<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 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 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:13:06 -0600 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:13:06 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Voice for Mass. Teen]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:17:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Max+Plansky+112515.jpg

We all have unique voices - with their pitches and their tones, they belong to us.

But for Max Plansky, a Massachusetts teen who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, the voice he uses is not his own.

"I have 'Perfect Pete' on my device because it was the only American male voice on my device," Max said. "I chose it, but there were not many choices."

It's the voice used by many who are non-verbal - and for Max, it's not him.

"I think my voice sounds like my dad's voice," he said.

But Vocal ID, a new technology, is changing that. Founder Rupal Patel has created a way to make a voice just for Max.

"In the case of someone like Max, he never spoke," said Patel. "So it's sort of what he would have sounded like had he been able to control his tongue and lips and so on."

But Max can make a vowel sound - in this case, "ah."

"There are three 'ahs' that he was able to produce in a row for us, which you can hear," said Geoff Meltzner, the director of research and technology for Vocal ID.

"We're taking that sample and mixing it with a matched donor that we find from our database," said Patel. "The matched donor has to be matched in age, in gender, in acoustic quality, and then we bring those two together."

Patel says Max will have his new voice before Christmas of this year - it's a gift both he and father, never thought they'd have.

"It's very emotional. Thank God he can say 'daddy' and some other words," said Michael Plansky. "But for him then to be able to carry on other conversations, and it be in his voice, we just anticipate that we're going to be able to get away from yes-no questions and actually have conversations."

"I do think I will like the way my new voice sounds more," said Max.

Students in Max's hometown are helping out - Danvers High School held a voice drive to contribute to Vocal ID's database.

Students donated about five hours of their weekend to record sentences which will be broken down into sounds to create someone's new voice.

"I love helping people out," said senior Madison Mucci. "Just the thought of changing someone's life is amazing."

Changing someone's life one sentence at a time is a goal that Patel says will be achieved. Her company is growing, and so is the donor database.

This year, Max will be one of the first with a new voice - a trailblazer for what she hopes will, one day, be the norm.

"We wouldn't give a little girl the prosthetic limb of a grown man, so why would we give her the same prosthetic voice? That's exactly what we're doing," said Patel. "There are little girls around the world that are using voices like the Stephen Hawking voice."

So what does she hope for Max?

"I hope he engages more fully in conversations," she said. "I hope he seeks out more communication partners. I hope he seeks out more opportunities to express who he is.

And that's exactly what Max is hoping for, too.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Denton Nurse Helps Save HGTV Star's Life]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 18:59:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/200*120/nurse+read.jpg

Ryan Read is used to life as a nurse in day surgery, but this week she suddenly found herself in the national spotlight for an observation she made more than two years ago.

In 2013, the Denton Regional Medical Center registered nurse was enjoying her day off by watching a marathon of the show Flip or Flop on HGTV.

After several episodes though, she noticed a lump on host Tarek El Moussa's throat that just didn't look right.

"I wasn't looking and don't watch TV to assess people. It just kept catching my eye, and I felt it needed to be brought to his attention," said Read.

So, she emailed the show's producers, and when El Moussa got checked out, he was eventually diagnosed with stage 2 thyroid cancer.

El Moussa, who hosts the show with his wife, has since been treated and is now in remission.

Back in 2013, Read was invited onto the show The Doctors where she got to meet the HGTV hosts personally and said she's even kept in touch with them since.

However, it was a complete surprise when the topic came back up this week.

"Yesterday, I show up to work, no makeup, hair in a ponytail, and 30 minutes into my shift I'm hearing people want to do interviews," said Read.

Apparently spurred by a recent interview, El Moussa's battle with cancer has become a topic of viral discussion over the past several days, and national news organizations, including NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt, began reaching out to Read to hear more about her story.

Caught off guard, Read said her fellow nurses came to her aide by scrapping together hair and makeup supplies to get her camera-ready fast.

She said Wednesday that she's quickly becoming recognized as "THE Ryan" by doctors and co-workers in the halls of the hospital.

Read said she has just tried to have some fun with the attention, though, and that the real important part of the whole story is that El Moussa is healthy today after getting the help he needed.

"I was just doing what nurses do," Read said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Approves New, Boosted Flu Vaccine]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:25:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flue-shot.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new type of flu vaccine called Fluad that uses a compound to help stimulate the patient’s immune system, NBC News reported. 

Fluad contains MF59, an adjuvant made out of an oil-in-water mixture that includes squalene, an oily nutrient produced by the liver, and some preservatives. The vaccine was made specifically for people who are 65 and over.

Seniors are the most vulnerable segment of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimate that 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths are from people in that age group.

U.S. government officials have been cautious about using MF59 in vaccines because so many Americans are fearful of vaccines — and especially of new ingredients. But they are widely used in Europe and Canada. Fluad has been in use since 1997 and the FDA says it's been shown to be safe.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Flesh-Eating Bacteria Fight]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:44:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/giancarlo+gil+flesh+eating+bacteria+recovery+1124+2.jpg

The mother of a San Diego-area teenager fighting for his life against a flesh-eating bacteria thanked the community Tuesday for their support, saying the family was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love. 

"You really don't realize what an impact you have on people's lives until you go through something major like this," mother Silvia Gil said. "And it's just amazing how we were overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support with family and friends."

Giancarlo Gil, 14, a Chula Vista High School freshman has undergone more than 11 surgeries at Rady Children's Hospital after complaining of pain in his calf Saturday, Sept. 26 after playing baseball. His condition quickly changed and Gil was taken to urgent care and then to the emergency room.

Only once he was admitted and authorities treated him for shock and other immediate issues did doctors realize the extent of the swelling and injury to his tissue. 

John Bradley, a Pediatric Infectious Disease doctor, said the teen contracted a strain of Group A Strep that ate through his tissues and destroyed blood vessels and nerves. 

"Unlike regular strep, which just causes local inflammation, the flesh eating strep that was the cause of his infection, just ate through the tissues destroying blood vessels and nerves, allowing the strep to spread very, very quickly," said Bradley.

Surgeons performed a series of surgeries on the young teen, taking out only what they needed to take out, but at one point, two orthopedic surgeons discovered all of the muscle in his lower leg had died. 

Doctors originally amputated the teen's leg to the knee and then days later the leg had to be amputated all the way up to his groin.

Throughout the entire process, Gil said the family has leaned on their faith and the overwhelming support of their family and friends.

"It's been a rough two months, needless to say. That's definite," she said. "But definitely we want to thank God, first and foremost. We are family of faith, and we know that our faith is the one thing that has truly sustained us throughout this whole ordeal."

Though the Giancarlo has been in the hospital for two months, his mother says it's "seemed like we've been here for two years."

She is thankful for everyone that has gone to donate blood for Giancarlo while he was losing a lot of blood, for those that offered prayers and for those that offered their love and support. 

"It's just amazing to look back and to see how quickly my son has truly recovered. It's unbelievable," the mother said. 

"I can never say thank you enough," she said. 

Bradley said the parents did the right thing, bringing him into the ER. 

"I told mom and dad if they had waited even six hours more, he would have died," Bradley said.

Photo Credit: Gil Family]]>
<![CDATA[Latest Beauty Trend Boasts Younger-Looking Eyes]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:45:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/colored+contacts.jpg

Contact lenses can change your eye color – even transform your appearance – and now, a new lens is promising to make you look younger.

Contact lens brand Acuvue's new "Define" beauty lens aims to "hide" the aging process that affects the dark circle around the iris of the eye.

The dark ring is called the limbal ring and as we get older, it fades and becomes less defined.

"It's part of the natural aging process. It's kind of like getting grey hair," said Dr. Sylvia Hargrave, chief of ophthalmology at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

A 2011 study out of the University of California at Irvine found the bigger and blacker the limbal ring, the more attractive the eyes.

Psychologists say people unconsciously judge how young someone is based on the size and shade of their limbal rings.

The "Define" lens line gives the wearer bigger, more defined, vibrant eyes by covering up the aging limbal ring, but doctors warn consumers should weigh the risks before wearing contacts lenses for cosmetic purposes.

Risks include infections that could lead to permanent damage to the cornea, if lenses aren't used properly.

Wearers should also purchase lenses from reputable retailers.

"There are many sites out there that won't require a prescription, and those sites you have to be very skeptical about because the contact lenses may not be FDA-approved," said Hargrave. "I've seen some patients that have purchased Halloween contacts online without a prescription. They ended up with a severe fungal infection and almost lost the eye."

To obtain the beauty lenses the proper way, you must see an eye professional for an exam and a prescription, even if you don't need contact lenses with vision correctness, called plano (non-prescription).

"It's very, very important to make sure you get a prescription and make sure whoever you're buying it from requires a prescription," said Hargrave.

A 30-day supply costs around $40 at most major retailers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Skunk Found in Bedford Tests Positive for Rabies]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:31:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/skunk3.jpg

Bedford Animal Control says a skunk found deceased Monday has tested positive for rabies.

The skunk was tested at the Texas Department of State Health Services laboratory in Austin.

It may have had contact with a resident's dog in the area of Cedar Grove Lane, officials said.

Bedford officials urge pet owners to make sure their dogs and cats are up to date with their shots, especially if they spend time outdoors. They say this is the first line of defense to human infection.

Symptoms of rabies include, but are not limited to: lethargy, fever, vomiting, full or partial paralysis, seizures, excessive salivation, aggression, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and any other abnormal behavior.

Anyone who believes they observed or came in contact with an animal that may be rabid should call Bedford p at 817-952-2127 or the Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control Program at 512-776-7255.

Photo Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Modified Mosquitos Block Malaria]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:00:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-AP_432922569679.jpg

Southern California scientists have created a genetically modified batch of mosquitoes capable of blocking malaria, a development that could help eradicate the disease, UC San Diego officials announced Monday.

Biologists at UC San Diego worked with their colleagues at UC Irvine used a gene editing technique to modify the mosquitoes, which can then quickly introduce the modified genes into the general population. By inserting a DNA element using the Crispr method, researchers found that 99.5 percent of the offspring would have the malaria-preventing gene.

“This opens up the real promise that this technique can be adapted for eliminating malaria,” said Anthony James, Distinguished Professor of molecular biology & biochemistry and microbiology & molecular genetics at UCI, in a statement.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms usually include fever, chills and a flu-like illness, and if left untreated, the patient may die. Annually, 300 to 500 million cases occur each year, the CDC says, and more than 40 percent of the world’s population lives in at-risk areas for developing the disease. 

James has spent 20 years researching and engineering anti-disease mosquitoes in the James Lab. 

Researchers collaborated to fuse two previous ideas by UC San Diego biologists Ethan Bier and Valentino Gantz with James’ mosquito theory to create the method. Scientists inserted a Cas9 enzyme, which cuts DNA, and a guide RNA to create a genetic “cassette”. By targeting a specific spot of the DNA’s germ line, they were able to insert an anti-malaria antibody.

Though further testing is needed to confirm that the antibodies are efficient, James said, this step could lead to field studies in the future.

“This is a significant first step,” said James in a statement. “We know the gene works. The mosquitoes we created are not the final brand, but we know this technology allows us to efficiently create large populations.”

The research may also have a larger impact on the field when it comes to ‘active genetic’ systems, Bier said.

The study appeared in an early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nijole Jasinskiene, Olga Tatarenkova, Aniko Fazekas and Vanessa Macias of UCI contributed to the study, which was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the W.M. Keck Foundation and a gift from Drs. Sarah Sandell and Michael Marshall.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Therapy Center Expands Denton County Autism Help]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 17:10:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/autism+center.jpg

In just a few weeks ABC Pediatrics will hold their grand opening in Flower Mound, but already the therapy center is looking at expansion as the disorder reaches new heights in the US.

"In the late 80s early 90s it was 1 in 10,000," said Managing Partner Barbara Cravey. "Now we're faced with 1 in 68 or 1 in 45 depending on which survey you go by."

Cravey hopes the center in the Parker Square development of Flower Mound can help some of those families get the support they need.

Like many, they’re trying to give a comprehensive approach to autism therapy that hits heavily on sensory work along with speech and learning programs.

More centers like Cravey’s are trying to expand closer to home for patients to make care easier to obtain.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[UnitedHealth May Withdraw From Obamacare]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 00:15:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/UnitedHealth-AP_580078387860.jpg

Experts are divided over Thursday’s news that the No. 1 U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, might withdraw from health exchanges mandated by so-called Obamacare legislation, NBC News reported.

The company lowered its earnings forecast for 2015, and expects to lose $275 million on its exchange business next year.

Critics of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, said the news pointed to a flawed system that could trigger the withdrawal by other insurers, while advocates blamed the insurer’s late, tentative entry into the market for the company’s financial stumble.

Fewer enrolled are signing up for health insurance through the exchanges. Experts say insurers taking part in the exchanges can’t break even, and customers may see premiums climb, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Will Nation's Top Health Insurer Kill Obamacare?]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 02:19:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Obamacare-Website-AP_249581118509.jpg

Thursday's news that the No. 1 U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, might withdraw from the health insurance exchanges mandated by so-called Obamacare legislation divided experts into two camps. 

On one side were critics of the Affordable Care Act, the proper name of the 2010 federal legislation, who said the news pointed to a fundamentally flawed system put in place by the law and could trigger a flight for the exits by other insurers, NBC News reported.

On the other were advocates of the law and efforts to execute its policies, who blamed UnitedHealth's late, tentative entry into the market for the company's financial stumble.

UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley stirred up the somewhat-dormant debate over Obamacare on Thursday by announcing that the company was lowering its earnings forecast for 2015 from between $6.25 and $6.35 a share to $6 a share for the year and expects to lose $275 million on its exchange business next year.

Experts say that, in terms of the numbers, UnitedHealth dropping out wouldn't be huge. Exchange enrollees comprise less than 5 percent of UnitedHealth's business, Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch said in a research note.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Heroin Vaccine Research]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2015 16:49:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Generic+Heroin+Needles.jpg

 Recovering addicts may have a new tool helping them stay on track as a heroin vaccine enters a preclinical phase. 

The National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) awarded researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) the prestigious Translational Avant-Garde Award. The award’s two year, $1.6 million grant will fund preclinical studies for a potential heroin vaccine. There is a possible additional three years of funding attached to the award.

Heroin use and heroin overdose deaths have been growing across the country and law enforcement seizures of heroin have nearly doubled in the past five years. 

“There are a lot of people and families affected by heroin addiction,” said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI, in a statement. Janda will lead the new project.

Here’s how the vaccine works: it trains the immune system’s antibodies to spot and bind to heroin molecules. By doing so, the vaccine stops the brain from reaching a high by blocking the drug’s active products. Scientists believe that without the high, recovering drug addicts will be way less likely to relapse. Janda and his fellow researchers developed the vaccine in 2013.

In the next phase of the process, TSRI researchers will be working with collaborators from Virginia Commonwealth University and Molecular Express, Inc. to test, refine and optimize the manufacturing processes.

Janda said he hopes he can develop a similar vaccine for other abused opioid drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

After this phase, the vaccine may head to clinical trials and potential approval later down the road from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

<![CDATA[Cow Cloning From Carcasses]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:24:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2015-11-20-16h22m56s123.jpg West Texas A&M University researchers in Canyon take a dead cell from a specific kind of cow, and from it, clone several other, brand-new healthy cows. KAMR-TV's Veronica Dietrich reports.

Photo Credit: KAMR-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Rolls Out On-Demand Flu Vaccinations]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 03:08:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/UberFlu-Health+Photos+3.jpg

Haven't gotten your flu shot yet?

Between long work hours, household responsibilities, errands and child care, making a trip to the doctor's office or local pharmacy for that flu shot doesn't seem too appealing, especially for non-emergency care.

Uber wants to make it easier for you to roll up your sleeve and get the shot by closing the excuse gap this year. After the success of last year’s “house calls,” the ride-sharing service is again offering on-demand flu shots around the country.

“Convenience and delivery method are both key components of many people’s decision of whether or not to get a flu shot,” the company said on its website.

On Thursday, between the hours of 11 a.m and 3 p.m., Uber will deliver flu shots in 35 cities around the country. All you need is your Uber app and choose the UberHealth option to find the location near you. Once there, vaccines will be given by a registered nurse.

The flu is a preventable virus which affects 20 percent of the population. But less than 50 percent of adults ever get a flu shot, according to Uber.

Flu viruses circulate at higher levels between October and May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends everyone over six months of age get the flu shot. But those who are at a higher risk for developing the flu — children under five, adults over 65 years of age and pregnant women — are urged to get vaccinated.

As many as 49,000 people have died in flu seasons between 1976 and 2007. The highest number of flu-related deaths — between 80 and 90 percent — occurred in people 65 years and older in recent flu seasons.

If you can't use UberHealth to get your flu shot, you can find a vaccine provider near you here.

Photo Credit: Alyssa Greenberg]]>
<![CDATA[NIH's Last 50 Chimpanzees Are Retiring]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 05:18:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ChimpsAP_421866916958.jpg

The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that the last 50 chimpanzees set aside for federal medical research will be retired, NBC News reported.

The chimpanzees, which are kept at three facilities in Texas and New Mexico, will be gradually sent to Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana.

No one's applied to use the chimpanzees for almost three years and it appears there is no pressing need to study the apes, the closest genetic relative to humans, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins said.

"There will be no more federally supported research done on chimpanzees. The benefits of that appear to be negligible," Collins told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Photo Credit: AP Images for The Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Study Helps Women Battling Skin Condition]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:27:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/melasma-telemundo-111715_1200x675_568808515930.jpg

Due to pregnancy many women develop a condition called melasma, a skin problem that causes dark pigmentation of the skin. For many of them the change is drastic.

These women could be eligible to participate in a research study UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas that has already shown great results.

Francisca Ramirez has been dealing with feelings of shame for the last 17 years. Her distress is caused by the brown patches that started appearing on her nose and then took over her face.

She suffers from a severe melasma case.

"I felt like the ugliest of them all, because even when I wanted to wear makeup I knew that the darkness was there," Ramirez said, in Spanish.

Dr. Amit Pandya is a dermatology specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

"Melasma is a pigmentation that affects many Latin women. It is a disease that causes a skin pigmentation on the cheeks, the forehead, the chin and the upper lip," Pandya said, in Spanish.

According to Pandya, melasma can be caused by hormonal changes in women, especially due to pregnancy.

"After the baby is born most notice that melasma goes away. However, the women that come to my clinic are those that develop melasma after the last baby – many years later, for example – at 30 or 32 years old, and it lasts until menopause. It is a chronic problem," Pandya said.

To be able to go on with her life Ramirez had to get used to the patches. She wanted to see her face clean, she said, but instead her condition worsened to the point that she felt like she was wearing a face mask.

"Melasma affects the quality of life of many women in several different areas. For example, their relationship with their husband, their ability to look for a job, their self-esteem, their emotional life, many different areas," Pandya said.

Traditionally melasma has been treated with facial creams and sunscreens. However, UT Southwestern is working on the first study among Hispanic patients to examine the effects of a drug that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with severe menstrual periods.

Ramirez decided to participate in the study. She has to take a daily dose of the medicine and once a month she has to visit with the doctor.

Photos taken before and after starting the treatment reveal the change in her complexion.

"I feel more self-confident, confident that my face is going to clean up," she said.

Most of the dark patches have gone away, her self-esteem has improved and finally her life has started to get back to normal.

The treatment offered at UT Southwestern is free. To find out if you are eligible to participate, call 214-645-8968 and be sure to leave your name and phone number.

For more information on the study, visit the UT Southwestern website.

<![CDATA[Home Abortions Rise After Texas Law Closes Clinics: Study]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:50:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-2758562.jpg

A Texas law aimed at restricting abortions, which took effect in 2013, has led to more women trying to end a pregnancy on their own, while the number of clinical procedures in the state has declined, according to a study released on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 women aged 18 to 49 in Texas have tried to self-induce abortion since the law went into effect, using such methods as herbs, teas and medications obtained in Mexico without prescription. The study showed that poor women bear the brunt of the law.

"This important new research paints an alarming picture of what the future may be like for women across the country if the Supreme Court does not block this cruel law," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Offers Free Flu Vaccines]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:12:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flue-shot.jpg

As the flu threat rises in North Texas, Dallas County Health and Human Services offers free flu vaccines.

The seasonal flu vaccine is free for all uninsured and low-income Dallas County residents.

Seasonal vaccines for adults are available at the DCHHS headquarters in the 2300 block of North Stemmons Freeway. Vaccines for children are available at any county immunization clinic.

Clinic hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, call 214-819-2162.

DCHHS director Zachary Thompson said 51 people have already tested positive for the flu, seven of which had to be hospitalized.

"We have not received any reports of flu-related deaths, but we know the virus is circulating in the community," he said.

There were 3 child and 55 adult flu-related deaths in Dallas County during the 2013-14 flu season and 19 adult deaths last season, according to a DCHHS news release.

"The flu vaccine is the best form of protection against the flu virus, which is why we are encouraging everyone to get the vaccine if they haven't already," DCHHS Medical Director Dr. Christopher Perkins said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Woman Aims to Brighten Cancer Patients' Visits]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 09:20:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rooms+that+rock+2.jpg

When it comes to directions, taking a left where you normally take a right, can lead to some unexpected places.

During a routine visit to her doctor's office six years ago Nancy Ballard took such a turn, and hasn't turned back since.

"I didn't think it would grow this large," the 64-year-old from San Francisco said.

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The left turn Ballard took back then lead to a chemotherapy treatment room, a place Ballard says she had, thankfully, never been to before.

She wasn't impressed with what she saw. It was drab, depressing, and lifeless.

"As an artist and as a person, it just hurt me that it was that horrible and that ugly," Ballard said.

Though not an interior designer, Ballard vowed to renovate the room.

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"When I saw that room and I knew what people had to go through in there, it kind of clicked," Ballard said. "I wouldn't want to be there on a good day let alone a day that I was fighting for my life."

With the help of other designers Ballard found willing to donate their time, she made-over that room and two others in her doctor's office. She didn't stop there.

Ballard has since gone on to found a non-profit, Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo, that does nothing but update and beautify spaces where cancer patients, and those who care for them, spend the many hours the treatment requires.

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Since 2009, Ballard and her team have renovated more than 150 rooms in 15 different facilities. The spaces RTR4C have touched are used for more than 800,000 patient visits each year.

This past weekend they made over three rooms at San Francisco's St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

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The rooms were dedicated on Monday with the help of former San Francisco Giant, and cancer survivor, Dave Dravecky.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Texas Dogs Infected With Deadly Parasite]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:35:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/kissing+bug+chagas.JPG

An NBC 5 investigation found hundreds of dogs in Texas are infected with the deadly parasite that causes Chagas disease.

For months, NBC 5 Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman teamed up with The Dallas Morning News’ Dr. Seema Yasmin to investigate a hidden threat known as The Kissing Bug, which has infected at least a dozen people in Texas.

In Texas the disease has infected family pets; prized hunting dogs and even military K-9’s that protect U.S. troops. Right now, no one seems to know exactly how many more dogs could be at risk.

Meet Kiska, a Japanese Spitz, a rare dog breed kept alive with a pacemaker.

“My husband called me and said Kiska fell over,” said Cora Fortin, who at the time lived in Plano.

Kiska kept collapsing. A vet in Plano said Kiska’s only hope was a pacemaker operation at Texas A&M in College Station.

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“She was passing out all the way down there, so we didn’t know if she would make it,” said Fortin.

Kiska survived but what caused her heart to fail was a bigger surprise. It was Chagas disease, caused by a rare parasite transmitted by kissing bugs.

Chagas is usually found in tropical climates of Mexico, South and Central America. But cases of locally transmitted Chagas disease have not been documented in Texas until more recently.

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Fortin wants people to know dogs can get this disease in Collin County. But it’s not just there.

All over the state there are cases of dogs getting sick with Chagas, many of them showing up for treatment at the Texas A&M Veterinary School.

“I diagnosed a little Yorkie that lived in Downtown Dallas not too long ago, so yes, it’s everywhere,” said Dr. Ashley Saunders, a veterinary cardiologist with Texas A&M.

In some cases the dogs are so sick there’s no saving them.

“I think we shock a lot of people and I think it’s one of the hardest things for me is we have some clients who come in and they have no idea the disease even exists,” said Saunders.

Researchers at Texas A&M tested dogs at animal shelters statewide and found many shelter dogs have Chagas.

“The study that just wrapped up, about 10 percent of dogs across the state were infected,” said Sarah Hamer, Texas A&M researcher.

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Officially the Texas Department of State Health Services reports 351 dogs with Chagas since the state began tracking it two years ago.

Tom Sidwa, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said there’s no doubt Chagas will grow and kill more dogs in the state.

However, it’s hard to estimate the total number of dogs infected because many dogs are never tested.

“So many of the dogs seen are young dogs that are just really hit hard by the disease … and sometimes, sudden death,” said Sidwa.

It’s already killed U.S. Military working dogs in Texas.

At Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, about 70 military working dogs have been infected in the last nine years.

Bomb, drug and patrol dogs train at Lackland to serve with U.S. troops all over the world.

“When one of these dogs become sick, and for any reason can’t do its job that’s a major loss because that whole team is taken out they’re not able to perform their mission,” Col. Cheryl Sofaly, Director of the DOD Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base.

Some dogs with Chagas are still working, but ones that develop more serious symptoms are retired from service.

“If they’ve got heart disease that makes it very hard for them to do that job effectively,” said Sofaly.

Losing a military dog is expensive. It costs about $20,000 to train each one.

When Chagas first surfaced here in 2006, military veterinarians worked to track down the source.

A search of the base turned up bugs in and around kennels where the dogs sleep.

Dogs that sleep outside and hunting dogs are more likely to be infected. The bugs like wooded areas and bite at night. Because dogs sometimes eat infected bugs it may be even easier for them to become infected than people.

That’s how the Fortin’s suspect Kiska got sick.

“One day she brought this strange looking insect into the house,” said Fortin.

Before they could snatch it away, she ate it.

Recently, Kiska has developed more symptoms including an enlarged heart.

“We just really don’t know what’s going to happen next,” said Fortin.

There’s no cure, so the Fortin’s appreciate every day.

“She’s totally a member of the family and we will be devastated when the day comes we lose her,” said Fortin.

At Lackland, the military has been able to reduce the number of new cases of Chagas by putting up screens around the kennels and by treating the areas with pesticides, but they are still seeing about 4-5 new cases a year in dogs.

To protect your pets, veterinarians suggest keeping them indoors late at night and don’t let them sleep outside.

Keep piles of wood and brush away from your home and any area where small animals might nest will attract the bugs.

If your dog coughs, has shortness of breath and has fainting spells, it’s worth asking your vet about Chagas.

You can read more about this from Dr. Seema Yasmin in Tuesday’s edition of The Dallas Morning News -- and online at DallasNews.com.


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: HIV Prevention]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 12:34:23 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Yasmin+Truvada+111817.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses Truvada, a medication that can help reduce HIV transmission.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tyson Recalls Over 52,000 Pounds of Cooked Chicken Wings]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 11:01:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/tyson-anytizers-recall.jpg

Tyson Foods Inc. is recalling about 52,486 pounds of chicken wing products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Tuesday.

Consumers who contacted Tyson Foods Inc. complained that "Any'tizers Fully Cooked Hot Wings, Chicken Wing Sections Coated with Flavorful Hot, Tangy Sauce" had an "off-odor" scent.

The USDA said the product may be adulterated because of having the scent. 

The problem was discovered when Tyson Foods Inc. received consumer complaints of odor as well as mild illness associated with consumption. The USDA has categorized the chicken recall as a class II recall, which indicates that there's low health risk to consumers.

"We're still investigating into what caused the odor," Derek Burleson, public relations manager for Tyson Foods Inc. said.

The fully cooked buffalo style chicken wing section item sold in 28-ounce bags was produced on Oct. 24, 2015 and Oct. 25, 2015. The items have the use by/sell by dates of Oct. 24, 2016 and Oct. 25, 2016. 

Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them. The products, sold nationwide, should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Consumers can contact Tyson's Consumer Relations department at 866-328-3156.

Photo Credit: USDA]]>
<![CDATA[Engineers Make Girl New Hand]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 23:05:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/crop-sophie-top.jpg

Engineers from UC Berkeley are using their genius to lend a helping hand – literally.

Researchers at the school’s CITRIS lab are working hard to create low-cost, customizable prosthetics made from 3-D printers, according to the engineering department’s magazine. For an 8-year-old girl named Sophie, their work means that she’ll finally be able to climb the monkey bars at school.

Sophie was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition which interrupts the normal development of finger bones. The condition affects an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 babies every year and can severely interfere with a child’s ability to partake in playtime activities.

When engineer and recent graduate Daniel Lim heard Sophie’s story from Chris Myers, a lab manager, he immediately knew he wanted to help.

"I studied engineering for the past five years, and I thought this is the first project where I can directly improve someone’s life," Lim told the magazine. "When I saw Sophie’s picture, I wanted to do this."

So, Lim and Myers worked together to take measurements of Sophie’s hand and design the prosthetic. She also had a say in its design, according to Myers.

"If she gets to help design it, then it’s hers and she’ll have a sense of ownership, and it won’t just be a fancy version of a store-bought version that we made in the lab," Myers told the engineering magazine. ‘I’m a big proponent of getting kids involved with technology at a young age, so they can know more about how their world works."

In order to keep costs low, they used parts printed from the same material as Legos. Though far less durable than the typical $10,000 to $40,000 prosthetic, this meant that Sophie’s new hand could cost less than $10 to make – a potential game changer for families who may not be able to afford much more.

Though Sophie has not yet been able to master the monkey bars, she did pull off a few cartwheels with her lab-made prosthetic, her mother said.

Lim told the magazine that he plans on continuing his research into prosthetics, perhaps even for a Ph.D.

"In the end," he told the magazine, "we want Sophie to be able to do the monkey bars."

Photo Credit: Adriel Olmos/CITRIS]]>
<![CDATA[Hidden Threat: The Kissing Bug and Chagas Disease]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 22:18:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kissing-bug-chagras.jpg

State health officials tell NBC 5 Investigates Kissing Bugs have infected at least a dozen Texans with a parasite that causes Chagas disease, a disease typically found in the tropics.

The large bugs are turning up all over the state and research is showing most of them carry a parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which doctors describe as a silent killer. A person could be infected for years and not know until more serious symptoms set in.

Many Texas researchers are concerned, but statements from the federal government seem to barely acknowledge people are being infected here.

For four months NBC 5 Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman teamed up with The Dallas Morning News’ Dr. Seema Yasmin to investigate the risks and what’s being done to protect people in Texas.

“I’ve never left the United States. I’ve never even been on a cruise,” said Candace Stark, who said she has no doubt she was infected here in Texas.

Stark, who lives in LaGrange, about an hour from Austin, found out she had Chagas after donating blood in 2013.

A month later, the blood bank sent her a letter saying routine screening found her blood tested positive for Trypanosoma cruzi -- the parasite which causes Chagas disease. Chagas often starts with flu-like symptoms but in some patients can lead to life-threatening heart problems and even death.

A second blood test form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Stark had the parasite in her body.

“I was scared. I was really scared, because everything I read about it was about your heart and what it would do to you,” said Stark.

Her doctors barely even heard of Chagas. It’s common in South and Central America, including Mexico, but not here in Texas.

The parasite is spread by kissing bugs, insects that get their name because they typically bite at night, on the face and lips.

The details of how they infect people aren’t pretty. It happens when the bug leaves its feces near the bite, which may itch and gets scratched, driving the feces under the skin and into the bloodstream.

Prior to learning she had been infected, Stark said she had never heard of The Kissing Bug and that she didn’t remember being bitten.

Months after her diagnosis, she found a clue about where she may have been infected. At her parent’s ranch in LaGrange, where she had spent many nights, she found a bug in a closet.

She sent the bug to Texas A&M where researchers confirmed it was a kissing bug that contained the parasite.

That lab is now receiving kissing bugs from all over the state.

“During peak season, we get bugs sent to us every day, multiple packages and every package can have one to 10 bugs, or even more,“ said Texas A&M researcher, Sarah Hamer.

Hamer has a website that asks people to send in the bugs so her team can track where people are finding them in Texas.

Most of the kissing bugs A&M receives come from South Central Texas. But as word has spread, bugs have come in from places much farther north around Austin, the area around Waco and all the way up to the DFW area. Kissing bugs have been found in most counties in North Texas including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.

“What we’re receiving here in my research lab is just the tip of the iceberg of the bugs that are out there active and established across the state,” said Hamer.

Ed Wozniak, a researcher with the Texas Department of State Health, launched his own search for kissing bugs.

He was surprised by the number he’s been able to find.

“I was shocked by it. I never anticipated being able to get anything close to that,” said Wozniak.

Over three years he expected to find about 50 or 100 bugs. Instead, he found about 500 in south Texas neighborhoods.

“Most of my collection was focused around houses, and that’s what’s alarming,” said Wozniak.

Near houses, the bugs are more likely to come into close contact with people.

Wozniak said kissing bugs have been here for decades, but believes people are seeing them more often because more Texas suburbs are being developed on what was once untamed, rural land where the bugs can thrive.

Adding to that concern, researchers at Baylor Medical Schools in Houston have found most of the kissing bugs found in Texas are infected with the Chagas parasite. More concerning, when they test the bugs in a lab most of them have human blood in their bellies showing they’ve already bitten people.

Kristy Murray, a researcher with Baylor Medical School, said the number of bugs that had already bitten people was as high as 66 percent.

“About 60-ish percent were actually positive for Chagas as well. So we find positive bugs feeding on people,” said Murray.

Murray believes the situation is serious enough that all Texans need to be aware of and know exactly what the bugs look like.

But when NBC 5 Investigates asked state and federal health officials if Chagas is a big concern in Texas they seem to provide different answers.

“We do know it’s an emerging threat. We do know it’s of concern,” said Tom Sidwa, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

But in a satellite interview, a top CDC official, Dr. Sue Montgomery, seemed to downplay the situation in Texas.

“There certainly is growing awareness, but it’s hard to say that it’s an emerging health risk,” said Montgomery.

In some of the CDC’s public education materials you get little sense that Chagas is a threat to anyone in Texas. One CDC Chagas “fact sheet” has a long list of countries where people are at a “greater risk,” but there’s no mention of cases here.

When asked if it would be worth mentioning that people in Texas had contracted the disease locally, Montgomery said that in their printed and online materials they do say there have been a few cases of Chagas acquired in the United States.

But it’s more than just a few cases, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Records show the state suspects there are at least 12 cases where people contracted the disease in Texas since the state starting tracking Chagas two years ago.

Sidwa said there is so much that remains unknown that it’s tough to say if Chagas can gain a foothold in Texas.

The CDC said it knows people have contracted Chagas in Texas, but wants to see more research in the state before publishing more specific risk information.

“I think it's a question that needs a lot more study and the group out of Baylor in Houston is looking at exactly that. What are the risks for acquiring Chagas disease in Texas,” said Montgomery.

That group at Baylor is led by Dr. Peter Hotez, one of the world’s leading experts on tropical diseases.

“I think we are just now beginning to comprehend the full magnitude of this Chagas disease problem,” said Hotez.

He feared the number of local Chagas cases could grow. In poor neighborhoods in cities like Dallas or Houston, homes often have no screens on windows which allow bugs to enter at night.

But that’s not the only place people are at risk.

“We're even seeing this among some of the hunters and campers in Texas as well. So it's not only a disease of poverty -- Chagas disease,” said Hotez.

Hotez said no one really knows how many people have been infected here, because most with Chagas live for years without knowing they have been infected.

Initial symptoms are like the flu. It’s not until decades later that about one-third of patients develop serious heart or stomach problems.

Candace Stark heart is not showing any life-threatening symptoms, so far. She’s already taken a course of medication to treat Chagas, but there’s no way to know for sure what will happen.

Stark said she lives with the worry about what may come from the disease as more time passes.

“I worry about that every day. I worry about when it does happen -- if it does happen,” Stark said.

She decided only recently to speak out because she wants Texans to know this bug is here.

“I would tell them this is not a disease that is just in other countries anymore. It's now in the United States,” said Stark.

Researchers told NBC 5 Investigates people who live near a wooded area may be at higher risk and that they should avoid stacking wood around the home as the bugs like to hide in wood piles. Also, make sure there’s nothing near the house where small animals, like rats, may nest since they, too, attract bugs.

Standard pest control treatments seem to have an effect on the bugs, but not always because the bugs can fly over insecticide ground-based barriers.

Anyone who believes they have found a kissing bug can send it to Texas A&M for testing using instructions on their website. The site also describes precautions for collecting the bugs safely:

If you find kissing bugs in your home or suspect you have been bitten health officials suggest you contact your doctor or the Texas Department of State Health Services to discuss testing for the parasite.

You can read more about this from Dr. Seema Yasmin in Tuesday’s edition of The Dallas Morning News -- and online at DallasNews.com.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Daily Pills Protect People Against HIV: Study]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 20:58:49 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_120510048917.jpg

People who took a daily pill to protect against HIV were protected aganist the virus but caught other sexually transmitted diseases through unprotected sex, researchers reported on Monday. 

Over a four-year study, only two out of about 500 participants, all at high risk for getting the virus, got infected with HIV, the team reported to the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Each volunteer was given a free supply of Truvada, the pill that's been shown in other studies to protect uninfected people from the virus. It's called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. 

Out of the 437 participants who stuck with the study over four years, most did not stop their high-risk behaviors like anal sex without condoms.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Baby's Struggle Leads to Two Deserving Donations]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 17:40:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Finn-Blumenthal.jpg

Stephanie and Brett Parker, founders of the swaddle line Zipadee Zip, presented checks to two deserving entities: The Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Blumenthal Family of Virginia.

Kelly Blumenthal's unborn child was diagnosed with a heart abnormality and wasn't expected to survive past birth.

During the pregnancy, Kelly reached out to the Parkers after purchasing one of their swaddles.

"The original reason why I reached out to them was to tell them what a fantastic experience I had purchasing the zippee for the first time with my first son Mason," says Kelly.

"I was letting them know that we were going to be purchasing a second one with the new baby, but then later, I wanted to let them know that unfortunately, we may not be able to purchase a second because of his condition," she adds.

Kelly's story touched the Parkers, who had lost a baby years ago.

"I think it's one thing to see people on the street or people in general who need help. It's another thing when you see a child," says Brett Parker. "We felt it was only right for us to do what we could because we're in a position to help."

The Parkers' Sleeping Baby Company created a campaign online that rallied up the support and prayers of thousands for Finn Blumenthal, who survived birth.

Sleeping Baby also developed a swaddle transition blanket in Finn's honor.

"Our fans supported him in such a unique way and all the people that loved on him and prayed on him really had an impact," says Stephanie Parker.

Proceeds from each sale of the Finn swaddle go towards Finn's medical bills.

Ten percent of sales is donated to the Ronald McDonald House, which provided temporary housing for the Blumenthals while Finn received medical treatment.

Last week, the Parkers presented a $3,500 check to the Blumenthal family and a $10,000 check to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

"I don't think that when we created the little Zipadee Zip for our little girl, that we ever thought that we could touch someone in another state, across the country and eventually touch so many people through this little boy Finn. I think we are humbled," says Stephanie.

"I never thought it would end up to where it is today but I am so blessed and grateful," says Kelly.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the campaign.

Photo Credit: SleepingBaby.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Survey Method Finds More Kids With Autism]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 06:35:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Autism-AP_197615588239.jpg


A new government survey finds that more than 2 percent of U.S. kids have been diagnosed with autism — or 1 in 45 children aged 3 and older, NBC News reported. 


That seems like a startling increase from the last estimate of 1 in 68 kids.

But the researchers are quick to point out that the latest survey was done in a new way, asking parents different questions about their kids and any diagnosis of autism. They say it's probably the most accurate estimate yet, and stress that it almost certainly doesn't show some big increase in autism actually occurring among children.

Instead, they say, it's clear that doctors are changing the way they diagnose autism, and that parents are far more likely than in years past to seek a diagnosis for their kids.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SpaghettiOs Recalled Due to Choking Hazard]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 05:57:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SpaghettiOs-Recall-111215.jpg

The Campbell Soup Company is voluntarily recalling 355,000 cans of SpaghettiOs due to a potential choking hazard.

Campbells said pieces of red plastic from the can lining have been found in a small number of cans.

The affected 14.2 ounce SpaghettiOs Original product has a date of February 22, 2017 stamped on the base of the can, and a UPC of 51000 22432 printed under the bar code.

The issue was identified after the company received consumer complaints.

The recall is limited to the United States.

Campbell Soup Company apologizes for the inconvenience and says the product should not be eaten.

People who have bought the affected product should return it to the store where it was purchased for an exchange or full refund.

For more information call 1-866-535-3774 between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, Monday to Friday or visit Facebook.com/SpaghettiOs.

Photo Credit: Campbell Soup Company]]>
<![CDATA[Halo Recalls Sensitive Cat Food Over Reports of Mold]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 17:18:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Halo-Recall-111215.jpg

Halo, Purely for Pets is voluntarily recalling its Spot's Stew Wholesome Turkey Recipe Sensitive Formula for Cats due to reports of mold.

The product, sold in 6 lb. and 3 lb. bags is stamped with "Best By 09/04/2016" and UPC 745158350231 and 745158340232.

Halo is also telling retailers to pull the product from shelves.

Consumers should stop feeding their pets the kibble and return the remaining portion to any Halo retailer for a full refund or replacement, the company said.

Halo said that while some pets can ingest mold without incident, others may experience digestive issues. Consumers should consult their veterinarian if their cat gets sick.

Halo, Purely for Pets is sold at Petco, Sprouts, Whole Foods and other pet specialty and natural food stores.

For more information, contact Halo Customer Care at 800-426-4256 Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CST, or email customers@halopets.com.

Photo Credit: HaloPets.com]]>
<![CDATA[Trader Joe's Recalls Butternut Squash Pasta]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 17:26:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Trader-Joes-Pasta-Recall-11.jpg

Trader Joe's is voluntarily recalling Trader Giotto's Butternut Squash Triangoli, because it may contain undeclared tree nuts.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to tree nuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The Trader Giotto's Butternut Squash Triangoli is packaged in an 8.8 oz. package.

The product is sold in the refrigerated deli section and has a "Use or Freeze by" codes 04 16 15 through 01 15 16. The code is printed on the upper-right corner of the front of the package.

Trader Joe's decided to recall the product and remove it from store shelves after customers reported having an allergic reaction after consuming the product. The customers are allergic to tree nuts, which are not an intended ingredient in this product.

If you have any questions, please call Trader Joe's Customer Relations at (626) 599-3817, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Central Time, or CLICK HERE to send the company an email.

Photo Credit: Trader Joe's]]>
<![CDATA[Uterus Transplant Trials Underway For Infertile Women]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:13:09 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524811211.jpg

A health clinic is spearheading a trial of uterus transplants for women with an infertility disorder.

"There are women who won't adopt or have surrogates, for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious," Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, the director of solid organ transplant surgery at a Cleveland Clinic hospital in Weston, Florida told the New York Times.

The transplant, unlike a heart or liver transplants, will be temporary. After the women give birth to one or two children, the uterus will be removed so the candidate does not have to continue taking anti-rejection drugs after having children. 

Candidates for the trail are women between the ages of 21 and 45 who were either born without an uterus or had their uterus removed, according to the Cleveland Clinic's website.

Approximately 1 in 4,500 newborn girls are born without a uterus or an underdeveloped reproductive system, a condition known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome.

As an experiment, the clinic will preform the procedure 10 times and track the number of successful live births from the transplant before deciding to continue, the New York Times reported.

The transplant will be the first of its kind in the United States, however, Sweden is the only known country to successfully preform the surgery, the University of Gothenburg notes on its website. The babies were delivered premature but overall healthy, according to reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinic Offers Alternative to Standard Lice Treatment]]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 07:58:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lice-clinics.jpg

Experts said a mutated head lice has become resistant to standard over-the-counter treatments, leaving many people looking for new solutions.

Danette Kessler found lice in her daughter's hair three weeks ago. Thinking she might have it too, she bought treatments and then spent hours treating and combing their hair. She said the initial treatment was not effective.

"And so I bought another treatment," she said. "I was completely frustrated."

Kessler brought her daughter to Air Alle DFW, who performed a heated-air treatment on her head. The treatment dehydrates the lice and then they comb them out.

"They have become resistant to most of the chemicals and pesticides in the over the counter treatments," Air Alle owner Magdalena Muldoon said. "That’s why moms get frustrated, because they’ve been fighting this for a long time."

It's been three days and Kessler said the lice haven't returned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 6 to 12 million people will be affected by lice this year.

Online: CDC on Head Lice

NBC 5's Ellen Bryan contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[UTA Nursing Professor Shares Life-Saving CPR Message]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:54:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/cpr+nurse.JPG

Each year, heart disease claims the lives of more than 17 million people worldwide, making it the leading cause of death on the planet.

As a teenager, UT-Arlington nursing professor Dr. Beth Mancini watched her father succumb to this silent killer. Now she's on a mission to share a life-saving message so no one has to experience what she did.

"My dad was never sick in his life," said Mancini.

When she was 16-years-old, she discovered her father unresponsive in his room. He had gone into cardiac arrest.

"I didn't know what to do," said Mancini. "So I called the 911 operator and had to wait for somebody to come and provide care. Unfortunately, that care didn't come in time and my father passed away."

It was a moment that shaped the course of her life.

She became a registered nurse and is now a nursing professor at UT-Arlington. She has been a volunteer with the American Heart Association for 40 years, and when she's not teaching she travels the world sharing research and best practices for saving the lives of cardiac arrest patients.

"My goal in my personal and professional life is that nobody feels what I felt standing there not knowing what to do," said Mancini.

She recently helped the American Heart Association write its new CPR guidelines, which now include a critical message for bystanders like her 16-year-old self.

"Even with no training at all, call 911, put your hands in the middle of the chest, start compressions hard and fast," said Mancini.

Statistics show that a cardiac arrest patient's chances of survival decrease 11 percent for each minute their heart is stopped. Mancini said that's why immediate action before paramedics arrive is so critical.

"Some CPR, even if it's not perfect CPR, will help people survive," said Mancini. "It more than doubles that chance of survival."

It's information she wishes she'd had back then and feels a responsibility to share now.

"I hope that everybody, every citizen, knows what it means to do CPR and would be willing to do it if the event occurred," said Mancini.

Mancini said if you find yourself in that situation and you don't have CPR training, keep doing compressions to the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive" until paramedics arrive.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Soccer Governing Body Bans Headers for Young Players]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 23:00:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/215*120/soccer+header.JPG

The governing body for soccer in the United States has banned children aged 10 and under from using their heads to hit the ball during practice and games.

The United States Soccer Federation also said players between 11 and 13 years can use their heads during games, but not during practices.

The changes announced Monday came after a lawsuit accusing the USSF of negligence when it comes to treating and monitoring head injuries.

"I think they're really good changes," said Dr. Kathleen Bell, director of UT Southwestern Medical Center's Concussion Clinic. "Brains do not mature fully until the age of 24 or 25, so even during the teenage years brains are not fully developed."

Bell points out many of the concussions related to soccer are tied to players hitting each other, rather than the ball, but she acknowledges the need to be more proactive at helping preventing concussions and brain traumas from heading soccer balls.

"There are children now that play soccer year-round," she said. "With sports in this country, children are starting younger and playing harder at earlier ages."

Dwayne Bobbitt's 9-year-old daughter, Kourtney, plays for the Mansfield Revolutions.

"Last Saturday she fell on the turf and hit her head," Dwayne Bobbitt said. "After the game, she said she had a really bad headache. She was crying. The doctor came over and gave her the concussion test."

The father said an on-site doctor confirmed his daughter did not have a concussion.

"I think it's really big for them to be there for kids this age, for them to be able to take a concussion test," he said.

Bell said concussions are more frequent among female athletes.

Right now, there's uncertainty if the changes made by the USSF will be effective at lowering the number of young players with concussions. It's also unclear how it's new rules will be enforced.

The soccer federation says it will update its policies as research on concussions evolves.

Right now, UT Southwestern is conducting a long-term study that hopes to help grow scientific knowledge about concussions and brain traumas. It's called "The CON-TEX Study" and is designed to capture comprehensive, longitudinal data on sports-related concussion and mild traumatic brain injury subjects.

Bell is leading the study and says knowledge from the study will guide best practices to improve the long-term health of student and adult athletes.

Athletes may qualify to participate if they are between 12 and 20 years old, and they were treated for a concussion at UT Southwestern Medical Center or at partnering sites. For more information, visit the UT Southwestern Medical Center website.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: Middle Fat]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 11:50:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/seema-obese.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses a study that claims adults with belly fat have the worst long-term survival rate.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Doctors Call 'Tech Neck' an Epidemic]]> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:46:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tech-neck.jpg

There is a growing concern about the use of smart devices that's becoming a chronic pain in the neck.

Dallas chiropractor Dr. Mark Currington said about 50 percent of his patients suffer from "tech neck," which is bad posture caused by typing and texting.

"It's becoming more of an epidemic between the ages of 20 and 40," he said.

Doctors say looking down at devices for long periods of time puts 60 pounds of pressure on the spine, which can lead to long-term pain, costly therapy and even change your appearance.

"It can cause the development of a fat patch on the base of the neck," Currington said. "That's a protective mechanism to protect the spinal cord."

Signs of tech neck include tightness in the back and shoulders, neck pain, headaches and even changes in appearance. Currington said preventing it is easy, though.

"The key is just keeping your head up," he said. "It's something you have to work at everyday to develop new habits."

Currington said people need to get in the habit of holding their phone up, away from their body at eye level and taking frequent breaks from devices.. He also recommended sitting at their computer with backs straight, feet flat on the floor and monitors at eye level.

NBC 5's Katy Blakey contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2 Plano Students Diagnosed With Whooping Cough]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 23:02:31 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/whooping-cough1.jpg

Health officials report cases of pertussis, or "whooping cough," are on the rise in North Texas.

A spokeswoman for the Plano Independent School District said Monday that two students at Clark High School were diagnosed with the contagious disease last week, and local clinics have confirmed an increase in cases as well.

Dr. Russ McDonald, of Pediatrics After Hours in Plano, said the infection starts off with symptoms similar to a cold but can quickly worsen over time, damaging an individual's airway or trachea.

"Over the next week or two you start coughing more and more, maybe developing the 'whoop' and at that point you have the full-blown disease," McDonald said.

"Once you get it, it is weeks and weeks of coughing. For young babies that can be dangerous. They can gag, choke, turn blue and stop breathing," he said.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of whooping cough in Texas.

McDonald said the best way to prevent contracting the infection is to get a vaccination.

He said several adults received a vaccination as a child, but it wears off over time and they should ask a doctor about receiving a booster.

He said if a person suspects whooping cough they should go to the doctor immediately and get a swab test. If it comes back positive, McDonald said anyone in contact with that person should be treated with medicine immediately.

"Grandparents, brothers, sisters, other members of the family they are around, and all of their contacts at school, so hopefully we don't have a full-blown epidemic," he said.

<![CDATA[Senators Call for 'Independent' Crumb Rubber Turf Study]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 08:02:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Crumb_Rubber_Turf.jpg

Two senators have urged federal officials to lead an "independent investigation into the health risks of crumb rubber" turf, a surface made of recycled tires used on playgrounds and athletic fields across the country, NBC News reported. 

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Bill Nelson of Florida sent a letter to Chairman Elliot Kaye of the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking the CPSC to "devote additional resources to conclusively determine whether these products can be safely played on by young children and people of all ages."

The senators wrote that CPSC said in September it would provide technical assistance to an evaluation of crumb rubber now being conducted by the California Office of Environmental Hazard, but said the CPSC should "lead the independent federal investigation on this important matter."

The two senators are the latest Congressional officials to call for research on crumb rubber since NBC News begun airing and publishing a series of reports on the playing surface more than a year ago.

Photo Credit: NBC Nightly News]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Restaurant Allowed to Reopen]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 09:15:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mariscos+San+Juan.jpg

The San Jose restaurant that was ground zero for last month's Shigella outbreak reopened Thursday afternoon.

The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health gave the green-light to Mariscos San Juan No. 3 on North 4th Street. In a statement, the agency says health inspectors have revisited the restaurant and determined there is no risk to public health.

"The facility voluntarily discarded all food products, cleaned and sanitized the facility, and retrained its employees on proper food handling methods," a county spokesperson said in a statement. "All employees who tested negative for Shigella have been allowed to return to work."

Nearly 200 diners from six counties were sickened after dining at the restaurant last month, but health experts never pinned down the precise source of the outbreak. They said that's commonly the case, and in most cases, authorities are never able to identify a so-called "smoking gun."

The outbreak has prompted at least three lawsuits.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48 ]]>
<![CDATA[New FDA-Approved Product for Longer Lasting Lip Filler]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 22:38:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lip+injections.jpg

One of the hottest beauty trends of the year is the full lip, a trend made famous by younger celebrities like Kylie Jenner.

For a lot of women, lip injections aren't an accessible option because of their high cost, but a new product may have more women booking appointments with their dermatologist.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Juvederm Ultra XC to be used as lip filler.

It is the only lip filler to last up to a year and be approved by the FDA.

Typically, lip injections last between three to six months and can cost between $300 to $500, according to Plano dermatologist Dornechia George-Carter, MD.

Juverderm Ultra XC costs a bit more, at $400 to $600, but the results last twice as long, making it more cost effective.

"You get a year of improvement as opposed to just a few months," said Dr. George-Carter.

The value makes more sense to make-up artist Alba Azuara, who decided to take the plunge and get the new lip filler.

"Not using lip liner anymore, that's something I'm really excited about," said Azuara.

"That's the big deal. That's why this is so exciting. You can get the improvement that you're looking for and will last you until next Christmas, when perhaps someone can get you another syringe for the holidays," said George-Carter.

Doctors say affordable treatments like this are needed.

They are very concerned about young women taking the "Kylie Jenner Challenge," which is using suction techniques to swell up their lips.

They say it can be very dangerous and cause permanent damage.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly Half of Pregnant American Women Put on Too Much Weight]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 16:34:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-558948623-%281%29.jpg

Nearly half of U.S. women gain too much weight while they're pregnant, and another 20 percent don't put on enough, federal health experts reported Thursday.

Fewer than a third of pregnant women put on the right amount of weight - something that's important for both mother and baby, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"It's not about eating twice as much. It's eating twice as healthy," she said.

How much moms should gain depends on their weight when they become pregnant.

Experts say women of normal weight should add 25 to 35 pounds. Overweight women should gain 15 to 25, and obese women should only add 10 to 20. For unusually thin women, weight gain should be about 30 to 40 pounds. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF]]>
<![CDATA[New HIV Pill Delivers 4 Drugs in 1 Daily Dose]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 16:01:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-531390989.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new daily drug that delivers four different HIV medications in one dose. 

The pill combines four HIV drugs: elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide.

There is no cure for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, but there are now 36 different HIV drugs on the market. They fall into six different classes, each one attacking the virus from a different direction. The most effective cocktails of these drugs can keep the virus at extremely low levels so that it doesn't damage the immune system and so that patients are far less likely to infect others.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>