<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2017http://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-usSun, 25 Jun 2017 09:38:41 -0500Sun, 25 Jun 2017 09:38:41 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Community of Support for Adults With Autism Moves Forward]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:40:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/29+acres+denton.jpg

It's estimated that 50,000 people with autism age of out of the school system every year and that 85 percent of adults with autism are unemployed.

Now, a Denton County community where those adults can work, live and play has secured the money it needs to move forward with construction.

Debra Caudy and Clay Heighten, of Dallas, plan to build a $12 million community for young adults with autism and say they have confirmed enough money from individual investors to begin the first wave of the project by the end of the year.

The community is called 29 Acres, named after the acreage where it will sit, in Cross Roads, Denton County.

Caudy and Heighten's 19-year-old son, Jon, can't live on his own without assistance, so the couple hopes to create the housing community for people on the autism spectrum to learn and live independently.

"He feels empowered. He feels good when he's independent, and we are going to push independence at 29 Acres," Caudy said.

They say they're moving forward with the project in hopes of creating an innovative model that provides long-term solutions to young adults with autism as the children transition into adulthood.

"This is an iteration, an evolution of a better way of incorporating folks with autism into the community," Heighten said.

A dozen investors have stepped up, now giving them the financial backing to move forward with formal plans and construction bids.

Some of those investors are families in the same walk of life.

"Parents are excited because they're worried. What's going to happen to their loved one when they're not around to support that person?" Caudy said.

They set up a 501c3 to raise money to build the 15-home community on the acreage south of U.S. Highway 380.

It will house up to 60 residents and offer services for adults with autism who are transitioning into independent living or who will need assisted living indefinitely.

29 Acres will also collaborate with area hospitals, colleges and schools for a variety of training and support services.

Photo Credit: 29 Acres]]>
<![CDATA[Procedure Promises to Melt Fat, Tighten Skin Without Surgery]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:30:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/face+plastic+surgery.jpg

A new cosmetic procedure promises to tighten saggy skin without having to go under the knife.

Facetite/Bodytite is the first non-invasive procedure using radio-frequency to tighten skin with no scarring.

The procedure reduces fat and improves skin laxity in multiple body areas, combining the elements of melting fat and tightening skin into a single process.

"Up until now, we really haven't had that combination of the two. Other devices can remove fat very effectively but it really doesn't do anything to tighten the skin," said Dr. Vu Ho, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon at Beautiful Faces in Plano.

This procedure can be performed in the office under local tumescent anesthesia and is minimally invasive, as the treatment probe can be inserted though small needle ports.

Patients, like Liz Jack, are in and out of the office in one day, and recovery takes a week.

"That's very quick healing. The incisions are minimal and hardly visible at all in a couple of weeks," Ho said.

"I really like the fact that I was going to be out in a day and I could go back out in public a couple of days," said Jack, who had the procedure performed on her jowl five weeks ago.

She says she experienced no pain and few of the side effects, which can include bruising and swelling.

Results from a single procedure can last years, according to Ho.

"It's not going to be quite as long as a full surgical procedure, but it's definitely something that's durable and lasting," he said.

The procedure can be performed almost anywhere on the body.

Costs vary, but a traditional procedure on the face costs $5,000-$6,000.

Ho said the procedure can be a good option for someone who may not fully benefit from less invasive procedures but doesn't want to undergo surgery.

"They're past the non-invasive options that are out there, but maybe they're not ready for a full surgical procedure or maybe they don't want to go through a bigger operation," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cataracts Can't Be Avoided, But Are Easy to Treat]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:22:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Generic+Eye+062317.jpg

There's no hiding from it, during one of your yearly eye checkups, you will hear the words "you have cataracts."

The eye disorder develops in everyone, it's just a matter of when, and how long you're on this Earth.

"Think of your lens like a window in your house. If you've never cleaned that window in your house. Over time, it will slowly become more and more cloudy and difficult to see out of," said optometrist Dr. Kristin Doyle.

Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness.

"Oftentimes, my patients will think I've told them they have a disease, but they don't have a disease," said Doyle. "It's just a normal change our body goes through."

The key to dealing with cataracts is to notice the symptoms. If you see glares, have trouble reading in dimly lit rooms, see faded colors -- it may be time for a checkup.

Treating cataracts involves a simple surgery where an ophthalmologist makes a tiny incision on the side of your eye, breaks up the cataract, and replaces it with a plastic lens.

"The procedure itself takes about five minutes per eye. And you're back to your normal daily activities the next day," said Doyle.

While there's no way to prevent cataracts, there are ways to slow down progression.

Wear appropriate eye wear, reduce exposure to ultraviolet rays, avoid smoking and eat healthy foods. In the end, it's all about a healthy lifestyle.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Groups Hate the 'Heartless' Senate Health Care Plan]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:11:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-699840802.jpg

Both versions of the Republican plan to fix the American health care system would make things worse, not better, according to groups that represent a variety of physicians.

NBC News reported that pediatrician, cancer specialist, cardiologist and family doctor groups were denouncing the Senate version of the bill within hours of its release Thursday.

"The Senate draft health care bill is literally heartless," American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said.

Among the reasons so many medical professionals oppose the changes Republicans have proposed to the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," is that it reduces funding for Medicaid, the state-federal health plan that covers many low-income, disabled and pregnant people, as well as a large portion of American children.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Some Women Wait to Treat Dangerous Heart Disease]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:37:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/women+heart+health.jpg

Heart disease is the nation's number one killer of women, yet it often goes undiagnosed. Some women avoid doctors because of insecurities weighing heavily on their minds.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hummus Sold At Wal-Mart, Target Recalled for Listeria Risk]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:40:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/armus-hummus.jpg

A brand of pine nut hummus sold at major retailers including Wal-Mart and Target has been recalled by its manufacturer because it may be contaminated with listeria.

House of Thaller, which is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, voluntarily recalled all 10-ounce packages of hummus products containing pine nut topping, after a supplier reported the possible contamination.

Thaller sells its hummus under the brand names Marketside, Lantana, and Fresh Foods Market across the country, including at large nationwide retailers.

Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria that may have contaminated the hummus, can cause serious infections in young children, the elderly, and anyone with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, nausea and diarrhea.

No illnesses have been reported in relation to the product, which was distributed from April 18 to June 13, according to the FDA.

Anyone with questions about the recall can call the House of Thaller customer service center on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST at 855-215-5142. Or click here for more information.  

Photo Credit: US Food & Drug Administration]]>
<![CDATA[5 Key Issues to Look for in the Senate Health Care Bill]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:44:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mcconnell3.jpg

With Senate Republican leaders expected to release details of their health care bill in a 9:30 a.m. meeting Thursday, NBC News rounded up five big issues that are at the heart of the proposed legislation. 

Medicaid has been a major talking point in the health care debate. Republican leaders have been contemplating a slow winding-down of the program, making it less generous or creating carve-outs so certain groups don't lose coverage, such as children with chronic health problems.

Lawmakers are also looking at taxes. The Senate is trying to correct the House's version of the bill that gives tax credits based on age. But some lawmakers also want to repeal the taxes they believe increase the cost of premiums, including the tax on insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and more.

Opioid treatment could also lose funding, though some senators are weighing the option of creating a pool of money to be available for that purpose. And Planned Parenthood is facing strict opposition from Republicans, but moderates don't want the organization to lose funding.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Telemedicine Helps Doctors Treat Rural Patients]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:36:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Telemedicine.jpg

During a stroke, every second counts, and now stroke patients in rural parts of North Texas are getting life-saving care quicker than ever before thanks to new technology.

Inside a treatment room at Baylor Scott and White Waxahachie the attending phsycian isn't who – or what – you'd expect.

It's a robot.

But on the screen of the robot appears a neurologist out of Dallas, who's able to assess potential stroke patients.

It's the latest advancement at the Ellis Couny hospital, where they see 20 to 25 patients who present stroke symptoms a month.

"Our hospital doesn't have a neurologist on all the time. The only way we have access to a neurologist is through telemedicine," said Rachel Matthews, professional development educator in the emergency department.

Every minute during a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells die.

Time is of the essence.

"So we got this robot, and what this allows us to do is one-on-one beside assessments with a neurologist," Matthews said. "Time is brain, and we want you to come to the nearest facility so we can take care of you."

<![CDATA[Hidden Sugars Can Make You Pack on the Pounds]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:56:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hidden_Sugar_Effect.jpg

While we all try to make good food choices in the summer, experts warn that even if you think you're picking the healthy options you may still be packing on the pounds thanks to the hidden sugars.

<![CDATA[More Texas Women Die From Pregnancy Complications]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:12:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pregnancy+deaths.jpg

More women die from pregnancy complications in our state than anywhere in the nation, according to researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

They are looking for solutions to the high maternal death rate in state.

The deaths of women who pass away during or within a year of childbirth are categorized as maternal deaths.

"It’s really inconceivable to think that a country like ours is really talking about this and that it’s increasing. It’s such a tragedy for the families," said Assistant Professor Amy Ranes Milenkov, at UNTHSC.

No one knows the pain more than Allen Johnson, of Red Oak. His wife Calista passed away days after giving birth to their daughter on June 2, 2017.

"I'm a widower at 35, it's nothing you prepare for," said Johnson.

He says he and Calista were excited when they learned she was pregnant after years of trying, and that Calista was overjoyed when she learned she'd had a baby girl.

"She was excited because boys run in her family.  They told her it was a girl and she had a big relief on her face," said Johnson.

But three days after they brought Baby Angelique home from the hospital, Johnson says his wife called him at work, complaining of extreme headaches.

"I got a call from her.  I can barely understand her and her speech was kind of slurred and she said you need to come home," he recalls.

By the time he reached home, paramedics had taken her the hospital, where within hours, Calista died from what doctors believe was eclampsia, considered a preventable condition related to a hypertension disorder called preeclampsia, which accounts for 18 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S.

"I wished I recognized the signs earlier. I wish I would have just put my foot down when I asked her if she wanted me to come home," says Johnson.

"These are younger women that are having cardiac events and that's shocking!" says Milenkov.

"We know that there's an increase in hypertension among younger women.  We know there's an increase in diabetes. Obesity is one thing that factors into almost every health problem and we are seeing it play out in pregnancy outcomes as well and maternal health outcomes."

She also says more young mothers are dying of drug overdoses and suicide related to postpartum depression.

"Although there are providers that are doing depression screenings, we don't often have a resource to send women to once it's identified that they need some services," she adds.

She says most of these deaths can be prevented.

"It’s not only shocking, it’s embarrassing to have a maternal death rate that is higher than the nation's, but also, as a nation, we are increasing and it’s something that is a crisis that we have to attend to," she adds.

Allen Johnson's sister, Uniquka Johnson-Christian, is helping take care of her new niece.

She's eight months pregnant and agrees with researchers about a lack of awareness of pregnancy complications.

"I didn't know anything about eclampsia or pre-eclampsia," she says.  "If it's something that could be lethal, why don't more people know about it?"

Two weeks after welcoming his daughter, they're burying their loved.

A mother gone too soon during a search for answers that can't come soon enough.

Governor Greg Abbott says he wants the search for solutions to be a priority during the special session in July. 

He recently passed a bill that calls for postpartum depression screenings for mothers who receive government funded medical assistance.

State lawmakers will decide in July whether to continue or dissolve the taskforce researching the maternal death crisis in Texas. 

The Johnson Family is sharing Calista's story in hopes no other family goes through similar tragedy.  You can read more here.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Women Keep Dressing Like ‘Handmaids’ at Statehouses]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:02:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/handmaidslegislation_1200x675.jpg

Women across the country are using creative methods to get their message on reproductive rights to their local and state legislative bodies by channeling the characters from the dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale," NBC News reported.

Groups of women gather in legislative rooms and hold discussions dressed in long red robes and white bonnets, just like the characters in the Margaret Atwood novel and current Hulu series.

"The Handmaid’s Tale is based on what actually has happened to women throughout history, where women have been essentially narrowed down to their reproductive abilities," said Stephanie Craddock Sherwood, executive director of the Ohio abortion fund Women Have Options (WHO).

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Wants To Stop Pharma From 'Gaming' Generic Drug System]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:30:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pills-generic-03-GettyImages-108339198.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to stop pharmaceutical companies from "gaming" the system by blocking or delaying generic competition, Reuters reported.

The agency plans a public meeting on July 18 to help it search for ways pharmaceutical companies are using its rules to block generic competition, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a blog post Wednesday.

"We know that sometimes our regulatory rules might be 'gamed' in ways that may delay generic drug approvals beyond the time frame the law intended, in order to reduce competition," he said in the blog post. "We are actively looking at ways our rules are being used and, in some cases, misused."

President Donald Trump and lawmakers in Congress are searching for ways to lower prescription costs.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Namaste: It's International Yoga Day]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:13:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DIT+YOGA+DAY+THUMB.jpg

June 21 is the third annual International Yoga Day, which thousands of yogis across the world marked at mass gatherings. It's estimated that over 36 million Americans practice yoga annually, spending more than $16 billion on classes, clothes and equipment.

<![CDATA[Student Athletes in Arlington Train Over Summer ]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:41:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Arlington_Strength_Conditioning_Anderson.jpg

School may be out, but there's a group of students who are not taking a break this summer. They're waking up early to take care of their bodies and health.

<![CDATA[The Longest Day – Alzheimer’s Association]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 18:12:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ALZ+TLD+2017.jpg

Join the Alzheimer’s Association, North Central Texas Chapter in increasing awareness for Alzheimer’s disease on Wednesday, June 21, in multiple Fort Worth locations for The Longest Day.

The Longest Day is a team-oriented initiative that raises funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. Held annually on June 21, this event symbolizes the challenging journey of individuals living with the disease and those who care for them. For those facing Alzheimer's, every day can feel like "the longest day."

Whether you have a team of one or a team of one hundred, there is an experience for everyone to raise and generate awareness for the Alzheimer’s disease.

The North Central Texas Chapter, in conjunction with businesses in our community, is hosting numerous events around Fort Worth. To learn more about The Longest Day and where you can participate, click here.

The Longest Day

Alzheimer’s Association
Wednesday, June 21
Multiple Locations in Fort Worth

Photo Credit: Alzheimer’s Association]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 5 Baseball Tournament for Children's Tumor Foundation]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:13:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kaleb-Griggs.jpg

This weekend, NBC 5 is teaming up with Baseball Nation and the Children's Tumor Foundation and putting on a Youth Baseball Tournament.

It's called End NF.

Proceeds will benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation and help cure neurofibromatosis (NF), a condition that prevents the body from stopping the growth of tumors.

Kaleb Griggs will be among the players in this weekends tournament. He was diagnosed with NF at the age of 10 months.

The diagnosis came after battling a broken leg due to a bowed tibia. Griggs had two surgeries to put in plates, which would make his bones grow straight.

After he healed from that, doctors found a tumor on his brain stem.

Griggs endured 15 months of chemotherapy, but through it all he continued to play baseball.

At only 11 years old, he has been through a lot but has never let his NF slow him down.

Click here to read more about the NBC 5 Youth Baseball Tournament on June 24 and 25.

Photo Credit: Griggs Family]]>
<![CDATA[Health Headlines: Mommy Shaming, Tabacco Age & Obamacare]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:55:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Empty+Swings+Generic.jpg

Raising kids is hard enough. It doesn't need to be even more difficult because of the people around you. But a new poll finds two-thirds of women feel judged by others.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Staph Infections Becoming More Common]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:09:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/medical-GettyImages-57229731.jpg

One of the most common germs found on the skin and in the nose is creeping into the body and causing infections. The bacteria can get into the body through a scrape, puncture or even an ingrown hair.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant Co. Has 1st Human West Nile Virus Case of the Year]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 23:02:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-GettyImages-5635463551.jpg

Tarrant County health officials have confirmed the season's fist human case of West Nile virus Monday.

The affected person has West Nile fever, rather than the more serious neuroinvasive disease, officials said. Further information about the case has not been released in order to protect the person's identity.

Tarrant County had 44 human cases of West Nile virus in 2016, including one death.

Officials said West Nile fever can involve headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. The illness may last for several weeks, but people typically recover.

Symptoms of West Nile neuroinvasive disease include neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. The neuroinvasive form of the disease can be deadly.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Summer Health Tips with Larry North]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:40:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Talk_St_643_CB_Larry_1200x675_971094595886.jpg

Whether you're working on maintaining your summer body, or just getting started on it, Larry North has some tips to help keep you healthy and safe this summer. To learn more, visit to learn more, visit www.larrynorth.com.

<![CDATA[Six Experts Resign From President's HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel]]> Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-499435366.jpg

Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, explained in a Newsweek op-ed Friday that he and five colleagues decided to leave their posts on the council in protest of the Trump administration, which they allege "has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic."

Schoettes, who is openly HIV positive, added that the White House is also pushing legislation that would harm people with HIV and “reverse gains made in the fight against the disease.”

Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses W. Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados are the five other members who resigned.

The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beating the Texas Heat and a Blood Drive on Saturday]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:28:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

We are under a heat advisory, so you need to listen to your body when you're feeling the early signs of heat stress. Additionally, the Texas Rangers are hosting a blood drive on Saturday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Privacy Concerns Over DNA Tests That Help Discover Roots]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 22:59:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ancestry+dna.jpg

For generations, cross-referencing tombstones at the cemetery and vital records was required to unlock your lineage.

But now, you can easily uncover some of the mystery of your family tree with DNA.

Consumers like Larry Guernsey are giving the service as gifts.

"I thought it would be a good Christmas present," Guernsey said.

The $99 DNA test uses a saliva sample to trace family history.

Here's how one company that provides the service, Ancestry, says it works:

"A simple test can reveal an estimate of your ethnic mix… like if you're Irish or Scandinavian, or both."

For Guernsey his curiosity twisted to suspicion once he read the fine print. To proceed, he'd have to give ancestry a "perpetual, royalty-free worldwide transferable license" to use his DNA.

"That entire phrase: 'perpetual royalty-free worldwide transferable,' it sounds like they have left it open to do anything they want with it," Guernsey said.

He was concerned the "transferable license" could put his family's DNA in the hands of an insurance company that could later deny coverage.

"That's not a crazy worry," said Stanford University law professor Hank Greely.

Greely teaches and writes books about the intersection of bio-tech and the law. Greely says medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies routinely need DNA data to develop new products, and companies that have big DNA databases, like Ancestry, sell it to them.

"Some of them get a fair amount of their revenue by selling the analysis of your DNA," Greely said.

NBC 5 Responds asked Ancestry for an interview, but it declined.

In a statement the company said:

"The decisions we make are guided by the basic belief that our customers' data belongs to them."

They went on to say, "We provide every customer options to choose how we may use their DNA data when they sign up .. .We will not share DNA data with third party marketers, employers or insurance companies."

Ancestry's website currently tells users they have a choice to later "delete your DNA test results" or "destroy your physical DNA saliva sample."

Ancestry also says it stores your "DNA sample without your name."

Those statements are posted to its privacy page.

However, they're not in the contract you sign.

"If it bothers you, if it offends, if you're worried about what might be in there, then you shouldn't sign this contract," Greeley said.

Guernsey didn't, and he canceled his order.

So now, the steps to tracing the Guernsey family tree might include an old-fashioned graveyard walk.

Greely noted that DNA tests for genealogy are fairly cheap, perhaps, for a reason – the fact that the data is really being sold again down the line.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Knitted Octopus Comforts Fort Worth Preemies]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:47:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/NICU+Octopus+061617.jpg

Inside the neonatal intensive care unit at Medical City Alliance in Fort Worth, premature babies, like Oliver Chacon, snuggle with an eight-armed, colorful stuffed octopus as part of their treatment. 

The hospital is partnering with "Octopus for a Preemie - US," an organization that provides premature baby patients with a hand-crocheted octopus, which neonatologists say is a form of therapy.

"It's kind of like a finger or umbilical cord. He likes to hold my hand, so this is something he can wrap his hand around," Oliver's father, Chad Chacon, said about the octopus.

The carefully crafted octopuses are made specifically to help NICU babies heal faster, allowing babies to go home to their families sooner, according to Keri Spillman, NICU nurse and project coordinator for the Octopus for a Preemie program at Medical City Alliance. 

The idea originated in Denmark, where doctors observed that the crocheted octopuses calmed patients. 

"They discovered babies really responded well. The tentacles felt more like mom's umbilical cord. Our little babies are very sensitive to light, sounds and touch, so having something that reminds them of mom really helps calm them down," Spillman said.

According to the medical team, researchers found that babies experienced higher levels of oxygen in their blood and more regular heartbeats. In addition, babies with these cuddly octopuses were less likely to pull on the monitors and tubes providing 24/7 monitoring, assisting in breathing and the administration of critical medications.

Volunteers spend hours crocheting the cuddly toys, making them extra special.

"These are 100-percent volunteer. There is no exchange of money. This is out of the goodness of people's hearts," Spillman said.

"It's wonderful that people are doing it. Never ceases to amaze me that people are doing wonderful things," Chad Chacon said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Laundry Pods Can Be Fatal for Adults With Dementia]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 15:14:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/detergent-pods-file.jpg

Within the past five years, six adults with cognitive impairment have died from ingesting brightly colored laundry detergent pods. During the same time, two children died from doing the same.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the numbers indicate that the pods, which some argue closely resemble sweets or candy, pose more of a danger to adults with dementia than they do to children.

The deaths were first revealed by independent non-profit consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports after it filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with the CPSC. The CPSC told NBC News it was aware of five such deaths in the U.S. and one in Canada.

Photo Credit: Pat Sullivan/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[App for Air Pollution Could Make City Living a Lot Safer]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:50:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/calipollutionx1200x675.jpg

Out of a pollution study an app, that can pinpoint pollution hot spots block by block, is being developed for city dwellers, reported NBC News. 

A study suggests that it might be possible for local authorities to pinpoint air quality that would otherwise go undetected — and help citizens avoid living in or traveling through those areas.

Researchers from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the University of Texas tracked two Google Street View cars rigged with air quality monitoring equipment for levels of black carbon, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide as they drove throughout Oakland, Calif.

The study was published last week in the journal of Environment Science & Technology.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Studies Show Benefits of Veggies, Harm of Fries]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:04:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jacks+French+frys.jpg

A study shows that people who eat fries more than twice a week double their risk of early death. However, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts could be key in slowing type two diabetes in obese people. 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[E-Cigarette Use Decreases Among Teens]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 18:44:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

Tobacco use is down for middle and high school students, but 3.9 million kids are still smoking. 

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Transplant Nurse Donates Kidney to Her Nurse Father]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 18:54:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gossett+kidney+transplant.jpg

This Father's Day has extra meaning for a pair of nurses at Baylor Scott & White Health System.

They're a father-daughter duo, and when John Gossett needed help his daughter, Erin Gossett, stepped up in a big way.

John Gossett, a nurse at Baylor's Heart Hospital, needed a kidney transplant; his first transplanted kidney began to fail last year.

Erin Gossett, a nurse at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, said she and her sisters didn't hesitate to volunteer as donors.

"My sisters and I kind of talked about it and we were like, 'We want to try to donate to him,' so, it just felt like a natural step and I was happy to do it,'" Erin Gossett said.

She and her father underwent the transplants surgeries last month.

It's the second kidney transplant John Gossett has received in 10 years.

Diabetes has affected his kidneys and led to kidney failure.  

His body began to reject the donated kidney last year.

"It's ultimate love and care that she would, that all the girls would even consider that, just so I can spend a lot more time on this great green Earth to be with family," John Gossett said.

Erin Gossett said the decision was made even easier having deep knowledge of the process from start to finish, as she's a nurse on the transplant floor.

They look forward to spending Father's Day with family and in good health.

"I've already got a Father's Day gift. I don't think you can top this. I won't need anymore Father's Day gifts," John Gossett said.

Photo Credit: Gossett Family]]>
<![CDATA[Fewer Teens Are Vaping and Smoking, CDC Survey Finds]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:41:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-647804748.jpg

Teen smoking rates have hit new lows in the U.S. and, for the first time, fewer high school students are trying e-cigarettes, NBC News reported.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows cigarette smoking and vaping rates went down in 2016.

“The decline in use of tobacco products was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016,” the CDC report says.

CDC and anti-smoking groups both said a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates.

Photo Credit: Sergei Konkov/TASS via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study Finds Traces of Lead in Some Baby Foods]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 10:56:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/240*120/061517+generic+baby+food.JPG

A startling new report finds detectable levels of lead in baby food, a finding that may concern parents. But experts say it's important to stay vigilant about bigger sources of lead poisoning in kids.

Crumbling, peeling paint in older homes is one of the nation's biggest sources of lead exposure. Now there's evidence of another, more minor source of lead exposure in some food produced.

"That included fruit juices; baby fruit juices; root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and some categories of cookies, like arrowroot biscuits and teething cookies,” said Sarah Vogel from the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Environmental Defense Fund explored data from the Food and Drug Administration, finding what it calls "detectable" levels of lead in some baby food — though there's no information about how much or which brands are involved, and some samples had no lead at all.

"Lead can have an impact on the developing brain. It can have consequences later in life when it comes to issues around attention, behavior," said Dr. Aparna Bole, a pediatrician with UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

The FDA says the administration set a maximum daily lead intake of six micrograms, which is being reviewed, saying on its website, "lead is in food because it is in the environment and lead cannot simply be removed from food."

Doctors discourage parents from worrying too much about lead in baby food, saying they can make their own baby food by using local produce when possible and speaking to their pediatricians about the best ways to avoid lead.

"I certainly would not recommend avoiding entire food groups because of a concern about lead exposure," Bole said. "Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies."

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[New Weight Loss Tool Helps People Shed Pounds]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:24:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/weight+loss+balloon.jpg

An FDA-approved, non-surgical weight loss tool is now available to men and women in North Texas hoping to shed more than a few pounds.

The Obalon Balloon System is a swallowable balloon system that inflates inside the person's stomach, keeping them full from overeating.

Patients swallow a pill that contains the balloon, and once inside the stomach, the balloon is filled with nitrogen gas mixture.

Dr. Sachin Kukreja, a bariatric surgeon at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, says the system consists of three balloons swallowed two weeks apart.

"While the balloons are in, they take up about three quarters of the stomach to limit how much people eat and how full they may get," Kukreja said.

All balloons are removed through an upper endoscopy six months after the first balloon is placed.

Eric Wilson swallowed his first balloon two weeks ago and has already lost 10 pounds.

"The so-called 'dad bod' is in full effect, and I want to get rid of that," said Wilson, a father of three.

On average, patients lose about 30 pounds with the balloons, which is Wilson's goal.

He says diet and exercise worked to an extent, but believes the balloon will help him kick junk food to the curb for good.

"I've always kind of fallen off the bandwagon, if you will, so this is kind of a little longer term motivation for me," Wilson said.

He experienced minor stomach cramping in the first few days after the procedure but now says he forgets the balloon is in his stomach.

In studies, 90 percent of patients kept the weight off after the balloons were removed for at least six months, but Kukreja said there's no long-term data available.

"We know it's safe and innovative, but with anything new, we should proceed with caution," he said.

The balloon system is not covered by insurance, costs between $6,000-$7,000 and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Health Care Law Could Cost Nearly 1 Million Jobs: Report]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:14:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-649341364.jpg

The American Health Care Act, the GOP’s answer to Obamacare, could end up costing the U.S. economy close to 1 million jobs, researchers predicted Wednesday.

If the bill passes, it would initially boost jobs and increase economic output, "however, cuts in funding for Medicaid and health subsidies then begin to deepen, triggering sharp job losses and broad disruption of state economies in the following years," said Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research, who led the study team.

Health care jobs are an enormous part of the U.S. economy — making for 18 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product or GDP. Hospitals, clinics, doctors and health care services are major sources of jobs, too.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nail Salon Red Flags: What to Look For]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 14:45:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nail-salon-clean.jpg

If you're one of the thousands of men and women who visit salons in North Texas every day, you likely know there are plenty of places to choose from. But what should you look for when you walk through the doors?

Susan Stanford, an inspector with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, travels across the state making sure cosmetology businesses adhere to state laws. She shared a few tips with NBC 5 Responds about what customers should watch out for.

The first thing you should do when you walk through the door is look for the salon's license, which should be posted in plain site.  Typically, they can be found near the front desk.

“Every salon in Texas should have a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation license," Stanford said. "They can look for the last inspection report, and by looking at that report, they can see if the salon received any violations.”

Stanford recommends doing a walk-through of the entire salon, looking for things like overflowing trash, dirty towels on the floor or furniture in disrepair. If the salon isn't clean or maintained, it's probably not a place you'll want to stay.

“I wouldn't want that type of thing to be in my home. So I don't want it in a salon that I'm having services performed in,” Stanford said.

Also, look closely at the individual pedicure and manicure stations. They should be tidy with no left over nails, spilled polish or filing dust.

“The different implements that are used should be clean and sterilized for just you. The foot spa bowl cleaned after the consumer that's before you. It's supposed to be cleaned between every user,” Stanford explained.

Salons that aren't licensed or up to code could face fines of several thousands of dollars or even be shut down.

Inspections are challenging and, with only 29 inspectors to cover the entire state, the job isn't easy.

“There are some salon owners that have become aggressive with our inspectors -- that in itself is a violation," Stanford said. “It's a team effort to keep people healthy when they're getting a manicure or pedicure."

Stanford said as long as the population of Texas continues to grow, the number of cosmetology salons will also continue to climb.

There are some things you can do before you even set foot in a salon:

Sam's Solutions

• You can visit TDLR’s website to find the most common violations to look out for.
• You should also check online reviews when selecting a new salon.
• And if you have any cuts, an infection or a rash, it's advised that you pass on the salon until you're fully healed to keep everyone safe.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Study: Cannabis Oil Can Dramatically Decrease Seizures]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:19:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Viridiana+Ortega.jpg

There is more proof that some forms of medical marijuana can safely treat certain disorders.

The Food and Drug Administration has published results of an ongoing study that found cannabis oil can dramatically decrease the number of seizures in some epileptic children.

A Fort Worth family, who is part of the trial, says it changed their lives.

Seizures have robbed Viridiana of the ability to talk. She suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, that at one point caused up to 15 seizures a day.

"There was one that lasted like 25 minutes.They had to take her into the hospital by ambulance," Roberto Ortega said.

Dravet Syndrome is often fatal, and the Ortegas have tried every medication to stop the seizures, with no luck.

They've been praying for a miracle, and now there's a possible answer to their prayers.

Dr. M. Scott Perry at Cook Children's Medical Center enrolled Viridiana in the clinical trial for cannabidiol, a compound derived from marijuana plants.

Unlike THC, another derivative of cannibis, cannabidiol – or CBD – doesn't produce a high.

It's been studied before as a treatment for epilepsy with promising results.

"We don't know how it works, to be honest with you. We do know that there are cannabid receptors in the brain, but this drug doesn't seem to interact with the receptors that we know of," Perry said.

Now comes the first hard proof that it can help children with Dravet syndrome, which has no treatment.

During the trial, it stopped seizures in almost half the participants.

"I think its very exciting. Cannabidiol has been a very hot topic throughout its use. This is real the first hard evidence that shows that it can be effective," Perry said.

Viridiana has suffered fewer than three seizures in the last six months.

For the first time in years, she is trying to speak.

"That's amazing for us, you know, see some progress like this," Roberto Ortega said.

The drug is still in the trial phases.

In its December regulatory action, the Drug Enforcement Agency reiterated that CBD is considered an illegal substance.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Treating Sudden Hearing Loss]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 04:13:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Hearing+Loss.jpg

Imagine waking up not being able to hear out of one ear? Sudden hearing loss happens more than you think, and most people mistake it for a head cold. Getting help quickly could save your hearing.

David Alboukrek loves the sounds of nature, but one day he woke up unable to hear out of his left ear.

“(It was a) muffled sound, ringing in my ear,” Alboukrek told Ivanhoe.

At first, he wasn’t sure what was going on.

“You may think you have a cold or it's something that’ll go away,” Alboukrek explained.

But when his hearing did not return, David went to see hearing specialist Mark Widick, MD, an Otolaryngologist, Specialist in Otology and Neurotology at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, North Broward Medical Center and Boca Raton Outpatient Surgery and Laser Center in Boca Raton, Florida.

Dr. Widick says sudden hearing loss affects thousands of people every year and is often misdiagnosed.

“They will diagnose an infection when the hearing loss is not due to infection,” Dr. Widick explained.

If not treated quickly, there could be permanent hearing loss. Doctor Widick says patients need to get an audiogram.

“It's a test of the hearing that is very specific,” Dr. Widick stated.

He says in most cases the blood vessel that feeds the entire hearing system is damaged.

“Once that happens it's like a stroke to the ear,” Dr. Widick emphasized.

His team is now part of an FDA-approved trial testing a new drug, called AM-111, meant to stop the damage and save hearing. But time is of the essence.

“The duration from onset of symptoms is less than 72 hours.” Dr. Widick said.

David did not get the study medication, but was treated with steroids to stop the inflammation. His lesson for others; don’t wait to get help.

“Because it was treated very early on, I was not left with any permanent hearing loss,” Alboukrek said.

Allowing him to enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature once again.

The cause of sudden hearing loss is still not exactly known. In David’s case, he has been told his immune system probably attacked his hearing.

To learn more about the study and find a clinic with details about the drug trial, please visit www.suddendeafness-study.com

<![CDATA[Health Headlines: Drugs Costs & Eating Healthy]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 17:47:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Health_Headlines_Drugs_Costs_and_Eating_Healthy_5p_061217.jpg

There's a vast difference in the cost of prescription drugs in countries with universal health care and a new study finds eating healthier may all be in your mind.