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Boy Finds Rare Kidney Donor in First-Grade Class

Comal ISD(NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas) — Lind­sey Painter is teach­ing her first-grade class a pow­er­ful les­son, one that goes far beyond read­ing, writ­ing and arithmetic.

In Decem­ber, when the par­ents and doc­tors of one of her stu­dents reached out to the pub­lic for help in find­ing a donor, Painter was one of the first to vol­un­teer to be tested. She’d only been teach­ing at the school since last year.

Matthew Parker, a 6-year-old triplet, attends Painter’s class with his two broth­ers at Hoff­mann Lane Ele­men­tary School in New Braun­fels, Texas.

His kid­neys had been fail­ing him since he was a new­born. He’d got­ten a kid­ney dona­tion in 2010 but about two years ago it failed. Since then, he missed school three days out of the week to travel to San Anto­nio for dialysis.

Doc­tors said Matthew had a one-percent chance that a sec­ond donor would be found. More than 70 peo­ple vol­un­teered to see whether they were a match, includ­ing Painter.

When I went in to be tested, they thanked me for com­ing in but also kind of pre­pared me for the fact that it would most likely not be a match,” she told ABC News on Tuesday.

Then Painter and the Park­ers got mind-blowing news.

We were shocked to find out that we were a match,” said Painter, the mother of two boys, ages 6 and 10.

She’s lit­er­ally the per­fect match for Matthew,” the school’s prin­ci­pal, Krista Mof­fatt, said in a state­ment, accord­ing to ABC News affil­i­ate KVUE-TV. “This act per­son­i­fies her char­ac­ter as some­one will­ing to per­form a self­less deed.”

Surgery is sched­uled for mid-March, offi­cials said. One of Painter’s kid­neys will be removed. If the surgery is suc­cess­ful, he could return to school full-time in eight weeks.

Painter said she hoped to see Matthew every day at the school next year as a second-grader.

Every time I watch [my sons] active and run­ning around and play­ing and loud and doing all of these things that lit­tle boys should do…I hope that Matthew is able to get this chance once he gets his kid­ney,” she said. “I am hon­ored to be able to help him out this way.”

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


Lawsuit Claims Beneful Dog Food Kills Pets

Kuzmik_A/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new law­suit claims that Bene­ful dog food may be killing its cus­tomers’ four-legged friends.

Com­plaints about Bene­ful date back sev­eral years, James Young, a lawyer in Tampa, Florida, told ABC News. He added that lawyers across the coun­try teamed up when they real­ized there was a “com­mon denom­i­na­tor” in the dog ill­nesses and deaths.

It’s all Bene­ful dog food. That’s the com­mon denom­i­na­tor,” Young said. “Sta­tis­ti­cally speak­ing, the fact that this many dogs were affected by the same brand of dog food is pretty compelling.”

How­ever, Keith Schopp, a spokesman for Nes­tle Purina, the com­pany that makes Bene­ful, told ABC News that there is no prob­lem with Bene­ful dog food and that there is a “strin­gent” qual­ity con­trol pro­gram in place. Two sim­i­lar class-action law­suits were filed against Bene­ful in recent years, but both were dis­missed, he said.

Dogs enjoy the prod­uct every day,” he said, adding that the ingre­di­ent men­tioned in the suit as a pos­si­ble toxin, propy­lene gly­col, is “gen­er­ally rec­og­nized as safe” by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment except in cat food.

Young said he and his col­leagues are still inves­ti­gat­ing which ingre­di­ents in Bene­ful they sus­pect injured the animals.

The law­suit Young and sev­eral other lawyers filed this month in Cal­i­for­nia against Nes­tle Purina claims that more than 3,000 com­plaints against Bene­ful have been filed in the last four years. The com­plaints were made online by vets and pet own­ers to law firms, the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion and attor­neys gen­eral around the coun­try, Young said. He said he did not know how many of those ani­mals died, and he was not famil­iar with the pre­vi­ous two law­suits filed against Beneful.

The new law­suit cites the story of Frank Lucido, who owned three dogs and is a plain­tiff in the suit along with “all other sim­i­larly sit­u­ated.” Lucido started feed­ing his dogs Bene­ful for the first time in Jan­u­ary, accord­ing to the law­suit obtained by ABC News.

Although the three pets were sep­a­rated and in dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments while his home was being ren­o­vated, they all fell ill shortly after start­ing the new diet, the suit alleges.

  • First, Nella, a 4-year-old Ger­man shep­herd, started to lose her fur and took on a strange smell. Then, she became ill, and vet­eri­nar­i­ans learned that she was bleed­ing inter­nally and her liver was mal­func­tion­ing, accord­ing to the com­plaint. She sur­vived but still has health problems.
  • Five days later, Lucido’s wife found their 8-year-old Eng­lish bull­dog, Dozer, dead in the yard, accord­ing to the com­plaint. Vets deter­mined she, too, had inter­nal bleed­ing and lesions on her liver.
  • The third dog, an 11-year-old Labrador named Remo, has been “unwell” since the other two became sick, and is under­go­ing test­ing, accord­ing to the suit.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Nes­tle Purina has until April 2 to respond to the complaint.

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


Gerbils, Not Rats, May Have Caused Bubonic Plague, Study Finds

donghero/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — His­to­ri­ans have long blamed rats for spread­ing the plague in Europe nick­named the “Black Death” in the 14th cen­tury, but new research points the fin­ger at a dif­fer­ent furry cul­prit: gerbils.

Known for dec­i­mat­ing the Euro­pean pop­u­la­tion in the Mid­dle Ages, the Black Death was caused by the bac­terium yersinia pestis, which some­how made its way from Asia to Europe in 1347, accord­ing to the study pub­lished Tues­day in the jour­nal PNAS.

Study co-author Nils Stenseth, a biol­o­gist at the Uni­ver­sity of Oslo, said that 12 to 15 years before the plague hit Europe, Asia expe­ri­enced a warm spring and wet sum­mer, which is good for the ger­bils and fleas that car­ried the plague.

Then, a drought dec­i­mated the ger­bil pop­u­la­tion, forc­ing the plague toward domes­tic ani­mal and human hosts, he said. It then made its way to Europe, though the ves­sel is unclear, Stenseth said.

Stenseth and his team deter­mined the cli­mate hun­dreds of years ago by exam­in­ing tree growth rings, accord­ing to the study. The authors wrote that a bet­ter approach would be to study the DNA gleaned from the remains of plague victims.

Epi­demi­ol­o­gist Dr. Bill Schaffner, chair of pre­ven­tive med­i­cine at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter, said he found the study “intrigu­ing” because he’d never before heard of an ani­mal other than the rat being blamed for the Black Death. But he said the authors are doing a lot of infer­ring to come to their conclusions.

My bot­tom line is that this is a fas­ci­nat­ing new the­sis,” said Schaffner, who was not involved in the study. “And I think that it likely will result in a lot of con­tro­versy among peo­ple who are dis­ease historians.”

But your pet ger­bil won’t give you the plague, Stenseth said. The ani­mals that spread the plague in Asia were actu­ally a sep­a­rate, wild species known as a great ger­bil, Stenseth said.

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


When the Fear of Icy Driving Conditions Is Too Debilitating to Leave Home

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Dri­ving in the win­ter can be treach­er­ous. Snow, ice and white­outs can cause pile­ups, skid-outs and stranded drivers.

Despite this year’s bru­tal win­tery con­di­tions, most of us still brave icy roads, but for Amy Andrews, just the thought of dri­ving in win­ter causes over­whelm­ing, white-knuckled, debil­i­tat­ing fear.

Andrews’s pho­bia over dri­ving in snowy or icy con­di­tions is so crip­pling, just a weather report about a chance of snow, or snow falling unex­pect­edly, will throw her into a full-blown panic attack.

This is some­thing that I can’t do,” she said. “If I absolutely have to drive in this bad weather then the whole time I am shak­ing and I don’t breathe prop­erly and I get lightheaded.”

It’s esti­mated that about 9 per­cent of Amer­i­can adults suf­fer from spe­cific pho­bias, irra­tional fears of things like fly­ing, heights, ele­va­tors and spi­ders, accord­ing to the National Insti­tute of Health.

When some­body is exposed to the object they’re fright­ened of they feel intense anx­i­ety,” said renowned psy­chother­a­pist Robi Lud­wig. “Their heart can race, they can sweat, they can feel that they’re hav­ing a panic attack or a heart attack but it’s basi­cally how some­body feels when they’re in the fight-or-flight reac­tion. They really feel like their bod­ies are in danger.”

More than 2,000 peo­ple are killed every year in win­ter weather-related acci­dents, and fac­ing that pos­si­bil­ity behind the wheel is just too much for Andrews.

She lives in New Eng­land, which has been bat­tered by record-breaking snow­fall this win­ter. Her pho­bia has made nor­mal life nearly impos­si­ble. She is almost too scared to drive if there is one snowflake in the air, even forc­ing her to miss work at her job as a school administrator.

I have had panic attacks where it just starts snow­ing, where I will end up in the bath­room hyper­ven­ti­lat­ing, ready to pass out,” she said.

Andrews will check the weather obses­sively, and can­cel plans if there is a threat of snow.

My sis­ter moved to New Hamp­shire and I told her that I refused to go up there any time from Novem­ber to March,” Andrews said.

But Andrews was deter­mined to con­quer her fear. She agreed to let ABC’s Night­line send her to a com­pli­men­tary class at one of the tough­est, and most ter­ri­fy­ing, win­ter dri­ving schools in the coun­try: The Bridge­stone Win­ter Dri­ving School in Steam­boat, Colorado.

There, stu­dents have to drive on a track made entirely of snow and ice – Andrews’s worst fear – as instruc­tors teach the fun­da­men­tals of win­ter dri­ving, from what to do if your car skids out to hav­ing weight bal­ance in the vehicle.

But before she began, Andrews had a rough start. Her car got stuck on an icy road just try­ing to get from her hotel to the dri­ving school, and she needed to have her car towed up the road. Right away, the first stages of panic set in.

She was pretty wound up,” said head instruc­tor Kurt Spitzner. “[But] I think we were going to have a pos­i­tive effect on her.”

When Andrews finally got to class, and started work­ing with an instruc­tor, some­thing did change.

I think the results were remark­able,” Spitzner said. “Just see­ing how she stopped hyper­ven­ti­lat­ing a quar­ter of the way through the class made me feel really good. This is a start.”

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


Chicago Children's Hospital Patients, Staff Star in Music Video

North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity Dance Marathon(CHICAGO) — Young patients, nurses and doc­tors at a Chicago hos­pi­tal danced and sang thanks to col­lege stu­dents rais­ing money to help make their hos­pi­tal a cheerier place to be.

The patients and staff at Children’s Hos­pi­tal Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois are the stars of a YouTube video in which they lip-sync to the Amer­i­can Authors’ song “Best Day of My Life.”

The video, with 1,000 views and count­ing, was made by stu­dents at North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity for the school’s upcom­ing Dance Marathon fundraiser.

We thought it’d be an awe­some idea to film inside the hos­pi­tal to brighten the kids’ day and to high­light the kids’ sto­ries and what we can do to help with Dance Marathon,” Ross Gor­don, a North­west­ern senior and the event’s pub­lic rela­tions co-chair, told ABC News.

Pro­ceeds from the Dance Marathon event, dur­ing which more than 1,000 stu­dents will dance for 30 hours straight, will go to the Starlight Children’s Foun­da­tion to help them build “beau­ti­fully designed treat­ment rooms and teen lounges” in hos­pi­tals, accord­ing to Gordon.

The video shoot involved six North­west­ern stu­dents who coor­di­nated the pro­duc­tion and then sat back and watched as the young patients and their doc­tors and nurses had a blast film­ing it.

The smiles on their faces were fan­tas­tic,” said Gor­don, 22. “Some were a lit­tle shy to start, but when you have so many smil­ing nurses danc­ing it bright­ened the mood and they def­i­nitely got into it.”

One of my favorite parts is when a doc­tor in the back started twirling a stetho­scope,” he said. “The doc­tors and nurses espe­cially got really into it.”

The two-minute video is being used now to help encour­age dona­tions and will also be shown when North­west­ern stu­dents hit the dance floor from 7 p.m. on Fri­day, March 6, through 1 a.m. on Sun­day, March 8.

The whole idea is to unite our cam­pus around advo­cacy and giv­ing back to a good cause,” Gor­don said.

North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity Dance Marathon, in its 41st year, has raised more than $1 mil­lion each of the last four years, accord­ing to Gordon.

This year, we’re using the theme ‘Make Life Bright’ and #make­lifebright with the goal of mak­ing hos­pi­tals a more wel­com­ing and sooth­ing expe­ri­ence for the chil­dren we’re sup­port­ing,” he said.

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


Two Anti-Aging Scientists Make Million-Dollar Bet on Who Will Die Last

SylvieBouchard/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two promi­nent anti-aging sci­en­tists are bet­ting the farm over who will buy the farm first.

Dmitry Kamin­skiy, a senior part­ner at Deep Knowl­edge Ven­tures in Hong Kong, and Alex Zha­voronkov, Ph.D., CEO of the anti-aging drug com­pany Insil­ico Med­i­cine Inc. in Rus­sia, signed a wager last month at a large anti-aging sci­ence con­fer­ence, stat­ing that the one who died first owed the other a mil­lion dol­lars in stock or cash.

If one of the par­ties passes away before the other, $1 mil­lion in Insil­ico Med­i­cine stock will be passed to the sur­viv­ing party,” the agree­ment stated, adding that if the com­pany is no longer in exis­tence the other has to pony up the dol­lar amount in cash.

This life-or-death gam­ble will kick in on Feb. 24, 2079, Zhavoronkov’s 100th birth­day — he turned 36 on Tues­day and is just over a year younger than Kamin­skiy. Zha­voronkov said the com­pe­ti­tion came about as a way to com­bat psy­cho­log­i­cal aging and ensure each man’s con­tin­ued desire to live.

Zha­voronkov told ABC News that there are a few ground rules for the bet.

We are not allowed to con­tribute to each other’s demise and I can­not rec­om­mend any treat­ments to Dmitry,” he said. “Each one of us will have his own strat­egy for test­ing the var­i­ous interventions.”

Kamin­skiy could not be reached for comment.

Zha­voronkov is supremely con­fi­dent he will win the bet. He’as been tak­ing low-dose aspirin since 1998 plus an anti-aging cock­tail of statins and other sup­ple­ments for over four and a half years. He’s had an HPV shot to pre­vent can­cer and takes other drugs to avoid get­ting the flu. He has a diag­nos­tics lab on speed dial to quickly triage any signs of health trouble.

But he admit­ted that Kamin­skiy may have an edge, due to an envi­able fam­ily his­tory for longevity, sta­ble sleep­ing pat­terns, and a reg­u­lar exer­cise routine.

Access to a few hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars, state-of-the-art infor­ma­tion sys­tems and a ven­ture fund invest­ing in longevity com­pa­nies also helps,” Zha­voronkov said. “But I still believe in the power of sim­ple, afford­able and rea­son­ably safe interventions.”

Sci­ence is on the cusp of some huge break­throughs in anti-aging sci­ence, said Zha­voronkov. For exam­ple, he said he believed that Insil­ico, within the next 12 to 24 months, will be the first to deliver a set of work­ing solu­tions to sig­nif­i­cantly and con­clu­sively slow aging.

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


Why Some Cancer Centers Offer Yoga to Their Patients

Cour­tesy of MD Ander­son Can­cer Cen­ter(NEW YORK) — A new hos­pi­tal pro­gram dis­penses down­ward dogs and tree poses to help kids with aggres­sive forms of can­cer deal with their illnesses.

The MD Ander­son Can­cer Center’s inte­gra­tive med­i­cine depart­ment hopes to show that yoga can help can­cer patients of all ages cope with the stress and symp­toms of their disease.

Each week, Amie Koron­c­zok, one of three mind-body inter­ven­tion spe­cial­ists at the cen­ter, takes pedi­atric can­cer patients between 3 and 12 years of age through a 45-minute yoga class that often incor­po­rates art, music and storytelling.

We focus on relax­ation, mind­ful med­i­ta­tion and breath­ing,” she said, adding that the class was devel­oped at the request of par­ents look­ing for some help with the emo­tional side of their children’s illnesses.

Though the kids class is rel­a­tively new, the cen­ter has been hold­ing yoga classes for adults for more than 13 years.

No stud­ies sug­gest that yoga will cure or pre­vent can­cer. It might not be of use for every patient, either. But a grow­ing body of evi­dence indi­cates reg­u­lar yoga prac­tice might help man­age the emo­tional tur­moil that often accom­pa­nies a phys­i­cal diagnosis.

A recent review of 10 stud­ies, for exam­ple, indi­cated that yoga might help to reduce anx­i­ety, depres­sion, fatigue and stress for some patients. Tri­als included in the review asso­ci­ated med­i­ta­tive yoga with improve­ments in sleep qual­ity and a boost in patient mood and well-being.

The authors of the review, pub­lished in the Data­base of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, stressed that there needs to be more research to prove defin­i­tively the use­ful­ness of yoga in can­cer care and recov­ery. How­ever, Koron­c­zok said she’s already seen its pos­i­tive effects on her lit­tlest patients, includ­ing a lit­tle boy who came into class reluc­tantly and didn’t appear to pay much atten­tion throughout.

I saw him a few weeks later when he didn’t feel good and it hurt to move, and he asked me if the sparkling med­i­ta­tion globe we used dur­ing class could help him stay calm,” she recalled. “That impressed me because I thought he was resis­tant to the things we were doing, but it turned out he lis­tened and got some­thing out of it.”

There is no down­side to teach­ing can­cer patients yoga,” said Cindy Finch, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist with the Mayo Clinic and with Reimag­ine, an online resource for can­cer survivors.

Finch, who is also a can­cer sur­vivor, said she believed that health care need not treat patients exclu­sively with med­ica­tions, surgery and other ther­a­pies that address only the phys­i­cal side of ill­ness. Treat­ing the whole per­son, includ­ing the mind and spirit, helps the whole per­son recover, she said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Highly Processed Foods Considered Most Addictive

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Which foods trig­ger addic­tive responses in humans? You prob­a­bly don’t have to be a nutri­tion­ist to fig­ure that one out.

But just in case, Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan sci­en­tists have done the research for you by con­clud­ing that highly processed foods with all that added fat and refined car­bo­hy­drates are the tough­est to give up.

And nat­u­rally, these foods, which include choco­late, pizza and french fries, are more apt to make Amer­i­cans over­weight or obese than health­ier alternatives.

Lead author Erica Schulte says, “If prop­er­ties of some foods are asso­ci­ated with addic­tive eat­ing for some peo­ple, this may impact nutri­tion guide­lines, as well as pub­lic pol­icy ini­tia­tives such as mar­ket­ing these foods to children.”

Fur­ther­more, the researchers say that the reward­ing prop­er­ties of highly processed food may change meth­ods in obe­sity treat­ment, sim­i­lar to ways peo­ple cur­tail their addic­tions to smok­ing, drink­ing and drugs.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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