<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:56:53 -0500 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:56:53 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Calif. Patient May Have Ebola Virus]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:29:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

A patient admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, health officials said Tuesday.

The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center is working with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

"In order to protect our patients, staff and physicians, even though infection with the virus is unconfirmed, we are taking the actions recommended by the CDC as a precaution, just as we do for other patients with a suspected infectious disease," Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said in a statement. "This includes isolation of the patient in a specially equipped negative pressure room and the use of personal protective equipment by trained staff, coordinated with infectious disease specialists. This enables the medical center to provide care in a setting that safeguards other patients and medical teams."

The Ebola virus got worldwide attention earlier this month when two United States aid workers were infected in Liberia. The aid workers were move to an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a specially equipped plane. Both patients are recovering, officials said.

The Ebola outbreak started in December of last year in West Africa. Since the outbreak, some 2,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus and nearly half o those people died.

Even though the Ebola virus can be deadly, doctors said, survival rates are improving because people are getting checked if they feel they have come in contact with the virus.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Football Team Adds Helmet Cushions to Curb Impacts]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:31:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Football+practice+helmets.jpg

Football practice for the Richland High School Rebels includes something extra.

Soft cushions called Guardian Caps cover the players' helmets and are designed to offer further protection against possible concussions.

"They kind of thought they were funny looking at first," said head coach Ged Kates.

The Birdville ISD school in North Richland Hills started using the Guardian Caps during practice a year ago, and the results so far have been dramatic.

"What we've seen is probably, I would say, about a 50-percent decrease in the number of concussions," said Richland Rebels athletic trainer Dean Brosterman.

Right now, those players who get the most contact use them during practice.

"I think they're great," said Valerie Lyons, whose son suffered a concussion before he started wearing one. "I think everybody should have to wear them."

Some football programs around the country aren't sold on them, concerned that wearing Guardian Caps may raise complex legal issues if players are injured.

The Colorado High School Activities Association bans their use during games and warns schools that allowing third-party add-on accessories during practice can affect their liability.

In a statement sent to NBC 5, the University Interscholastic League said the decision whether to use Guardian Caps is made locally in Texas.

"The UIL does not have rules for or against guardian caps for football. Different companies have asked the UIL Medical Advisory Committee to approve or encourage schools to wear different caps, but the Medical Advisory Committee has not done so. The decision to use this additional equipment is made at the local level," said UIL spokeswoman Kate Hector in a written statement.

For now, Kates believes the extra protection for his players is worth it.

"Until somebody tells me otherwise," he said, "it seems like something that's helping out kids, and that's what we're all about."

The company that makes Guardian Caps does not claim they reduce or prevent concussions, only that they reduce impact by up to 33 percent.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Peanut, Almond Butter Recalled for Salmonella Risk]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:40:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/100308-peanut-butter-attack.jpg

Peanut and almond butters sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other grocers are being voluntarily recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

There have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters, a unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. said.

They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters, and private label brands for Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway.

They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S.

The company said it learned of the contamination risk after routine FDA testing.

The Food and Drug Administration said it does not know how many jars of nut butters were recalled. The company would not comment.

"Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems," the FDA has said.

"Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses," it added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Annual Powder-Puff Game Exceeds Fundraising Goal]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 11:27:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BvB-Dallas-Powder-Puff-8.jpg

The first six annual Blondes vs. Brunettes Dallas Powder-Puff Football games raised about $1.3 million for Alzheimer's disease research.

This year, Team Blonde and Team Brunette squared off at the Cotton Bowl and topped their $400,000 goal by $40,000.

Nearly 3,000 fans attended the game, despite early rain, to watch more than 200 players and coaches participate. The final score was 32-27 in favor of Team Blonde.

BvB Chair Greer Fulton and BvB Board of Directors President Jen Bergman presented the check at halftime to Kimber Hartmann and Audette Rackley, Center For BrainHealth, and Carol Hal, Dr. Ann Stowe and Dr. Mark Goldberg, UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Ty Walker, Cash Sirois and Mike Sirois of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket provided the play-by-play and color commentary. Former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis made an appearance as well. Kyle Park and DJ Joe Ramirez provided entertainment at the after party.


Photo Credit: Eric Garcia Photography]]>
<![CDATA[EPA Takes Issue with Handing Out Mosquito Dunks]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:49:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito-dunks.jpg

Don't go to Town Hall in Trophy Club looking for free mosquito dunks.

After two summers of providing free dunks to residents, Trophy Club had to stop giving them out because they weren't in the proper packaging.

"We buy them in bulk, and then we take and put them in individual packages and pass those out to residents with a copy of the instructions," said Trophy Club Development Service Manager Pat Cooke. "And then we got notice that we weren't allowed to do that anymore."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that the dunks remain in the manufacturer's original packaging when they are distributed.

"I understand the need for the labeling on the packages to make sure that our citizens are using them as safe and proper way, so we'll do that in the future," said Trophy Club Town Manager Mike Syle.

For now, the town is using up the 100 or so they have left by sending someone to personally put out the dunks for residents who request them.

"If you have a need for dunks, we'll come out and dunk it for you," said Syle.

Many other North Texas municipalities offer free mosquito dunks for residents.

Dallas County provides them in the proper packaging to cities for their residents, as does the city of Burleson.

<![CDATA[Eleven Chikungunya Cases Reported in Texas]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:21:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

Texas Department of State Health Services reports 11 cases of chikungunya virus in Texas, with two cases in North Texas.

Cases have been confirmed in Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Gonzales, Montgomery,  and Williamson counties. Harris reports three cases and two in Travis County, according to the Texas DSHS.

In all of the cases travelers have acquired the illness, which is transmitted to people by mosquitoes, while visiting areas where the virus is more common.

In Dallas County, the patient was infected during a recent trip to the Caribbean. DCHHS said the person was diagnosed after returning home to Dallas County.

According to the DSHS, the concern is that chikungunya could spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state.

The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) does not often result in death but there is no specific medication available to treat CHIKV and there is not a vaccine.

Tips to avoid contracting chikungunya are similar to those used to avoid West Nile virus. Experts advise people take steps to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes by observing the 4 Ds.

  • Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
  • Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
  • Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Merkerson Shines Spotlight on Diabetes]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:34:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Merkerson+081414.jpg Longtime "Law and Order" actress S. Epatha Merkerson is encouraging people living with Type 2 diabetes to know the importance of their A1C and talking with their doctor about setting A1C goals. Merkerson has teamed up with Merck for the

American Diabetes Challenge


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Lied About Sugar in Yogurt: Lawsuit]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:23:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/whole_foods.JPG

Whole Foods Market knowingly sold its store brand yogurt containing a sugar content that was nearly six times the amount stated on the product's nutritional label, according to two class-action lawsuits filed this month.

The Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain advertised its Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt as having only 2 grams of sugar per serving. But a Consumer Reports analysis published in July revealed the food item had an average of 11.4 grams of sugar per serving.

"No yogurt on the market actually has only [two] grams of sugar per serving," court documents read. "The lowest sugar content of any Greek yogurt for sale is 5 grams per serving."

Even though the specialty supermarket was aware of Consumer Reports' findings, it failed to remove the mislabeled yogurt from store shelves and continued to sell the product in 12 locations in New Jersey and 10 others in Pennsylvania, the lawsuits allege.

Both class-action suits -- filed on behalf of Mark Bilder in New Jersey and Carmine Clemente and Samantha Kilgallen in Pennsylvania -- could represent as many as 35,000 plantiffs who purchased the mislabled product in the Garden State between Aug. 6, 2008 and present and in the Keystone State from Aug. 11, 2008 to present, according to estimates provided in the lawsuit.

The attorney is calling for a $100 penalty per plantiff -- totaling a possible $3.5 million.

A Whole Foods spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending litigation citing company policy. However, she said the supermarket is working to determine why its test results differed from those reported by Consumer Reports.

The suit also alleges Whole Foods officials were fully aware the labels underreported the greek yogurt's sugar content since nutrition labels on all of its store brand products -- sold under the motto "Health Starts Here" -- are evaluated for correctness.

"Whole Foods Market's website brags to consumers about how thoroughly [it] checks the accuracy of the labels of its store brands, telling consumers: 'Our Private Label registered dietician reviews each nutrition label for accuracy and completeness before the label is printed," court records show.

The inaccurate label gave Whole Foods, which specializes in natural and organic food, a competitive advantage and justified the higher prices the specialty market charges consumers, the suit alleges.

The yogurt in-question typically retails for $1.29.

"It was [the] defendant's conscious intent to induce consumers to purchase 'Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt' by falsely stating that the sugar content per serving was only [two] grams," court documents show

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MRSA Breaks Out Among Firefighter Trainees in New York]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:36:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randalls+island+mrsa.jpg

A handful of the more than 300 FDNY probationary firefighters training on Randall's Island have contracted the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA, officials confirm.

A type of staph infection, MRSA can spread quickly in highly populated environments like schools, gyms and hospitals. At medical facilities, MRSA can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

The FDNY would not say exactly how many trainees were infected on Randall's Island, but says those infected are being treated and extra precaution is being taken for them to continue to train.

The department said in a statement, "We take this issue very seriously and we are acting aggressively to combat this problem by increasing our schedule of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment and educating our Instructors and Probies at the Fire Academy about how to prevent open wounds and the spread of MRSA."

Anyone can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing items such as towels or razors that have touched infected skin.

Dr. Stephen Morse of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University says while staph is very common and that many people carry it in their nasal passages, MRSA is less common and harder to treat.

The probationary firefighters "should be watchful if their condition changes or if they get worse," he said. "It can be very nasty."

The doctor said infected facilities should be cleaned thoroughly with typical household detergents or disinfectants in case of outbreaks.

<![CDATA[Georgia Firm Recalls 15K Pounds of Chicken Nuggets]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:40:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ApplegateRecall.jpg

A Georgia-based meat company is recalling over 15,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets after reports surfaced that consumers found small pieces of plastic in the meat.

Perdue Farms and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service said they have not received any reports of injury from the consumption of the 8 ounce box of "Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets" with the establishment number P2617.

The product was produced on Feb. 5, 2014 with a sell by date of Feb. 5, 2015, according to a press release from the FSIS.

Applegate withdrew the frozen chicken from markets on Aug. 8, 2014, but consumers may still have the product in their possession since it is a frozen item, the statement said.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Gerry Clarkson, Applegate Consumer Relations Specialist at (800) 587-5858.

Photo Credit: USDA.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Better-For-You Foods: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:20:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Mayo+081214.jpg Making smart food choices when you shop can be very confusing. Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine tells us how to decode sound-alike food labels.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Better-For-You Foods]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:15:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Mayo+081214.jpg

Making smart food choices when you shop can be very confusing. What's really better for you "Whole grain" or "multi-grain?" How about "low fat" or "light?" "Sugar free" or "no sugar added?" Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine tells us how to decode sound-alike food labels.

Look for products labeled “low” instead of "reduced." "Low" has a definite meaning.

For example, "low sodium" means a food can't contain more than 140 milligrams of sodium, per serving. That's much clearer than something labeled "reduced sodium," which only means it has less sodium than the original product.

The same is true for "light" versus "low fat." "Light" only means less than the original. "Low fat" means it must have three grams of fat or less, per serving.

How about "multi grain" or "whole grain?" Multiple grains aren't a bad thing, but they can still be processed, so whole grains are a better choice.

And when it says "no sugar added," that only means sugar wasn't added in the processing. It doesn't mean it’s not in there.

What's the skinny on foods that contain hydrogenated versus partially-hydrogenated oils? Consumer Reports nutrition experts say: Stay away from both. Neither is heart healthy. Rather than hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, Consumer Reports says look for olive and canola oils on ingredient lists. They are better for your heart.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms Third Case of West Nile Virus]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 23:03:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile+jersey+shore+mosquitoes.JPG

Dallas County health officials confirmed Monday the third human case of West Nile virus in the 2014 season.

The case involves a person in Lake Highlands, in ZIP code 75238, who has contracted West Nile fever.

Due to patient privacy, further information on the patient is not expected to be released.

"We want our residents to know the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are here and they're active," said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. "Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions."

Last month, Dallas County confirmed two cases of West Nile fever. Last year, the county reported more than a dozen human cases.

Most people bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will not show any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.

Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.

Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used."

<![CDATA[School Lunches Around the World]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:08:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LunchPakistan2.jpg Photographers captured the lunch fare for students in several countries earlier this month, showing a range of foods, customs, and nutritional standards.

<![CDATA[Ebola Researcher Confident in Drug]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:31:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/inside-Ebola-lab-san-diego.jpg

A La Jolla lab is on the front lines of the fight against the Ebola Virus.

The outbreak in West Africa has killed at least 961 people and prompted the World Health Organization to declare an international public health emergency.

On the other side of the world from ground zero, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla are looking at how the Ebola virus attaches to parts of the body and how it multiplies and replicates.

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire is part of the team spanning 25 labs across the globe that is making images of how the virus works.

Their work that has led to a medicine taken by two Americans infected with Ebola. The Sorrento Valley lab Mapp Bio used the images created at Scripps to come up with the experimental medicine called Z-Mapp.

Saphire works as director with the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, a global partnership with labs at Tulane University, Harvard and on the ground in Sierra Leone. She spoke to NBC 7 Thursday about the virus she’s worked on for 10 years.

Saphire says the cocktail of antibodies and proteins worked in mice and primates but wasn't supposed to be tested on humans until 2015.

"I know exactly what’s in it, how it works. I would take it myself in a heartbeat," she said.

While ZMapp provides hope, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the federal government is looking "very carefully" at experimental Ebola treatments. It's too early to tell whether they are helpful or even safe.

Even so, Mapp Bio is ramping up production, Saphire said, and they’re working with all the regulatory agencies involved.

“The logistics of making more are straightforward and solvable,” Saphire said.

The antibodies are made using tobacco leaves that are then put into a giant juicer. Scientists then strain the antibodies from the juice.

“That whole process would take about two or three months,” she said, adding that researchers need “time and the funds to do it and are expediting the process. You can believe it’s a priority.”

The antibodies in Z-Mapp were developed by Mapp Bio, the U.S. Army and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Mapp Bio has been operating for 11 years. In all, there are nine employees.

ZMapp is not FDA-approved. Its use was granted under the FDA's "compassionate use" clause, only given in extraordinary circumstances, and there are only a handful of doses of it available.

The two American aid workers who were flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and received doses of ZMapp – Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol – are said to be getting a little better every day after their treatment.

The current outbreak in West Africa is the largest and longest ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 percent and has so far killed at least 961 people.

The WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

<![CDATA[9 Questions You Should Ask About the Drug "Molly"]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:31:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_191826866.jpg

Just a week ago, two young men -- a 17-year-old and a college student -- died after attending a music festival in Columbia, Maryland. As friends and families grieved, authorities said the two may have overdosed on a drug called "Molly."

It's one of the most popular party drugs in circulation at the moment, but what is it? Is it a new danger or old news? There's a lot of misinformation out there, so we talked to an expert to find out what you need to know -- especially as the summer music festival season remains in full swing, and students prep to head back to campus.

1. What is Molly? Is it the same thing as ecstasy?

Molly is a slang term for MDMA, an illegal drug that is classified as both hallucinogen and a stimulant. It's generally accepted that the name Molly is derived from "molecule."

MDMA is a synthetic drug with the full title "3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine," but it's also commonly referred to as ecstasy. However, Molly may be a little different than ecstasy -- it depends on whom you ask.

Molly is usually a white powder inside a capsule, whereas ecstasy is usually a pill (tablet). Both drugs contain MDMA, but Molly is considered by some users to be "purer" than ecstasy because it is in powdered form.

2. So is Molly "purer" than ecstasy?

Confusion about the drug's purity is what makes MDMA especially dangerous, said Dr. Joni Rutter, the director of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research at The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"Even in its purest form, it can cause fatalities," she said. "It's still a drug and we don't know a lot about its effects."

The assumption that Molly is purer is controversial. Both drugs can be mixed with ("cut with") other substances, which can be extremely dangerous. Ecstasy can be harder to tamper with once it is in pill form -- but as a powder, Molly can be mixed with many other substances.

Some experts suggest that due to Molly's popularity, it is now also just as likely to be cut with other substances as ecstasy.

3. What does Molly do?

MDMA is a popular drug at parties because of the euphoric effects it has on the user. It has become an increasingly common concern for concert promoters, campus police and local officials in the last few years.

Dr. Rutter said that party-goers favor MDMA because it will make them feel "energetic and euphoric."

"It wreaks a bit of havoc on the brain," she said.

The effects can be different for different people, but MDMA works by increasing the activity of three neurotransmitters in the brain.

"Users have overall good feelings towards others," Rutter said. "The hormones that are released make people feel more social."

But with the good feelings come some nasty side effects. Rutter said users often report feeling anxious and confused. She also said that some people lose their grip on the passage of time. More information on the effects of MDMA is available from NIDA's website.

The drug is addictive, but different people will experience differing sensitivity to its effects.

4. Is Molly new?

No. Molly appeared as an alternate form of MDMA in the 1990s, but it gained popularity in the last decade.

It was considered an "it" drug about a year ago and The New York Times documented MDMA's popularity with adults in New York, as a supposedly "clean" drug.

5. Then why have I heard about Molly a lot lately?

MDMA has been linked to a spate of recent deaths that may have been caused by the drug.

Two people, ages 17 and 20, recently died in Maryland, after being taken from the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion in early August. Police said they thought both victims had used MDMA, but were awaiting toxicology tests. Twenty other people were also taken to hospital for apparent drug-related problems from the music festival.

These incidents followed several other deaths that may have been linked to MDMA abuse. A man reportedly overdosed on MDMA at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and police in Canada are currently investigating whether two deaths at the Veld music festival in Toronto were related to MDMA.

USA Today reported in January that Molly was increasing in popularity among young people. Some celebrities, including Miley Cyrus during her Bangerz tour, have been accused of glamorizing the use of Molly and other drugs in recent months.

There have also been studies this year that suggest MDMA may have some therapeutic uses, such as in the treatment of PTSD.

6. Who uses Molly?

MDMA is popular with many different kinds of people because of its energizing effects, but it is most often found at music festivals and parties.

Molly is especially popular on the EDM (electronic dance music) festival scene due to its reputation as a party drug. Concert organizers for the upcoming Electric Zoo festival in New York are even requiring attendees to watch a brief PSA about the dangers of Molly.

A recent study by the University of Michigan, funded by NIDA, also suggests that the use of MDMA may be on the rise among 10th through 12th graders.

7. How dangerous is Molly?

Molly can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is mixed with other drugs.

NIDA's Dr. Rutter said that the biggest risk to users will be hyperthermia, or extreme overheating, probably caused by blood vessels failing to dilate enough.

Rutter said that this was especially an issue in a club or festival environment, where users are exposed to high temperatures and enclosed environments.

One of the other big dangers with taking Molly is that some do it consider it a safer, purer form of ecstasy, which might not be true -- especially if it's been mixed with other substances, unknown to the user.

"Drug interactions are a big problem," Rutter said. "We're seeing drugs cut with lots of other things, even so-called 'bath salts'."

Another risk with MDMA is that due to the euphoric feelings and reduced anxiety that users might experience, they may make poor choices, such as practicing unsafe sex.

8. What are the long-term effects of Molly?

The effects of using Molly or ecstasy can last for days. The most common include anxiety and depression. But Rutter said there are more insidious effects that people should know about.

"One of the big problems is disrupted sleep," she said. "The long-term effect that this has on the brain can make it even harder to recover from the MDMA's effects. It might even prompt the cycle of drug addiction and cravings."

Rutter said that some other effects on users can be memory loss and a decline in serotonin transporters, which can lead to longer-term depression.

"Basically a little bit of fun now can lead to a lot of trouble down the line," she said.

9. What are the legal implications of using Molly?

MDMA is a schedule 1 illegal drug. Information about federal trafficking penalties is available from the DEA's website.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Problem Grows in NE Tarrant County]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 09:30:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/196*120/tlmd_enfermedades_mosquitos_18.jpg

Amid a spike in mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus, cities in northeastern Tarrant County are stepping up efforts to battle the insects.

In Colleyville, for the first time in at least 10 years, city leaders are hiring a contractor to spray after one trap captured five infected mosquitos.

"This is a really bad year," said city worker Randy Bright. "I've never seen nothing like this this quick."

Bright calls himself "the mosquito guy." It’s his job to trap and kill the insects, and he said he has never seen so many with West Nile.

"This is unheard of for me," he said.

Colleyville won't use trucks to spray in neighborhoods like many cities.

Instead, workers on foot and on all-terrain vehicles will spray along creeks and in wooded areas, said city spokeswoman Mona Gandy.

West Nile is a problem all over northeast Tarrant County.

Seven mosquitos have tested positive this year in Colleyville. In nearby Bedford, the number is 11. Euless has had five.

A city spokesman in Bedford said the city was doubling its efforts to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by treating area creeks and streams.

NBC 5's Stefan Gorman contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Playgrounds Lead to Burned Children]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:14:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hot+Playground+080714.jpg A warning for parents, thousands of children are burned every summer playing on hot playground equipment.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Chikungunya-Positive Mosquito Found in Texas]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:58:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+tray.jpg

Health officials in Harris County say a mosquito has tested positive for the Chikungunya virus. It is the first Chikungunya-positive mosquito detected in the state.

The first human case in Texas was reported on July 7, 2014.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Wednesday, 10 confirmed human cases have been reported across the state, including one in Dallas County.

All of those patients became infected while traveling to overseas regions where the virus is more common.

Health officials have not determined whether the mosquito carrying Chikungunya in Harris County obtained the virus from an infected person already in Texas or if it traveled to the United States trapped in large cargo.

Chikungunya is not spread from person-to-person. Rather, it is only spread from infected mosquitoes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect yourself and your family from the virus is to prevent mosquito bites. That means using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, using air conditioning or window/door screens and reducing mosquito breeding areas such as standing water.

Although the CDC does not expect widespread cases of Chikungunya in the United States this summer, American travelers infected overseas may continue to return and bring the virus with them.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the southeastern United States and limited parts of the Southwest. Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States, and is also found in the lower Midwest.

People infected with Chikungunya virus typically develop fever and joint pain. Other symptoms can include muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling or rash.

There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for infection.

<![CDATA[Cancer Patient's One Direction Wish]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 00:07:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/6yo+cancer+patient.jpg

Six-year-old Madison Bergstrom of Stoughton, Massachusetts, is like any other girl her age, dancing and lip syncing to One Direction and dressing up like a princess.

But Madi has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia off and on since she was 19 months old.

"She’s been through a lot for her age and she still has about two years of treatment to go," said her mother, Shauna McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has been through a lot, too, as a single parent and primary caregiver fighting this battle right alongside her pint-sized hero.

"It’s hard, it’s scary but she is resilient, and inspiring and that’s what helps – she makes me strong," she said.

So when some friends bought Madi One Direction tickets for her and her mom to go see the band at Gillette Stadium this Saturday, they were thrilled.

In home video from earlier this year Shauna asked Madi, "How much do you love One Direction?"

"Like to the moon!" Madi said.

"And how much do you want to go to their concert?" Shauna asked.

"I’ll ride to there as fast as I can!" said Madi.

"You want to go so bad?" asked Shauna asked.

"Yes!" exclaimed Madi.

"We are totally going!" Shauna said.

But sadly, Madi ended up back in the ICU this week at Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and she won’t be able to go to the concert.

Madi’s focused on the positives, such as ice cream sundaes in her hospital bed. But her mom was bummed, and posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to buy the tickets, figuring she could use the money to do something special with Madi once she feels better.

That post has led to another page with thousands of "likes" asking "One Direction" to visit Madi in the hospital.

"To see that there’s so much good in so many people and that they care, Madison has an army of people behind her," Shauna said.

Shauna says while it would be awesome to see the sparkle in her daughter’s eye from meeting her favorite band, she has much bigger hopes and dreams for her little princess.

"I want to see her grow up to be normal and I’m sorry," said Shauna tearing up, "I just want to see her be -- the range of normal – there is no range and this is our normal, but I want her to grow healthy, I want her to grow happy."

Photo Credit: Shauna McLaughlin]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Closer to Ebola Vaccine]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:22:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NIH+Scientists+Ebola+Vaccine+080614.jpg

Doctors say just one plane ride can bring the Ebola virus to the United States. In Bethesda, Maryland, scientists are studying blood samples and measuring antibodies as they work on a vaccine.

"Someone can get infected in one of these West African countries, feel reasonably well, get on a plane, get off and then all of a sudden get sick here,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “That's feasible, and I don’t think anybody can deny that."

But the U.S. is much better equipped to prevent the spread of the virus, health officials say.

"Extraordinarily unlikely that it will be an outbreak at all because of the way we take care of people, how we have the capability of isolating them, how we understand what one needs to do to protect the health care providers and the kinds of health care facilities we have," Fauci said.

With no effective treatments available, one of the best ways to stop the spread of Ebola is prevention in the form of a vaccine.

National Institutes of Health scientists have been working for more than a decade on an Ebola vaccine. As the latest outbreak continues to grow, so does the pressure to create a vaccine to prevent a disease that can kill up to 90 percent of its victims.

It's a complicated process of finding the right combination of genes from the virus that's effective with few side effects, but they are closer than ever, Fauci said.

"Vaccine has been tried in monkey models, and it seems to be really quite promising," he said.

The vaccine is made with genetic material from the virus, meaning there's no live virus involved.

"You don’t inject the entire virus of Ebola because that would be dangerous, so what you do is you get a very small component of the virus, which is a protein that coats the outside of the virus," Fauci said.

Scientists hope to be testing the vaccine on humans as early as the end of September, Fauci said. If it proves to be safe and effective, they hope to make it available by 2015. The first group to get it would be health care workers.

"It's difficult to vaccinate an entire population because you don’t know who's going to be at risk because you don’t know where an outbreak is going to be,” Fauci said. “But when you have health care workers who are putting themselves in clear and present danger of getting infected, those are the ones you want to protect."

Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Health Officials Encouraging Back-to-School Shots]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:16:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/060209+vaccine+shot+hmv.jpg Denton Co. Public Health says lines haven't been too bad yet for back to school shots so they're encouraging people to come get them done now before things get bad.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Survivor Still Recovering 1 Year Later]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 08:58:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-0000111.jpg

A North Texas man who was diagnosed with West Nile virus nearly a year ago said while his family is helping him get through the illness, his life will never be the same.

It was almost a year ago that Larry Coffman was in a medically induced coma.

As Coffman had come home from work, his eyes were twitching and he didn't feel well. He went to the hospital, and three days later went into respiratory failure.

Doctors put him in a medically induced coma, and he tested positive for West Nile virus.

"My dad is my dad, right? He is untouchable. To watch it take him down the way it did it was pretty tough to deal with," said his son, Thomas Coffman.

And the next thing Larry Coffman knew, it was November. He said that is when he was up and knew what was going on around him.

"It slapped me in the face: you missed the baseball playoffs," said Larry Coffman.

He had to learn to walk again before he could come home, but getting around was still a struggle.

"A lot of crying. I realized I can't even transfer myself from the wheelchair to the couch," said Larry Coffman.

Now, he can. He has improved so much with his family right there beside him. Sometimes, he walks with a cane, and can't use his hands like he used to. They were clenched while he was in that coma.

Larry Coffman had no idea how devastating West Nile virus can be.

"I am exhausted all of the time. Some days are better than others," he added.

Right outside of his house is bug spray, and a reminder to always use it. He did not before, but he is grateful for everyday with his family.

"In my case, I decided early on if I am alive, I am OK with that," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Smoking Ban Considered in Frisco]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:05:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Smoking+cigarette.jpg The Frisco City Council Tuesday is expected to consider banning smoking and the possession of tobacco products from all city parks.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Safety Study: Dangers of Texting and Walking ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:56:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP080729033573.jpg Researchers discovered teenagers are more at risk of getting hit by cars while distracted than any other demographic they have studied in the past.]]> <![CDATA[Two-a-Day Practices Underway in North Texas]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:37:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/football+prac.jpg North Texas athletic teams took the field or court on Monday for the first official practice of the season. This is the first year that all 22 high school football teams in the Dallas Independent School District will have an athletic trainer designated just for them.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant Co. Confirms 1st Human Case of West Nile]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 23:03:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquitos.jpg

Tarrant County health officials confirmed Monday morning the first human case of West Nile virus in the 2014 season.

The case involves a person in Crowley who has contracted the neuroinvasive form of the disease. It is the most severe form of the virus and affects the nervous system.

Due to patient privacy, further information on the patient is not expected to be released.

Last year county officials recorded a major drop in the number of cases in the county. Tarrant County had only six human cases of the virus and one fatality in 2013, compared to 81 people sickened and four killed in 2012. The number of positive mosquito pools also were on the decline, with 15 in 2012 and just five in 2013. It should be noted though that testing did not take place across the whole season in 2012.

Last month, Dallas County confirmed two cases of West Nile fever. Last year, the county reported more than a dozen human cases.

Fewer than 1 percent of those infected with West Nile virus experience the neuroinvasive form of the illness.

Most people bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will not show any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used."

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[North Texan Witnesses Liberia "Deteroriate by the Hour"]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 06:42:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/080314+Todd+Phillips.jpg

The director of a North Texas-based nonprofit told NBC 5 the situation in Liberia’s capital city deteriorated “by the hour” in front of his eyes.

Dr. Todd Phillips is the executive director of “The Last Well,” a Christian nonprofit committed to bringing clean water wells and ministry to “every man, woman and child” of Liberia by 2020.

Phillips returned home to DFW International Airport Sunday afternoon after spending nearly two weeks in Liberia.

“It’s living in two worlds,” he said. “It’s your called to this cause and it’s your mission to be there, but you’re very blessed to be home.”

During the trip, Phillips said he and his team went into some of the remote villages around the capital city Monrovia, digging fresh water sources, but, at the same time, witnessing the escalation of the outbreak.

“Things would change on an hourly basis,” he said. “The very next day the entire government shuts down.”

“It was like a ghost town,” he added, of Monrovia. “This is like five, six million people, and it goes from this massive bustling city to no one on the streets. And that’s in hours!”

He said cleaning stations, including hand sanitizer and soapy water, became mandatory in public spaces, adding, at one point, he and his team sat down to talk frankly about their fears.

“Who’s sneezed and thought, 'What if?' Who’s cleared their throat and thought, 'What if?'”

Phillips felt tempted to “ride it out” with people “that desperately need help.”

“You know you’re leaving, you’re evacuating, from a place where your presence might do some help,” he said.

However, he said he has plans to return and normally makes about four trips per year.

Get More at NBCNews

Photo Credit: Patric Alva, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mass. Doctor Going to Fight Ebola]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:43:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Nahid+Bhadelia.jpg

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is taking her knowledge about infectious disease to Sierra Leone, where she'll be in the trenches, treating people who are suffering from the deadly Ebola virus.

"My parents are scared, but they know that this is something that I've wanted to do since - as long as I can remember," she said.

Bhadelia is with Boston Medical Center and Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories. She'll be doing the same kind of work as Dr. Kent Brantly, who was infected with Ebola in Liberia and returned to the United States Saturday, walking on his own from the ambulance into Emory University.

"I was so glad, not only to see him walking, but the fact that he's here and he's going to get the advanced supportive care that I think he should be getting," said Bhadelia.

Infected American relief worker Nancy Writebol will be coming home Tuesday, as well. The cases are raising worries in the U.S. about a potential outbreak.

Hospitals like Massachusetts General say they are prepared. Still, Dr. Paul Biddinger says the chances of an Ebola outbreak here are small, given that it's spread only by contact.

"There is a chance that this could spread because of how globalization of air travel and how fast people move around the globe is changing, but any one person is at very, very low risk," said Biddinger.

That's not be the case for Bhadelia. She'll be working in a country where they've declared a state of emergency and troops have been called in to quarantine victims.

But the doctor is getting her shots and reviewing her safety protocols, convinced even more than ever that she needs go.

"We're going there to contain that epidemic, but we're also doing it because by containing it there, we're keeping folks on this side safe," Bhadelia said.

Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[1st Ebola Patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, Arrives at Emory]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:47:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Emory-Arrival-080214.jpg

An American patient fighting against the deadly Ebola virus arrived in Atlanta from Africa. Dr. Kent Brantly, a Fort Worth, Texas, physician arrived on Saturday. 

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where Brantly did his residency released a statement Saturday:

Emory University Hospital confirmed on Friday afternoon it was preparing to receive and treat two patients infected with Ebola in its isolation unit. The second patient is expected to arrive a few days later.

Two Americans involved in the fight against the disease in Liberia, Brantly who works for the evangelical relief organization Samaritan's Purse, and Nancy Writebol, a nurse's assistant with an affiliated group, Serving in Mission, or SIM, have contracted the deadly virus.

"The reason we are bringing these patients back to our facility is because we feel they deserve to have the highest level of care offered for their treatment." said Dr. Bruce S. Ribner, Director of Infectious Diseases at Emory Healthcare."They have gone over on a humanitarian mission. They’ve become infected through medical care and we feel that we have the environment and expertise to safely care for these patients and offer them the maximum opportunity for recovery from these infections."

The evacuation is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to privacy concerns, the state department would not confirm if the patients are Brantly and Writebol.

Emory has a specialized isolation unit which was built in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients with certain infectious diseases. It has a unique infrastructure and special equipment to provide a high level of isolation. The entire unit is separate from other patient areas. It has doctors and nurses who are qualified to work in the unit and are trained to deal with highly infectious disease.

"We are one of only four institutions in the United States capable of handling patients of this nature. We have a special containment unit which has been developed with the assistance of the subject experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," said Dr. Ribner.

The State Department said in a news release Friday morning that the evacuations will "will take place over the coming days and that "upon arriving in the United States, the patients will be taken to medical facilities with appropriate isolation and treatment capabilities." 

While the State Department officials aren't confirming who they are evacuating, the humanitarian organizations Brantly and Writebol work for are saying medical evacuation efforts are underway for both people and that they should be completed by early next week.

"We are so heartened that Nancy is in stable condition and that plans are underway to bring her back to the U.S.," said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA. "We are grateful for the help and support of the U.S. State Department in this endeavor. As believers in the power of prayer, we covet the prayers of people around the world, not only for Nancy and Kent, but also for all those fighting this brutal virus."

Samaritan's Purse added Friday that the evacuation of 60 nonessential staff in Liberia has already begun and that they are all healthy and expected to return to the U.S. by the end of the weekend. SIM is also taking steps to return nonessential personnel to the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, said "this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives, but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries. As I said before, this meeting must mark a turning point in the outbreak response."

Chan added that the unprecedented outbreak of the most lethal strain of Ebola is the largest ever in the four-decade history of the disease and has, so far, sickened 1,323 and killed 729 in four countries.

Air Ambulance Departs Thursday for Africa.

NBC 5 tracked the departure of an air ambulance taking off from Cartersville, Georgia, not far from the CDC and Emory University Hospital, at about 4 p.m. Thursday.

The air ambulance is owned by a company that works with the CDC. Pictures provided by the CDC show what the medical evacuation aircraft looks like. It contains medical tents that are used to isolate patients from medical staff.

The isolation and security measures are similar to those in place inside the units at Emory University Hospital, according to Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News and a former CDC disease investigator.

"The way that these two patients would be transported on the plane, and any other transport facilities, is done in a way that prevents them from passing the virus to anyone else," said Yasmin.

Emory University Hospital sent to its staff the following memo Thursday:

"We have a highly specialized, isolated unit in the hospital that was set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. This unit is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. In fact, Emory University Hospital is one of just four facilities in the entire country with such a specialized unit."

According to the CDC, the chance of the virus traveling undetected to the United States is extremely low. In the rare instance it did, the CDC said the country is well-equipped to manage and treat it so that there would not be an outbreak.

It's extremely difficult to get the virus, according to doctors. Ebola is not airborne and is instead transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids, such a vomit, feces or blood of infected persons, living or dead.

It is also important to note that a person with Ebola is only contagious when symptoms are present, according to Yasmin.

Fort Worth Church Asks for Prayers for Brantly

At the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, they are asking for prayers for Dr. Brantly.

Kent Smith, one of the church elders, said that Brantly has always put others first, so Smith was not surprised to hear that when there was only enough experimental serum for one of the two Americans fighting Ebola, Brantly asked that it was given to Writebol.

"I have had a heavy heart, as I know everyone here at our church and probably all across the world world, just to imagine what he is having to go through. But it's certainly encouraging to think he is going to come back here and have access to care he might not have had in Liberia," Smith said.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon and Julie Fine contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: WXIA-TV Chopper]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Updates on West Nile Virus]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:15:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/210*120/bb82f013a5e54a7cbed54729d2487f36.jpg

Dallas County released an update on West Nile Virus Friday afternoon.

Health officials say the number of human cases is holding steady at two, but that won't stop the spraying plans for Friday night.

In Central Dallas, trucks will target east of the tollway and south of Overdowns Drive.

A mosquito trap tested positive for West Nile on Lakehurst recently.

Highland Park will also be spraying. They will spray everywhere except the area south of Belclaire Avenue and west of Preston Road.

<![CDATA[Deadly Pain Pills]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:24:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pain+pills.jpg

Prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin can make days bearable if you’re suffering, but they can be as addictive as heroin and just as deadly.

Prescriptions have soared 300 percent in the past decade. In fact, Vicodin and its generic, hydrocodone, are now the most commonly prescribed drugs in America.

46 people a day—almost 17,000 people a year—die from overdoses of opioids. And more than 500,000 people a year are admitted to the ER because of opioid use, many unconscious or barely breathing.

With numbers like that, Consumer Reports was surprised by a recent Food and Drug Administration decision. The FDA went against the overwhelming recommendation of its own advisory committee ¬¬ and approved another version of hydrocodone––called
Zohydro ER. Doctors have been prescribing it since March.

Consumer Reports and attorneys general from 28 states are calling for the FDA to reconsider its approval of Zohydro ER. Consumer Reports says that it offers no clear advantage over other drugs that are currently on the market, and its potency makes it yet another target for misuse and abuse.

Of course, there are cases where prescribing opioids is necessary. If you and your doctor decide your condition warrants using these potent painkillers, Consumer Reports cautions—take them exactly as directed and be certain not to combine them with sleeping pills or alcohol.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Galveston Doctor Heads to West Africa ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:21:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Galveston+lab.jpg

Another Texas doctor plans to follow Dr. Kent Brantly to West Africa.

Dr. Thomas Ksiazek is a professor at the University of Texas at Galveston. He plans to fly to Sierra Leone in one week. Once he's there, he will work to track Ebola patients or anyone who has been in close contact with the virus.

Dr. Ksiazek says he's not worried and is prepared for the challenge.

He and his colleagues at UT Galveston are working on a possible vaccine for Ebola. They say it has proven successful in lab tests.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor With Ebola: 'God Has a Call On My Life']]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:33:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Brantly+again.jpg

The Fort Worth doctor who came down with Ebola while working as an aide worker in western Africa said he became a medical missionary to help others and because "God has a call on my life."

Dr. Kent Brantly made the comments in a sermon at his childhood church, Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis, before leaving for Liberia last October.

The speech was posted on the church's website.

He told his life story and talked about his years as a student at Abilene Christian University when he spent summers going on mission trips, including one to Central America.

"As I sat with the missionary nurse practitioner one day, seeing patients in a makeshift clinic in a church building, I began to feel the impact that a medical missionary could have on the lives she or he touched and my decision to pursue a medical education was confirmed in my spirit," he said.

It was on that trip he met his wife, Amber, then a nursing student also interested in medical missions.

He decided to become a doctor.

"After I decided to pursue a medical education, God took the reins and nothing since then has gone as I expected," he said in the recording.

He told the congregation he knew almost nothing about Liberia, a country in West Africa recovering from years of civil war.

"So how is it that less than a year later I'll be taking my family to this far-off place?" he asked. "It's because God has a call on my life."

He said he wanted to help heal people and also to minister to them at the same time.

Little did he know then, he'd find himself in the middle of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the world's worst Ebola epidemic.

And now, in light of all that, his words back then seem all the more relevant today.

"On difficult days when I want to give up or when I wonder if I've made the right decision, retelling my story reminds me of how God has brought me to where I am," Brantly said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Flower Mound Has High Breast Cancer Rates: Report]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 05:46:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Flower+Mound+image.jpg

The latest study by the Texas Department of State Health Services shows higher than normal breast cancer rates for the town of Flower Mound but normal rates for other types of cancer.

The study released Wednesday looked at cancer rates in the town from 2002 through 2011.

According to the report, researchers found rates of leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, brain/CNS and liver cancers to be at the expected level for the town.

The only outlier was breast cancer in females, which they stated was "higher than expected," and results were "statistically significant."

Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden said cases were about 22 percent higher than the average.

"That's very concerning for our community," he said.

The report states the higher-than-normal rate could come from any number of factors, from better access to screening and medical care to common lifestyle factors, environmental factors or even simply random chance.

Hayden said it's something they will continue to monitor as is the whole cancer issue in town.

"What we need to do is keep doing what we're doing," said Hayden, adding that the town has created one of the most progressive air quality monitoring systems in the state over the last four years.

Concern over Flower Mound cancer rates first arose in 2010 when concern sprouted about possible cancer clusters being linked to hydraulic fracture drilling, or fracking, in the area.

Since that time, three studies have now come from the state saying they haven't found cancer clusters in the town and all but dismissing the correlation.

The issue resurfaced last spring with a report from University of Texas researchers disputing the state findings and saying the possible links to carcinogens like benzene from fracking shouldn't be ruled out.

Several citizens told NBC 5 that they are still concerned about how fracking and the cancer rates in town correlate, and they hope the town and state continue to study the matter.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer Cluster Study Results in Flower Mound]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:35:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*121/fm1.jpg Experts have been studying Flower Mound for years over worries that fracking and natural gas drilling are causing high cancer rates.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Unusual Allergy Reactions Due to Summer Rain]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:50:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/f00b3ac812b9487ca7a82f4a221b61ef.jpg

If your allergies seem out of control, you're not alone.

Tree pollen is the biggest problem right now in the Metroplex, and that has a lot of North Texans sneezing and sniffling.

But, there's another culprit we normally don't have to deal with in the summer -- rain.

"Mold is always a problem when there's a lot of rain, both indoor and outdoor mold. When the humidity goes up both the home and the outdoor environment increases in humidity and that's a great way for mold spores to pollinate and move out," said Dr. Mudita Shah, with Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.

Things are expected to get a bit worse before improving when Ragweed starts cranking up in just a few weeks.