<![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-usFri, 24 Mar 2017 05:16:41 -0500Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:16:41 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[North Texas Politicians Weigh in on Health Care Bill]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/paul-ryan-coffee-walk.jpg

North Texas politicians weigh in on the health care bill that's currently making it's way through Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[North Texans Closely Monitoring Health Care Vote]]> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:25:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/better+health+insurance+image.jpg

When it comes to healthcare reform, many North Texans are waiting and watching so see what happens in Washington.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Care Vote Delayed: What Your Delegation is Saying]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:50:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/paul-ryan-coffee-walk.jpg

After a day of meetings and negotiations on Capitol Hill, there is no vote on the new health care bill.

Conservatives are holding out and so are some moderates. Concessions to either side could affect the vote count. Negotiations are expected to continue through the evening Thursday.

“We have not put the bill on the floor yet, so we have not concluded what the bill will look like. I think there are some tweaks that need to be made. I would make some. As you know, I am probably in that 75 percent of this bill is awesome, 25 percent is the problem. Getting perfect is hard," said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX 5th District).

It is a waiting game for Democrats who oppose the bill.

“I don’t think that we have a single Democrat vote for this bill. I’m not sure it’s been a complete canvassing, but when we look at how the bill is being gutted, and how little people are going to be getting from the bill, it is very hard," said U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, (D-TX 30th District).

NBC 5 reached out to your local delegation, to see how they plan to vote.  Here is the list.

See the updated list of responses below.

  • Pete Sessions R-TX 32nd District Yes
  • Michael Burgess R-TX 26th District Yes
  • Jeb Hensarling R-TX 5th District Yes
  • John Ratcliffe R-TX 4th District Yes
  • Roger Williams R-TX 25th District Leaning toward no
  • Marc Veasey D-TX 33rd District No
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson D-TX 30th District No
  • Kay Granger R-TX 12th District Awaiting Response
  • Kenny Marchant R-TX 24th District Awaiting Response
  • Joe Barton R-TX 6th District Awaiting Response
  • Sam Johnson R-TX 3rd District Awaiting Reponse

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Gears Up For An Early Mosquito Season]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:44:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+image.jpg

North Texas is gearing up to "Fight The Bite," bracing for an early start to mosquito season.

“We’ve had a warmer winter, we’re expected to have rainfall in the springtime, so that’s obviously going to increase mosquito populations,” said Whitney Qualls, Medical Entomologist, Texas Department of State Health Services.

Nearly 200 public health professionals from across North Texas attended a day-long seminar at the Grapevine Convention Center, preparing for the season which many believe will begin in April.

“My Magic 8 Ball is broken right now, so predictions (are) unknown at this time,” said Scott Sawlis, Mosquito Control Supervisor with Dallas County Health & Human Services, “however West Nile virus is endemic, we will have West Nile.”

The Zika virus also remains a threat and mosquito control professionals are learning from last year’s outbreaks in Florida and South Texas.

“We hope for more time to get things in place and to really get geared up, but we can’t assume that,” said Tom Sidwa, with the Texas Department of State Health Services, “we have to plan for it happening tomorrow.”

A local company with government contracts throughout North Texas, Municipal Mosquito now has a powerful truck-mounted mister that can be used against mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus.

“This was widely used in Miami Dade during their recent locally transmitted Zika as an effective way to treat the neighborhoods without putting planes in the air,” said Municipal Mosquito’s Patrick Prather.

“It puts out the larvicide material that we normally put out while we’re walking thru backyards and walking thru property putting out in granular form,” said Prather, “this puts it out as a liquid, into the backyards.”

“Hopefully Zika does not become locally transmitted here but we’re prepared if it does,” said Prather, “I hope that we never have to deploy this unit.”

So far this year, Dallas County Health and Human Services has reported four imported cases of Zika virus.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Method for Treating Cataracts]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:50:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cataracts+surgery.jpg

Eye surgeons at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a cutting-edge method of restoring clear vision for people who experience cataract issues.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Breast Implants Linked to Rare Form of Cancer]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:17:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/breast+implants+cancer.jpg

Breast implants have been linked to a rare form of cancer. Now the Food and Drug Administration says at least nine people have died. Dr. Micah Burch of Texas Oncology-Baylor explains.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Seniors Worry About Loss of Meals Under Trump Budget Plan]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:27:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/IMG_82502.jpg

Dale Lamphier, 97, never married and her closest living relatives―three nephews―live across the country. About two years ago, she moved to a senior housing complex in Westwood, New Jersey, a town she has lived in her whole life. She has been using the meal delivery service Meals on Wheels since her brother died about three years ago.

"Meals on Wheels is important because I can't do much shopping―very little," she said. "And I can't carry things. There are a lot of people here that can't."

There is a Trader Joe's about a block from her complex, which she walks to, but not often. She relies on her daily meal delivery.

North Jersey is just one of the thousands of Meals on Wheels branches that could see cuts to its funding under President Donald Trump's proposed budget plan. Jeanne Martin, the executive director of Meals on Wheels North Jersey, said her program reaches about 220 senior citizens across 30 towns in northern Bergen County. If Trump's budget plan passes, her branch will lose about $32,000―10 percent of her annual budget―and potentially more money from other Department of Health and Human Services grants.

As a whole, the national Meals on Wheels organization receives about 35 percent of its funding from the federal government. Trump is proposing to end the Community Development Block Grants, one of many federal grants that fund the program. Other cuts to Health and Human Services, the parent agency for Meals on Wheels, also could affect the program negatively, but the magnitude of those cuts is unknown. 

Martin has been the executive director of Meals on Wheels in North Jersey for 12 years. She said she has never seen a federal cut this large.

"I don't see any room for us in that budget," she said. "I haven't seen any positive things coming from [the Trump administration] in the social services or the senior service so far."

"It is going to impact our program," she said. "We're not going to be able to offer the subsidies to our clients that they really need."

Andre Sitbon, a Holocaust survivor in his early 90s, has been using Meals on Wheels for more than five years out of the Westwood seniors complex. Around three years ago Sitbon's wife died and he started having severe eye problems, which interfered with his love of cooking. He said the program "receives you with arms open," with extremely friendly staff and good food. On Monday he received meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mixed greens.

Another senior, a 65-year old mentally disabled man, had virtually nothing in his fridge except the two meals―one hot, one cold―that Martin delivered to him Monday morning. The only other parcels were an apple and a small carton of milk, which were given to him by Meals on Wheels the day before.

Martin estimated that about 30 percent of the seniors in her program are no longer visited by family and, like Lamphier, are isolated. Martin said the 550 local volunteer drivers who deliver the meals are often the ones who report health problems and find fallen or sick seniors. Meals on Wheels, she said, is "more than just a meal."

"We're helping people stay in their homes, which is where they want to stay," she said. "It's keeping people out of nursing homes. And they want to spend the rest of the time they have on this world in their homes and we're doing the best we can to give them that."

When Martin became director there were about 100 seniors in the program. The number has more than doubled during her tenure, though she thinks that there are hundreds more seniors who need assistance but are too isolated or too worried about appearing needy to receive help.

If Martin loses funding she would have to make changes to the program's model. The food is now prepared by four local nursing homes to meet federal guidelines. But if the program no longer receives federal funds, it would be free to receive donated meals from volunteers.

"It seems to me that all of the programs that support our most needy, vulnerable populations are the ones that are being jeopardized," said John Birkner Jr., the mayor of Westwood. He also said that recent comments made by Trump administration officials "trivialize" the importance of programs like Meals on Wheels.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, called Meals on Wheels a program that is "just not showing any results." 

"We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good," he said at a news conference last Thursday. "Meals on Wheels sounds great. Again, that's a state decision to fund that particular portion, to take the federal money and give it to the states, and say look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work."

Martin called Mulvaney’s comments "insulting" and said he "couldn’t be more wrong."

Supporters have cited studies to back their case. A University of Illinois review in 2013 of home-delivery programs for seniors found that they "significantly improve" the nutritional quality of diets, as well as increased chances for socialization and an overall "higher quality of life."

Another study in 2015 by Brown University researchers found multiple benefits of Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, including reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness, an increased feeling of security and fewer falls and hospitalizations.

Martin said the cost of a year's worth of meals from her program was $1,500. She compared that to the cost of a one-day hospitalization. 

"So, if we're keeping someone well-nourished and doing a well-check on them, we're saving the government money by keeping them out of the hospital," Martin said. 

Meals on Wheels has about 5,000 local and state delivery programs that supply food to isolated, disabled or poor seniors. In 2016, they served about 2.4 million people, including more than 500,000 veterans.

National Meals on Wheels spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette confirmed to NBC that the program has seen a significant spike in donations since Mulvaney’s comments last Thursday. On a typical day, the nonprofit receives about $1,000 in individual online donations.

Three days after the preliminary budget was released, Meals on Wheels had received about $140,000 in donations. On Tuesday, the nonprofit told The Associated Press that it had received an additional $50,000 donation from NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

Bertolette said the organization was "thrilled about the public’s passionate support" but also said the additional donations could not replace what it gets from the federal government.

The portion of Meals on Wheels' budget that comes from the federal government is part of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, which falls under Health and Human Services. Trump is calling for an 18 percent cut to the department.

Each state uses Community Block Development Grants differently, so the amount that funds Meals on Wheels per branch varies widely. For example, one program in the suburbs of Detroit could lose 30 percent of its budget; on the other end, New York City's Meals on Wheels is funded through other grants, so it is not affected by the potential loss of Community Block Development Grants.

The program is also funded by private money.

"Cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America," Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America, said in a statement.

The cuts are no sure thing. Congress must pass the budget that Trump has outlined and there has already been support from both sides of the aisle for Meals on Wheels.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., tweeted that cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels "jeopardizes the health and safety of the poor."

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told CNN he would "never vote to cut even one dollar" of Meals on Wheels.

Since Mulvaney's comments last week, Martin has gained three more volunteers and an additional donor. 

Even if the budget doesn't cut as much as the 10 percent that is currently threatened, to Martin "a cut is a cut." 

Photo Credit: Shannon Ho
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<![CDATA[Dentists Who Make House Calls]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:51:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/mobile+dentist.jpg

Getting to the dentist can be, for some, can be a hassle. But it can be even tougher getting a loved one, like an aging parent, to his or her dental appointment.

Now, more and more dentists are willing to come to you, but there are some things you should know about the current trend of mobile dentistry, according to Dr. Danice Couch, who's been making mobile dental visits with Elite Mobile Dental in Dallas for the last five years.

"We do absolutey everything you would have done in a regular dental office. We have a hygentist and digital x-rays and all the equipment you would find elsewhere," said Couch.

Her team focuses on the elderly who are unable to get around on their own and she says business she says is booming.

"We have grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years," Couch said.

Caregiver Diane Cannon says she was surprised to see Couch's set up, inside the chapel of the nursing home of her client.

"The first time I was here, about two or three weeks ago, I had no idea! They said the dentist is coming and I thought they would come to her room and check her out but I was like, 'how did you get all that stuff here?," said Cannon.

Couch says more and more providers are going mobile to meet a demand that's expected to skyrocket.

According to an industry publication, in 2050, the population over age 65 is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double that of 2012. As a result, more people will become non-ambulatory, making many unable to travel to a dental office for treatment.

"The transition is simple. I wish someone could come to my house," said Cannon.

Many dentists do make house calls to people who may be too busy to visit. 

But here's a word of caution, though, from Couch.

"I would encourage people to do their research and do their homework."

Mobile clinics have to be registered with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Couch suggests researching reviews and getting referrals before choosing a mobile dentist.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Congress Members' Health Care Voting Plans]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:40:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-653286560.jpg

The U.S. House of Representatives votes on H.R. 277, otherwise known as the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017, on Thursday. 

The bill needs 216 votes to pass, in which case it would move to the Senate. It aims to fix perceived issues with the Affordable Care Act passed by the Obama Administration in 2010. 

Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions, Chair of the House Rules Committee, opened a hearing Wednesday to say he believe the Obamacare system failed the American people. Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Washington D.C. the same day to advocate for Obamacare and encourage congressmen to vote against the new bill.

With 237 Republican members in the House for the 155th Congress, the bill can only afford 21 of their votes against it and still pass. Preliminary numbers report 27 Republicans plan to vote no on Thursday.

NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine is reaching out to North Texas congressmen and congresswomen to see how they plan to vote.

See the updated list of responses below.

  • Pete Sessions R-TX 32nd District Yes
  • Michael Burgess R-TX 26th District Yes
  • Jeb Hensarling R-TX 5th District Yes
  • John Ratcliffe R-TX 4th District Yes
  • Roger Williams R-TX 25th District Leaning toward no
  • Marc Veasey D-TX 33rd District No
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson D-TX 30th District No
  • Kay Granger R-TX 12th District Awaiting Response
  • Kenny Marchant R-TX 24th District Awaiting Response
  • Joe Barton R-TX 6th District Awaiting Response
  • Sam Johnson R-TX 3rd District Awaiting Reponse

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Born With 4 Legs, 2 Spines Survives Risky Surgery]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:59:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dominique+2.jpg

A 10-month-old baby born with four legs and two spines is recovering well after undergoing a complex and risky medical procedure in Chicago, doctors say.

Young Dominique came to Chicago from the Ivory Coast in West Africa with an extremely rare parasitic conjoined twin.

Doctors say the bottom half of her not-fully-developed twins’ body was protruding from the infant’s neck and back.

“It’s very rare because it was attached at the back of her spine,” said Dr. John Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon. “It was as if the twin from the waist down had been attached to the back of Dominique’s neck and there was a pelvis and bladder and functional legs that moved and feet coming out the back of Dominique’s neck. This was very dangerous for Dominique.”

Ruge said the parasitic twin caused Dominique’s heart and lungs to do the work for two bodies and could have ultimately paralyzed her.

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The child was brought to Chicago in February with the help of an organization called Children’s Medical Missions West and has been living with a host family while doctors at Advocate Children’s Hospital meticulously studied her case.

“It’s really hard to even put a number on how rare it is,” said Dr. Robert Kellogg.

Despite her condition, her host family said the child had a bubbly personality and was a “very happy baby” when she arrived in the U.S.

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“If you can say love at first sight I think that’s true for us,” said Nancy Swabb, who has been caring for Dominique since her arrival.

The Swabbs said the decision to take in the child was made quickly, with Dominique arriving at their home about a week after they learned of her case.

“I saw a picture of Dominique with her extra limbs and one concern that we had before we met her was what can she wear?” Swabb said.

The family later learned Dominique had difficulties balancing and sitting up because of the added weight from the extra limbs.

After weeks of planning, on March 8, Dominique underwent a six-hour surgery that involved five surgeons and 50 clinicians.

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“The surgery went very well,” said Kellogg. “There were no complications. We expect her to make a full recovery and live an essentially normal life from here on.”

Dominique continues to recover at her host family’s Edgebrook home. Doctors say once the recovery process is complete, the infant can return home to her family in Africa.

“She is about 2 pounds lighter and she sits up and she’s raising her hands and she reaches for things and she’s doing really well,” Swabb said.

Doctors said Dominique is now “essentially a normal baby” and are confident she can go on to live a healthy life.

“I think it is very unique but it was a unique child that brought us together,” Kellogg said.

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Photo Credit: Advocate Children's Hospital
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<![CDATA[Here Are the Republicans Who May Reject Health Care Bill]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:25:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/649341198-GOP-Health-Care-Bill.jpg

President Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with "something terrific." Now, House Republicans are in danger of losing a vote on their health care bill, the American Health Care Act — a defeat that would cause setbacks for the party and for the president.

According to a tally by NBC News, as of Tuesday afternoon at least 25 Republicans have said they will vote against or are leaning toward voting against the bill. Voting is expected to occur Thursday.

Republican leadership has been busy trying to secure the 216 votes needed to pass the bill, which means they can lose the support of only 21 Republicans. After traveling to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning in an attempt to close the deal, Trump has invited about nine moderate, undecided Republicans to the White House Tuesday afternoon in another attempt at persuasion.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA: Breast Implants Can Cause Rare Form of Cancer]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:03:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/implants-new.jpg

Breast implants can cause a rare form of cancer that may have killed at least nine people, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The cancer is called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and the FDA is checking into more than 350 reports linking it with both silicone and saline breast implants.

ALCL, which is a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, can take about 10 years to develop on average after the implant first goes in and usually stays in the area right around the implant, World Health Organization researchers reported last year in the journal Blood. But it can break out and spread.

"All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL compared to women who do not have breast implants," the FDA said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Infant Mortality Rates Fall 15 Percent in US]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:58:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/babypacifier_1200x675.jpg

Fewer babies are dying in the United States than a decade ago, according to NBC News.

The U.S. infant mortality rate, which is higher than in other developed countries, is down 15 percent over the last 10 years, federal researchers reported Tuesday.

"Infant mortality is considered a basic measure of public health for countries around the world," wrote Anne Driscoll and T.J. Mathews of the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers pointed to a high teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. compared to other countries as one of several factors behind the comparatively high rate of babies dying. Teenagers are more likely to have small and premature babies.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF, File]]>
<![CDATA[Young North Texan Takes Cancer Fight to Capitol Hill]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:37:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sadie-keller-washington-cancer.jpg

While most fourth graders are just learning about Capitol Hill in a classroom, Sadie Keller is getting a lesson up close.

The 9-year-old from North Texas spent last week in Washington, D.C., to teach lawmakers about living with cancer.

Diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, Sadie Keller has endured painful treatments and missed all of her third grade year due to the illness.

Armed with fliers about her own cancer story, Sadie visited with various congressmen and staffers.

“I came here to talk to congressmen about why we need more funding for childhood cancer,” said Sadie.

While in D.C., Sadie met with Rep. Michael McCaul, who represents Texas 10th District.

“Just you coming up is so brave, with everything you’re going through and I think has the most impact on congress to help, not just you, but another generation of children coming down with cancer,” Congressman McCaul told Sadie.

The republican lawmaker co-chairs the Childhood Cancer Caucus and is pushing legislation that would improve pediatric research and treatment. The STAR Act focuses on improving pediatric research, treatment and survivor care, while the RACE for Children Act updates laws to allow advancements in adult cancer treatment to be applied to children.

Sadie supports both bills and hopes lawmakers will pass them to help future generations battling cancer.

“Kids have their whole future ahead of them. A lot of them pass away and they don’t get to have a future,” said Sadie.

While in D.C., Sadie also met with a fellow cancer fighter to give them gifts.

The 9-year-old recently started her own non-profit called the The Sadie Keller Foundation. Her mission is to put a smile on the faces of fellow kids fighting cancer and reward them with milestone gifts when they reach critical points in their treatment.

ONLINE: Sadie Keller Foundation

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dental Work Leads to Heart Attack for North TX Woman]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:09:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Susie+Lee+plano.jpg

A trip to the dentist nearly cost a North Texas woman her life.

Susie Lee, of Plano, recalls the day eight years ago her life changed. She suffered a heart attack when she was 24 years old and five months pregnant.

"When it first happens, the chest pain feels like heartburn – the worst heartburn you could ever feel – and then later on, congestion. You can feel it in your vein somehow," Lee said.

She was rushed to the Medical City Plano, where doctors made a startling discovery.

"Dr. Klein basically took her to the (operating room) and very randomly asked her, 'Did you have an operation before?'" said Lee's husband, Wallace Lee.

"She replied, 'Yes.' She had some work two weeks prior to the hospitals," said Dr. Mordecai Klein, interventional cardiologist at Medical City Plano.

Bacteria from a teeth cleaning Lee received at the dentist for a gum infection a few weeks prior led to bacteria entering her bloodstream and infecting her heart.

Klein realized that Lee had suffered bacterial endocarditis, a bacterial infection in the heart, and that a piece of the bacterial growth, called a vegetation, had broken off and blogged the coronary artery.

The chain of events is very rare, he says.

"Bacteria frequently get into the blood stream during dental work, but it's very unusual for it to land on the valve and cause infection," Klein said. "I have never seen anything like this before, and I hope never to see it ever again."

Surgeons removed the growth during emergency surgery, but hours later, the Lees learned their unborn baby did not survive.

While they don't talk much about the loss, and while their experience is extremely rare, they are sharing their story to make others aware of what can happen during dental work.

Now, they focus on the positive, which includes two children the family welcomed after the loss of their first baby.

"It's a life-changing experience, and I always say you have to look at the positive things," Wallace Lee said.

Although a bacterial heart infection from dental work is extremely rare, doctors say it could happen to anyone, and no one is at fault.

They say if you have a history of heart valve issues, you should talk to your doctor before any dental procedure.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Cholesterol Drug Impacts North Texas]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:02:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Repatha1.jpg

Doctors in Plano say they've seen promising results in the use of a new drug called Repatha, a long-acting cholesterol medicine shown to cut the risk of having a heart attack or some other serious problems by 15 to 20 percent.

The makers of the drug released the results of its own study last week.

Dr. Marc Shalek, cardiologist at Legacy Heart Center in Plano, is a study investigator and has been using it on his patients for the duration of the study.

"We’ve known for 20 years that using the class of medicines that’s called the statin has done a very fine job of reducing future events like strokes and heart attacks, but these events still occur," said Shalek. "This is very exciting, very great news for our patients, that we have another medicine to be able to offer people to avoid those events."

Amgen's Repatha, is given as a shot once or twice a month and is part of a novel class of medicines that drop LDL to unprecedented levels.

Its cost, however, is more than $14,000 a year, though Shalek expects the cost to decrease in time.

"This is not a medicine for every patient. This is a medicine for patients who are deemed to be at high-risk for future heart events. These are patients who already have established heart disease or have had a stroke in the past," said Shalek.

That includes patients like Herb Tanzer of Plano.

Tanzer was at risk of a heart attack despite statin medication, six stents and a quadruple bypass.

In addition with his statin, Repatha helped lower his bad cholesterol level from 150 to 19.

"That's way beyond incredible," said Tanzer.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Opiod Addiction Can Begin Within Three Days: Study]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 18:24:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pills12.jpg

New research shows some people can become addicted to prescription painkillers in as little as three days. The study says doctors can limit the supply of opioids they prescribe to three days or less.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Poison Prevention in North Texas]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 17:03:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/poisoning.jpg

Poisonings are the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Each year, more than two million people swallow or have some contact with a poisonous substance. Dr. Yazeed Eldos from the North Texas Poison Center answers your questions.

<![CDATA[New Drug Cuts Cholesterol by Half]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:11:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_cholesteroldrug0317_1500x845.jpg

A new drug proven to slash bad cholesterol by more than half of a patient's initial level may prove to be a boon to those worried about heart attacks and strokes. Repatha, a drug that could lower the risk of heart attack or strokes by 20 percent, is a $14,000 a month drug that is injected once or twice a month - a price point health insurance companies may not approve of.

<![CDATA[Health Headlines - March 16, 2017]]> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 18:25:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/flea2.jpg

A disease spread by the bite of a flea that prefer cats is infecting more and more people across Texas; plus a loving touch not only helps soothe premature babies, it can have long-lasting effects on their brains and if your child plays middle or high school sports at a private school, he or she may not have the athletic training services offered at public schools.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Kids and Medicine: Dont Let Your Guard Down!]]> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:54:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_vitamins1111_1920x10801.jpg

Toddlers may barely be able to stand up, but they have an amazing ability to climb to new heights to reach something they see and want to grab.

Too often that something is medicine, and that can have dangerous consequences.

"Children as young as a month have ended up in an emergency department because they'd been poisoned by getting into a medicine that was left within reach of them," notes Morag Mackay of Safe Kids Worldwide.

Mackay is the author of a new report finding the vast majority of parents say it's important to store medication up high and out of sight, but less than half do so.

"Parents, while they know their kids well, they sometimes underestimate what they can actually do," she explains.

Nearly every minute in the United States a call is placed to a poison control center because a young child got into medicine, and child resistant packaging does not mean child proof.

The potential danger includes vitamins, supplements and even eye drops.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Critics Warn 'Phase 2' Won’t Save Health Care Plan]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:12:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/paulryan_healthcare_1200x675.jpg

Things aren't looking great for the Republican health care bill after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would lead to 24 million more people without insurance and skyrocketing costs for older customers, NBC News reported.

But the White House and GOP leaders say that's only part of the story. 

The Republicans' "American Health Care Act" is only "Phase One" of their plan. In "Phase Two," the White House will lower premiums with tweaks to regulations. In "Phase Three," they'll pass new legislation to fill in gaps that can't be addressed through the budget process.

"The fact of the matter is with our whole plan every single American will have access to coverage," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on the "Today" show.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Discusses Colon Cancer Screening]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:26:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/colonoscopy.jpg

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Muhammad Beg at UT Southwestern Medical Center discusses the tests doctors use.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Exercise and Low Cholesterol May Prevent Dementia]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:49:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Carol+White.jpg

Carol White, 69, knows all too well the toll Alzheimer's disease takes on a family.

"My father had dementia/Alzheimer's. My mother had it. My oldest sister had early onset and then my brother has early onset," said White. "I wouldn't wish it on anyone." 

The toughest battle to watch, she says, was her mother's.

"I could go visit her in the morning and go back and visit her two hours later and she wouldn't have known I was there two hours earlier," said White. "It tugs at your heart."

Knowing she could be next, she joined a study at the UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute to determine whether regular aerobic exercise and taking specific medications to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help preserve brain function.

According to the hospital, they plan to enroll more than 600 older adults at high risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease and measure whether certain interventions can be linked to slower brain decline. 

Participants, like White, will take part in regular aerobic exercise and take specific medications to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“There is plenty of evidence to suggest that what is bad for your cardiovascular system is bad for your brain, but the body is one machine and you cannot separate the heart from the brain,” said Dr. Rong Zhang, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The theory that good diet and exercise results in better brain function has been studied before but never proven with the scientific evidence, said Zhang.

This new study builds upon prior research linking healthy lifestyles to better brain function, he added.

It all makes sense to White, who stays active and keeps her cholesterol levels and blood pressure in check.

She hopes her brain is better off because of it.

 "I would just like to find a cure for it, so people don't have to go through what I've seen my parents go through," said White.

You can read more about the study here.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2017 Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Luncheon]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:52:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/POTP2017web.jpg

Mark your calendar, get out your best pink outfit, and don’t miss the must attend fashion luncheon of the year – Puttin’ on the Pink is Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Guests will enjoy a champagne reception at 10:30 a.m. and the luncheon and fashion show by Highland Park Village at 11:30 a.m.

Chaired by Sharon Crockett and Heather Senter, the 24th annual fashion luncheon, hosted by the Kupferle Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation, will continue its important mission to provide necessary funding for mobile health outreach to underserved women in Fort Worth and surrounding communities.

Always a favorite of attendees, the program includes a special runway walk by cancer survivor models to celebrate survivorship and promote early detection. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for fabulous packages, including:

•    Date Nights
•    Cowtown Night Out
•    Sports Package
•    Wine 101
•    Luxury Shopping
•    Shop Til You Drop
•    A Sewell for all Seasons

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.TexasHealth.org/POP or call 682-236-5203.

2017 Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion
Wednesday, April 5
10:30 a.m. – Champagne Reception
11:30 a.m. - Luncheon and Fashion Show
Fort Worth Convention Center
For Tickets:

Photo Credit: Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion]]>
<![CDATA[Mental Health Groups Worry New GOP Plan Will End Coverage]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/naloxone-kit.jpg

Mental health groups say the new GOP health care bill would terminate mental health care and efforts to combat the opioid crisis, NBC News reported.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report on the bill on Monday, stating that billions of dollars would be saved in federal health spending, by way of cutting $880 billion from Medicaid. In addition to health groups, parents of children with special needs are also rallying against the proposed plan.

“Medicaid is the single largest payer of mental health and addiction treatment services in the country, paying 25 percent of all mental health and 20 percent of all addiction care,” the National Council for Behavioral Health said in a statement.

Without Medicaid’s subsidies, said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the council, people could wind up “homeless, in jail or dead.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that the bill does not intend to leave states out in the cold in combating the opioid epidemic.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mother's Mission Honors Son By Helping Save Preemies]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:02:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jennifer+Canvasser.jpg

A Dallas mother hopes her story will save the lives of premature babies around the world.

Her son died from a devastating disease that doctors don't know much about, but that's changing thanks to one woman's mission.

Jennifer Canvasser's son, Micah, died five years ago.

A wooden box and keepsake book details Micah's short life and the disease that killed him.

"We really thought we were preparing to being him home when he quite suddenly, within a matter of hours, developed this terrible intestinal disease," Canvasser said.

Micah and his twin brother, Zachary, were born at just 27 weeks gestation. Their bodies hadn't fully developed.

At six weeks, Micah developed what's called necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. His intestinal lining was dying.

"I was really blindsided by the disease, and by the diagnosis," Canvasser said.

Doctors performed surgeries to remove the bad intestine, but the disease led to other complications.

Micah needed a kidney transplant.

"But we couldn't get him to gain the weight he needed to get the transplant," Canvasser said.

And at 11 months old, Micah lost his fight.

"That was a whole other level of devastation that I couldn't even fathom. And it took a lot just to learn how to live and eat and breathe again after losing Micah," Canvasser said.

Dr. Erin Hamilton Spence, a neonatologist at Cook Children's Medical Center, says premature babies are most at risk for NEC.

"It's one of the most devastating diagnoses," she said.

About seven out of every 100 preemies develop the disease.

"Even with surgery, a big portion of those babies don't survive," Hamilton Spence said.

And its exact cause is still a mystery.

"It is still something that we continue to investigate. It has something do with maybe the way the blood supply to the lining of the intestines is working, maybe the way bacteria find their way through that little dead intestine and work themselves inside of it and help the tissue die faster," Hamilton Spence said.

The doctor is working to shed light on the mystery. She's part of the NEC Society, an advocacy and awareness nonprofit Canvasser founded after Micah's death.

"It's so much more than Micah. It's about so many other babies that have been impacted by this disease and are at risk and will be impacted by the disease if we do not pull our efforts together and work together and collaborate and make significant advances in the disease," Canvasser said.

The mission is to save lives and cherish the ones taken too soon.

MORE: Click here for more information about the NEC Society.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Allergy Drops Help Build Immunity to Pesky Allergens]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 17:46:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/allergy-season-168997935.jpg

The mild winter weather could make for a brutal spring allergy season. If you suffer from allergies, then you probably know about tried and true treatments. But there are new treatments that could help you battle sniffles.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Injuries Rise in Common Infant Products]]> Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:55:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BabyInjuries0310_MP4-148944776988400001.jpg

 A new study finds a growing number of young children are being injured while using infant products like carriers, strollers and cribs. Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, looked at the number of kids across the country under age 3 who had to go to an emergency room after such an injury. "There's an average of 128 a day, or about one every eight minutes," says Tracy Meahn of the Center for Injury Research and Policy. "And the concerning thing is that these numbers are going up."



<![CDATA[2017 Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Luncheon]]> Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:37:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Talk+St+639+Pink.jpg

Discussing the 2017 Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Luncheon with Co-Chairs Sharon Crockett and Heather Senter. The luncheon takes place on Wednesday, April 5, at the Fort Worth Convention Center. To learn more, visit www.TexasHealth.org/POP.

<![CDATA[Cuisine for a Cure 2017]]> Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:13:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Talk+St+639+Cuisine.jpg

Discussing Cuisine for a Cure which takes place on Saturday, March 26, at the The Shops at Legacy in Plano with Larry Bisno, the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Plano Children’s Medical Clinic/Health Services of North Texas, and Trang Dang-Le, Volunteer to Plano Children’s Medical Clinic. Learn more by visiting www.plano-cmc.com.