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CDC: Already More Measles Cases in 2015 than Median Number from 2001 to 2010

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol said Thurs­day that the num­ber of measles cases in the U.S. since Jan­u­ary 1 is already higher than the annual total case counts for sev­eral recent full years.

In total, the CDC said there have been 84 cases of measles in 2015, with 67 of those linked to the out­break at California’s Dis­ney­land. The Cal­i­for­nia out­break includes six other states as well.

Between 2001 and 2010, the median num­ber of measles cases per year in the U.S. was just 60.

Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC’s National Cen­ter for Immu­niza­tion and Res­pi­ra­tory Dis­eases said on Thurs­day that for every 1,000 U.S. chil­dren who get measles, one to three will die from it — “regard­less of best treatment.”

Inter­est­ingly, the CDC also notes that the U.S. expe­ri­enced the high­est num­ber of measles cases in 20 years in 2014, with 644 cases linked to 20 outbreaks.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Study: Expensive Placebos More Effective than Cheap Ones

Jef­frey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study shows that place­bos are more effec­tive when they cost more.

Researchers looked at data from 12 patients with mod­er­ate to severe Parkinson’s dis­ease who were told they were being given one injec­tion that was a more expen­sive ver­sion of a new drug and one injec­tion that was a cheap ver­sion. In fact, patients were given saline — a placebo — both times. Accord­ing to the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­rol­ogy, patients had their brain activ­ity and motor func­tion mea­sured to deter­mine effectiveness.

While nei­ther placebo was as effec­tive as the Parkinson’s drug lev­odopa, the expen­sive ver­sion of the placebo prompted bet­ter per­for­mance on motor skills tests. “Per­cep­tions of cost,” the researchers deter­mined, “are capa­ble of alter­ing the placebo response in clin­i­cal studies.”

Dr. Alberto Espay, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cincin­nati Depart­ment of Neu­rol­ogy and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Med­i­cine, said in a press release that “if we can find strate­gies to har­ness the placebo response to enhance the ben­e­fits of treat­ments, we could poten­tially max­i­mize the ben­e­fit of treat­ment while reduc­ing the dosage of drugs needed and pos­si­bly reduc­ing side effects.”

Because the study involved such a small sam­ple of par­tic­i­pants, fur­ther research may be needed to prove the findings.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


WHO: New Ebola Cases in West Africa Drop Below 100 Last Week

Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion on Thurs­day released a new report on the Ebola out­break in West Africa, show­ing that the num­ber of new cases iden­ti­fied in the last week had fallen below 100.

Accord­ing to the WHO’s Ebola Sit­u­a­tion Report, 99 new cases were detailed in the three coun­tries most heav­ily affected by the out­break — 65 in Sierra Leone, 30 in Guinea and four in Liberia. The total num­ber of Ebola cases since the begin­ning of the out­break is now at 22,092. At least 8,810 of those cases has resulted in death.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have been the site of the vast major­ity of Ebola cases, with 22,057 cases in those three nations. A small num­ber of cases have been detected in Mali, Nige­ria, Sene­gal, Spain, the United King­dom and the U.S.

The WHO says that the response to the Ebola sit­u­a­tion “has now moved to a sec­ond phase, as the focus shifts from slow­ing the trans­mis­sion to end­ing the epi­demic.” Specif­i­cally, efforts are being shifted to ensure capac­ity for case find­ing and man­age­ment, safe buri­als and com­mu­nity engagement.

Liberia and Sierra Leone each reported decreased inci­dents of new Ebola cases com­pared to last week, while the 30 cases in Guinea was up from 20 the week before.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


How Tom Brady's Cold Could Affect the Super Bowl

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — This is noth­ing to sneeze at ahead of the Super Bowl: Patri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady has a cold.

Brady told reporters he’s sure he’ll be fine in time for Sunday’s clash against the Seat­tle Seah­waks, say­ing, “It’s been lin­ger­ing, so I’m just try­ing to get some rest. A lot of gar­lic, old reme­dies, every­thing I can.”

But epi­demi­ol­o­gists aren’t sold on the gar­lic — but they also say there’s a good chance Brady will be just fine in time for the big game.

That will keep those line­back­ers away,” Dr. William Schaffner, chair of pre­ven­tive med­i­cine at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter in Nashville, Ten­nessee, said of the gar­lic rem­edy, which he called “folklore.”

Peo­ple get bet­ter as time passes with colds, so I expect that he will indeed improve by the time Sun­day comes along,” he added.

Schaffner, who has not treated Brady, said most colds go away after about four or five days. He also said the most impor­tant thing Brady can do this week is stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep at night.

That’s the stuff your grand­mother told you which is actu­ally is use­ful,” he said.

Exer­cise also helps with symp­tom relief because it stim­u­lates adren­a­line pro­duc­tion, Schaffner said.

Adren­a­line con­stricts the blood ves­sels in the nose to relieve some of the stuffi­ness from a cold. He said most peo­ple have their favorite over-the-counter drugs for symp­tom relief, and those might help Brady, too.

I think hydra­tion, sleep, the pas­sage of time and his exer­cise actu­ally bode well for his per­for­mance on Sun­day,” Schaffner said. “He may not need that gar­lic to keep away the linebackers.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Family Seeking Liver Donor to Save Twins Asks for Public's Help

Bhakpong/iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — A fam­ily des­per­ately search­ing for a liver donor for their twin daugh­ters have started a cam­paign in order to find a stranger will­ing to donate to save their girls.

Binh and Phuoc Wag­ner, 3, of Ontario, Canada, both need liver trans­plants because of a genetic con­di­tion called Alag­ille syn­drome, which can affect bile ducts in the liver and lead to severe liver damage.

The twins were adopted from Viet­nam in 2012 by Johanne and Michael Wag­ner, who were aware the girls’ liv­ers were in trou­ble dur­ing the adoption.

We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wag­ner said. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were sup­posed to be with us, and it just took a dif­fer­ent path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were they were part of our family.”

Last year, the girls’ con­di­tion wors­ened to the point that they were able to be put on a trans­plant list. While the girls each need their own donor, the fam­ily was delighted to find out that Michael Wag­ner was a donor match.

Wag­ner can only give liver tis­sue to one child because of the way the liver regen­er­ates. Doc­tors will deter­mine which girl is sicker and she will undergo the procedure.

We found our­selves to be very lucky that we qual­i­fied right away,” said Johanne Wager of her hus­band being a match. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

The fam­ily has now turned to social media and pub­lic out­reach in the hope that a stranger could be a match and also be will­ing to undergo rig­or­ous med­ical pro­ce­dures and an oper­a­tion in order to save their daughter’s life.

After start­ing a Face­book page to draw atten­tion to the twins’ story, Johanne Wag­ner said hun­dreds of peo­ple started flood­ing her Face­book page offer­ing to be a liv­ing donor. Wag­ner is direct­ing any­one inter­ested to the Toronto Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal Liv­ing Donor Assess­ment Office to see if they fit the profile.

Dr. Les Lilly, the med­ical direc­tor of liver trans­plant at Toronto Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, esti­mated that anony­mous liv­ing donors account for a frac­tion of liver dona­tions, but that with social media the prac­tice could become more commonplace.

We do have peo­ple who step for­ward and want to help out, and they’re con­sid­ered anony­mous donors,” said Lilly. “I think there’s a greater aware­ness,” of being a liv­ing donor through social media.

Lilly cau­tioned that becom­ing a liv­ing donor is not easy. A person’s blood type must be com­pat­i­ble with the recip­i­ent and they must pass a bat­tery of tests to ensure they are healthy enough to donate. After the oper­a­tion, they have to be out of work for weeks as they recover.

Lilly said hos­pi­tal offi­cials go slowly with tests so that donors are not over­whelmed and feel they still can change their minds.

We’re very, very con­scious of donor safety,” said Lilly. “We real­ize some peo­ple might go into process very enthu­si­as­ti­cally,” but later decide it is not right for them.

Bil­lie Potkon­jak, direc­tor of health pro­mo­tion and patient ser­vices at the Cana­dian Liver Foun­da­tion, said they’re see­ing more and more anony­mous liv­ing liver donor cases.

Cer­tainly, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of social media makes it eas­ier for peo­ple to go pub­lic with their sit­u­a­tion and to talk about it pub­licly,” said Potkon­jak. “It def­i­nitely high­lights the need for organ donation.”

Johanne Wag­ner said it’s likely her hus­band will donate his liver to one of the girls within the next few weeks.

In spite of the dif­fi­cul­ties they’re fac­ing, Johanne Wag­ner said they’re stay­ing pos­i­tive and thank­ful for the public’s support.

We would travel this road all over again,” she said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Does Shaving Make Your Hair Darker and Thicker?

Jacek Chabraszewski/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When faced with a patch of unruly hair on your body, it’s tempt­ing to grab a razor and cut it down to size. But should you think again before reach­ing for the blade to solve your over-active follicles?

Dr. Deb­bie Yi, an Emer­gency Med­i­cine and Neu­rol­ogy physi­cian at the Hos­pi­tal of UPenn, cuts this myth down to size. Dr. Yi asserts that our hair is a lot like grass: thick at the bot­tom and thin­ner towards the ends.

So when we shave, all you’re doing is caus­ing a cut, that makes the hair more coarse and more stub­bly. So it might appear to be darker, and might appear to be thicker, but sadly, it actu­ally isn’t,” Dr. Yi says.

So the next time you reach for that razor to get rid of unsightly hair, never fear, the hair that remains isn’t thicker or darker — it’s just an illusion.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Scott Foley Explains How to Lose More Than 10 Pounds Overnight

ABC/Ron Tom(LOS ANGELES) — Scott Foley is no stranger to shirt­less scenes. How­ever, the Scan­dal star, whose show pre­mieres Thurs­day night, said that the real work involved with them hap­pens in the days lead­ing up to the shoot.

I’m a juice guy,” Foley told ABC News. “If I have a big scene, I’ll have three or four days only hav­ing veg­etable juice or something.”

Foley, 42, said that in one case, he had to shoot a shirt­less scene after Thanks­giv­ing, which meant that for his hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion, he could only par­take in the turkey. How­ever, in a crunch, he also knows how to lose 20 lbs. in one day using the same tech­nique fight­ers use to drop pounds.

Drink a ton of water — as much as you can — don’t eat any­thing, get in a sauna, sweat it out,” he explained. “When you get home, get in a bath, as hot as you can take it. You fill it with Epsom salt and really hot water — like 20 lbs. of Epsom salt so it’s so salty that the salt doesn’t even dis­solve. That’s going to suck all this water out of your body. You could drop 12–15 pounds by tomor­row morning.”

How­ever, the actor, who works with a nutri­tion­ist, said that that’s not part of his reg­u­lar routine.

Mean­while, he laughed when asked about the diet of his co-star, Kerry Washington.

Kerry eats some weird stuff! She came the other day with this Tup­per­ware thing of, they look like potato chips but it was dried or flaked sauer­kraut and it tasted like a foot. It was awful,” he said with a laugh. “I think she does it on purpose!”

Kiss­ing scenes means, of course, that they both freshen up, he added.

She’s very kind,” he said. “We both brush!”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Money Is Not the Root of All Happiness

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) — You’ve heard the cliché a mil­lion times: money can’t buy hap­pi­ness. Well, maybe there’s some­thing to it after all.

Researchers at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity and the Uni­ver­sity of British Colum­bia aren’t say­ing that hav­ing money is a bad thing since it can make life eas­ier. How­ever, they con­tend that fewer money wor­ries doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily equate to a happy life.

After review­ing data from 12,300 peo­ple who answered a 2010 Cen­sus sur­vey that recorded lev­els of their hap­pi­ness and income, the researchers dis­cov­ered that “higher income is asso­ci­ated with expe­ri­enc­ing less daily sad­ness, but has no bear­ing on daily happiness.”

In other words, hap­pi­ness and sad­ness, while dif­fer­ent emo­tions, are not oppo­site emotions.

So, while money can get peo­ple out of predica­ments that make them sad, it won’t make them any happier.

As leader author Kostadin Kush­lev explains, “Peo­ple limit their own abil­ity to expe­ri­ence hap­pi­ness if they let money take over.” Instead, they need to focus on mak­ing bet­ter choices that will bring them true contentment.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.