<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usThu, 29 Sep 2016 07:17:41 -0500Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:17:41 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[High School Football Player's Organs Save Six Lives]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:47:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/camron+matthwes+field+alto.jpg

Two Texas families, tied together by tragedy, met for the first time Wednesday night.

Last October, 16-year-old Cam'ron Matthews collapsed from an aneurysm on the Alto High School football field, just minutes before the game ended. The high school junior died at a Tyler hospital soon after.

On the same day, 150 miles away, 16-year-old Daniel Obregon's liver suddenly failed. He was rushed from hospital to hospital, eventually undergoing a liver transplant at Children's Medical Center Dallas that saved his life.

The liver he received was Cam's.

"He gave me life," Daniel said. "I owe him. I owe him my life. If it wasn't for the decision he made, I wouldn't be here."

The decision was to become an organ donor. Cam's father, Ronnie Matthews, said his family

didn't even know about it until after their son had passed away.

That decision allowed for Cam's organs to save six lives, including his grandfather's.

"For us as a family, instead of burying our son and it being over, we can look and say, his heart is still beating. His lungs, his kidney, his liver, everything is still working," Ronnie Matthews said.

Obregon is now healthy, although doctors have still not determined what caused his liver to fail. The BMX biker made it back on the track earlier this year.

The families met in Alto Wednesday evening, exchanging embraces and tears, before a ceremony of life for Cam at the newly dedicated Cam'ron Matthews Field at Alto High School.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[3D-Printed Artificial Bones Could Help Heal Injuries]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/3d-skull-H.jpg

A new type of artificial bone shaped with a 3-D printer can repair deformed bones and help heal some spine, skull and jaw injuries, researchers say in a new report printed in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

When the bone material was tested in a monkey, the bone fused to the animal’s skull and new blood vessels grew into it, NBC News reports.

“Within four weeks, the implant had fully integrated, fully vascularized with the monkey’s own skull,” researcher Adam Jakus said. “And there is actually evidence of new bone formation.”

The hyper-elastic bone can be shaped with a 3-D printer to customize individual implants. Scientists hope to be able to test the implants in humans within the next five years.

Photo Credit: Adam E. Jakus, PhD]]>
<![CDATA[New Research on Cause of Crohn's Disease]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:09:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/Hospital+Bed+Generic.jpg Dr. Ashish Patel, from UT Southwestern Medical Center, discusses the latest breakthrough in research on Crohn's Disease.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9 Out of 10 People Breathe Polluted Air: WHO]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:43:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_484690709547.jpg

Nine out of ten people worldwide live in areas where air pollution exceeds guidelines, the World Health Organization said. The pollution puts these people at higher risk for heart disease, strokes and cancer. 

"Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations — women, children and the older adults," Flavia Bustreo, assistant director general at the WHO said in a news release, NBC News reported. 

The new WHO air quality monitor shows that 92 percent of people live in places with dirty air. Approximately three million deaths each year are linked to outdoor air pollution. About 90 percent of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UNT Food Pantry Battles Student Hunger]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 07:33:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/UNT-Food-Pantry.jpg

Hunger impacts more than 45 million Americans — the problem is felt in every county throughout the country.

There is also an increased need on college campuses.

Advisors with the Dean of Students Office at University of North Texas noticed that there was an increased number of students who were homeless and in need of food.

Administrators developed a "homeless taskforce" to survey the scope of the problem, and it was determined that many students were food insecure.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "food insecurity" refers to the lack of access by people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Research shows approximately 12.7 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2015.

Any student can visit the Food Pantry, which is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. through 7 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Students can check in at the Dean of Students Office on the fourth floor of the Student Union.

The second Food Pantry is open at Discovery Park in the Engineering Library, next to the Career Center.

<![CDATA[Aetna to Subsidize Apple Watch]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:46:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_16229419820877.jpg

Aetna announced that it will be making Apple Watches available for large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season.

The health care services company said the new initiative will revolutionize the customer's experience by, "combining the power of iOS apps and the unmatched user experience of Apple products including Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad with Aetna’s analytics-based wellness and care management programs."

Aetna said it will be the first major health care company to subsidize the cost of Apple Watches for customers by offering monthly payroll deductions. The Hartford-based company serves an estimated 45.3 million and will provide free Apple Watches to 50,000 of its employees. 

Apple will work with Aeton to create "deeply intergrated" health apps that will allow customers to manager their health, Aetna said.

“This is only the beginning - we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna Chairman and CEO.

Aetna's new health apps will offer features, such as:

  • Care management and wellness, to help guide consumers through health events like a new diagnosis or prescription medication with user-driven support from nurses and people with similar conditions.
  • Medication adherence, to help consumers remember to take their medications, easily order refills and connect with their doctor if they need a different treatment through their Apple Watch or iPhone.
  • Integration with Apple Wallet, allowing consumers to check their deductible and pay a bill.
  • Personalized health plan on-boarding, information, messaging and decision support to help Aetna members understand and make the most of their benefits.
The solutions will be available early 2017.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['Digital Pills' Help Patients, Doctors Track Their Meds]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:07:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/digital+pill.jpg

A modern medical marvel is helping revolutionize patient care in North Texas. The new pills are filled with more than just medicine. They also contain a tiny sensor with a very important role.

Izayah Neil, 15, takes a lot of pills.

"I've been taking meds almost all my life," he said.

He takes 10 a day, and he knows the drill. Keeping track of all that medicine is a necessity when you're living with a transplanted kidney.

"They're very important for your kidney. If you don't take them your kidney could get damaged and you could die," Izayah said.

Izayah was born with a syndrome that killed his kidneys. He doesn't want that to happen again, so he takes powerful drugs to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant.

"Even though he's very good at taking his medications on his own, mom's not always going to be there," said his mother, Tara Chamberlain.

Izayah's mom says it's been a tough year since the transplant. Her son started taking 30 pills a day. Doctors whittled it down but it's still a lot to remember.

So now they have some help.

"When he takes his medicines and it's absorbed into his system, we get a text message. I get one on my phone, he also gets one on his iPad that says, 'Hey, you've taken the medicine,'" Chamberlain said.

And just like that, Izayah, his mother and his doctors get a message every time Izayah takes his pills.

It's thanks to the tiny sensors added to Izayah's pills each time his prescriptions are filled at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

"This is cutting-edge technology," said Dr. Dev Desai, chief of pediatric transplantation at Children's Health.

He says the sensors are becoming a vital part of post-transplant care, particularly for teenagers.

"The number one reason teenagers lose their transplanted organ is from medication non-adherence," Desai said. "In some cases (that) might require them to have a second transplant."

Desai tracks his patients' progress from his desktop.

As the pills Izayah takes dissolve, they send a message to a patch attached to his body. The device then forwards encrypted data to the doctor.

"We've been able to catch a patient taking the wrong dose and we're able to correct that right away," Desai said.

Izayah's mother says the device means fewer visits to the doctor, which helps keep her son in class.

But the benefits come with risks, especially if this technology were to become widely available.

"Every technology, itself, is neither good nor evil. It's how you use it," said Dr. Michael Rubin, Assistant Professor of Neurology at UT Southwestern and Chair of the UT Southwestern Ethics Committee.

Rubin studies medical ethics issues and has some concerns, such as what if your insurance company can access your records?

"Could they then say, 'We have records that say you only take your blood pressure medicine half of the time, so we're going to put you in a higher-risk category and we may charge you a higher premium,'" Rubin said.

But that's a distant concern for Izayah and his mom.

For now, this technology is helping them focus on what's most important. And it helps him stay alive.

"These medications are basically what help the kidney stay alive. They help him stay alive," Chamberlain said.

Right now, Children's Health is fronting the costs for the digital pill program so there's no charge to families. About 20 children who've received transplanted organs are using the pill tracking system.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[MRI-Guided Radiation Provides More Precision]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:38:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MRI+Guided+Radiation+092716.jpg

Doctors say a medical breakthrough in radiation delivery is ensuring they hit their tumor targets. It also means less toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue. Here are more details on this high-tech tool that is helping doctors battle cancer.

Attorney Ron Lowy was treated for prostate cancer with MRI-guided radiation. It’s the newest radiation delivery technique. He said being inside the bore didn’t bother him at all.

“When they would put me in the machine, it was so comfortable, I would fall asleep every time and they'd wake me up at the end of the session, an hour later,” detailed Lowy.

“The images are spectacular,” said Alan Pollack, MD, a radiation oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

While the 59-year-old napped inside the machine, Dr. Pollack and his colleagues used real-time MRI images to deliver the treatment precisely to the tumor.

“We’re able to more directly visualize a tumor and make sure we don't miss it and to minimize the normal tissue that's being treated,” Dr. Pollack told Ivanhoe.

Lowy needs a liver transplant. But he couldn’t get one until his cancer was treated because anti-organ rejection drugs make cancer grow. After five MRI-guided radiation treatments, Lowy got good news.

“I'm cancer-free,” said Lowy.

Now Lowy says his future looks bright.

“It means there's nothing holding me up from getting a liver transplant and I'm excited about moving to the next step,” he says.

Dr. Pollack said the new MRI-guided radiation treatment is more expensive than conventional radiation, but he expects the cost to come down eventually. This system only exists in a handful of hospitals around the country right now.

<![CDATA[Plastic Bits Prompt Tyson Chicken Nugget Recall]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:16:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tyson-Chicken-Nugget-Recall-Panko.jpg

Consumers complaining of finding bits of plastic in some packages of Tyson chicken nuggets led Tyson Foods to recall over 100,000 pounds of the product, the USDA's food safety division announced Tuesday. 

The products that may have been contaminated by plastic were shipped nationally. The recall affects roughly 132,520 pounds of chicken nuggets.

Consumers should look for Tyson's Fully Cooked Panko Chicken Nuggets in 5 lb. bags (with best-by dates of July 18, 2017 and case codes 2006SDL03 and 2006SDL33) and 20-lb. bulk packages of Fully Cooked, Panko Chicken Nuggets, Nugget Shaped Chicken Breast Pattie Fritters With Rib Meat (with production date July 18, 2016, and case code 2006SDL03). They can be returned to the place they were purchased.

No adverse reactions to the small bits of plastic has been reported, a USDA news release said. Tyson told the USDA its product are scanned by a metal detector, but the technology doesn't detect plastic.

Anyone with questions can contact Tyson Foods at 866-328-3156.

Photo Credit: USDA]]>
<![CDATA[Seniors: Reduce Your Risk Of Falling]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:28:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_agebalance0926_1920x1080.jpg Simple exercises can help seniors maintain their balance and reduce the risk of dangerous falls.

Photo Credit: WNYT]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Screening Underway]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:33:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_zikablood0926_1920x1080.jpg More blood centers are screening donations for possible Zika virus contamination as FDA's November deadline approaches.

Photo Credit: KPLC]]>
<![CDATA[North Texan Returns to Coaching After Battling MS]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:38:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Coach+Harrell+092516.jpg

Within a span of just a few years, North Texan Sam Harrell went from fighting for state football titles to fighting for his livelihood.

"It went really fast," he said. "From 2005 to 2010, I went from 'you can’t tell anything, but you have it' to 'now you can't even walk.'"

In 2004, Harrell’s Ennis High School Lions had grown into a powerhouse. Their spread attack was virtually unstoppable, powering them to 4A state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

But in 2005, Harrell’s coaching future — and his life — drastically changed with a doctor’s visit when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a condition where the immune system attacks the central nervous system and disrupts communication between the brain and body.

"He said, 'You aren’t going to coach much longer.' It was a blow," he said. "The only people I knew had MS were in wheelchairs. I wasn’t showing any signs. It took about a year for it to start showing up."

The Diagnosis

It started with a limp. Then it progressed to the point where Harrell used a golf cart when coaching. By the third year, it was obvious something was wrong.

"We told the boys. I told assistant coaches," he said. "I knew I couldn’t do it anymore."

By 2010, MS had taken a toll on the 55-year-old Harrell. He was forced to retire from coaching. His son Graham, the highly-decorated former Texas Tech quarterback, said his father had trouble simply moving between his chair and bed.

"He had always been the patriarch of the family. Seeing him in that kind of shape, it took a toll on the family," Graham said. "They weren’t giving him any hope of improving."

Harrell and his family went to Green Bay to see Graham, who was with the Packers at the time. A woman with the team met him with a wheelchair in the parking lot and wheeled him into the stadium.

"It was not fun," he said. "There was no way I could walk through a stadium or parking lot."

But when Harrell went back to Green Bay to see Graham the next year, the same woman — whom Harrell calls "Green Bay Sherry" — was shocked when she saw him.

"I come walking in there, seeing that lady, she couldn’t believe it," he said. "She said, 'Last year we had to get in in a wheelchair and now you're walking everywhere.'"


Between visits to Green Bay, Harrell's health and hope were quickly waning. He was reaching the point of desperation when a friend told him about a new stem cell procedure — that has not been approved by the FDA — for MS patients being performed in Panama.

"What do I have to lose?" he recalled thinking. "I was going to give it a shot."

Until he saw how much the procedure cost. Harrell knew he couldn't afford the treatment, but it turned out that he didn't have to.

"The people of Ennis were so great. The coaches too," he said. "They set up a fund for me."

Harrell went to the Stem Cell Institute in Panama, where doctors injected stem cells harvested from donated umbilical cords into his body. The treatment is designed to prevent further damage to neurons and even repair them.

Harrell underwent the procedure twice and saw no improvement.

"It’s not a guarantee to work," he said. "A lot of people don’t get better. They’re open about it -- [a] 60 percent chance of working."

The third time turned out to be the charm. Or as Harrell said, "A blessing from God."

First he could lift his leg. Then he could keep himself from falling. Then he could walk to the mailbox.

"Now I can do what I love," he thought.

Returning to Football

Now, Harrell walks without a limp. He also jumps rope, runs stairs and even went back to "work."

Harrell returns as the offensive coordinator at Fort Worth Christian School. In 2015, he helped lead the Cardinals to their first state championship in more than 20 years.

"That was really a fun night," Harrell said. "I was just so thankful. To be in that moment was truly unbelievable."

He's back to feeling healthy and, just as importantly, happy.

"I hear people say, 'Retire and do what you love.' I say that’s what I’m doing," he said. "I love football. I’ll probably die on this field or some other field, and I’ll have a big smile on my face when I do."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[A Rare Bipartisan Agreement Reached, Briefly, on Abortion]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CONGRESS_GettyImages-2062515.jpg

Abortion rights advocates and opponents in Congress reached a rare bipartisan consensus at a Friday hearing: Both sides agreed on the effectiveness of a ban on federal abortion funding.

Known as the Hyde Amendment, the 40-year-old law restricting federal funding for abortions has shown to be effective in curbing the number of abortions performed, both sides agreed. For anti-abortion Republicans, the policy’s functionality proves its success. But for abortion rights supporters, it’s a sign that women are simply being denied health care, NBC News reported.

Rep. Trent Franks said the fact that abortion hasn’t become a major issue in this general election campaign is disappointing.

“The American people deserve to know where the candidates stand, in the most important election this century and in the last century,” he said. Franks presided over the House judiciary subcommittee hearing Friday morning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Restoring Hearing In Patients With Tumors]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:47:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hearing+NF+Tumors.jpg

Neurofibromatoses are a group of disorders that cause tumors to grow in the nervous system. One of those conditions, NF 2, causes many patients to go deaf because the tumors grow on the nerves responsible for hearing. A drug already in use for some cancers is not only halting the hearing loss in some patients, but reversing it.

Heather Sheeley-Johns can walk along a busy city street without worry. For years, cars, horns and sirens were impossible to hear.

“I think things were a little more muffled. Having a very difficult time figuring out where the sound was coming from,” described Sheeley-Johns.

Sheeley-Johns was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 2 in her late twenties. Tumors on one cranial nerve caused her hearing to get progressively worse.

Jaishri Blakeley, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, detailed, “Losing hearing at that age can be very traumatic and very isolating.”

Dr. Blakeley is an expert in tumors of the nervous system. NFs are not cancer but grow relentlessly and have no effective therapies.

“Surgery is for sure the standard of care. The trouble with surgery is it’s very difficult to remove the tumor, without damaging the nerve,” explained Dr. Blakeley.

Dr. Blakely is studying the impact of an already FDA-approved drug on NF 2 tumors. Bevacizumab is given intravenously every three weeks for 30 to 60 minutes. The drug shrinks the blood vessels near the tumor, making the tumor smaller.

“If there was something that could prolong my hearing there wasn’t a doubt, I had to try,” Sheeley-Johns told Ivanhoe.

Thirty-six percent of the trial participants gained back hearing on the drug. Sixty percent of those patients kept their hearing, even when they were off the drug for three months.

“It has not only stopped the hearing loss but my hearing has actually gotten better by about 30 percent,” said Sheeley-Johns.

Life-changing treatment for those in the prime of their lives.

Sheeley-Johns’ hearing gains have lasted several years, but since this is an experimental treatment, doctors aren’t sure if the results will be permanent. Dr. Blakeley said this drug is not for every patient, since side effects include an increase in blood pressure, change in ovarian function, and the possibility of kidney damage.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Blood Donations in Texas Now Tested for Zika Virus]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:38:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zika+testing.jpg

Blood from donors in Texas is now being tested for Zika virus infection, in an effort to prevent the virus from being spread through transfusions.

The testing has already found signs of the virus in a pint of donated blood from the Austin area and another donated in Midland.

"We don't know if they're confirmed yet, but we do know that it was at least initially reactive for the Zika virus," said Nancy Haubert, at Creative Testing Solutions in Bedford.

Texas is among 11 states which were given until Friday to begin testing the blood supply for the Zika virus.

Florida and Puerto Rico began testing for Zika earlier this summer, and remaining states have until Nov. 18 to begin testing.

"We are considered to be at a slightly higher risk than the rest of the country of having Zika here," said Dr. Geeta Paranjape, medical director at Carter BloodCare in Bedford.

"We do have a lot of people who travel," Paranjape added. "And people who travel to South America and at-risk countries are going to bring it back not knowing that they may have contracted it."

Carter BloodCare supplies about 90 percent of the blood supply used in North-Central Texas and East Texas, and will begin testing for the Zika virus beginning Friday.

The American Red Cross began Zika testing on blood donated in Texas on Aug. 29.

Blood that tests positive for Zika will not be used, and the local health department will be notified to follow up with the donor.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Detecting Early Eye Damage]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:53:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/eye+disease+detection.jpg

Diabetes can cause a number of serious side effects including eye conditions like cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, a condition that causes progressive damage to the eyes.

Researchers are finding ways to see the very early signs of diabetic eye damage, so they can treat it before the damage is done.

For years, 63-year-old Barbara Alpan relied on her daughter Lara for rides, but not anymore. She was diabetic in her thirties, and it eventually took a toll on her eyes.

“If I was driving and somebody came up on the left, I wouldn’t have seen them,” Alpan said.

Rithwick Rajagopal, an ophthalmologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is an expert in diabetes-related vision loss.

“Currently, diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed and treated at the late stages of the disease,” Rajagopal said.

For years, doctors have blamed vision loss on blood vessel damage around the retina, but new research shows eye injury may begin much earlier in nerve cells.

Rajagopal and his colleagues fed mice a high-fat diet, giving them diabetes and then diabetic retinopathy. At six months, the mice showed signs of nerve problems.

“We could detect subtle issues in vision prior to the animals developing issues with retinal blood vessels,” detailed Rajagopal.

Researchers did not see actual blood vessel damage in the mice until 12 months.

Rajagopal said this finding could lead to earlier diagnosis.

“Eye tests, for example, that might be able to tell us this person is at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, while this other person might not be,” Rajagopal said.

That could lead to early treatments.

Doctors say Alpan was an exception. Surgery restored her eyesight despite advanced disease.

“It’s had a huge impact on her well-being,” Alpan's daughter, Lara, said.

Also, it's given her confidence behind the wheel.

Researchers say other studies indicate people with diabetes go through a phase that seems to be similar to the early nerve damage that Washington University researchers found in mice.

Doctors say it could be several years before new therapies could be developed to stop or reverse the nerve damage.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant Co. Resident Who Traveled to Miami Has Zika: TCPH]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:06:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

A Tarrant County resident has been diagnosed with the Zika virus after traveling to Miami, health officials say Wednesday.

This is the first such case in the county – and the second in Texas – involving a person diagnosed with Zika after traveling to an affected area of Florida.

No other information was released, in order to protect the identity of the person involved.

The Tarrant County Public Health Department said the state health department tested and confirmed the sample for Zika.

There have been 22 reported cases of Zika in Tarrant County to date, including 21 cases involving travel to Zika-affected areas outside of the United States.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.

TCPH's Zika Hotline at 817-248-6299 is available to help answer any questions residents may have about this disease. For more information on Zika virus and for other useful tips, click here.

Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Drug-Resistant Superbugs a 'Fundamental Threat': WHO]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:06:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/superbugmcr%281%29.jpg

While antibiotics were once hailed as miracle drugs, they've been abused and overused so much that they are now often powerless against fast-evolving bacteria. That bacterial evolution is far outpacing humans’ ability to research and develop new drugs effective enough to fight those infection-causing “superbugs,” NBC News reports.

"If antibiotics were telephones, we would still be calling each other using clunky rotary dials and copper lines," said Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO of the American Society for Microbiology.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the U.S. alone, more than two million people are infected by drug-resistant germs each year, and 23,000 die of their infections. Globally, the death toll from antibiotic-resistant microbes is 700,000 per year.

"Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development and security," Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the United Nations' World Health Organization, said Wednesday while opening a U.N. meeting on the problem of superbugs.

"We are running out of time," she added.

Photo Credit: Walter Reed Army Institute for Research]]>
<![CDATA[Fitness Trackers No Guarantee for Weight Loss]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:13:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_fitnesstrackers0920_1920x1080.jpg A new study suggests wearing a fitness tracker to tally the number of steps you take in a day doesn't necessarily mean the numbers on the scale will come down. The University of Pittsburgh recruited more than 400 overweight and obese young adults. They all went on a low-calorie diet, exercised and had counseling and support. Half were given activity monitors, worn on the upper arm, that measured energy expenditure. The theory was the devices would lead to greater weight loss. The strategy didn't work.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer-Fighting Drugs Under Testing in North Texas]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 23:00:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Emily+Herschler.jpg

Clinical trials that could change the future of cancer medicine are happening here in North Texas, offering patients hope at a cure and giving doctors new tools in the cancer fight.

Several of those trials are happening at Texas Oncology of Fort Worth, where Sulphur Springs resident Emily Herschler was treated for ovarian cancer.

"My tummy was as if, for a lack of a better analogy, eight months pregnant at 60 years old!" Herschler said.

With Herschler's stage II ovarian cancer diagnosis, Texas Oncology's Dr. Noelle Cloven – a Fort Worth-based specialist in treating gynecologic cancers – recommended a clinical trial in order to eradicate any remaining microscopic cancer cells, which many ovarian cancer patients often face.

Thanks to the cancer moonshot initiative, a push by the National Cancer Institute, more people are getting access to clinical trials of potentially cancer-killing drugs.

Already this year, two targeted therapies for gynecologic cancer have succeeded to become FDA-approved, according to Dr. Cloven.

"Right now, I'd say one of the biggest focuses of our research is to try and find out which patients benefit from which drugs, because ovarian cancer is very complicated. It's not just one mutation," Cloven said.

It was a double-blind study, so although Herschler doesn't know whether she received the study medication or a placebo, she says the trial gave her hope and the chance to help further ovarian cancer research for the many women who will face this disease in the future.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and Herschler's outcome is rare.

"The frustrating thing is we don't know what it is about a certain patient that allows us to cure them of their cancer, when so many other patients aren't cured," Cloven said.

"I can be here and I can enjoy this, and I honestly wondered, 'Why me?' Maybe if I can help others, that's the answer to my question," Herschler said.

Texas Oncology's community-based care and robust clinical research program hopes to add more clinical trials in the future.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers Find Links in Brain to Eating Disorders]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 04:10:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anorexia.jpg

New research is giving doctors insight into the minds of patients with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about weight and what they eat.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center say 50 percent of women who get treatment for anorexia relapse at some point in their lives.

"One of the key things is we lose so many patients who go into treatment programs," said Dr. Carrie McAdams, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Her current research examines the connections between biological and psychological aspects of eating disorders using functional neuroimaging.

Women currently with anorexia nervosa view images of themselves differently, but this is normalized for the women in long-term weight recovery.

McAdams used MRI technology to discover that women who were successfully treated for anorexia used a different part of the brain for positive thoughts about themselves.

"The really exciting part of the data was that the people who were in long-term weight recovery actually engaged an entire different network part of the brain to answer these questions about themselves. So they were missing the same area that our anorexia patients were, but they had somehow learned to engage another set of regions," McAdams said.

She says it gives researchers a treatment target as the data suggests that changes in the way one thinks about oneself is important for recovery.

"One of the techniques that is being explored [is] real-time MRI, so you put someone in a scanner and you teach them to activate these regions. There is also a technique called reverse trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, which specifically stimulates circuits in the brain. It's used for treatment-resistant depression primarily, but we might be able to target a different circuit for eating disorders," McAdams said.

Jennifer Passanante sought treatment at the Eating Disorder Clinic for anorexia and says the research is beneficial.

"I think a lot of folks, myself in particular, had this mentality of, 'I just need to eat, I just need to get over it,' but there is so much more behind it. There are scientific reasons why people are struggling with this. To have the research done and out there is really important and powerful," Passanante said.

McAdams treats patients at the Eating Disorder Clinic at Texas Health Dallas, the only adult inpatient treatment center in North Texas.

They offer inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and aftercare programs.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Smoking Leaves DNA Damage Years After Quitting: Study]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:13:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

Most — but not all — DNA damage from smoking fades over time, and the genetic changes occur in clear patterns, researchers reported in an American Heart Association journal Tuesday, according to NBC News.

The researchers examined 16,000 people who'd given blood samples before, and found that most damage faded by about five years after a person quit smoking. But smoking-related changes in 19 genes lasted 30 years, and may persist forever.

"Our study has found compelling evidence that smoking has a long-lasting impact on our molecular machinery, an impact that can last more than 30 years," said Roby Joehanes, of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School.

The researchers said those 19 genes could be used to see who is at risk of smoking-related diseases or as targets for drugs to treat cigarette smoke damage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Two New Cases of West Nile Virus in Dallas County]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 04:11:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+bite.jpg

Dallas County health officials confirm two new cases of West Nile virus on Tuesday, bringing the county's total for 2016 up to 44 cases.

The latest cases involve a resident of the 75051 ZIP code in Grand Prairie and a resident of the 75225 ZIP code in Dallas. Both were diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Additional information was not released in order to protect the identities of the patients involved.

There have been two deaths from West Nile virus this year in Dallas County, and officials warn to stay vigilant against mosquito bites by following the "4Ds."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Listeria Fears Spur Whole Wheat Eggo Recall]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:18:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kellogg-eggo-recall-.jpg

Kellogg is recalling about 10,000 cases of Eggo Nutri-Grain whole wheat waffles over the possibility they were contaminated with Listeria bacteria.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the products, Kellogg said in a Monday news release, but Listeria monocytogenes can cause infections in young children and others with weakened immune systems, like the frail or elderly.

The recalled waffles can be identified by looking for UPC code 38000 40370, dated better if before used by Nov. 21 and 22, 2017.

They were distributed in the following 25 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Anyone who purchased the product can receive a full recall by calling 1-800-962-1413 or visiting https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/contact-us.html, Kellogg said.

Photo Credit: Kellogg Company]]>
<![CDATA[Protecting Yourself Against the Flu]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:12:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu+shot+generic1.JPG

The flu is here ad so is the decision about when to get your flu shot.
Some doctors say if you get it now, you may not be protected the entire flu season, but that may not be the case.
Dr. Arash Tirandaz, General Practitioner at Texas Health Plano says North Texas weather patterns result in an unpredictable flu season.
"With the change in the weather pattern we're seeing, we are having crazy weather all year long. There's no guarantee that the major flu outbreak is going to be in January or in February. It might  be in November, so then you'll be out of luck if you wait until then," says Dr. Tirandaz.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that flu vaccinations begin by the end of October, if possible. 
While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.
There is some evidence, however, that immunity may decline more quickly in older people. 
For older adults, a “high-dose” vaccine, designed specifically for people 65 and older, is recommended. 
This vaccine contains a higher dose of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody).
"Once you get the immunologic reaction, it's kind of like chicken pox or any other vaccine. It should last life long.  The only reason we get a shot every year is because the strain of the flu changes," says Dr. Tirandaz.
According to the CDC, "while delaying getting of vaccine until later in the fall may lead to higher levels of immunity during winter months, this should be balanced against possible risks, such as missed opportunities to receive vaccine and difficulties associated with vaccinating a large number of people within a shorter time period."

The flu is here and so is the decision about when to get your flu shot.

According to some reports, doctors say if you get it now, you may not be protected the entire flu season, but that may not be the case.

Dr. Arash Tirandaz, General Practitioner at Texas Health Plano, says North Texas weather patterns result in an unpredictable flu season.

"With the change in the weather pattern we're seeing, we are having crazy weather all year long. There's no guarantee that the major flu outbreak is going to be in January or in February. It might be in November, so then you'll be out of luck if you wait until then," said Tirandaz.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that flu vaccinations begin by the end of October, if possible.

While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

There is some evidence, however, that immunity may decline more quickly in older people.

For older adults, a “high-dose” vaccine, designed specifically for people 65 and older, is recommended.

This vaccine contains a higher dose of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody).

"Once you get the immunologic reaction, it's kind of like chicken pox or any other vaccine. It should last life-long. The only reason we get a shot every year is because the strain of the flu changes," said Dr. Tirandaz.

According to the CDC, "while delaying getting of vaccine until later in the fall may lead to higher levels of immunity during winter months, this should be balanced against possible risks, such as missed opportunities to receive vaccine and difficulties associated with vaccinating a large number of people within a shorter time period."

Doctors recommend the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which protects against four different flu viruses, for all adults.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Mosquitoes Can Survive Over Next Months in Southern US]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:55:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Puerto-Rico-AP_71939457309.jpg

Even as a trendy Miami neighborhood has been declared Zika-free, the mosquitoes that transmit the virus can continue to survive over the next few months across the southeast United States from Florida to Texas, research shows.

The potential for an abundant population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito remains moderate or even high through November in the southernmost cities in the country, according to a study, “On the seasonal occurrence and abundance of the Zika virus vector mosquito Aedes aegypti in the contiguous United States.”

Florida with its hot, humid weather is particularly vulnerable. In November, the threat will be high in and around Miami and moderate in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, in New Orleans and in Houston and Brownsville, Texas.

Only in December will the risk decrease enough so that Miami alone will have a moderate potential for a significant supply of mosquitoes. Elsewhere in Florida, Louisiana and Texas there will still be some potential, though a low one.

Winter weather will be too cold for the mosquitoes elsewhere.

“When a mosquito bites someone and gets a virus it needs a week or two depending on temperature to actually incubate a virus — for it to move from its mid gut up to its salivary glands,” said the study’s lead author, Andrew Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “If you’re in cooler areas, not only is that slower but mosquitoes often won’t survive it long enough to go through that extrinsic incubation period.”

The study, which looked at 50 cities within the range of Aedes aegypti, was published in March before locally transmitted cases of Zika were discovered in Florida — 70 cases in all, many in the Wynwood arts neighborhood of Miami and across Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach. Authorities in Florida say that they have found the virus in mosquitoes trapped in a 1.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach, a first for the continental United States.

On Monday, officials declared the first Zika outbreak on the continental United States to be over. No new cases of Zika have been found in Wynwood for 45 days, which represent three full incubation periods for the virus. However more cases were found in Miami Beach last week.

Monaghan and the study’s other authors had warned that the prevalence of Aedes aegypti would likely increase as the weather got warmer.

From New York to LA
Researchers found that conditions in the United States are mostly unsuitable for the mosquitoes from December through March, except in southern Florida and south Texas, where the potential for an abundant population is low to moderate.

In the peak summer months, July through September, the mosquito can thrive in all 50 cities -- as far north as New York City along the East Coast and as far west as Los Angeles across the southern portion of the country, according to computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The mosquitoes are most abundant in the Southeast, particularly southern Florida, and south Texas where locally acquired cases of Aedes-transmitted viruses have been reported previously. Higher poverty rates in cities along the U.S.-Mexico border may result in increased exposure to the mosquito.

But Zika is unlikely to spread widely in the United States as it has done in the Caribbean and Latin America, experts say. That’s because so many Americans live in air-conditioned homes and work in air-conditioned offices.

Zika was first identified in 1947 in Uganda, and has moved through tropical regions of the world over the past 10 years, according to experts.

The role of climate change
One question has been the role climate change is playing in the widespread Zika epidemic. Sharyn Stein, a climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said that though many factors can affect the spread of a disease like Zika, mosquito seasons are lasting longer.

“In some places it’s lasted three or four weeks longer than usual and so people will be exposed to mosquitoes carrying Zika for a lot longer period of time,” she said.

But how a warmer warm will influence the spread of the virus is not known, she said.

Much is not known about the virus and the latest mystery is how a dying man in Utah infected his son. Doctors in Utah warned that blood and other body fluids of people who are severely ill might be infectious.

Although most people with Zika have more mild symptoms, the disease can cause microcephaly in babies — and the accompanying devastating birth defects.

“While there is much we still don’t know about the dynamics of Zika virus transmission, understanding where the Aedes aegypti mosquito can survive in the U.S. and how its abundance fluctuates seasonally may help guide mosquito control efforts and public health preparedness,” Monaghan said when the study was released.

A battle over funding
President Obama has asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funding; Congress countered with $1.1 billion but has not passed the legislation. Republicans tried to prevent money from going to clinics in Puerto Rico run by ProFamilias, a Planned Parenthood partner, as part of their approval -- a provision Democrats have refused to agree to. This week, 77 mayors, including those of Miami Beach, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, wrote to the Congressional leadership urging that Congress work together.

“Congress’ persistent inaction has forced the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use more than $10 million of its funding for cancer and heart disease research for Zika,” the mayors wrote. “In total, $670 million has been diverted from other health priorities to fund Zika research. In addition, the CDC estimates that it will run out of funding to combat Zika at the end of this month, just as mosquito season reaches its peak.”

The CDC reports 20,870 cases of the Zika virus in the United States and its territories —  3,176 in the states and the District of Columbia, most of those brought by travelers, and 17,694 in the territories. So far, 1,887 pregnant women have tested positive for the virus, 731 in the states and 1,156 in the territories. Twenty-five babies are affected, according to the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat.  

“The critical resources that President Obama has requested would help prevent the spread of the virus by allowing local governments to work in cooperation with the CDC and the NIH to enhance mosquito control, conduct tests, and deploy a critical Zika vaccine,” they wrote.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has singled out the Obama administration and Democrats for blame.

A long history in the US
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads viruses for yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya, has been in the United States since at least the mid-1600s, when the first cases of yellow fever were documented. It transmitted yellow fever up the northeastern seaboard as far as New York and dengue as early as 1780 in Pennsylvania.

“Conditions were more suitable for Aedes aegypti in the northeastern U.S. a couple of hundred years ago when piped water access was lower, sanitation was much worse,” Monaghan said. “And human exposure was higher as well. People weren’t living in air-conditioned, screened environments. The likelihood of them coming into contact with this mosquito was much higher.”

The mosquito was nearly eradicated in the United States in the first half of the 20th century but has since rebounded, though today its range has contracted to the southern tier and up the eastern seaboard.

Monaghan said he and his colleagues are working to improve their modeling so that public health and mosquito control officials could provide early warnings — not just of when the Aedes aegypti populations are elevated but also what might influence the transmission of the virus and other projections.

They noted that northern cities could become more vulnerable if a related species of mosquito, Aedes albopictus, starts to carry the virus. Aedes albopictus is more tolerant of the cold.

Photo Credit: ap
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<![CDATA[Traffic Jam Pollution Increasingly Dangerous]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 07:44:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/car-exhaust.jpg

The amount of harmful pollutants during rush hour traffic is 29 times higher than it is when traffic flows freely, according to a recent report. The research was published in the journal Atmospheric Environment and focused on pollution from vehicle tailpipe emissions.

Doctors say there are more pollutants in the air because there are more vehicles on the roadway decelerating, stopping, and acceleration. According to researchers with the World Health Organization, air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

If you are exposed to polluted air, you are also exposing yourself to several health conditions. “Its been linked with lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory diseases,” said Dr. Manisha Raja, a pediatrician at Parkland Hospital. “It has also been associated with heart disease and stroke, and it’s the eighth leading cause of death each year,” Raja said.

To combat traffic-jam pollution, experts say drivers should keep their windows rolled up, keep the air circulated in the vehicle, and maintain a good distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Prostate Cancer Study Reveals New Info on Treatment]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:43:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Prostate_Cancer_Study_1200x675_767117379694.jpg Dr. Andrew Lee, medical director of the Texas Center for Proton Therapy, discusses prostate cancer treatment options.]]> <![CDATA[Plano VA Clinic Officially Opens, Second Clinic in the Works]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:37:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Plano+VA+opens.jpg

After years of waiting, North Texas veterans in Collin County finally have a closer option to get their healthcare services.

On Friday, leaders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs along with esteemed veterans and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX, cut the ribbon on the VA's first outpatient clinic in the Plano area.

The new 10,000 square-foot clinic, located at 3804 West 15th Street in Plano, will offer local veterans general care, mental health, holistic options, lab work and other services they've had to travel to Dallas or Bonham to receive in the past.

Johnson, a veteran himself and Vietnam POW, said the clinic took years of teamwork from local and national leaders to make a reality.

"I vowed I would never stop fighting for the defenders of our freedom, and this hospital is one of those things we've been fighting for," said Johnson, who got a standing ovation from the large crowd of veterans at the dedication.

The clinic is a first step, but by no means a solve-all.

As NBC 5 reported last month, the clinic will only serve about 6,000 veterans who are at least 77 years old, are 30-percent service-connected disabled and live within 15 miles of the clinic.

Some at the ceremony estimated the total numbers of veterans in Collin County as high as 42,000 with as many as 11,000 living near the clinic.

The VA, however, is limited by the size of the clinic and funding.

Some good news did come at the ribbon cutting for those who haven't qualified for the new clinic.

VA directors announced that due to the massive demand in the growing area the organization has just received approval for a second clinic in the Plano area to continue expanding their footprint.

No time line was given yet on that expansion.

The new facility is now officially open and seeing patients.

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Device Helps Recondition Lungs for Transplantation]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 17:44:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dr+Gary+Marklin+xvivo.jpg

On any given day, more than 1,600 people in North America are on a waiting list for new lungs.

Many of those patients will not get the transplant they desperately need and will die on the waiting list.

Doctors say one challenge is that many potential donor lungs are too damaged for transplantation, but now, new technology is reconditioning lungs and saving lives.

For 63-year-old Michele Coleman, every birthday has special meaning. Three years ago, COPD began to threaten her life.

"I collapsed in our shower. I felt like I was breathing, but I wasn't getting any air," Coleman said.

Last year, Coleman was placed on the lung transplantation list, but a rare protein in her blood made things difficult.

"When they tell you your chances went from 100 percent to 2 percent of getting a donor match, it's devastating," Coleman said.

Now a new device may greatly improve the odds for patients needing lungs. It's called the XVIVO.

"XVIVO means 'out of body,'" said Dr. Gary Marklin, chief medical officer at Mid-America Transplant.

The device is a large sterile box designed to maintain and improve donated lungs. For up to six hours, lungs are placed in the machine, which brings them to body temperature. It is also a ventilator, opening up restricted airways, and it circulates a special solution through the organs to improve their function.

"Its job is to take a lung that is subpar that would not be transplanted and treat it," Marklin said.

Dr. Varun Puri, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said without XVIVO, only one in five donor lungs is healthy enough for transplantation. He said this device could have tremendous impact.

"My estimate is somewhere between the 10 to 20 percent range increase in the number of transplants due to this technology," Puri said.

Last November, Coleman received donor lungs that had been reconditioned in the box. Now the woman who couldn't walk more than three or four steps can stroll the neighborhood with her husband.

"You've got to keep your hope. You cannot give up," Coleman said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device for improving lungs to use in cases with patients who have end-stage lung disease and no other options. Doctors say about half of the lungs that undergo reconditioning are eligible for transplant.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Can This Patch Stop Drunk Driving?]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 15:18:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DrunkPatch0915_MP4-147405607449700001.jpg A New Mexico company is hoping their new patch will help stop drunk driving. DermaTec has developed a patch that senses alcohol intake through sweat. It's called the ONUSBlue, as in it's "on us" to end drunk driving.]]> <![CDATA[Texas Families United By Life-Saving Gifts]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 18:27:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donor+family.jpg

The family of a high school football player who died last year met four of his organ recipients Thursday in Dallas.

Alto High School football player Cam'ron Matthews collapsed on the sidelines last October after suffering an aneurysm during the game.

His parents said they didn't know Cam'ron had registered to be an organ donor until doctors told them after his death.

They met the recipients of Cam'ron's lungs, kidney/pancreas and heart.

"We are proud of him to know that he on his own would think to do something like this, to donate life and to give to someone else if he wasn't able to make it," said Ronnie Matthews, Cam'ron's father.

The recipients are Charlie Robbins, heart recipient, Susan Sisco, left lung recipient, Ronnie Irwin, right lung recipient and Dana Hall, right kidney/pancreas recipient.

"I pray that I can live up to them. They’ll never know how much it means for their son. I’m real thankful," said Robbins.

"To see everyone standing on their own will, to be able to breath and being able to listen my son's heart, that's amazing," said Matthews.

The donor family and recipients are in Dallas to attend a three-day Life Champion Conference hosted by Southwest Transplant Alliance, one of the largest organ donor programs in the country.

The conference is being attended by healthcare professionals across Texas so they may continue to learn and be empowered to save lives through organ donation and transplantation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Florida's 1st Zika Outbreak Almost Over, Officials Say]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:07:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-585211752.jpg

The mainland United States's first official outbreak of Zika virus may be declared over by early next week, NBC News reported.

But another, in Miami Beach, is going strong, and on Thursday Florida health officials reported seven more Zika cases acquired locally, one of which involves a visitor from out of state.

It's been almost 45 days since Zika first started spreading locally, in Miami's Wynwood district, and "the clock is ticking" on that outbreak, Lillian Rivera, of the Florida Department of Health, told a Miami Beach City Council meeting Wednesday.

If no one new is infected in Wynwood by Monday, after the 45-day period that represents three full incubation periods for Zika virus, it can be declared free of active Zika transmission. Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that countdown Thursday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Ragweed Season Shaping Up to Be Worse Than Most]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 22:44:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ragweed.jpg

The peak of ragweed season has North Texas allergy sufferers searching for relief.

"Outside, it hits me like a wall," said Adam Houston, of Dallas. "My eyes are already watering, congestion and sinuses, little bit of drainage."

This season threatens to be more severe than most, following a cooler than normal summer and a wetter than normal August.

"Both of those allowed the weeds, particularly the ragweed, to grow bigger and stronger than they have in many years," said Dr. William Lumry, with Allergy & Asthma Specialists Of Dallas.

"We're now having a relatively dry fall, and so those weather conditions are sort of the perfect storm for a bad ragweed season," Lumry said.

Pharmacies are keeping store shelves stocked with the latest products, including eye drops, pills and nasal sprays.

New for this season without a prescription, pharmacists say Rhinocort offers a stronger nasal spray over the counter than Flonase or Nasacort.

"This is the Budesonide," said Walgreens pharmacist Elaine Nguyen. "It's also a steroid, so if the other two are not working out, I would suggest that this would be a really good option."

Many people use a combination of medicines to get through ragweed season, which doesn't end in North Texas until the end of November.

"There's a lot of tools out there that patients can use to control their allergies. They just have to step up and use them regularly," Lumry said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Addicted To Social Media?]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:37:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/social+media+addiction.jpg

If it seems you can't stop checking your Instagram feeds, Snapchat updates or Facebook notifications, you might have a problem.

The phenomenon of social media addiction is new and not much research has been done on the topic.

However, it is considered a subset of internet addiction disorder, which according to the American Psychiatric Association, is characterized by an individual’s lack of control over his or her use of the Internet, resulting in marked distress, preoccupation, mood changes, tolerance, withdrawal and functional impairments of social, occupational and academic performance.

"It tends to activate the rewards center of the brain in a way that cocaine use or alcohol use tends to activate the rewards center of the brain, increasing dopamine which is a pleasure chemical. It works as the same phenomenon," said Dr. Lee Spencer, Addiction Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Chemical Dependency at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

"This is sort of a new problem," Spencer said. "We don’t have a whole lot of awareness out there, but certainly I have patients that are starting to admit that they’re spending an increasing amount of time on their phone and a less amount of time interacting with other people."

He adds that the habit becomes an addiction when social media use leads to negative consequences; yet, users don't limit or stop their time online.

"I hear about car accidents. I hear about people that no longer connect with their families or people around them. They're starting to feel isolated," said Spencer. "They're starting to feel depressed if they're not using some sort of social media outlet. It starts to become a little more pathological when we see people that have these consequences that are adding up and continue to use despite these consequences."

Those consequences also include impaired sleep and feelings of withdrawal when not compulsively checking social media.

Spencer says people who have other addictions are more likely to have internet addictions or Facebook addictions.

He says women, people with low self-esteem, singles and young people are most at risk for social media addiction.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Fertility Doctor Accused Of Using Own Sperm]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:01:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_fertilitydoctor0913_1920x1080.jpg Investigators believe a retired Indianapolis doctor may have donated his own sperm to as many as 50 patients without their knowledge. WTHR's Steve Jefferson reports.]]> <![CDATA[Emotional Support Turkey Brings Joy to Woman With Lupus]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:02:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Capture74.PNG Most of the time when you hear the words, "emotional support animal," you think of a dog, or some sort of cuddly animal. But a Washington woman with lupus has Sammi, her emotional support turkey, to help her go through her pain and depression. Read more on KHQ.]]> <![CDATA[Zika Affected Woman's Brain and Memory, Doctors Say]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 07:27:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/184*120/AHORA-BEBE-ZIKA.jpg

The Zika virus is known to cause devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses and now there is evidence that the virus could be more damaging to adults than has been believed, NBC News reported.

Italian researchers say they've found evidence Zika can affect the brains of adults, and may damage memory. A letter published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases describes the case of a 32-year-old volunteer nurse infected with Zika in the Dominican Republic, who was treated for rash, headache and weakness.

"In our case, the patient reported early neurologic symptoms and moderate memory impairment in neuropsychologic examinations, all features consistent with the diagnosis of Zika virus-related encephalitis," the team at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome wrote. The doctors cited a recent study showing Zika might affect the adult brain.

Still, doctors stress that most people infected with Zika have very mild symptoms and often do not even know they have it.

<![CDATA[Lewisville Reports 17th West Nile Case of 2016]]> Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:57:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile1.JPG

The city of Lewisville is reporting its 17th positive West Nile virus mosquito trap of 2016, and ground spraying is set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The sample was collected Sept. 8 near the 500 block of Legends Drive, south of E. Main Street and west of Railroad Street the city said in a press release Monday.

Previous positive samples were collected from this trap on June 30, July 7 and July 28.

The finding was confirmed by Vector Disease Control International, a company which contracted with the city to confirm test results. The private company has its own certified lab and technicians who can confirm test results quicker than the state health department.

Ground spraying is scheduled for a half-mile radius of the trap, beginning at 9 p.m. on both Tuesday, Sept. 13, and Wednesday, Sept. 14.

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<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms Second West Nile Virus Death]]> Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:48:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-GettyImages-563546355.jpg

A Dallas County resident has died from complications related to the West Nile virus, becoming the second West Nile death of 2016, health officials confirm.[[393168611,R]]

Dallas County Health and Human Services said the victim was in his or her late 50s and lived in the 75248 ZIP code, located in Far North Dallas.

The person was previously diagnosed with the neuroinvasive form of the disease.

Additional information was not disclosed, to protect the identity of the victim.

As of Monday, there have been 42 human cases of West Nile virus confirmed this year in Dallas County.


Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[UNT Students Look For Zika Virus In Mosquitoes]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 04:06:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Large-Zika.jpg

Graduate students at the University of North Texas are at the front lines of the battle against the West Nile virus.

They're testing mosquitoes for the disease that has already affected dozens of North Texans this year and now, they're tracking possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

"It's probably a given that Zika is going to get here sometime. No idea when that is going to happen, but it’s already established in Florida and no doubt it’ll do that here," said James Kennedy, Regents Professor and Director of the Elm Fork Education Center and Natural Heritage Museum.

Students in the West Nile laboratory have been monitoring mosquitoes in Denton for 12 years, monitoring movement of West Nile virus and mosquito populations.

The UNT/City of Denton partnership was the first to discover local West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes in North Texas.

"At that particular time, no one in this area was really doing any work with mosquitoes," Kennedy said.

Now, any mosquito students send to the state lab in Austin is tested for the Zika virus.

"We are that front line. We are going to be the people that are going to be the canary in the wind to warn people that Zika is here and now it’s not only in humans, but also in our mosquito population," said Kennedy.

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