: being extroverted; agreeable; conscientious; emotionally stable; and open to experience in situations.

According to Church, extroversion can lead to more happiness, which in turn can result in longer, healthier lives than those who tend to shy away from sociability.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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AG Eric Holder Highlights Heroin Death Epidemic


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday told a group of police leaders it is time for street cops to start carrying the drug Narcan that can reverse deadly heroin overdoses. And this time the police, facing a rising number of overdose deaths, agreed.
 
Police around the country are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of deaths linked to overdoses of heroin and opiate prescription drugs. The recent heroin overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has focused attention on the issue. Police are dealing with more deaths from overdoses than from murders.
 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says prescription drug and heroin fatalities in the U.S. surpass homicides and traffic deaths. After cancer and heart disease, overdoses are said to be the number-one killer in the United States. In New London and Norwich, Conn., for example, heroin overdoses doubled last year.
 
It’s not just heroin. Most of the overdose deaths come from prescription opiate painkillers. In 2010 about 100 Americans died every day from drug overdoses. Prescription painkillers were involved in more than 16,600 deaths in 2010, and heroin was involved in about 3,000 deaths, according to the White House.
 
Holder told the Police Executive Research Forum he once associated heroin with the 50s and 60s. There's no question it's an issue we have to deal with, he said. This problem has resurfaced, he said; it is truly a national problem.
 
There clearly has to be a law enforcement response, he told the group, but we also have to view this as a public health problem as well.  Young people can't view this as a risk-free drug, he said. If we shine light on the problem we can have a significant impact on making sure it doesn't get worse and reduce the number of people involved.
 
He told the police leaders, we should spread the word about Narcan, the drug that can reverse a heroin overdose, and make it as widely available as possible.  He believed making the drug available did not amount to enabling. It is our job to keep as many people alive as possible, he said. The emphasis should be on safety and life and we can handle the things that might give people pause.
 
Holder admitted the overdose epidemic took a lot of people by surprise. This kind of sneaked up on us, he told the group. The consciousness of the nation had not really focused on the problem. People saw it as something that was localized. We focus a lot as a nation on drugs that are sold on the streets, Holder said. Things that come out of our medicine cabinets such as opiate drugs don't generate as much fear. That has a dulling effect.
 
Standing by itself the heroine problem is worthy of our national attention, he said. We have to hold those accountable who trade in it.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Deciphering the Signs of Anorexia in the Very Young


iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Until the age of 10, twins Reagan and Grace Freeman were like two peas in a pod living in a Houston, Texas, suburb.

After they moved to another state, their mother, Cindy Freeman, noticed that Reagan started rejecting foods she used to love, exercised nonstop and complained daily of a stomachache.

Believing her daughter was reacting negatively to the move, Freeman tried to take her to a psychiatrist but ran into a roadblock. “I called every psychiatrist in the city and no one would see her until she was 11,” she told ABC News.

Determined to get her daughter treated, Freeman then brought her to a medical doctor.

“He said, ‘Well, she’s a little on the thin side. She just needs to eat more,’” Freeman said.

She said he didn’t recognize how serious Reagan’s situation was, despite her losing 30 pounds in a six-month period.

Freeman finally began calling eating-disorder clinics across the country in an effort to get a psychiatric recommendation.  One by one, each of the clinics told her Reagan needed more than a psychiatrist; she needed to get admitted to inpatient treatment immediately.

Reagan was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a classified mental illness. She was just 10.

Experts say the national focus on obesity has meant that doctors and parents aren’t trained to look for treat eating disorders in the very young. An estimated 33,000 U.S. children between the ages of 8 and 15 are diagnosed with eating disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes for Mental Health.

Doctors say the distinction between healthy activity and overexercising can be hard to recognize in children. It can also be difficult for doctors and parents to distinguish between a child’s predilection for picky eating and a drastic change in eating patterns, they said.

In Reagan’s case, she often jogged in circles inside her room and ran four miles a day while walking the dog. She then started throwing away her lunch at school or hiding food in toilet paper dowels.

“We would spend two hours just trying to get food down her stomach,” Freeman said.

Reagan once sat at the table for more than four hours until she ate dinner. “It’s hard for someone to eat food and there’s this voice inside their head telling them not to,” Reagan said.

Verbally expressing concerns about weight gain is crucial in diagnosing adults and adolescents but young children often don’t have words for what is at the root of the illness: fear of weight gain and distorted body image.

After spending three months at an inpatient facility 1,000 miles away in Colorado, Reagan returned home before Thanksgiving. The whole family is involved in her ongoing recovery.

“It’s hard on her sister....Everyone has to watch her during every snack and every mealtime. She’s gotten very good at hiding and sneaking and throwing things away,” Freeman said.

Working with a nutritionist and therapists, the Freemans attend family-based therapy, also known as the Maudsley Approach. It has a 50 percent to 60 percent full recovery rate within a year, according to a 2013 Journal of Adolescent Health study.

It encourages parents to take the reins, counterintuitive to a doctor’s inclination to take over, but, parents and experts told ABC News, the method has shown the most effective results.

“It’s getting easier,” Reagan said of her recovery process. She said she still thinks about her eating disorder “a lot.”

Reagan and her family came forward with their struggle because they hope it will help other families who have children struggling with anorexia.

F.E.A.S.T., or Families Empowered and Supporting Treating of Eating Disorders, is a nonprofit organization helping families overcome eating disorders.

The group provides a 24-7 online forum for families and sufferers of the disease, a localized list of eating disorder support groups, a recipe book geared toward those recovering from eating disorders and countless other resources to educate people on eating disorders and the recovery process.

Freeman advised parents to “open your eyes and look.”

“Don’t listen to necessarily what a doctor or a psychiatrist or anyone else tells you, because you know your kid better than anyone,” she said. “And don’t think, ‘No, this can’t be an eating disorder, they’re too young.’ Go get help.”

To learn more about F.E.A.S.T., visit here.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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UK Doctor: 'I'd Rather Have HIV than Diabetes'


iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A U.K. doctor has stirred up controversy after writing an op-ed in the U.K. paper The Spectator where he argued that he’d "rather have HIV than diabetes."

Dr. Max Pemberton, author of The Doctor Will See You Now and who works in mental health, wrote the article to highlight how having diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, can be thought of as “worse” than being HIV-positive, which is now often treated as a chronic, and not necessarily fatal, disease.

“The risk of stroke in newly treated type 2 diabetes is more than double that of the general [U.K.] population,” Pemberton wrote in his article. “To put it starkly, the latest statistics show that because of Haart (Antiretroviral medications), HIV now no longer reduces your life expectancy, while having type 2 diabetes typically reduces it by ten years. But this isn’t an easy thing to say publicly.”

Pemberton highlighted facts such as the life expectancy in the U.K. for those with HIV is only minimally lower.

However, at least one expert says that Pemberton’s argument does a disservice to both diabetes and HIV, by arguing that one life-threatening disease is “better” than another. Dr. Kenneth Mayer, professor of medicine at Harvard University and medical research director at Fenway Health Clinic, which provides primary and specialized HIV/AIDS care, noted the two diseases are very different in how they are acquired and treated.

“My whole point [is it] shouldn’t be either or. They’re both important,” said Mayer. “There may be more people at risk for diabetes [globally], but HIV is transmissible,” between people.

Pemberton could not be reached immediately by ABC News for further comment.

One important distinction, experts said, is that Pemberton is speaking as a U.K. citizen. In the United Kingdom, HIV affects far fewer people than in the U.S., with approximately 77,600 people infected in the U.K. versus approximately 1.1 million in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.K. National AIDS Trust.

However, not every expert completely disagreed with Pemberton’s article.

Dr. Joel Gallant, chair of the HIV Medical Association and medical director of specialty services at Southwest Care Center in Santa Fe, N.M., said the statement is not preposterous if you look at how effective HIV/AIDS medications are today in comparison to the treatment options for diabetic patients.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to interpret my words as wanting to have HIV. ...We don’t know, for example, that a person with HIV, even very well controlled, is going to have the same exact quality of life as someone without it,” said Gallant. “Nobody should think of it as a non-issue [but] as chronic diseases go the treatment for this is better than most.”

But Mayer said it’s important the articles such as Pemberton's don’t make people complacent about the status of HIV treatment in this country or globally.

“I’m not very happy with the article. I think comparing two serious illnesses is not very useful,” said Mayer, who explained there are still many hurdles towards treating people with HIV in the U.S.

Although Mayer concedes Pemberton's point that medications have made HIV very manageable, he said it has been difficult to effectively diagnose people who have the disease.

According to the CDC, about 25 percent of people with HIV are successfully keeping their virus under control through medication. Worldwide, fewer than 11 million people are being treated while more than 35 million people have the disease, according to UNAIDS.

Rates of HIV infection in the U.S. have remained about the same since around the mid-1990s at about 50,000 new infections every year, according to the CDC. And according to a 2011 CDC report, there are still around 15,000 deaths from HIV/AIDs in the U.S. every year.

Mayer said approximately 20 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. do not realize they are infected with the disease and it can be years before they show symptoms. Additionally, while medication has been shown to help keep the disease in check, experts are concerned about the effects of long-term use.

“That again is why I’m not so thrilled about the article,” said Mayer. “We don’t know what long-term consequences of HIV combined with aging. HIV might lead to higher risk of cardiovascular [complications.]”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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French Lab Loses Thousands of Vials of Deadly SARS Virus


iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

The Pasteur Institute in Paris, France announced this week that it realized it was missing the vials and contacted the country’s National Security Agency of Medicines and Health Products to conduct an investigation on April 8, according to a news release.

Although the fragments are not dangerous, they do raise concerns by revealing the lab’s vulnerability, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"It’s actually not in itself so scary but you wonder about the procedures in that laboratory,” said Schaffner, who is also a former president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “Could that lab and perhaps others actually misplace vials that have the complete virus so that it might escape?”

SARS, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, sickened more than 8,000 people a decade ago, and as researchers started to study it, some of them acquired the illness, Schaffner said. That was when they realized they needed to be more careful with it.

There have been no reported cases since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, SARS as a whole virus is considered a “select agent,” meaning it has the “potential to pose a severe threat to both human and animal health, to plant health, or to animal and plant products,” according to CDC.

Its symptoms start out seeming like the flu with a fever and chills, but within a week they progress to a higher fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic.

The virus is believed to have originated in Chinese horseshoe bats in 2002 before spreading to cats sold at animal markets for food, and then spreading to humans. The outbreak in Hong Kong brought it to global attention, and it spread to two dozen countries, according to the CDC.

Schaffner said the virus fragments were stored in a in a lab refrigerator and forgotten about until the lab did inventory. He said the best case scenario is that they were accidentally incinerated and destroyed. The worst case scenario is that we will never know what happened to them.

“It reminds us that each and every lab must have rigorous safety procedures,” Schaffner said. “People must be trained, and there has to be good supervision.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Digital Mirror Reveals Internal Organs


iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- By combining Microsoft Kinect’s motion-capture camera with medical imaging tests, French researchers have created a “digital mirror” that appears to peel back the skin of users and expose their organs.

Scientists from the University of Paris-South collected high-resolution images from the Pet scans, X-Rays and MRI scans of volunteers. Using the Kinect camera to track the movement of two dozen joints, they were able to translate the medical images into life-like animations and then project them onto the mirror-like screen. When users stepped in front of the mirror, they were treated to what looked like the insides of their bodies moving in real time.

Not surprisingly, users had a mixed reaction to the inside out reflections. In one experiment, the researchers left 30 people alone with the mirror for several minutes. Women seemed especially creeped out by the experience, with some gasping and covering their chests to block the view. About a third of people of both sexes were so uncomfortable they were reluctant to let anyone else have a look.

“When you’re a child and you discover your own image in front of the mirror, you don’t know it’s you,” lead researcher Xavier Maître told New Scientist Magazine. “The initial reaction to the digital mirror is often similar. It’s as if you’re inside your body. You’re discovering something that belongs to you.”

Maître said the device was built to “explore the philosophical questions about how we relate to our bodies” but believes it could eventually prove useful for doctors to help their patients emotionally prepare for surgery. As he told New Scientist, “Normally, the physician might show you an image of a CT or MRI of your body, but it is not in relation to your actual body. It might as well be someone else’s CT. If you’re able to actually relate it to some parts of your body, it may give you a little more information about where the problem is.”

This mirror isn’t the only gadget being used to reflect an alternate reality in the name of medicine. The “Mirracle” mirror developed by the Technical University in Munich, Germany projects slices of medical graphics directly onto a person’s body for the purpose of helping both surgeons and patients visualize what will take place during an operation. Another project is underway at George Washington University which will employ similar technology to show preliminary images of the body’s insides so that surgeons can keep their hands sterile as they map out a surgical plan.

Up next, the French research group will program in a beating heart and expanding lungs to make their images even more realistic.  They will display the mirror and present their findings at the Computer-Human Interaction conference in Toronto, Canada later this month.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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No Shots, No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Unvaccinated kids could spend 25 days at home if someone at their school develops mumps -- a contagious disease making the rounds in Columbus, Ohio.

At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus, which causes fever, aches and swollen glands.

The outbreak emerged at Ohio State University in January, but has since spread off-campus.

“Clearly we’re seeing a very large number of cases of mumps associated with what was first an outbreak at Ohio State and now is now a community outbreak,” said Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health. “We continue to be concerned about those who are unprotected; those who do not have their two doses of MMR.”

The MMR vaccine guards against measles, mumps and rubella. A single dose, administered around a child’s first birthday, immunizes 95 percent of kids who get it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a second dose, given before the child starts school, covers virtually all of the remaining 5 percent.

But not all kids are vaccinated, allowing the disease to spread through schools.

“In Columbus and Franklin County, we have at least 17 cases and growing in schools,” Rodriguez said, adding that no one school has seen more than two cases yet. “That’s when we are get really concerned, because then it becomes a cluster.”

To quash mumps clusters in public schools, any child who has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine will have to stay home for 25 days -- the incubation period of mumps -- if someone at their school contracts the virus.

“The incubation period of the disease can be as long as 25 days,” said Rodriguez, explaining that schools were notified Tuesday of the 25-day rule. “We hope that parents will give it some consideration, and if their children aren’t vaccinated, they’re able to protect them before we have an outbreak.”

Ohio requires public school children to be vaccinated, but allows medical and philosophical exemptions.

“Some children have medical conditions that don’t allow them to get vaccines,” Rodriguez said. “In the event of outbreak in a school, we want to make sure we have as many kids protected as we can.”

An estimated 1.3 percent of Ohio kindergartners have non-medical exemptions, according to CDC data.

While most mumps sufferers recover after a week or two, the disease can cause serious complications like inflammation of the testicles, ovaries and brain as well as deafness, according to the CDC.

Rodriguez said he hopes the new 25-day rule will serve as a stark warning to parents about the importance of vaccines.

“We want them to know they can go ahead and get their children vaccinated now if they haven’t,” he said. “That way kids can stay in school and learn.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Smoking Marijuna May Lead to Brain Changes, Study Says


Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some people might want to rethink their views about marijuana being relatively harmless, a new study from medical school researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests.

Anne Blood, a senior study co-author, said, "There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem -- that it is a safe drug. We are seeing that this is not the case."

For the study, the researchers examined the parts of the brain that control emotion and motivation of people ages 18-25 who don't smoke pot and those who use it casually.

What they found was abnormalities in two neural regions of the brains of the marijuana smokers, even those who use as little as the equivalent of one joint a week.

More studies will be necessary to determine how this reshaping of the brain might affect pot smokers over the long-term but for now the researchers say the findings indicate that those who believe marijuana isn't harmful may be in for a rude awakening.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Cat Owners Should Avoid Displaying Easter Lilies


Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s that time of year when people adorn their homes with the flowers of the holiday season, such as Easter lilies.

But while these flowers might look great on your coffee table, they can be murder on your cats -– literally.

Health officials at the Federal Drug Administration warn cat owners to keep Easter lilies -- and in fact, all flowers in the lily family -- out of the reach of cats because the animals can become deathly ill if they happen to chew on the petals or leaves.

FDA veterinarian Melanie McLean says toxins in lilies cause kidney failure in cats, which may start as vomiting, followed by frequent urination and then failure to urinate. Death can result within four-to-seven days after ingesting the toxins.

At the first sign of illness, cat owners should bring their pet to the vet, who will treat it with intravenous liquids to keep the kidneys functioning.

While dogs aren’t as susceptible to getting sick from Easter lilies, a Lily of the Valley is dangerous as well to canines. Other plants pets should stay away from are aloe vera, Daphne, Kalanchoe, foxglove and yew bushes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Formerly Conjoined Twins Leave Dallas Hospital


Jenni and David Ezell(DALLAS) -- Jenni Ezell, the mother of conjoined twins who will be released from Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas on Tuesday, said the family feels "relief, joy and elation."

The Ezell twins, Owen and Emmitt, were born joined from their breastbone to their hipbones, sharing several organs, including their liver and intestines. Doctors told the Ezells their babies would probably not survive for very long. If they did, it was likely they would undergo multiple painful medical procedures.

Now 9 months old, the baby boys are doing great, Ezell said. They’re being sent to a rehab facility in Dallas for several weeks to several months before finally going home to spend time with their two older brothers, 2-year-old Liam and 7-year-old Ethan.

The twins were successfully separated six weeks after their birth in August. During the nine-hour surgery, a team of surgeons separated the liver and intestines, with the most difficult part being the separation of a shared blood vessel in the liver.

Dr. Tom Renard, the lead pediatric separation surgeon, said the boys have more than doubled their size since birth and are alert and thriving. Infection is always a concern but he said he was encouraged by their progress.

“You can never predict what can happen but these little guys are definitely survivors,” he said.

David Ezell, the father of the twins, said the family is relieved the babies are leaving the hospital, but they’re nervous, too.

“I’ll finally have my family together but we are about to face some serious challenges,” he said. “The really frightening life-or-death stuff is behind us but now we worry how about how we are going to pull the rest of it off.”

In the rehab facility, the Ezells will learn to juggle diaper duty with cleaning tracheal tubes, managing the home ventilator that helps the babies breathe and working with the boys on rehabilitation exercises. Jenni Ezell said the task is daunting but that she’s looking forward to caring for her children without relying on a team of doctors and nurses for help.

“I think my 7-year-old will at least help with diaper duty, though I guess it depends on what kind of diaper we’re talking about,” she joked.

Jenni Ezell said she’s grateful that one of the biggest challenges they now face is learning to tell the identical tots apart. The hospital staff painted their nails to make identification easier. Dave Ezell said anyone who spends a little time around them can easily tell them apart from the different personalities:

“Owen opens his eyes a little bit wider and is a little more excitable. Emmitt is more relaxed. His eyes are usually softer and more closed.”

Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 deliveries, the doctor said. Renard said odds of survival for conjoined twins are typically around 40 to 50 percent.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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‘Glow’ Parties Projecting the Wrong Kind of Light?


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With throbbing lights and crowds of kids, privately promoted events known as “glow” parties are quickly becoming the go-to parties for teens across the country.

The parties are billed as safe and alcohol-free events for kids as young as 16.

In a new warning, however, officials say the parties, which come with up to a $40 entry fee, are not always just about music and dancing.

“Molly is a drug we have seen being available at many of these ‘glow’ parties,” Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, told ABC News.

Molly is a form of Ecstasy that has been linked to overdoses and is mentioned frequently in pop culture and music.  Molly, short for molecule, is supposed to be the purest form of MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy.

“Glow” party-goers are using the party’s signature glow sticks to get more from the drug, officials say.

“The glow sticks that they use, the neon colors, enhance the effects of the drug Molly,” said Andrew Carey, the acting prosecutor for Middlesex County, N.J.

Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey told ABC News they are now increasing their monitoring of “glow” parties and similar events after several attendees needed hospitalization after using Molly.

Officials say they have increased the police presence outside of clubs where the parties are taking place and are doing outreach to educate parents.

Party promoters, some of whom, officials say, have hired their own private ambulances in order to avoid calling 911, tell ABC News they are creating a safe environment for teens and don’t condone illegal drug use.

“We have a countless number of procedures put in place to ensure a secure environment for our customers and peace of mind for parents,” HyperGlow Tour LLC, which bills itself as “America’s largest touring EDM glow party,” said in a statement to ABC News.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Team Hoyt to Run Last Boston Marathon


Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Team Hoyt has become a fixture on the Boston Marathon course, but after running it more than 30 times, the father-and-son team has decided it’s time to say goodbye.

Dick Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair for their first race in 1977. It was a five-miler, but soon the duo went on to compete in 1,100 athletic events, including more than 30 Boston Marathons. But now that Dick Hoyt is 74 and Rick is 52, they believe it’s time to slow down.

For Dick Hoyt, the best part has been watching people first accept Rick and then embrace him.

“When Rick was born, they said, ‘Forget him. Put him away. Put him in an institution. He’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life,’" Dick Hoyt told ABC News. “And here he is. He’s 52 years old and we haven’t figured out what kind of vegetable he is yet.”

Rick Hoyt graduated from high school and college, and Team Hoyt has inspired people all over the world, Dick Hoyt said.

After their first race, Rick Hoyt told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

Their first marathon was the Boston Marathon, and if Rick Hoyt could only do one race a year, he's told his father it would be that one.

Their fans stand along the 26.2-mile route holding Team Hoyt signs.

During last year’s marathon, they learned about the bombs at mile 23 and tried to run to the finish line to make sure their families and their foundation members were OK. A Good Samaritan offered to drive them to their hotel, but they had to leave Rick Hoyt’s wheelchair, which wound up in the crime zone and unavailable for two or three days, Dick Hoyt said.

“So, he got to sit in his father's lap for five hours,” Dick Hoyt said.

Still, the following morning, they decided to run the Boston Marathon in 2014 in honor of the bombing victims. It’s Rick Hoyt’s favorite race, after all.

"Boston was very strong last year and they’re going to be a lot stronger this year," Dick Hoyt said. "There’s no doubt about it. I just love Boston and the people who live in Boston."

He said he was impressed by the way the city handled the bombing.

"And there were like 5,500 runners behind us and people were coming out of their homes and feeding these people and letting them use their bathrooms and everything else," he said. "It was just amazing the way it was handled."

He said running their final Boston Marathon will be emotional, but they're looking forward to it.

“We’re going to be happy that we finished it,” Dick Hoyt said. “And we’re going to be so happy to see all our runners and family members are going to be there.”

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