<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 23 May 2015 04:56:56 -0700 Sat, 23 May 2015 04:56:56 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Alzheimer's Simulator Helps Caretakers Understand the Disease]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:02:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/178541982_Dementia-ALzheimers-Generic.jpg

Alzheimer's can be difficult to understand for those who do not suffer from the disease.

A senior living center in Kentucky is trying to help caretakers of those diagnosed with the condition better understand it with a tour, according to NBC affiliate WAVE.

The "virtual dementia tour" clouds a person's vision and hearing with goggles and background noise. It also impairs functions like use of your fingers to simulate arthritis.

For the simulation, people are told to wear gloves with some of the fingers taped together to simulate arthritis. They also told to wear headphones with headphones that provide noises that make it difficult to hear to simulate impaired hearing.

They are then asked to complete simple tasks in a dark room, like run a belt through the loops of a pair of pants. As seen in the video above, it is challenging for people who would otherwise find the task easy.

Brenda Loy, of Louisville, began crying after the experience, telling WAVE that it helped her understand the disease’s toll on her husband, James. The couple has been married for 53 years.

"(The simulation) opened my eyes in a good way for me to see, but in a bad way to know my husband deals with that every day and there's not a thing you can do about it,” Brenda Loy said. "You just have to let it run its course."

Watch the simulation in the video above.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RM]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch With 5 Workout Tips]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 14:39:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg

Five years after launching her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama released a short video on Twitter with five workout tips.

In the video, Michelle starts with jumping rope and ends with hitting a punching bag and staying hydrated. 

FLOTUS’ video was posted in response to the president’s own five tips for the #GimmeFive Twitter campaign that is part of Let’s Move. President Barack Obama’s tips all include him wearing a suit, such as taking the stairs and having walking meetings instead of sit-down ones.

No offense to the president, but his wife's tips are a bit more fierce.

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<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 13:48:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a video of herself working out on Tuesday to help promote her #GimmeFive fitness campaign. In the thirty second clip, Obama jumps rope, kick-boxes and bench presses 35-pound dumbbells.]]> <![CDATA[Whooping Cough Warning Signs]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 18:15:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/WHOOPING-COUGH-VACCINE.jpg

While many think of babies when they think of whooping cough, adults and teens can still contact it even if they're vaccinated.

Last year's epidemic of pertussis or whooping cough continues into 2015 with more than 1,600 cases reported across the state.

Babies are the most at risk of suffering serious health problems, but adults can easily be misdiagnosed because whooping cough is associated with children.

One Southern California woman told NBC4 about her recent bout of whooping cough, something she says she had to point out to doctors as a possibility.

"I was just coughing ... gasping and trying to get my breath back," Meher McArthur said. Her symptoms started with a dry persistent cough that slowly got worse.

After being told her lungs seemed fine and that she probably had a virus by the urgent care clinic, she went to the emergency room after a coughing fit left her unable to breathe for a minute.

"I was in hospital for two nights," McArthur said, adding that she was the one who finally suggested maybe it was whooping cough.

"It was a pretty dry cough, but there was a tiny bit of phlegm that would get caught," she said. "And my airwaves were tightening at the same time."

According to the California Department of Public Health, pertussis is cyclical and peaks every three to five years.

About 1,674 cases whooping cough have been reported statewide through March of 2015, with 11,000 cases 2014.

Dr. James Cherry of David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has been studying pertussis for almost three decades.

He says the number of cases are up in part because of better tests to diagnose pertussis. The new vaccines are not as good as previous ones that had more side effects and getting vaccinated does not give you life long immunity.

"Your immunity lasts maybe 10 years at most," Cherry said.

Cherry said pregnant women and those around them should be vaccinated. Adults, who are often misdiagnosed, should be aware of the symptoms of whooping cough before it gets to the point where breathing is affected.

"If you have, say, bronchitis, you will frequently have fever and you also raise something when you cough," he said.

With whooping cough there is no fever, no wheezing like asthma and symptoms are worse at night. A diagnosis should be made with a lab test. As always, call your doctor to see what's right for you.

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<![CDATA[What Can You do to Prevent Skin Cancer?]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 08:07:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/NC_sunsafety0504001.jpg Summer is coming! To get ready for more time in the sun, dermatologists offer advice on skin cancer prevention.]]> <![CDATA[Ice Cream Company Recalls All Treats, Closes Shops ]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:21:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ice-cream-stock-79772399.jpg

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is recalling treats and freezing sales across the country due to a possible listeria contamination. 

The Ohio-based company announced the voluntary recall on its website on Thursday, saying it is "ceasing all sales and closing all scoop shops until all products are ensured to be 100% safe." The recall covers all products bearing the "Jeni's" brand, including  ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches. 

The company said in a statement that it decided to issue a recall after a random sample test by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture came back positive for the bacteria, which can cause illness and even death in individuals with compromised immune systems. Jeni's said it is not aware of any sicknesses connected to its products to date. 

"Our top priority is guaranteeing the safety of all consumers by taking every possible precaution," John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, said in a statement. "We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100% confident every item we sell is safe." 

Jeni's urges cutomers to throw out or return any products affected by the recall. More information is available at jennis.com/recall. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Market Recalls Macadamia Nuts]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:39:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/537738815%281%29.jpg

Whole Foods Market is recalling packaged raw macadamia nuts due to possible Salmonella contamination.

The product, recalled after routine FDA testing detected the presence of the bacteria, is labeled as “Whole Foods Market Raw Macadamia Nuts” and packaged in 11 oz. plastic tubs. The recalled product, which has a best-by date of Feb. 4, 2016 and UPC code is 7695862059-1, was sold in stores in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

The company said the bacteria causes serious and sometimes fatal infections in especially young children and the elderly, including others who have weak immune systems. Some symptoms healthy persons may experience are fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, the company said in a press release.

The Center for Disease Control estimated that there are one million Salmonella related illnesses in the United States every year, with 19,000 are hospitalizations and 380 deaths.

While no illnesses have been reported, officials are urging those who have purchased the nuts discard the container. They can also bring in their receipt for a full refund.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Tick-Borne Virus in Conn.]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:03:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-tick-01.jpg

A rare but potentially deadly virus has made its way to Connecticut and could soon be transferred from ticks to humans, according to state officials. Human cases of the virus have been reported in other states in the northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, said researchers identified ticks carrying the Powassan virus as part of a study published in 2012.

According to Andreadis, 2 to 3 percent of ticks surveyed in North Branford and Bridgeport tested positive for the virus. By comparison, some 30-40 percent of ticks in Connecticut carry Lyme disease.

Although there are no known cases of the virus in Connecticut, Andreadis said he expects the state could be seeing human cases soon.

"It’s an emerging tick-borne disease that we’re going to be looking at more closely. Right now, we know it’s in the state," he explained. "We don’t know how widespread it is but we’re going to be doing more work to find out, and with reported cases in surrounding states, it’s quite likely we’re getting some human exposure here in Connecticut."

Although the Powassan virus is "relatively rare," it "has the potential to cause very serious disease" and can produce encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, Andreadis said.

The virus was first identified in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, when a child contracted the disease and died, according to Andreadis.

Andreadis said the CEAS is expanding its survey to determine the prevalence of the virus in Connecticut.

Residents should be diligent about checking for ticks when hiking or camping the woods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends using tick repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants when spending time in wooded or bushy areas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blue Bell Expands Recall]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 04:33:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Blue+Bell+Ice+Cream+facility.jpg

Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall to include banana pudding-flavored ice cream made at the company's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, facility after the product tested positive for listeria monocytogenes on Tuesday.

The company asked retailers on Monday to remove all products produced at the Oklahoma facility between Feb. 12 and March 27.

Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for the letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S” and “T” following the "code date" printed on the bottom of the product package, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blue Bell is also recalling seven other products made at the Oklahoma plant, including individually-wrapped Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Almond Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices and No Sugar Added Mooo Bars.

On Friday, the company said it was temporarily closing the Oklahoma facility, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates.

In March, the illnesses prompted the Brenham, Texas-based creamery to issue the first recall in its 108-year history. The company and health officials said a 3-ounce cup of ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was traced to the plant in Oklahoma.

Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, according to the CDC. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

In addition to the Broken Arrow plant, the company has two plants in Brenham and one in Sylacauga, Alabama. Those plants will continue to operate and supply products to retail stores.

The recalled ice cream had been shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

For more information, contact Blue Bell at 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

Along with the banana pudding pints, Blue Bell said the recall now includes the following products made at its Oklahoma plant:

Ice Cream Pints: UPC # 0 71899-05101 5 / Code Date:

  • Ice Cream Banana Pudding pint / 021217S
  • Ice Cream Butter Crunch pint  /  021917S
  • Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip pint / 022017S
  • Ice Cream Cookies 'n Cream pint / 030317S, 030617S
  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla pint / 030417S
  • Ice Cream Dutch Chocolate pint / 032317S
  • Ice Cream Moo-llennium Crunch pint  / 032417S, 032517S

Sherbet Pint: UPC # 0 71899-19990 8

  • Rainbow Sherbet pint / 021717S, 021817S, 022317S, 030217S

Sherbet Quarts: UPC # 0 71899-18992 3

  • Orange Sherbet quart / 032617S
  • Mixed Berry Sherbet quart / 032717S

3 ounce Tab Lid Cup: Product # 136
*institutional/ food service cup only

  • Rainbow Sherbet / 022417S, 022617S, 022717S 

Gold Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-03720 0

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla half gallon / 030917T, 031017T, 031117T, 031217T, 031617T, 031717T, 031817T

Brown Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-83548 6

  • Ice Cream Pistachio Almond half gallon / 031317T 

Light Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-73501 4

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla Light half gallon  / 031917T

Consumers who purchased these items should return them. For more information or questions, call 979-836-7977 or go to bluebell.com.

For More Information

Blue Bell News Release



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Jenny Craig Named One of Best Longterm Diets: Study]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:29:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/weight-scale-generic.jpg

Carlsbad-based Jenny Craig is one of the top weight loss programs for dieters to shed fat and keep it off, according to a new study.

The study by Annals of Internal Medicine showed people using Jenny Craig saw 4.9 percent greater weight loss after a year than those relying on dieting education and behavior counseling.

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers were the two diet programs recommended in the study for doctors to refer patients to use.

Similarly, those who used Weight Watchers in clinical trials lost 2.6 percent more weight than people relying on just education.

Jenny Craig combines pre-planned meals and counseling with a professional consultant in a long-term weight loss plan.

The study looked at 141 different weight loss programs, but, according to published reports, only 11 of the programs had been tested in clinical trials lasting at least three months.

The research showed diets such as Medifast and Optifast showed marked weight loss after four or five months, but a lack of sustained results after nine months.

Nutrisystem also showed promising weight-loss results, but the study suggested further research on longterm benefits were needed.



Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Mother Warns of Brain-Eating Amoeba]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:21:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Koral-Reef-knsd.jpg

Twenty-year-old Koral Reef's life was just beginning. She said yes to the dress and married her high school sweetheart. But Reef never got the chance to enjoy her happily ever after when she contracted a rare, brain-eating amoeba that took her life.

Reef’s mother, Cybil Meister, believes a family trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona was the catalyst for the infection that killed her daughter.

“She started with the headaches, the stiff neck, the sensitivity to light and heat was bad,” Meister told NBC 7.

Around Thanksgiving of 2013, Reef's family noticed something was wrong. By January, things went downhill. In June 2014, she went to the emergency room.

Doctors were never truly able to pinpoint a cause behind Reef’s health issues.

“They said, ‘Oh, she’s having withdrawal from her birth control; It’s a migraine.’ They gave her medicine and sent her home and then she progressively got worse,” recalled her mother.

In September 2014, Reef started losing her vision.

"She went to Temecula Valley and they did an MRI. They showed us the MRI and the amoeba, which they didn't know was an amoeba, but there was a mass covering the entire right side of her brain and partial of her left,” explained Meister.

In October 2014, Reef died.

Doctors say she had a rare but extremely deadly amoeba called Balamuthia. Meister believes her daughter contracted the parasite on that trip to Lake Havasu.

“Balamuthia's mortality rate is very, very high. Only 13 percent of patients survive without any type of treatment,” explained Dr. Navaz Karanjia.

Dr. Karanjia is the Director of Neurocritical Care and the Neuro-ICU at UC San Diego's Health System. She also diagnosed Reef with the amoeba.

She said Balamuthia is inhaled and the parasite has been found in soil and dust. The symptoms of the infection are general – such as headache, fatigue, and a stiff neck – which make it hard to diagnose.

"Usually the initial tests come back negative for the usual bacteria and viruses so medical providers need to know if those test come back negative a parasitic infection could be present,” said Dr. Karanjia.

Reef’s mother is now devoted to raising awareness about the deadly, brain-eating amoeba in her daughter’s name. She has started #TeamKoralReef through Amoeba Awareness.

She's hoping to keep others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

"We're reaching out to people trying to raise awareness because I don't think people understand how serious it can be. It's deadly,” she added.

Dr. Karanjia said a drug has been approved for treatment of another parasite, leishmaniasis, and that drug is being tried for amoebas as well. She said it has shown some promise in treating amoebas like the one that caused Reef's untimely death.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA["The Baby's Coming Now!" Boy Born in LA Courthouse]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:16:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/4-2-15-baby+born+downtown+la+courthouse.JPG

A woman who stopped inside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse to pay a bill left with a little bit more than a receipt: a newborn baby boy.

When the pregnant mom-to-be walked down the hall of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse just before noon Thursday, she suddenly felt labor pain. Onlookers watched and sprung into action.

"She goes down on the floor, she's leaning on the chair, she's like, 'No, the baby's coming right now!" LA County Sheriff's Deputy M. Oliver told NBC4. "And I'm like, 'No wait,' and she's like, 'I can't wait, the baby is coming right now."

About a dozen people scrambled to help the woman as Oliver went to get some towels and gloves.

"When we laid on the floor, on her back, she pulled her trousers down, and then I look and I see ... that's the baby's head!" Oliver said. "So I go down on my knees, cradle the baby's head, and the baby slides right into my hand, a healthy baby boy."

The sheriff's department tweeted a photo right after the birth and said "Mom & baby fine!"

Witnesses said the woman barely had to push and it took her just five minutes.

"I'm still surprised and shocked," the mother told NBC4 from the hospital as she held her newborn son, Malachi. "And it's actually hilarious ... When he was born everybody cheered."



Photo Credit: LASD Special Enforcement Bureau]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: New Heat-Sensitive Socks for Diabetics]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 07:50:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DiabetesSocks2.jpg Remember mood rings? Researchers have developed heat-sensitive socks that change color to monitor circulation in people with diabetes. ]]> <![CDATA[Tips for Coping With Spring's "Intense" Allergy Season]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 11:04:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/allergy-season-168997935.jpg

While people across much of the country are looking forward to milder spring temps following a winter that saw record cold and snow, experts warn the seasonal shift could bring bad news for allergy sufferers.

Allergists say the majority of the country can expect higher pollen this year thanks to the bitter winter, leading to an uptick in allergy-related symptoms.

A delayed pollination season nationwide has prompted the prediction.

In the Midwest, trees that were supposed to pollinate during January to mid February, during sporadic periods of warmth, were just starting that process in March, according to Warren Filley, a board-certified allergist/immunologist at Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic. The result, Filley said, is an increase in pollen being released at once. A similar trend is being seen in the snow-battered Northeast.

“We’re looking at a compressed spring pollination season,"  Aidan Long, director of Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said. "It should be very intense but pass quickly.”

Here are some tips on how to cope with pollen-related allergies in the spring:

  • First, make sure that you take you take your allergy medication before your symptoms start. As Filley put it, "There’s an Oklahoma saying, ‘Don’t close the barn door after the horse is gone."
  • Avoid being outside during peak hours of pollen — from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., and a second surge after 4 p.m. — recommends Donald Dvorin, a board-certified allergist and pollen counter from the National Allergy Bureau and partner at the Asthma Center.
  • When in the car, make sure to turn your air conditioner on and avoid rolling down your windows, in order to allow for better ventilation. Cabin filters should be maintained to reduce exposure.
  • Take your shoes off before you go into your house, to make sure you don’t track pollen in. After you come inside, make sure to wash your clothes and take a shower. Wash your hair, too, as it can hold a lot of pollen, according to Dr. Jim Sublett of president of American Association. Let someone who is not allergic to pollen vacuum the house, and let the dust settle for 30 minutes before coming back into the house, as Filley warns.
  • When mowing the lawn or working in the garden, wear a mask, gloves, and goggles. Try to avoid gardening on windy days.

To track pollen levels in your area click here



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[WATCH: New Anti-Smoking Ads Highlight Pain, Suffering]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:51:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

Smokers are once again sharing their gruesome stories of pain and suffering to motivate cigarette-puffing peers to quit.

“If I’d had a crystal ball many years ago, I would never have put that first cigarette in my mouth," one woman who is losing vision due to macular degeneration says in a new video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cautionary tales are part of a national tobacco education campaign from the CDC, Tips From Former Smokers, which first launched in March 2012. The often cringe-worthy advertisements, on television, radio, billboards, online and in theaters, magazines and newspapers, feature former smokers sharing their painful stories of smoking-related illnesses, the agency said in a release.

In one video, a woman lies on her hospital bed, and in raspy voice, says how she developed throat cancer at the age of 40. In another, a man, with a hole in his neck, informs viewers to stand away from the showerhead. And another woman, sitting at her kitchen table, advises to suction out her tube before eating.

The ads will also highlight how quitting smoking can benefit loved ones, and the importance of quitting completely, not just cutting down on smoking.

“These former smokers are helping save tens of thousands of lives by sharing their powerful stories of how smoking has affected them,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, said in a statement. “These new real-life ads will help smokers quit, adding years to their lives and life to their years.”

Since 2012, Tips has helped millions of smokers try to quit, the CDC reports. When the CDC’s 2014 campaign aired, nearly 80 percent more people called the national quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, for free help. Over 500,000 additional calls to the toll-free hotline have been made since 2012.

“All the Tips ad participants are heroes,” said Tim McAfee, senior medical officer in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By courageously sharing their painful personal stories, they’re inspiring millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.”

Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, the CDC reports, and remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the country. For every American who dies from smoking-related illnesses, nearly 30 more suffer from at least one smoking-related illness.



Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is Angelina Jolie's Choice Right for Other Women?]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 22:32:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/OVARY_EXPLAINER-_HENSEL_web_1200x675_417735235844.jpg Angelina Jolie's decision to share her experience of having her ovaries removed to lower her cancer tisk has sparked a conversation about if it's right for all women. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[What to Know About Breast and Ovarian Cancer]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:39:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Hensel_Noon_Jolie_Web_1200x675_417603139845.jpg After Angelina Jolie's announcement of surgery to remove her ovaries, Dr. Bruce explains the facts on ovarian cancer and breast cancer on the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Vaccine Opt-Out Rates at California Schools]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:15:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vaccine-OTSstock.jpg

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Benefits of Healthy School Lunches Reinforced]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 19:13:36 -0700 A new study reinforces the danger of second-hand smoke and another shows the benefits of healthy school lunches. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 23, 2015.]]> <![CDATA["It's Very Cool": 3-D "Super-Hand" for Pint-Sized Boy]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 21:21:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/3-19-15-3d+printer+boy+hand.JPG

A pint-sized boy who was born with a tiny hand and a few fingers now has a life-changing thing he calls "very cool": a "super-hand" made with a 3-D printer.

"It's very cool and it's very special," 5-year-old Jonny Maldonado said. "I flex it, and I can use it."

Jonny's indomitable spirit had helped him adjust, but the 3-D printing technology and the new hand have changed his life.

"I still can't wrap my mind what a 3-D printer is and how this comes out of it," Jonny's mother Felicia Maldonado said. "It was a blessing, and we are ecstatic."

Children born with deformities have had to rely on heavy, limited prosthesis to do the things other kids do -- until now. The 3-D printing technology is changing all of that.

"An old prosthetic weighed about 15 pounds, which is about Jonny's whole weight, and many of them look like claws," Jonny's orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nina Lightdale-Miric said.

It takes the 3-D printer 24 hours to make a whole hand. A finger takes just half an hour.

"You take a 3-D image, send it through a software called slicer software," said Alison Glazer, a USC bioengineering student who helps design the hands. "(It) literally slices it up into those layers. You send that into the printer and it melts the plastic layer by layer."

Jonny has different hands for playing baseball, riding a bike and doing homework. Each hand costs about $100.

"His story is just beginning," Lightdale-Miric said. "What he will do with this super-hand or what he will do with the 3-D technology in the future is limitless."



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Poison Center Calls About Kids Hit 1.3 Million: Report]]> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 11:56:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/medicine-cabinet.jpg

Poison centers across the country get more than 1,100 calls a day that relate to children sickened by medicine, according to a new report.

In all, there were 1.3 million poison center calls about children 19 and under in 2013, the report by Safe Kids Worldwide found. The vast majority of those calls, 53 percent, involved 1 and two year-olds and medicine, a number that the organization Safe Kids Worldwide called “alarming” and “most surprising”

Older children are also at risk for unintentional medicine poisoning, the report found, sometimes experiencing far more serious outcomes. Teens 15 to 19 were six times more likely to experience "moderate or major effects" from unintentional ingestion than children 1 to 4 years old.

The report, “Medicine Safety for Children: An In-Depth Look at Calls to Poison Centers,” analyzed data from 547,042 calls made to poison centers across the country in 2013. It found that 81 percent of the children were given the wrong medicine, while the remaining got too much. More than 10,000 emergency room visits are made each year for over-the-counter medicine overdoses by adolescents, the report said.

The most common accidentally ingested items for children under age 4, according to the report, are ibuprofen, multivitamins and diaper care and rash products. Nearly half of the emergency room visits were connected to the consumption of those products, which the report said can fall into kids' hands after being found on the ground, a nightstand or in a purse.

For teens, the top medicine mistakes were related to forgetting to take drug and then doubling up, taking two medicines with the same ingredient and taking the wrong medicine.

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