Blog archives

 

 

Early Peanut Exposure May Reduce Allergies, 'Game-Changer' Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — “Read the ‘gre­di­ents!” Jill Mindlin’s daugh­ter used to say when she was a tod­dler, run­ning around the kitchen and hold­ing up the food she wanted to eat.

At 3 years old, Maya already knew that if an adult didn’t read the ingre­di­ents, she could have a deadly aller­gic reac­tion to the food she ate, Mindlin said.

The first time Maya went into ana­phy­lac­tic shock, she was just 9 months old, and doc­tors soon learned she was aller­gic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy and sesame seeds. Like most par­ents, Mindlin won­dered if it was her fault.

Could I have done some­thing dif­fer­ently?” Mindlin remem­bers think­ing. “Why is this hap­pen­ing to her?”

Peanut aller­gies in par­tic­u­lar have dou­bled in the last 10 years, so a team of researchers with fund­ing from the National Insti­tutes of Health and the non­profit group Food Allergy Research and Edu­ca­tion set out to see whether early expo­sure to peanuts played a role in devel­op­ing peanut allergies.

They fol­lowed hun­dreds of chil­dren from the time they showed a slight sen­si­tiv­ity to peanuts — between 6 and 11 months old — until they were 5 years old. Those who avoided peanuts were more likely to develop full-blown peanut aller­gies than those who didn’t, accord­ing to the study pub­lished Mon­day in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Med­i­cine.

Only 1.9 per­cent of those who were exposed to peanuts early devel­oped the aller­gies com­pared with 13.7 per­cent of those who devel­oped aller­gies after avoid­ing peanuts, the study showed.

Dr. Stacy Dor­ris, an aller­gist and immu­nol­o­gist at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter in Nashville, Ten­nessee, called the study “excit­ing.” Dor­ris was not involved in the study, but said prior to 2008, par­ents were told to avoid feed­ing their chil­dren peanuts until they were about 2 years old. That year, evi­dence in Israel began to hint that per­haps early expo­sure to peanuts might pre­vent the aller­gies, she said.

I think it’s really going to be a game-changer for the allergy world,” said Dr. Samuel Fried­lan­der, an allergy and immunol­ogy spe­cial­ist at the Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tals in Cleve­land, who was not involved in the study. “Up until now, we’ve been focused on diag­no­sis and man­age­ment of chil­dren that have food aller­gies. This is the first ran­dom­ized, con­trolled study that gives us evi­dence that we can pre­vent the occur­rence of food aller­gies in kids. It would be much eas­ier for us to be able to pre­vent the devel­op­ment of food aller­gies in the first place.”

Mindlin’s daugh­ter Maya is now nearly 14 years old and doing well. While any new research is pos­i­tive, Mindlin said she has some advice to par­ents: Don’t feel guilty.

We were told for so many years to avoid the aller­gens, and now the sci­ence turns around 180 degrees,” she said. “You’re darned if you do, you’re darned if you don’t. Let go of the guilt.”

World News Videos | US News Videos

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

 

Measles Continue to Spread, Reaching 154 Cases in 17 States

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The measles out­break isn’t show­ing signs of wan­ing yet, with 13 new cases in the last week, and there are now three sep­a­rate out­breaks, accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention.

The CDC reported on Mon­day that it had con­firmed 154 cases of the measles since Jan. 1 as part of three sep­a­rate out­breaks, plus sev­eral addi­tional cases not linked to those out­breaks. As of Feb. 20, an out­break linked to a group of unvac­ci­nated peo­ple who vis­ited Dis­ney­land in Decem­ber had 118 reported cases.

Two other unre­lated out­breaks are occur­ring in Illi­nois and Nevada, accord­ing to the agency’s lat­est report.

The measles cases are heat­ing up vac­cine dis­cus­sions nation­wide, with day­care chain Kinder­Care chang­ing its staff poli­cies after sev­eral infants in one Illi­nois loca­tion were infected with the virus.

Of the first 34 peo­ple with measles for whom the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health had vac­ci­na­tion records, only five had received both doses of the measles vac­cine, as gen­er­ally rec­om­mended, accord­ing to the agency. One received just the first dose.

Nation­ally, offi­cials are see­ing the same trend, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, who directs the National Cen­ter for Immu­niza­tion and Res­pi­ra­tory Dis­eases. Some of those 34 cases tracked by Cal­i­for­nia may not be included in the 121 tally by the CDC because they were reported before Jan. 1.

This is not a prob­lem with the measles vac­cine not work­ing,” she said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence ear­lier this year. “This is a prob­lem of the measles vac­cine not being used.”

The CDC is see­ing more adult cases of measles than usual dur­ing this out­break, Schuchat said, adding that chil­dren are get­ting the virus, too.

Cases have now been reported in 17 states: Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Delaware, Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Illi­nois, Min­nesota, Michi­gan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Geor­gia, Penn­syl­va­nia, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wash­ing­ton, accord­ing to the CDC. The agency issued a health advi­sory on Jan. 23, at which point the virus had only spread to six states beyond Cal­i­for­nia and Mexico.

The United States last year reported its high­est num­ber of measles cases in two decades, with 644 cases as part of 20 sep­a­rate out­breaks, accord­ing to the CDC. Health offi­cials attribute the spike to a measles out­break in the Philip­pines and over­seas travelers.

The measles virus is con­ta­gious long before symp­toms appear and it is air­borne, which is what makes it so con­ta­gious, accord­ing to the CDC. One infected per­son with the measles can spread it to an aver­age of 18 other peo­ple, and it can linger in the air and live on sur­faces to spread after an infected per­son has left a room.

Com­pli­ca­tions include hear­ing loss, pneu­mo­nia and swelling of the brain, accord­ing to the CDC. About one or two peo­ple out of every 1,000 peo­ple infected with the measles die of the virus.

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

 

Oscars 2015: Who Dana Perry Is and Why She Want Us to Pay Attention to Suicide

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — While accept­ing the Oscar for best doc­u­men­tary short sub­ject, pro­ducer Dana Perry said sui­cide should be talked about “out loud,” ded­i­cat­ing the award to her son.

Dur­ing her accep­tance speech on behalf of Cri­sis Hot­line: Vet­er­ans Press 1, the music abruptly cut off when Perry men­tioned her son, Evan Scott Perry, who com­mit­ted sui­cide at age 15 in 2005.

I lost my son,” Perry told reporters after the speech. “We need to talk about sui­cide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around sui­cide because the best pre­ven­tion for sui­cide is aware­ness and dis­cus­sion and not try­ing sweep it under the rug.”

Perry also men­tioned vet­eran sui­cide in her Oscar speech, which she called “a cri­sis.” The Oscar-winning HBO doc­u­men­tary, directed by Perry and Ellen Goosen­berg Kent, is about the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs’ 24-hour call cen­ter for veterans.

In 2009, Perry pro­duced an HBO doc­u­men­tary about her son, who had bipo­lar dis­or­der, called Boy Inter­rupted.

This is a movie one wishes one did not have to make. Maybe it will break down walls, and stig­mas about talk­ing openly about men­tal ill­ness, to free peo­ple to do so with­out shame,” Perry told The Huff­in­g­ton Post in 2009.

The film asks a lot of ques­tions in a pub­lic fash­ion and stirs up dis­cus­sion about why we as a soci­ety are ashamed about men­tal ill­ness,” she con­tin­ued. “Edu­cat­ing peo­ple is a real chal­lenge. And, edu­ca­tion and treat­ment is the only sui­cide pre­ven­tion. Let’s get the word out.”

Perry’s fam­ily has a his­tory of men­tal ill­ness; she said her son’s uncle also com­mit­ted sui­cide, accord­ing to HBO.com.

Perry’s career includes doc­u­men­taries cen­tered on another pas­sion in her life — music. Her doc Top Ten Monks, focused on Aus­trian monks who sing. She also pro­duced a 2004 VH1 doc, exec­u­tive pro­duced by Rus­sell Sim­mons, And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop. Her love of music was also show­cased when she pro­duced in 1998 a four-hour ABC spe­cial, Motown 40: The Music Is For­ever and VH1 Presents the 70’s for the cable network.

The Oscar win­ner has also worked with musi­cians such as Aero­smith, Peter Gabriel, Yoko Ono, AC/DC and Alice Cooper.

She is mar­ried to cin­e­matog­ra­pher Hart Perry.

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

 

Three Pregnant Dads: Meet the Men Wearing 'Empathy Bellies'

Three Preg­nant Dads(NEW YORK) — From exhaus­tion to blad­der dis­com­fort to lack of sleep, preg­nant women endure an array of aches and pains on the path that cul­mi­nates with childbirth.

If only a man could even begin to under­stand what it was like. Well, now three guys are try­ing to do just that.

In an effort to pay trib­ute to the chal­lenges of preg­nancy as well as to their wives and moth­ers, three men have decided to wear 33-pound ‘empa­thy bel­lies’ for one month straight in the run up to March 6, when Mother’s Day is cel­e­brated in Eng­land. To spread aware­ness of their plight, the men are shar­ing the ups and downs of the exper­i­ment with read­ers on a site titled, appro­pri­ately enough, Three Preg­nant Dads.

Jason Bram­ley, Steve Han­son and Jonny Biggins–who all hail from the United King­dom but work together in Barcelona for The Book of Every­one, a com­pany that cre­ates per­son­al­ized books for birth­days and fam­ily events–have strapped on their preg­nancy suits for just a lit­tle over a week.

The men could not be reached for com­ment, but The Book of Everyone’s com­mu­nity man­ager Mike Smith spoke with ABC News about the Three Preg­nant Dads’ expe­ri­ence so far.

[They] get a lot of belly rubs from beau­ti­ful strangers, fun and excited reac­tions from the pub­lic and have received a lot of sym­pa­thy from col­leagues, friends, and women,” said Smith.

Despite their com­i­cal appear­ance, ‘empa­thy bel­lies’ can pro­vide a seri­ous shift in per­spec­tive, accord­ing to experts.

I think it is as close as pos­si­ble to sim­u­lat­ing how preg­nancy may feel for some women,” said ABC News Senior Med­ical Con­trib­u­tor Dr. Jen­nifer Ash­ton, an OB-GYN based in the United States. “While many of the changes that women may expe­ri­ence in preg­nancy are phys­i­cal, some are also emo­tional, and the ‘empa­thy belly’ can’t sim­u­late that, but it does make an effort.”

To wit, the suits are designed to repro­duce “abdom­i­nal dis­ten­tion, pelvic tilt, a shift in pos­ture caus­ing wad­dling gait, abdom­i­nal aches, lower back stress, pres­sure on blad­der, stom­ach, and lungs, short­ness of breath” even fetal move­ment, among other preg­nancy symp­toms, Smith said.

Some­thing moves inside the belly,” explained Jonny Big­gins in his sec­ond blog post. “A weird alien-like lump of solid resin swings like a embry­onic pen­du­lum with each move you make. It’s freaky.”

Bridg­ing the expe­ri­en­tial dis­con­nect between men and women dur­ing preg­nancy is just part of the inspi­ra­tion behind the project. The men also wanted pay homage to Anna Jarvis, who is cred­ited with trade­mark­ing the Mother’s Day hol­i­day as an annual cel­e­bra­tion of motherhood.

Before embark­ing upon their project, the three men wrote out a list of rules for the exper­i­ment on a cou­ple of drink coast­ers, including:

  • The suit must be worn the whole time for one month (apart from show­er­ing or bathing).
  • A daily video diary must be kept to mon­i­tor the joys, tri­als and tribulations. 
  • A daily writ­ten diary must also be kept. About 150 words. 
  • No cheat­ing, you will only be cheat­ing the honor of your mother.

Some observers have reacted to the exper­i­ment with neg­a­tive sen­ti­ments. After the Three Preg­nant Dads project was writ­ten about in an arti­cle in the UK’s Daily Mail, Steve Han­son relayed some of the less sup­port­ive reac­tions on his blog.

I have just spent a most pleas­ant hour read­ing the com­ments,” Han­son wrote. “From ‘Idiots … and I am a woman’ to ‘Divorce these 3 wimps imme­di­ately ladies please.’”

While some com­ments expressed dis­gust, another reader felt the project under­mined a father’s tra­di­tional role.

Men already have roles dur­ing preg­nancy and after the birth of their chil­dren,” the per­son wrote. “This is just another exam­ple of the anti-male, anti-Fatherhood agenda at work in soci­ety nowadays.”

But such responses leave the men rel­a­tively unfazed, said Smith.

[They] don’t take it too seri­ously, as it’s just a bit of a fun,” he said. “We’re happy that it pro­vokes discussion.”

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

 

Strangers Save a Birthday Party for Shunned Autistic Boy

Ash­lee Nighswonger(NEW YORK) — When no one showed up to her autis­tic son’s birth­day party, the boy’s mom posted an emo­tional mes­sage on her Face­book page. Within an hour, strangers showed up to save the day.Glenn Buratti invited all 16 of his ki…

 

WHO Raises Red Flag on Reuse of Syringes

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion says the reuse of nee­dles on patients is dri­ving the global spread of deadly dis­eases like Hepati­tis and HIV. That’s why the WHO is urg­ing doc­tors and hos­pi­tals to switch to smart syringes, which inten­tion­ally break after the first use.

Once you push down on the plunger to inject, it actu­ally will block or break so that you can’t actu­ally use it a sec­ond time,” Lisa Hed­man at the WHO’s head­quar­ters in Geneva tells ABC News.

She says smart syringes would go a long way towards pro­tect­ing patients and their caregivers.

Some of them also have fea­tures that would actu­ally cover up a nee­dle so that the health care worker, the per­son giv­ing the injec­tion, doesn’t get exposed to the sharp in case they’re deal­ing with some­body who’s got a highly infec­tious dis­ease,” Hed­man notes.

Given that about 16 bil­lion injec­tions are given world­wide every year, mal­prac­tice is vir­tu­ally inevitable, she says.

In a sit­u­a­tion where some­body doesn’t under­stand that they can’t reuse that syringe on a sec­ond patient, that sec­ond per­son is then very, very much at risk for catch­ing the dis­ease — and it could be a very seri­ous dis­ease — of the per­son before,” she explains.

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

 

FDA Says It Knew Scopes That Allegedly Spread 'Superbug' Could Transmit Bacterial Infections

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The rev­e­la­tion that con­t­a­m­i­nated endo­scopes were cleaned, accord­ing to man­u­fac­turer instruc­tions, but still allegedly caused seven peo­ple to become infected with a deadly drug-resistant bac­te­ria, has raised ques­tions about whether the scopes are too dif­fi­cult to clean.

Seven peo­ple have become infected with the drug-resistant “super­bug” known as CRE at Ronald Rea­gan UCLA Med­ical Cen­ter after under­go­ing endoscopy pro­ce­dures, and CRE may have played a role in two of its patients’ deaths, hos­pi­tal offi­cials said Wednes­day after­noon, adding that 179 peo­ple were exposed to the germ.

The scopes — called duo­deno­scopes, which are inserted by mouth to access patients’ small intes­tine, the pan­creas and the liver — were new and had only been in use since June, but they were cleaned in accor­dance with man­u­fac­turer guide­lines, offi­cials said yes­ter­day. The hos­pi­tal said they traced the bac­te­ria back to two endo­scopes man­u­fac­tured by Olym­pus Cor­po­ra­tion of the Americas.

The Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion told ABC News that it has been aware of clean­ing issues and bac­te­r­ial trans­mis­sions asso­ci­ated with duo­deno­scopes for more than a year.

The CDC first alerted the FDA to a poten­tial asso­ci­a­tion of multi-drug resis­tant bac­te­ria and duo­deno­scopes in fall 2013,” an agency spokesper­son told ABC News. “The FDA has been actively work­ing with fed­eral part­ners, man­u­fac­tur­ers, and other stake­hold­ers to bet­ter under­stand the issues that con­tribute to the infec­tions and what can be done to mit­i­gate them.”

The FDA issued a safety com­mu­ni­ca­tion about the duo­deno­scopes Thurs­day, explain­ing that they are used in about 500,000 pro­ce­dures a year, but metic­u­lous clean­ing and dis­in­fect­ing “may not entirely elim­i­nate” the risk of trans­mit­ting infec­tion. From Jan­u­ary 2012 through Decem­ber 2014, the FDA received reports of 135 patients sus­pected of con­tract­ing germs from reprocessed duo­deno­scopes, the agency said.

Accord­ing to the CDC, almost every state has had a con­firmed case of CRE, but state health depart­ments are not required to notify the CDC about CRE infections.

Last month, a report revealed that 23 endoscopy patients at a Seat­tle hos­pi­tal were infected with the antibiotic-resistant bac­te­ria between 2012 and 2014. Eleven addi­tional patients with CRE at the hos­pi­tal died, but it’s hard to say whether the super­bug played a role in their deaths. Sim­i­lar inci­dents have occurred in Pitts­burgh and Chicago.

Duo­deno­scopes are made by var­i­ous man­u­fac­tur­ers. One lawyer told ABC News he may sue the endo­scope man­u­fac­turer, Olym­pus, because he believes it was used on one of his clients who later died after con­tract­ing the super­bug CRE at Ronald Rea­gan UCLA Med­ical Cen­ter and on another, a teen, who has been hos­pi­tal­ized on and off for three months after being infected with the bug.

Olym­pus did not respond to repeated requests for com­ments about this pos­si­ble law­suit, but the com­pany said in a state­ment to ABC News that it is aware of reports involv­ing its duo­deno­scopes, and it is work­ing with the FDA, med­ical orga­ni­za­tions and cus­tomers to address con­cerns. It is also mak­ing sup­ple­men­tal edu­ca­tional mate­ri­als avail­able to customers.

While all endo­scopes, includ­ing duo­deno­scopes, require thor­ough repro­cess­ing after patient use in order to be safe, the Olym­pus TJF-Q180V requires care­ful atten­tion to clean­ing and repro­cess­ing steps, includ­ing metic­u­lous man­ual clean­ing, to ensure effec­tive repro­cess­ing,” the com­pany said.

Dr. Michael Kochman, who chairs the Amer­i­can Gas­troen­tero­log­i­cal Association’s Cen­ter for GI Inno­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy, said pos­si­ble trans­mis­sions asso­ci­ated with duo­deno­scopes came to light last year, and since then, his orga­ni­za­tion has been work­ing on spon­sor­ing a meet­ing between the FDA, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, infec­tious dis­ease spe­cial­ists, gas­troen­terol­o­gists, endo­scope com­pa­nies and oth­ers. The meet­ing is sched­uled for March 21.

The AGA is really push­ing toward a stance of no tol­er­a­tion of device-associated infec­tions,” Kochman said, explain­ing that that may mean redesign­ing the scopes, find­ing new ways to clean them, or find­ing tech­nolo­gies to rapidly test the devices between each use. “It’s a com­plex issue with­out an easy solution.”

He said duo­deno­scopes appear to have nooks and cran­nies that can har­bor bac­te­ria, but to stop using them would be “a major, major step back for patient care.” Pro­ce­dures involv­ing these scopes allow doc­tors to treat patients with deadly dis­eases and infec­tions with­out surgery, he said. And using other meth­ods would actu­ally lead to more patient deaths.

The value of the pro­ce­dures per­formed uti­liz­ing these devices far out­weighs the unfor­tu­nate events that have occurred,” Kochman said.

Kochman said patients under­go­ing rou­tine colono­scopies and upper endoscopy pro­ce­dures have noth­ing to fear because duo­deno­scopes are not used.

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

 

Molly: Why the Club Drug Is So Dangerous

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The club drug “Molly” may have an inno­cent name, but it’s any­thing but, experts say.

Eleven Wes­leyan Uni­ver­sity stu­dents were hos­pi­tal­ized over the week­end after tak­ing the drug, leav­ing one of them in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, uni­ver­sity offi­cials said in a let­ter to stu­dents on Sunday.

There is no such thing as good batch of MDMA,” said Drug Enforce­ment Agency spokesman spe­cial agent Joseph Moses.

Drug deal­ers have mar­keted Molly as pure MDMA, the main ingre­di­ent in the syn­thetic psy­choac­tive drug, ecstasy, but it’s often counterfeit.

Moses said only about 13 per­cent of Molly seized is actu­ally MDMA. Instead, the Molly found today is a syn­thetic drug smug­gled into the United States from China that’s an atom or two off, mak­ing it even more dangerous.

Kids are being used as guinea pigs,” he said. “The man­u­fac­turer didn’t go through clin­i­cal tri­als, the per­son who orders and repack­ages it doesn’t know what it’s gonna do to some­body, and the user didn’t know what it was going to do to them.”

About a year and a half ago, there were a string of so-called Molly deaths, includ­ing Mary “Shel­ley” Gold­smith, who col­lapsed and died at a Wash­ing­ton, D.C. club in 2013. Her death came the same week­end two other deaths at a New York City music fes­ti­val and a death at a Boston con­cert venue.

Even if the drug is pure MDMA, that doesn’t make it safe, Moses said.

Dr. Ronald Cowan, a psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity who stud­ies MDMA, explained the sci­ence behind an MDMA over­dose to ABC News in 2013.

The syn­thetic drug, pop­u­lar at clubs and music fes­ti­vals, boosts three chem­i­cals in the brain: sero­tonin, dopamine and nor­ep­i­neph­rine, he said at the time. Some­one who takes it will feel happy, expe­ri­ence mild hal­lu­ci­na­tions and feel like touch­ing peo­ple around him or her.

Although it’s con­sid­ered rare, death from pure MDMA can hap­pen sev­eral ways, Cowan said. It can cause blood ves­sels in the heart and brain to con­strict and result in a stroke or heart attack. The stim­u­lant, which raises the user’s blood pres­sure and heart rate, can also cause the body to get severely over­heated, caus­ing fatal brain dam­age. Finally, it can cause blood sodium to drop, prompt­ing the brain to swell and result­ing in a fatal seizure. Dehy­dra­tion and over-hydration are also common.

Cowan said some of his research sub­jects have taken the drug thou­sands of times and never had a bad reac­tion. Oth­ers have taken one dose and died.

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