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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Do you have an older loved one you're doing your best to keep safe and healthy? Then do whatever you can to eliminate their chances of falling.

A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds falls are the number-one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans. They experienced 29 million falls in 2014 alone, causing seven million injuries.  

It's costly to taxpayers, too -- annual Medicare costs to treat fall-related injuries are an estimated $31 billion.

And it's only going to get worse as more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day.

Increased inactivity, more severe chronic health conditions, reduced muscle strength and increased use of prescription medications are risk factors for falls among older Americans.

The CDC recommends a few common-sense steps to take to reduce the risk of falls, including eliminating obvious fall hazards. But some medications can also increase the risk of falling, so a chat with your doctor is also in order. Same goes for your eyes -- get them checked at least once a year, to ensure you can see where you're going.

And lastly, exercise as much as you can. The stronger you are, the less likely you are to fall, or to be injured if you do.

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Courtesy Alisa Bowman(MACUNGIE, Pa.) -- A 12-year-old transgender boy from Pennsylvania recently received a standing ovation and an "overwhelming amount of support" after delivering a powerful speech to his school board in an effort to counter what he saw as hateful and ignorant rhetoric about trans students, according to his mother.

Alisa Bowman told ABC News Monday that her son, Ari, gave the speech on Sept. 12, just a few weeks after a fellow student allegedly said she would rather fail gym class than change with transgender students in the locker room.

"Ari and I really felt like if we didn't speak ... this ignorance and hate would end up winning," she said. "It was incredibly important for my son and I to set the record straight and explain who transgender people are."

Bowman recorded Ari's speech to the board on video and uploaded it to Facebook, where it has since gone viral, with 40,000 views as of Monday.

"Hello, my name is Ari. I'm transgender," Bowman's seventh-grader begins in the video. "You might not know that from the look of me, but I enjoy normal things. I play soccer, I like video games -- just like anybody else."

Ari later explains in the video that "the hate the transgender community has been receiving recently has been terrible." He adds that "people say things without an open mind and as if we're not human beings like they are."

Ari also addresses the the bathroom and locker room controversy, saying that he changes in the boys' locker room and that he has "seen zero genitalia."

"If you think that genitalia will make someone uncomfortable, then think of the story I told earlier about the girls not letting me use the bathroom," he adds, referring to a time in first grade when girls didn't want to let him use the girls' bathroom.

"They didn’t care that I’ve had female genitalia," he says. "They cared that I looked masculine and was male at heart. They didn’t care about my body parts. What made them uncomfortable was my looks."

Toward the end of the speech, Ari says that his life "doesn't revolve around me being transgender. It revolves around my family, my friends, everything I love."

"As my mom likes to say, people are afraid of the things that they don’t understand," he adds. "I hope you understand what being transgender means. It doesn’t make me any less or any more. It make me me, and no one can change that."

After the speech, Ari got a "loud standing ovation," Bowman told ABC News. She added that she was "really touched" when the superintendent came over to Ari and shook his hand.

"It was really so beautiful to watch, like watching a baby bird flying out of their nest," Bowman said.

Lower Macungie Middle School wrote on Facebook that it was "[s]o proud of our own 7th grader Ari Bowman who spoke with our school board Monday night!"

East Penn School District did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Unfortunately for children and parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has announced it is not recommending the nasal mist form of the flu vaccine for kids this flu season.

This comes on the heels of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found the mist form of the vaccine was not effective in preventing influenza.

To be crystal clear here, the AAP is still recommending that every child above the age of 6 months gets the injectable form of the flu vaccine.

My medical take on this: It's a good thing that our country's top doctors are always reevaluating data. In doing so, we can continue to learn in medicine and in science.

Please talk to your children's pediatrician about the flu vaccine for this season.

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A nutrition manager at a Texas elementary school lost more than 100 pounds by simply eating the same foods she encouraged her students to consume for breakfast and lunch.

"I was 260 pounds and I got a job as a nutrition manager but then I realized I wasn’t very nutritious so I decided to make a change," Tammy McRae said Monday on Good Morning America. "That’s what made me want to lose the weight -- for my kids that I had to inspire to eat better."

She added, "I thought, well, let me join them."

McRae said she started eating breakfast and lunch from the cafeteria menu at Carver Elementary School in Baytown, Texas, every single day.

"I just stuck to the menu at our school," McRae said when asked if she made any other lifestyle changes to lose the weight.

McRae started out as a dishwasher at the school before being promoted to a manager. It took her around one year to lose the weight and she said it is life-changing.

"I am now part of my own life," she said. "I go fishing. I mow my own lawn."

McRae's advice to others looking for weight loss inspiration?

"I just say, for anyone else out there that is thinking of making a change, go for it," she said. "Be a part of your own life."

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Kristen O'Meara chose not to vaccinate her young daughters as she was a big believer in anti-vaccination research. That changed when all three were stricken with a case of rotavirus, which causes acute stomach distress.

"It was awful and it didn't have to happen because I could have had them vaccinated. I felt guilty, I felt really guilty," she told ABC News.

O'Meara and her husband also fell ill.

O'Meara, a teacher living outside Chicago, added that she had "scoured everything" about why vaccines might be harmful and had become "pretty convinced." She chose not to vaccinate based upon the results of her research, but had only read the materials that cast doubt.

"I put my kids at risk,” she said. “I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born.”

Her three children -- all under the age of seven -- are now fully vaccinated after an aggressive regimen to bring them up to date on recommended shots.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends vaccinations for practically every child, but in a study published last month the group says the number of parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children appears to be on the rise. In 2013, 87 percent of pediatricians surveyed had encountered patients who refused a vaccine for their child, up from 75 percent in 2006, according to their research

Among the most common reasons cited by parents for their refusal to vaccinate their children was their belief that vaccinations were unnecessary, the report said. Parents also cited a purported link between vaccinations and autism -- a link that has been repeatedly disproven because the research it was based on was proven fraudulent.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and dozens of other public health groups have stressed for years that vaccines are safe and necessary. They also say that the large majority of children must be immunized from diseases such as measles, mumps and chicken pox in order to protect both individuals and communities with so-called "herd immunity.”

After her frightening wake-up call, O'Meara is now encouraging others to vaccinate their children.

"I'm here because I wanted to share my personal story ... and if it does help someone change their mind, then that's great," she said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened at least seven people across four states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
says that evidence indicates the outbreak likely derived from contaminated beef, veal and bison products produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol, Massachusetts. The company issued a recall on Saturday -- you can see the full list of affected products here.

The ill people range in age from 1 to 74, according to the CDC. The cases stem from Connecticut and Massachusetts to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Five of the seven people infected have been hospitalized.

Consumers are urged to throw away any of the affected products or return them to where they were purchased.

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Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- One year after Kim Zolciak-Biermann suffered a stroke, the former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant is opening up about what she's learned from the health scare.

While flying home from Los Angeles to Atlanta after a rehearsal with her professional partner, Tony Dovolani, Zolciak-Biermann suffered a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke, on Sept. 23, 2015.

It forced the reality star to drop out of the ABC reality competition. Zolciak-Biermann tried to return to the ballroom, even launching a petition to be reinstated, to no avail.

On Instagram, Zolciak-Biermann, 38, shared a throwback photo of her with Dovolani competing on the ballroom floor and another photo of her in the hospital following the stroke.

"1 year ago today my life changed. Having a stroke has changed me in so many ways. At 37 I thought I was invincible ..boy was I wrong," she started in a caption.

"I thank God everyday that I'm still here on this planet," Zolciak-Biermann continued. "I didn't know that would be my last dance however I wasn't feeling that good that day, even @tonydovolani noticed something was off but rather than listen to myself I pushed through. Not smart."

The mother of six then opened up about what she learned from the health incident.

"We have to listen to ourselves, especially us women," she said. "We put our husband and children before us often times and we need to really listen to our bodies. There is (usually) warning signs."

Zolciak-Biermann concluded, "[L]isten to your body, it can happen at any age. Love you guys and appreciate all your support! Maybe someday Tony & I will make it back to an All Star [edition]."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are proposing fundamentally different approaches to health care reform, and their proposals would have dramatically different effects for the uninsured, out-of-pocket costs, and the federal deficit, according to a new analysis by the RAND Corporation, a non-partisan policy think tank.

Researchers examined the insurance coverage and financial implications of maintaining the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as Clinton hopes to do, versus fully repealing the law, as Trump has proposed.

They further analyzed the projected effects of four of Clinton’s central health policy proposals, and three proposals from Trump using RAND’s COMPARE microsimulation model, which has been used extensively after passage of the ACA to estimate the effects of health care reform.

 The study was sponsored and released by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation devoted to improving health care access and quality, especially for low-income and minority Americans.

By repealing the ACA, Trump would eliminate many of the law’s key protections, including those that reduce the cost-sharing burden for people in the individual market, prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and prohibit insurers from increasing premiums based on sex or health status. In addition to repealing the ACA, Trump has proposed several new reforms, including allowing individuals to deduct insurance premiums from their tax returns, converting Medicaid into a block grant program, and letting insurers sell across state lines.

Researchers analyzed each of these policies in turn and estimated that they would increase the uninsured population by approximately 15 million to 25 million people with disproportionate losses in coverage for low-income individuals and those with pre-existing conditions.

In a statement to ABC News, the Trump campaign argued that it would aim to maintain coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, though did not provide further details.

Repealing the ACA itself would cause the number of uninsured people in fair or poor health to nearly triple, from 2.1 million to 5.8 million, according to the study. Implementing a Medicaid block grant program, in which the federal government gives states a fixed amount of money to fund Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would further increase this number, the study found.

The Trump campaign said the RAND study used an out-of-date baseline funding number to come to this conclusion about the effects of block-grants, but did not offer a different baseline.

People buying insurance in the individual market would face higher out-of-pocket costs, and the federal deficit would increase approximately $0.5 billion up to $41 billion, depending on the policy initiative pursued, according to the report.

“The policies proposed by Donald Trump would reduce the number of insured,” said Professor Christine Eibner, the study’s lead author and senior economist at RAND. “But surprisingly, they also seem to increase the deficit.”

This is largely because while repealing the ACA would reduce spending on insurance and cost-sharing subsidies, it would also eliminate the ACA’s revenue-generating mechanisms, like changes to Medicare payments and taxes on health plans and medical devices. This could change as the proposals become more specific, Eibner said.

“Neither Clinton nor Trump have put their proposals into legislative language,” Eibner noted. “It’s possible that when they put a bill forward, there would be additional provisions that could make up lost revenue.”

Trump campaign officials vehemently disagreed with the report’s findings, arguing that the study “models an imaginary plan.”

“Our health care team in fact never spoke with anyone at either RAND or Commonwealth,” a campaign spokesman told ABC News. “We asked them to delay their report until they spoke with our health care team, but they declined to do so -- preferring to continue based on incorrect information. Their ludicrous claim that 20 million now covered would lose their coverage following a repeal is immediately disproven by the fact that any replacement we would adopt would ensure that those now receiving 'premium support' would be given subsidies or other forms of support to purchase health insurance in the private market through Health Savings Accounts."

Researchers estimate that selling insurance across state lines, one of Trump’s best-known proposals, would lower premiums on the individual market and insure an additional 2 million people. But overall, the number of insured would drop, since millions would lose insurance due to repeal of the ACA, according to the report.

Without requirements for insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, the state line policy would also result in 200,000 additional people in poor health losing health insurance, the report found.

With regard to out-of-pocket costs, Trump’s proposed tax deductions tend to benefit those with higher incomes compared to the ACA income-based tax credits, which preferentially help lower-income families and individuals.

“I think this suggests that the ACA has made a lot of headway,” said Dr. Anupam B. Jena, a physician and an economist at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study. “To think about repealing it, you have to be really careful. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t policies to control costs and expand coverage worth entertaining from both parties.”

Clinton has advocated for maintaining the ACA and has further proposed four policies to limit consumers’ out-of-pocket spending. These include introducing cost-sharing tax credits that offset spending above 5 percent of income for everyone with private insurance; reducing the maximum premium contribution for those buying insurance in the marketplaces; giving more families enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage access to tax credits; and creating a government-funded public option to compete with private insurers in the marketplaces.

Each of these policies is likely to increase the number of insured individuals and reduce out-of-pocket spending for consumers, though with variable effects on the federal deficit, according to the analysis.

Unsurprisingly, policies with the largest coverage gains also result in the biggest increases in the federal deficit. For example, Clinton’s proposal to institute cost-sharing tax credits of $2,500 per individual or $5,000 per family for health spending exceeding 5 percent of their annual income would lead to more than 9 million additional people being insured. But the policy would increase the federal deficit by an estimated $90 billion. By contrast, adding a government-funded public option would insure about 400,000 more people and is estimated to decrease the deficit by $0.7 billion.

"Hillary Clinton will build on the health care progress we've made by expanding coverage to millions of Americans who need it and addressing the costs that families face,” a Clinton campaign spokesman said in a statement today. “On the other hand, Donald Trump's proposals would strip coverage away from many more people, including low-income families and those who are already struggling with health problems. That said, there were clearly some faulty assumptions made in this analysis that over-inflated the cost of the plan. Other independent estimates have set the cost vastly lower."

The study authors themselves emphasize that their model makes a number of assumptions and may need to be updated as additional policies are introduced or existing ones become more specific.

“The microsimulation model used in this study is generally very well respected,” Jena said. “There are, however, caveats you have to make with any model when you’re trying to predict the outcome of extremely complex policies. There’s a lot of uncertainty around each input. But broadly, this is probably correct. The numbers may not be exact, but the direction of the estimates is reliable."

Furthermore, several health policy proposals of both candidates were not included in the analysis because they lack specific details, were introduced later in the campaign, or do not directly impact insurance coverage and consumer spending.

“It’s important to know that these policies evolve over time,” Eibner said. “At this stage, things are still preliminary. Policies will crystallize and sharpen, and so will our estimates. Our goal here was to start a conversation.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Dr. Howard Schneider has worked for years as a pediatric dentist, catering to children of low-income parents on Medicaid.

But Schneider's reputation is now clouded over claims that many of those same kids were harmed in his clinic. More than 100 families have accused the Jacksonville, Florida, dentist of harming their children and making millions of dollars while wrecking their mouths. Parents say Schneider extracted healthy baby teeth from their children.

In 2014, Brandi Motley brought in her daughter Bri-el, then 6 years old, for an appointment with Schneider.

Motley said Schneider told her that he needed to extract one of Bri-el's baby teeth. After waiting three hours in the lobby, Motley said a nurse assistant came to get her.

 "She said, 'There's been an accident.' That's when I see the blood,” Motley recalled. “Blood on the floor and everything. She [Bri-el] was hyperventilating…and she was face-first on the floor.”

Motley said Bri-el had scratches, bruises and a mouthful of bloody gauze, and her daughter told her a different story of what happened in the dentist chair.

"She says, 'Mommy, they're lying to you ... he was choking me while he was pulling my teeth,'" said Motley.

And when Bri-el took her gauze out, Motley saw that Schneider had taken out all eight of her front teeth even though Motley said her daughter was scheduled to go in for only one extraction.

Motley wanted to sue Dr. Schneider -- but the attorney she called, John Phillips, didn’t take the case. “It’s the worse he-said-she-said you'd ever want to be part of," he said.

So Motley turned her mini-van into a rolling billboard attack on Schneider, and in April of last year, she posted her grievances and photos of Bri-el after the procedure on Facebook. The post was shared over 350,000 times.

 Realizing she was not alone, Motley and several other moms who said their children had similar experiences to Bri-el began protesting with signs outside of Schneider's clinic every day.

ABC News met with some of Schneider's alleged victims.

"He [doesn't] care about people. He definitely [doesn't] care about innocent children who can't even defend themselves," Sherraine Christopher told ABC News.

Christopher said that when Zion, then 3 years old, began screaming during his treatment, she pulled out her cellphone and recorded what was happening.

Zion was hysterical while Schneider continued grinding down the first of 16 teeth that he would eventually fit with metal crowns. Christopher said she never received an explanation for the 16 caps in Zion's teeth.

Some dentists, who perform the same procedure as Zion's on other children, argue that it can prevent serious problems, especially among some poorer kids who eat more sugar and brush less.

Christopher shared the video she recorded of Zion at the clinic -- and it went viral.

Seeing the video, John Phillips, the attorney who was initially reluctant to take on Motley's case, eventually took on 131 individual cases of families against Schneider.

After weeks of protests, Schneider closed his clinic and voluntarily surrendered his license to practice dentistry, allowing him to avoid a full dental board investigation.

In November 2015, the state attorney general arrested Schneider and charged him with 11 counts of Medicaid provider fraud. Schneider pleaded not guilty. In only five years, Schneider had collected nearly $4 million in payments from the government program.

Schneider still faces a possible criminal trial on the Medicaid fraud charges. He will be back in court in November for a hearing on a defense motion to avoid a trial by having him declared mentally incompetent.

Meanwhile, he has settled 104 of Phillips’ total 131 lawsuits, including those brought by the families of Zion and Bri-el, without any admission of wrongdoing.

"I think he's just an old, greedy, selfish man," Motley told ABC News.

Schneider maintains the allegations against him are false and that giving up his medical practice was in no way an admission of guilt. He insists he used anesthesia and that he was a great dentist, practicing for over 50 years.

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The Proger Family/Facebook(FLEMINGSBURG, KY) --Katie Prager, the wife in the real-life 'The Fault in Our Stars' marriage, has died from cystic fibrosis just five days after her husband, Dalton, passed away from the same disease. She was 26 years old.

"Early this morning she gained her wish of being at home, in her bed, surrounded by her mom, dad, brother and her dogs, dying peacefully away from the hospital, tubes, IVs," Katie's mother, Debra Donovan, wrote Thursday morning on the Facebook page chronicling the couple's lung transplant journey.

Katie had been in hospice care in her Flemingsburg, Kentucky, home since September 7. Her husband, Dalton Prager, died just days earlier, on Saturday, after suffering from the same disease. He was 25.

The couple met online and were married in 2011. They both had lung transplants, but neither of the transplants were successful for long.

Dalton Prager moved back to Missouri after a lung transplant in 2014, so his parents could care for him.

Katie Prager received a lung transplant last year and then developed lymphoma and had kidney failure. She was in hospice care in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, when her husband died.

The couple used Facetime to talk last weekend as Dalton Prager was dying, Donovan told CNN.

"She told him that she loved him," said Donovan. "We don't know if he heard her."

The young couple garnered worldwide attention last year after CNN wrote about Katie's fight to get a lung transplant.

They were known as the real "Fault in Our Stars" couple, as their love story bore a resemblance to the 2012 book and 2014 movie "The Fault in Our Stars," in which teenage cancer patients fall in love.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The rising cost of EpiPens has driven some families to search for ways to save money on the expensive devices. Online tutorials that teach people how to make their own EpiPens have been watched by tens of thousands, but experts warn that using a homemade injector could be dangerous.

While these devices are a seemingly low-cost solution for those with allergies, allergists point out there are a host of other issues with making a DIY epi-injector. Among these risks are potentially dangerous effects of wrong dosage, reliability of a DIY device and risks of non-sterile handling of the device.

EpiPens are by far the most popular ephinephrine autoinjector on the market, but the cost for a two-pack has risen dramatically. In 2009, a two-pack of EpiPens cost $100, but today it costs approximately $600, according to medical literature and various pharmacies.

However, Dr. Lolita McDavid, pediatrician and medical director of child advocacy and protection at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, said even as a trained physician she would never use a DIY epi-injector on a family member.

"There's a lot of problems with it," she told ABC News. McDavid pointed out that in one video online the instructor didn't even sterilize the vial before filling the syringe, meaning it could possibly cause infection if used.

 "I can't imagine a school would allow a parent to bring that in for their kids," said McDavid. She pointed out that for these devices, patients would have to prefill the syringe, which could be dangerous if they over or underfill the syringe with the wrong dose of medication. Additionally, to prep the DIY epi-injector a person would have to pre-calibrate the injector so that the needle reaches a specific point in the muscle about 11 to 15 millimeters deep. A miscalculation could mean injecting the drug into a dangerous area like a vein.

"This is a serious drug, you can die," McDavid said of epinephrine. "[Overdose] symptoms include worsened breathing trouble sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, buzzing in the ears, confusion and shortness of breath."

It can also cause extremely high blood pressure, which can be dangerous for a patient.

Dr. Scott Sicherer, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe professor of pediatrics, allergy and immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a previous interview that technically parents could use a syringe and vial of epinephrine to stop an anaphylactic reaction, but that it was better to leave that up to medical professionals.

"We know in emergency situation it can be hard to draw up, there might be problems with under-dosing or overdosing and it’s not practical for most people," he said. "It is hard to do that and expect people to do that in an emergency situation."

This week, the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which makes EpiPens, addressed Congress about the price hike.

"Price and access exist in a balance, and we believe we have struck that balance," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said at the hearing, explaining that, under Mylan, access to the EpiPen product had expanded dramatically. The company announced this month it will offer a generic version of the drug for $300 and said it has given away 700,000 EpiPens to schools for free.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California health officials reported on Thursday that a child in Jurupa Valley, California, has been diagnosed with leprosy and another child is suspected of having the disease.

Leprosy, also called Hansen's disease, is rare in the U.S., with 175 new cases reported in 2014, the most recent data available, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Riverside County Health Department has not listed a source or suspected source of the disease, but leprosy can remain in the body for three to 10 years before symptoms develop, according to the HHS.

“None of our recommendations to the school or parents have changed,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, said in a statement Thursday. “It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy. The school was safe before this case arose and it still is.”

Leprosy is very difficult to transmit and those infected are treated with standard antibiotic drugs, according to the HHS. Symptoms of the disease include red skin lesions, fever, malaise, joint pain and edema, according to the Riverside University Health System.

Approximately 95 percent of people are naturally immune to the bacterial disease.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Step away from the antibacterial soap.

The Food and Drug Administration recently banned the use of 19 chemicals found in the common household item, saying not only do they not really do any good, they may actually do harm. We're talking most notably about the ingredients triclosan and triclocarban.

The FDA says some data suggests that long-term exposure to these two ingredients could pose a danger to health.

My take: Plain, old soap and water for washing your hands works fine.

As for the alcohol-based hand sanitizers, I use them often. Before scrubbing for surgery, they're actually the product that we use in the operating room. Either way, good hand hygiene is key.

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Courtesy Seattle Children's(SEATTLE) — A cancer-stricken girl from the U.K. is in remission after her family raised $180,000 to get her to the U.S. for an experimental treatment.

Erin Cross, 6, was released from Seattle Children's Hospital last week after undergoing an experimental treatment designed to utilize her immune system to fight cancer. The girl was diagnosed with a virulent form of leukemia called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at age 2. While initial treatment put Erin in remission, her doctors warned the cancer was likely to return. Erin's mother, Sarah Cross, said the family started to look at other options and became more interested in technology where doctors re-engineer a patient's own t-cells to fight cancer, part of a growing treatment field called immunotherapy.

"When she relapsed, that's when all that research [helped]," Erin's mother Sarah Cross told ABC News.

Erin's doctor contacted the team at Seattle Children's Hospital to see if Erin could be entered into an experimental medical trial where doctors re-engineer the t-cells so that they recognize a specific protein on leukemia cells called CD19 . The engineered t-cells are designed to attack the leukemia cells, similar to how they attack other viruses or bacteria in the body.

While the experimental treatment itself was covered by the hospital, any other traditional treatment for Erin would have to be covered by the family. Cross said they did not have insurance that would cover medical treatment in the U.S. since they live in the U.K., which has a national health care system. In order to raise medical funds, Cross turned to social media to get her daughter to Seattle. An online campaign shared on Twitter helped raise $180,000 for Erin, her mother said. Celebrities in the U.K. retweeted Erin's story, drawing attention to the fundraiser.

"The majority of the money was raised in a few days," Cross said.

Cross and Erin arrived this summer at Seattle Children's Hospital to get the experimental treatment. In a Phase I trial of the experimental treatment, which is designed to test if a treatment is safe rather than effective, 93 percent of the patients experienced remission.

However, after a year, approximately 50 percent of these patients had some kind of relapse, according to Dr. Rebecca Gardner, who is leading the study at Seattle Children's Hospital. The treatment is still experimental and Erin is taking part in a Phase II trial, where researchers examine how effective a treatment is. Only children and young adults with ALL who had exhausted standard options of cancer treatment are allowed to participate in the trial, since the treatment is not the medical standard of care for leukemia treatment.

"She got here and towards the end of July," Gardner said. "Then there is a series of eligibility requirements ... then she was able to get her t-cells within a month" of arriving.

The cells are taken in a three-hour process where they're separated from the blood. Once re-engineered to recognize the CD19 , they are able to be infused back into the blood and hopefully start attacking the leukemia. The process to get the infusion is just a few minutes, compared to hours of infusion for chemotherapy. Cross said hospital staff even brought a "T-bear" with Erin's t-cells to put the girl at ease.

"There's a huge build up for the day the t-cells came through the door in the hospital room," Cross said.

After the infusion, Erin was able to go back to the Ronald McDonald House, where the family was staying, without any immediate reaction. But within a few days, the girl developed a persistent fever, likely a result of the t-cells fighting the leukemia.

"It's as if you were fighting a bad infection," said Gardner, who said symptoms can be mild to severe. "It can be persistent fevers to more severe [complications] like needing ICU care."

For three weeks the girl remained in the hospital. At one point Erin was so sick she started suffering seizures and was on a ventilator. Doctors were able to treat the immune response and eventually Erin's symptoms subsided and she was taken off the ventilator.

"She all of a sudden got her energy," Cross said. "We were hoping and praying that the bone marrow would be clear. "

Last week, Gardner was able to test Erin's bone marrow. Before the infusion, 26 percent of Erin's bone marrow cells were leukemia cells, last week, Erin had no sign of leukemia in her cells.

"As the days progressed from then, she's just gotten stronger," Cross said. "It's the first time she's been leukemia-free since March."

Going into remission does not mean Erin is cured of the disease, and Gardner said they will continue to watch how she progresses and look to see if the engineered t-cells remain in her body or if she relapses.

Cross said her daughter still shows some side effects from the treatment, including a tremor, that doctors will monitor before they return home. When back in the U.K., Cross said Erin is expected to get a bone marrow transplant to help fight any remaining cancer.

"She's a normal 6-year-old, fun-loving," Cross said. "She wants to arrange a dance off," with a nurse.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One 9-year-old and her puppy best friend will both receive new prosthetic limbs, after their shared distinction brought them together.

"Averie immediately fell in love with her," mom Kimberly Mitchell of Hugo, Oklahoma told ABC News. "She said, 'Mom, Hattie's just like me.' That pretty much sealed the deal. She bonded with her. I knew I couldn't say no."

Averie Mitchell was born with a condition called pseudarthrosis of the tibia. At age two, her parents opted for amputation, so that she could grow up with a prosthetic. And although her daughter has lived with a prosthetic most of her life, Mitchell said she never lets it slow her down.

"She's in gymnastics competing level 4 this year and she's just still growing strong," she added.

Averie and her puppy Hattie Mae met in February during one of Averie's appointments at Celerity Prosthetics in Oklahoma City to be casted for a prosthetic socket.

Like Averie, Hattie was at Celerity because she's missing her right [back] leg. The company also works with animals who are in need of prosthetics.

"At that appointment, there was a foster mom there with Hattie," Mitchell said. "Hattie was a puppy and she was also missing her right back leg. While Averie was getting casted, Hattie laid her head on Averie's lap and sat there with her."

After a long talk, the Mitchell family decided to adopt Hattie in May from The Underdogs Rescue in Oklahoma City.

"It's a match made in heaven, that's all I can say," said Meike Parker, founder of The Underdogs Rescue. "Since our name is The Underdogs, we usually take in the ones that no one else wants. In Hattie Mae's case, the physical ailment never stopped her from being the dog that she is, a happy puppy, a social butterfly."

Averie's new prosthetic will be ready in the coming days. Hattie's is currently being built.


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