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Connecticut educator teaches students life lessons after being diagnosed with ALS

Nearly 11 months after being diagnosed with Asymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Connecticut educator Andrew Niblock is using his diagnosis to teach students about life.

>> Read more trending news

Niblock, the head of the elementary school at Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, said he wanted to continue working after being diagnosed with the disease so that he could teach his students a lesson about life and be an example for them.

“I want children to understand curve balls,” the father of two told ABC News. “No matter what is thrown your way […] if a kid powers through or makes the most of something later because of knowing me, that’d be great.”

>> RELATED: Neighborhood kids use lemonade stand to raise a surprising amount of money for disabled veteran

ALS, a rare and incurable progressive neurodegenerative disease, affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and causes the brain to be unable to initiate and control muscle movement, according to the ALS Association. As a result, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe, with some patients ending up completely paralyzed in the later stages of the disease.

>> RELATED: Mass. teacher battling ALS fired months before earning pension

Instead of hiding the changes occurring to his speech and mobility, Niblock is working with the school’s headmaster to create age-appropriate videos with the goal of teaching students about ALS and spreading awareness about it.

By being open about his battle with the disease, Niblock said he hopes to convey to the students that hope is resilient.

“Hope can drive you forward,” he said. “And I hope […] that the kids see that, and run with it.”

Tick spreading in the US gives people meat allergies 

A bite from the aggressive Lone Star tick could do more than give you an irritable rash — it could potentially induce a dangerous meat allergy.

» RELATED: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer 

The tick, widely distributed in the southeastern and eastern United States, is spreading to even more areas, including Minnesota, New Hampshire and Long Island, New York, and is making people allergic to just a single bite of meat.

According to Wired.com, something in the tick bite makes people sensitive to the sugar compound alpha-galactose, or alpha-gal, found in meat from mammals.

» RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it 

And unlike most allergies, which are dependent on a mix of genetic and environmental factors, alpha-gal allergies seem to affect anyone and everyone, regardless of genetic makeup, Wired reported.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Some bite victims will experience a hive-like rash or a dangerous anaphylactic reaction about four hours after eating meat. 

» RELATED: WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

Such allergies are still incredibly rare and the government hasn’t issued any health warnings yet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution, range and abundance of the Lone Star tick has increased steadily in the past 20 to 30 years.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals “We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northwards and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Ronald Staff, allergist and clinical professor of medicine, told Business Insider.

» RELATED: Girl dies from possible tick bite

Saff said he's now seeing patients every week who have been bitten by ticks and developed the meat allergy.

The best thing to do while scientists continue research to track and understand the species is to try to prevent tick bites overall.

» RELATED: Woman loses arms, legs after tick bite 

The CDC recommends avoiding tick habitats, using insect repellents with DEET or permethrin and actively checking for ticks after you’ve been outdoors.

Click here to read more on tick prevention and removal tips.

New 'tan in a bottle’ drug could prevent skin cancer, study says

A new kind of “tan in a bottle” could give you the sun-kissed skin you want while lowering your risk of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.

» RELATED: Study finds 73 percent of sunscreens don’t even work — how to find one that does 

That’s according to new research published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports, by a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The drug, which is in liquid form, mimics the effect of sunlight on the skin without the sun’s harmful UV rays, tricking the skin into producing a brownish pigmentation of melanin.

>> Read more trending news

So far, according to the study, it has been tested on mixed-gender adult mice and skin samples considered surgical waste.

» RELATED: Here are the 19 best sunscreens for kids, according to experts 

The drug bronzes the skin and because it’s all done without UV rays, it could potentially slow the appearance of skin aging.

But the researchers aren’t trying to create the next consumer beauty product.

“Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer,” David Fisher, one of the researchers, told BBC News.

» RELATED: The 14 most dangerous sunscreens for kids, according to experts 

“Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer -- that would be really huge.”

Fisher sees the development and inclusion of this drug as as an ingredient as something that could enhance sunscreen protection and protect against skin cancer.

“There is unequivocal evidence that sunscreens are protective against several types of skin cancer,” he told Time Magazine. “But there is also unequivocal evidence that they are not enough. Just look at the data -- skin is the most common site of cancer in people despite the embarrassing fact that UV radiation is broadly recognized as a cause in all common forms of skin cancer.”

» RELATED: 9 tips for improving your summer tan

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while many other cancer rates have declined, skin cancer rates continue to rise.

Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the U.S. every year at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion.

In addition, melanoma causes more deaths than any other type of skin cancer -- more than 9,000 deaths each year.

» RELATED: Mom warns other parents after baby burned by sunscreen 

But the scientists said more research needs to be done to confirm the drug works in people and not just in samples of human skin cells in petri dishes.

Click here to read the full study report.

Coconut oil isn’t actually good for you, the American Heart Association says

A new study from the American Heart Association suggests coconut oil isn’t as healthy as it’s been touted.

Yahoo Beauty reported that the AHA’s Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory updated recommendation on consuming saturated fat.

>> Read more trending news

The update, published Thursday, says that 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fat, which is known to raise “bad” cholesterol levels and lead to blockages and plaque build up that can cause strokes and heart attacks.

USA Today reported that the advisory found the percentage of fat in coconut oil is more than that in butter, beef and pork fat, which have fat percentages of 63 percent, 50 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD (cardiovascular disease), and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the AHA said.

The AHA recommends that people not consume more than 6 percent saturated fat as part of their total caloric intake each day.

Frank Sacks, lead author of the AHA report, has a simple suggestion for fans of coconut oil. 

“You can put it on your body, but don’t put it in your body,” Sacks said. 

The AHA recommends replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats such as soybean oil, sunflower oil and corn oil.

Study: Broccoli extract lowers blood sugar for type 2 diabetes patients

Here’s another reason to eat your greens.

>> Read more trending news 

A powder containing a chemical found in broccoli sprouts is capable of lowering blood sugar levels of persons with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Wednesday by Science Transitional Medicine.

The powder contains a highly concentrated dose of sulforaphane, according to study co-author Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” Rosengren told New Scientist. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 percent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.”

Rosengren and his colleagues conducted a 12-week experiment, with 97 people with type 2 diabetes taking either the sulforaphane powder or a placebo, The Scientist reported. Most of the participants continued to take metformin, a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Rosengren’s team discovered that the broccoli extract was able to reduce the participants’ blood glucose level by 10 percent compared to those who took the placebo, The Scientist reported.

“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” said Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK. She told New Scientist that “for now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”

Watch: Teen dances in hospital bed 6 days after heart transplant

When Amari Hall went through his fifth heart surgery in 15 years in March, his family prayed that it would finally be his last. 

The Maryland teenager, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, underwent a transplant to replace his own failing heart. In the months since the surgery, he has become a viral sensation, thanks to video his aunt, Charawn Hunter, shot of him dancing in celebration of his new chance at life. 

Amari’s impromptu dancing came just six days after his transplant, his family told CNN

“We put the music on, and he started dancing,” Hunter said

Nurses caring for Amari joined in on the video, which Hunter posted to her Facebook page last month for friends inspired by the “awesome Amari.”

“We would like the world to see how awesome he is,” Hunter wrote. “He loves LeBron, but I know he’s busy, but please help me (in) making his video go viral.”

Go viral it did, with the video seen more than six million times as of this week. 

Hunter continued to post videos of Amari’s progress, including one on May 22, when he was released from the University of Maryland’s Children’s Hospital in Baltimore. 

“Amari’s breaking out of the hospital,” Hunter wrote on Facebook

The video shows members of Amari’s medical team telling him goodbye. There were plenty of hugs, tears, laughter -- and dancing. 

“Thank you, everybody. Y’all have been very nice to me. I love you, all of y’all,” Amari said. “I’m gonna miss all of y’all.”

“We love you, too,” a woman said off-camera. 

‘All his life, he has been a fighter’

Amari first showed signs of his congenital heart defect two days after his birth. A profile of Amari by Save the Heartbeat, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those born with heart defects, indicated that a doctor noticed his unusual breathing as he was being discharged. 

Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that the newborn had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a condition in which the left side of a person’s heart is underdeveloped. 

>> Read more trending stories

According to Save the Heartbeat, a healthy heart works like this: The right side of the heart pumps oxygen-depleted blood from the heart to the lungs, which fill it with oxygen. The left side of the heart then pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body, which uses that oxygen to survive. 

A newborn’s heart has two small openings that allow blood to move between the two sides of the heart during gestation, but those holes close within days of birth. 

In a baby with HLHS, blood can bypass the underdeveloped left side of the heart through those openings. When they close, the heart can no longer properly send oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, and the child begins showing symptoms of the defect, which include strained breathing, trouble feeding and an ashy or dusky appearance. 

Amari had the first of his heart surgeries to save his life at 5 days old, Save the Heartbeat’s profile said. He had multiple additional surgeries before his second birthday.

“He missed a lot of his childhood milestones,” his mother, Juaquinna Hall, told CNN

Through multiple hospitalizations, missed school and being away from home and his peers, Amari has remained positive, she said. 

“All his life, he has been a fighter,” Hall said. 

Hall recounted the doctor’s visit in December, in which she and her son learned that his troubled heart was failing. 

“He looked at me, and he said, ‘What are you afraid of? It’s my time. I need to have this done,’” Hall told CNN

It took three months for doctors to find a compatible heart for Amari, who remained positive even as he was being wheeled into the operating room, his mother said. 

“He made the nurses pray for him,” Hall said. 

Hunter, who calls Amari her hero for all he has bravely endured, said Wednesday that he is recovering well and adjusting to his new heart. 

“He is doing well and still dancing,” Hunter said. 

Recall: Incorrectly packaged birth control could result in unplanned pregnancy

A nationwide recall has been issued for a contraceptive pill that could lead to unintended pregnancy. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to the FDA, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a recall of Mibelas 24 Fe tablets due to packaging errors that resulted in tablets being out of order and missing expiration information.

The lot number is L600518 with an expiration of May 2018. 

>> Related: Newborn baby photographed with mother's IUD in hand

According to the FDA, the pills were placed in the wrong sequence. Non-hormonal placebo tablets were placed in the packaging’s denoted first four days, where active tablets should be.

“As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive tablets that are taken out of sequence may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy,” the FDA said. “The reversing the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the tablets out of order.”

The product was distributed nationwide to wholesalers, clinics and retail pharmacies.

The manufacturer has contacted distributors and customers. 

Any one who has purchased the product should notify their physician and return the product to the pharmacy or place of purchase.

See more at FDA.gov.

What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

On average, 10 people will die in the United States today as a result of drowning. 

 

The image most of us have of a drowning is one of a person flailing in deep water then going under and not coming back up. However, something many people may not know is that not all drownings happen while the person is in the water.

 

 

 

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

 

To that end, water safety and medical experts are encouraging parents to think of drowning as a process and not an end result of being under water for too long. The prospect of a child drowning after leaving the pool or beach is one not many parents have considered. 

 

Here’s a quick look at two ways – dry drowning and secondary drowning – a person can drown hours after leaving the water.

 

What is "dry drowning?"

 

Dry drowning happens when water irritates the larynx (vocal chords), and the person has a severe inflammatory reaction to it. The reaction causes the vocal chords to spasm (laryngospasm reflex) and that causes them to close. The person then has trouble or cannot pass air into their lungs. Laryngospasm can cause something called neurogenic pulmonary edema which causes an increase in pressure in the lungs and heart, reducing the body's ability to get oxygen. Laryngospasm can be triggered by something as simple as droplets if water hitting the larynx. High-speed submersion, such as when you go down a water slide or jump from a high dive, can also cause the reaction.

 

How is it different from “secondary drowning?”

 

Secondary drowning happens when water gets into the lungs. It is usually a small amount of water, but it fills the air sacs of the lungs, causing pulmonary edema – or fluid in the lungs. With water in the air sacs, there is no room for air, so the person begins to drown. Secondary, or delayed drowning as it is sometimes called, can happen hours after inhaling the water.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

The symptoms of dry drowning and secondary drowning are similar and can be seen from between one hour to 24 hours after the incident. Usually sooner rather than later with dry drowning.

 

The symptoms include:

 
     
  • Coughing
  •  
 
     
  • Gasping
  •  
 
     
  • Chest pain
  •  
 
     
  • Trouble breathing
  •  
 
     
  • Feeling extremely tired
  •  
 
     
  • Lips or skin turning blue
  •  
 
     
  • Changes in behavior
  •  
 
     
  • A high-pitched breathing sound called stridor
  •  
 
     
  • Foam around the mouth – Anyone pulled from the water who is coughing or sputtering and has foam around their mouth needs emergency care immediately.
  •  
 

If a person who has been in water shows any of these symptoms, call 911 or get them to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

 

How is it treated?

 

It depends. Treatment can range from observation for a few hours,  to administering oxygen, to chest x-rays or more advanced medical support – intubation or use of a ventilator – in the most severe cases. (that is rare).

 

How do I prevent it?

 

Here are a few tips:

 
     
  • Obviously, watch your children when they are in and around water, any water. It takes only moments to take in enough water to cause drowning.
  •  
 
     
  • Make sure kids know how to swim and watch to make sure weak swimmers don’t go out beyond their abilities.
  •  
 
     
  • Don’t let kids get too tired in the water.
  •  
 
     
  • Encourage them to keep their mouths closed when going under water or when their faces are near the water.
  •  
 
     
  • Remember the symptoms. If you see any in your child, take him to the hospital.
  •  
 

How often does this happen?

 

Dry drownings and secondary drownings are rare. They account for between 1 and 2 percent of all drownings in the United States.

 

Sources: WebMD; healthychildren.org; livescience.com; clevelandclinic.org

9 healthy-sounding foods that have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut

American Heart Association experts recommend men shouldn’t eat more than 36 grams of added sugar a day and women should limit their sugar consumption to 25 grams.

>> Read more trending stories  

So a single Krispy Kreme doughnut, which has 10 grams of sugar, takes up a good bulk of your recommended daily intake.

>> Shaquille O'Neal buys Krispy Kreme store

But healthy-sounding snack replacements like yogurt and raisins actually rack up more sugar than you might think. And several options even have more than double the sugar of a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.

>> Related: National Doughnut Day 2017 deals and freebies 

Here are 11 foods and drinks with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut:

To learn more about added sugars and your recommended intake, visit heart.org.

Is it better to wash your hands in cold or hot water? 

Do you always wash your hands in hot water? A new study suggests you can turn the heat down a notch because cleaning your hands in cold water is just as good. 

>> Read more trending news

Professors from Rutgers University-New Brunswick conducted an experiment to learn the most effective way to clean your hands. While many people assume warmer temperatures get rid of more germs, the researchers’ results proved that it’s a myth. 

Analysts gathered 20 volunteers, asking them to wash their hands, which were covered in bugs, 20 times each in 59-, 79- and 100-degree Fahrenheit water with varying amounts of soap.

»Related: How well are you cleaning the 10 filthiest places in your kitchen? 

They determined that there was no difference in the number of insects removed in each of the water temperatures or amounts of soap. 

»Related: Photos: The 10 germiest items in your home 

"People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness [goes], this study shows us that the temperature of the water used did not matter," researcher Donald Schaffner said.

Although the scientists noted their study was small and more research was needed, they recommend people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, using an adequate amount of soap to cover the entire surface. 

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