<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2016 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 Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:08:18 -0600 Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:08:18 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[University of North Texas Warns Students of Zika Virus]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:38:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TLMD-mosquito-zancudo-zika--.JPG

The University of North Texas is urging students to be careful amidst the spread of the Zika virus in parts of Texas and elsewhere.
The school sent out an advisory Friday morning, just as the Centers for Disease Control put out new health guidelines on the virus.
“We have three students who are currently studying in those affected areas,” said Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs for UNT.
One is in Mexico, while two others are scheduled to depart for Argentina and Peru in March.
According to With, they have been in constant communication with students and faculty in all locations.
“We wanted them to know, one, that we're monitoring it. And two, that their safety and security is important to us,” said With.
The reminder came just as the CDC issued its own advisory Friday. A new set of interim guidelines was released, advising against sexual activity for some pregnant women.
“The real problem here is the effect on the developing brain of the fetus. That is what had to be the priority for protection,” said Tom Frieden, director of CDC.
As researchers learn more about the virus, Frieden said the link between the disease and a brain defect in unborn children, Microcephaly, becomes clearer.
It’s why they are recommending pregnant women, whose partner has been in a region infected with the virus, to proceed with caution.
The guidelines read, “Men with a pregnant sex partner who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission and their pregnant sex partners should consistently and correctly use condoms during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy.”
Frieden explained they were also making new recommendations to health providers. If a pregnant woman without symptoms resides in an infected area, the CDC recommends testing for the virus.
“Testing is recommended when women begin prenatal care. Follow-up testing around the middle of the second trimester of pregnancy is also recommended, because of an ongoing risk of Zika virus exposure,” the agency wrote. “Pregnant women should receive routine prenatal care, including an ultrasound during the second trimester of pregnancy. An additional ultrasound may be performed at the discretion of the health care provider.”
In Dallas County, health officials are still awaiting results on four possible cases of the virus. Friday, they had no update on them.



Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO LOCAL]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Scare Reopens Abortion Debate in Brazil]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:51:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BrazilPregnantZika-AP_757089715997.jpg

Fears over the Zika virus are reopening the debate over abortion in Brazil, where the procedure is illegal under most cases, NBC News reported.

Brazilian bishops opposed a petition seeking to expand abortion laws to cover women infected with Zika. In a statement, the bishops said the situation doesn’t advocate abortion “for cases of microcephaly.”

Groups that want to change the laws say advising women to avoid pregnancy is not enough. Activists want the government to provide pregnant women with Zika virus testing, and the option to choose whether they wish to continue with their pregnancy.

Abortion is legal in Brazil in cases of rape or incest, if it endangers the woman’s life of if the fetus is developing anencephaly — a rare condition where the baby is missing parts of its brain and skull.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Issues Updated Zika Guidelines ]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:48:31 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/175*120/TLMD-Microcefalia-GettyImages-507089272.jpg

A Brazilian health official warned pregnant women to think twice before giving a kiss as global measures mounted Friday against the Zika virus suspected of a link to birth defects.

The U.N. human rights agency called for some nations to loosen strict laws against abortion and U.S. health authorities recommended men who have visited areas with the Zika virus use condoms if they have sex with pregnant women.

Paulo Gadelha, president of the Fiocruz research institute, said at a news conference that scientists have found live samples of the virus in saliva and urine samples, and the possibility it could be spread by the two body fluids requires further study.

He said that calls for special precaution to be taken with pregnant women, and suggested they avoid kissing people other than a regular partner or sharing cutlery, glasses and plates with people who have symptoms of the virus.

"This is not a generalized public health measure, for the love of God," he added.

Brazil plunged into Carnival season on Friday — a time when people commonly kiss strangers they meet at massive street parties.

Scientists at the Fiocruz institute say they're trying to determine if the body fluids can spread Zika to new patients.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, responding to questions about Brazil's reaction to Friday's announcement, said it is the job of health officials to "provide people with all of the information and allow them to make their own choices."

"Because this is so knew, we are learning more about Zika daily," Frieden said during a teleconference Friday, noting that "we can't make assumptions about how Zika spreads from one individual case."

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials on Friday said men who have been to a Zika outbreak region should use condoms if they have sex with a pregnant woman — for the entire duration of the pregnancy.

The guidance, issued by the CDC, also said the men might consider abstaining or using condoms even during sex with a woman who isn't pregnant.

The CDC stressed that the Zika virus is still mainly spread by mosquitoes. In most people, it causes mild or no symptoms. But it has become a concern because of a possible link with a birth defect in Brazil.

The CDC has recommended that pregnant women postpone trips to countries with Zika outbreaks, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, though Frieden any country where reports of the virus are confirmed will be added to the list of affected areas. All travellers are advised to use insect repellent and take other steps to avoid mosquito bites.

The health agency also on Friday updated its guidelines for testing and monitoring pregnant women who have travelled to Zika areas. In the U.S., there have been about 50 cases of travellers diagnosed with the virus, including three pregnant women.To date, the mosquito-borne virus has spread to more than 20 countries in the Americas, including some where sexual violence is rampant.

"Zika reminds us that nature is a formidable enemy," Frieden said.

In Geneva, spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said the OHCHR was asking governments in Zika-affected countries in Latin and South America to repeal any policies that break with international standards and restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion.

"We are asking those governments to go back and change those laws," she said. "Because how can they ask those women not to become pregnant but also not offer them first information that is available, but the possibility to stop their pregnancies if they wish?"

Pouilly said that about a quarter of women had experienced physical or sexual violence in El Salvador in the past year.

"So that also shows that many of these pregnancies are out of their control and countries obviously have to take that into account," she said. Pouilly said that safe abortion services should be provided to the full extent of the law. "The key point is that women should have the choice and (make) informed decisions," she said. "Women should be able to have an abortion if they want."

NBC's Danielle Abreu contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Free Eye Exams, Glasses at Kids Vision Fest]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:13:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kidfest-kid-reading.jpg

Helping kids see better is the focus of an event today in Tarrant County. On Friday nearly 1,000 children will receive free eye exams and glasses at the Kids Vision Fest.

The Kids Vision Fest is held by a group of organizations called Kids Vision for Life - Tarrant County Coalition, The Alcon Foundation, Essilor Vision Foundation, Tarrant County College and Fort Worth ISD. These groups are coming together for the fourth annual Kids Vision Fest, to help children learn, focus and see better.

Children who qualify will have the opportunity to have their eyes examined, and then if they need glasses they will be fitted, get to choose their favorite frame, and receive their new pair of glasses.

For a lot of these kids it is the first time that they will see clearly. Many children don’t know how to tell their parents or a teacher that they can’t see, so they can go years without seeing properly if their eyes aren’t examined.

Kindergarten teacher Mary Newberry has seen how this can impact a child’s learning experience.

“I had a little girl this year come in after getting her glasses and she said, ‘Those are letters! And the pictures go with the letters!’ She had no knowledge, but she didn’t know that she couldn’t see,” said Newberry.

Children who have been a part of the program said it has absolutely transformed their life both in and out of the classroom.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Issues New Zika Virus Guidelines]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:42:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CDC-generic.jpg

New guidelines regarding the Zika virus warn pregnant women, those who expect to become pregnant and their partners not to have unprotected sex for 28 days after returning from an area affected by the Zika virus.

"That's what we're hearing, and we think that's going to be excellent," said Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The new recommendations follow the sexually transmitted case of Zika in Dallas County, and were released Friday morning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If they travel into those areas, they should be using condoms when they get back here. They should practice safe sex," said Thompson.

The new guidelines are said to follow those already published in England for pregnant women, those who expect to be pregnant and their partners:

  • No unprotected sex for 28 days after returning from an area where Zika is being actively transmitted.
  • And no unprotected sex for six months after recovering from a Zika infection.

Pregnant women are already being advised against unnecessary travel to areas affected by Zika. New guidelines include:

  • Pregnant women and their male sex partners should discuss potential exposure and history of Zika-like illness with the pregnant woman's health care provider.
  • Men with a pregnant sex partner who have been to an area of active Zika virus transmission and their pregnant sex partners should use condoms during sex or abstain from sexual activity.
  • Couples in which a man resides in or has traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission may consider using condoms or abstaining from sexual activity.

CDC officials said it is not yet clear how long the risk should be avoided.

CDC also has updated its interim guidance for healthcare providers in the United States caring for pregnant women and women of reproductive age with possible Zika virus exposure. The updated guidelines recommend that pregnant women without symptoms of Zika virus disease can be offered testing 2 to 12 weeks after returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

New recommendations for women who are pregnant or of reproductive age who reside in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission include:

  • For pregnant women experiencing Zika-like symptoms, testing is recommended at the time of illness.
  • For pregnant women not experiencing Zika-like symptoms, testing is recommended when women begin prenatal care. Follow-up testing is also recommended.
  • For women of reproductive age, healthcare providers should discuss strategies to prevent unintended pregnancy.
  • Local health officials will need to determine when to implement testing recommendations for pregnant women without symptoms based on local levels of Zika virus transmission and local laboratory capacity.

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<![CDATA[Company Testing Diabetes Cure]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:27:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Diabetes+cure+web+img-PIC_0.jpg

A San Diego biotech company believes it has found a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The La Jolla-based company, ViaCyte, in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson, is testing a stem cell treatment to cure those with the life-impacting hormonal disorder.

ViaCyte is aiming to eliminate rigorous insulin treatment and glucose testing by engineering a type of stem cell that produces insulin and other hormones that regulate sugar levels.

“These cells are human cells, but they’re not the patient’s cells, so the patient’s immune system would want to remove those cells – attack those cells,” said ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind.

A team of 60 employees, led by Laikind, first tested the stem cell implantation on animals, which saw success.

Then, testing turned to humans. On Thursday, the company announced a breakthrough: after months inside a human, they extracted the implantation to find the cells not only survived, but they did exactly what they were intended to do.

“We’re on the right track. I think there is a cure in sight,” Laikind said.

Developers could not pinpoint an exact timeline for the product, but said it was in the years, not decades.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[DCHHS Awaits Results on Four New Zika Tests]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:37:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaLab-GettyImages-506977656.jpg

Officials in North Texas have tested four additional patients for Zika virus and are awaiting the results, according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The specimens were submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. County health officials said the four cases are not connected to the previous two cases announced earlier this week and that they involve people who recently traveled out of the country.

The county's two previous Zika patients have fully recovered from the virus, according to the DCHHS. Those cases involved a person who traveled to Venezuela and had sexual contact with another person upon returning to Dallas, officials said. Not much is known about the Dallas patients except that neither was pregnant and there was no risk to a developing fetus.

County health officials conducted mosquito surveillance near where those patients lived and did not identify any mosquito activity.

The Zika virus is usually spread through mosquito bites. DCHHS said Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the second Zika diagnosis, while the county health department confirmed through a follow-up interview with the patient that the virus had been sexually transmitted.

The CDC previously said it was aware of reports of the virus being spread through sexual contact, but had not confirmed the transmission method.

Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, Dallas County health officials said.

The virus can have far more harmful effects on women who are infected while pregnant. Zika has led to reports of microcephaly in infants ad other "poor pregnancy outcomes," according to the CDC.

Those with symptoms, or those who have had sexual contact with someone who has symptoms, are urged to seek immediate medical care, to protect themselves from further mosquito bites and to avoid unprotected sexual contact.

NBC 5's Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CDC's Warning for Women About Alcohol Sparks Backlash]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 11:17:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/beer+drinking+generic.jpg

A warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meant to caution women about the risks of drinking and pregnancy has set off a firestorm of outrage, NBC News reported. 

"About half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned and, even if planned, most women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy. This means a woman might be drinking and exposing her developing baby to alcohol without knowing it," the agency said in a "Vital Signs" report released Tuesday.

But the part that appears to have gone over the line for a number of women said: "More than 3 million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy."

Washington Post commentator Alexandra Petri, the Atlantic and ThinkProgress blog all took offense at the language. The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat, a veteran of news briefings and media coverage, made it clear that the agency was not talking about women alone.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Zoran Milich]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Virus Scare Cancels Destination Weddings]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 22:51:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/zika-GettyImages-506975094.jpg

Travel agents are hearing from clients canceling travel plans because of the Zika virus.

"We're getting all sorts of questions," said Catherine Banks, with Legacy Travel in Plano, which specializes in destination weddings.

About 30 people in the past week have canceled nearly a dozen trips, including two destination weddings with pregnant brides, she said.

"Had one just an hour ago cancel, where the bride just found out she's pregnant and their wedding is in Jamaica, and so her doctor doesn't advise her to go," said Banks.

"And we've had lots of other weddings – guests of other weddings – where the bride isn't pregnant, but the weddings aren't going to go on," Banks added. "But individual guests may be pregnant, you know.

Everyone's in the same phase of life, people are getting married, having babies, and so you'll have guests that are pregnant and of course they call and cancel."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas, and those trying to become pregnant should talk with their doctor.

After two confirmed cases in Dallas County, one by sexual contact with the other, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a statement, saying, "To minimize the risk of Zika virus infection passing to fetuses, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant or their partners should not travel to countries with reported Zika virus activity."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Experts Left With More Questions About Zika ]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:00:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaLab-GettyImages-506977656.jpg

For decades, the Zika virus has seemed harmless. But with more birth defects in Brazil and the possibility of transmission through sexual contact, health experts are now trying to answer more questions about the illness.

So far, only two men have been detected with the virus in their semen, NBC News reported. Because the infection doesn’t last long, the possibility of it being transmitted is only likely when a person is infected.

But experts aren’t sure what’s making the virus adapt, because testing for Zika is very difficult. Health officials are now going around Brazil to collect blood samples of those actively infected to test them and save them to see what happens later.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['I Could Feel Him There': Mom Listens to Son's Donated Heart Beat ]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 07:50:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/221*120/Screen-Shot-2016-02-03-at-8.48.46-AM.jpg

Three years after her 7-month-old son Lukas tragically died, Heather Clark was able to hear his donated heart beat once again inside a little girl. 

Holding a stethoscope to 4-year-old Jordan Drake's chest, the Rancho Cucamonga, California, mother cried during an emotional meeting on Jan. 29 at the Heart Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 

"The sound was so strong," Clark, 25, told People magazine. "I could feel him there with me. He is continuing on through her, no doubt."

Lukas suffered fatal injuries allegedly at the hands of a babysitter’s boyfriend. He died three days later at a Loma Linda, California, hospital.

"The only thing I can think of is: I can't save my own son," Clark said of her decision to donate his organs, according to NBC affiliate KPNX. "Why not save someone else's."

Esther Gonzalez, Jordan's mother, said the donation was a gift, though she knew it came at a price for another mother.

“Instantly you feel relief, you know, she may make it. But on the flip, it took me a half a second for me to turn and say, 'a mother lost her child tonight,'" Gonzalez said, KPNX reported.

Jordan suffered from many health issues as a baby, her mother said, including seizures, stroke, brain and stomach bleeding. 

"She had brain surgery -- so many issues," said Gonzalez.

Jordan received the new heart at 18 months, but her meeting with Clark didn't happen for another two years. KPNX showed Jordan smiling and running in the hospital. 

Clark told People her donation was anonymous and both her and Gonzalez wrote letters and social media messages trying to find each other afterward. 

"Lukas has given Jordan this chance at life and I know he is looking down, wishing her the best and telling her to live her life to the fullest," Clark told People."I could feel him there with me. He is continuing on through her, no doubt."

Jordan wasn't the only child Lukas helped, as two other lives were saved through the donation of his liver and kidney.

“He did more in 7 months in life than I've done in 25 years of life,” Clark said, KPNX reported.
 



Photo Credit: Donate Life Arizona]]>
<![CDATA[Need to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:27:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spread of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in a birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven, and have labeled the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What You Need to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:23:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/AP_88799403079.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in a birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven, and have labeled the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Task Force Wants to Require Depression Screening]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 08:37:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Exam+Room+010814.jpg

New U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations call for mandatory screening for depression for everyone over the age of 18.

Texas doctors are encouraged to screen patients for depression, but it’s not required.

"From a national standpoint, to say that we do need to screen this, gives it a little bit extra emphasis,” University of North Texas Health Science Center's Dr. Shanna Combs said.

When it comes to postpartum depression, Texas has a law that sets it apart from other states.

The "Andrea Yates Bill" — named after the Houston mother who admitted to drowning her five children in a bathtub and was diagnosed with postpartum depression — requires doctors to tell pregnant women about postpartum depression.

Some doctors, like Combs, screen all their patients for postpartum depression anyway.

"It’s such a common problem," she said.

Combs said studies show 1 in 7 women will have postpartum depression, and it’s becoming even more common.

"I think the biggest concern in Texas is resources," Combs said. "Having good counseling resources."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Prepared if Zika Arrives: Officials]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:23:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/184*120/zika-peligro-5.jpg

Dallas County is prepared if the Zika virus spreads to North Texas, County Judge Clay Jenkins says.

"We're a lot better prepared for mosquito-borne outbreaks than we were in 2012, when we had the West Nile virus outbreak," Jenkins said.

During the past several years Dallas County has dedicated millions to learning about mosquito-borne illnesses, Jenkins said. Now comes the latest test in the Zika virus.

Already widespread in Central and South America, many people are worried infected mosquitoes could move into the United States.

If that happens, Dallas County has a plan.

"We have a lot more trucks. We have contracts in place for all types of spraying," Jenkins said. "We have much more capability to monitor and trap mosquitoes."

And the county can test those mosquitoes quicker, Jenkins said.

Additionally Jenkins said if a person comes back with the Zika virus from another country, crews will do a survey around that person's home, lay traps to look for mosquitoes with the virus and, if any are found to be positive, crews will spray and knock down the population.

Still, health officials said families shouldn't be too worried.

"You've gotta understand mosquitoes don't fly very far: 250 to 300 yards is usually the range," said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

The best thing you can do is protect yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

"Again, prevention is better than trying to worry about a lot of things, how can we fight this disease.

The best thing is to get educated about how to prevent the disease in the first place," Taneja said.

Health officials said West Nile virus is far more dangerous than Zika, but they still want people to be aware, and they are still urging pregnant women not to travel to countries affected by Zika.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Burn Awareness Week Begins With Safety Fair]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:27:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-01-22-16h52m54s20.jpg

The start of February brings Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 1-7, and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is teaming up with the American Burn Association (ABA) to provide information on how to prevent scalds and other burn injuries.

On Wednesday, the Parkland Burn Center staff will be hosting a Burn Prevention and Safety Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the private dining room at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

The event will include burn prevention lessons, including cooking, gasoline and home oxygen safety.

Parkland averages about 800 people being admitted to the burn center every year. About a third of the admissions are because of scald injuries, and a majority of them happen to children who are 5-years-old and younger.

Parkland staff hopes to caution people against scald injuries because, according to Stephanie Campbell, Parkland’s Burn Program Manager, infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are at a higher risk of being scalded and having a difficult recovery.

Staff in the burn center said simple changes in behavior can reduce the risk of scalds and other burn injuries for both children and adults.

For more information about services available at Parkland visit www.parklandhospital.com.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Study Gives Prozac to Fetuses With Down Syndrome]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 07:51:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Prozac-GettyImages-169371347.jpg

A University of Texas Southwestern study will see if giving unborn babies with Down syndrome Prozac in the womb will help improve brain functioning.

Dr. Carol Tamminga, who is leading the study at UTSW, said the medical community has been giving Prozac to children with Down syndrome for years, but the effects of giving it to children in utero haven’t been tested.

"And this will really be the first controlled trial where we will get to test does this really work or not," she said.

Mothers pregnant with Down syndrome babies will take Prozac about 18 to 20 weeks into their pregnancy. The child will continue to take Prozac until the age of 2. Throughout that time, doctors will do brain imaging studies, rate cognition and follow the general health of the child.

Tamminga said the study was first conducted on animals. The evidence in mice was so striking, researchers immediately thought it could help humans as well.

UTSW is working with obstetricians right now to find parents interested in taking part in the study. Doctors hope to have 21 mothers start taking Prozac in March.

"I think it’s a very personal decision based on what the mother and the father decide to do," Tamminga said.

Since Prozac is a standard antidepressant, Tamminga said it shouldn't hurt the mother.

Although antidepressants during pregnancy have been linked in some studies to rare birth defects, the overall risk is "extremely low," according to the Mayo Clinic.

"We think about what could be the potential downsides for the children, and what we really do is weigh the risk and the benefit," Tamminga said. "So, what if this medication had an effect that really helped the child move from an IQ of 60 to an IQ of 90? I mean, that would be a miracle from our point of view. That's what we hope would happen and we would be willing to sustain a good deal of risk for that."



Photo Credit: MediaforMedical via AP]]>
<![CDATA[DFW Family Postpones Trip Due To Zika Virus Threat]]> Sun, 31 Jan 2016 23:01:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaVirus-AP_454991380590.jpg

The threat of the Zika virus has some North Texas doctors warning pregnant women to cancel vacation plans to popular destinations.

It's a warning the Warnock's are heeding.

"I promised to call my doctor and he called me back about an hour later and he said, 'Hey, you absolutely cannot go.' So we canceled our trip that day," said expectant mother Stephanie Warnock. "The last thing I would ever do is jeopardize my baby."

Warnock is six months pregnant.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women, in any trimester, to postpone travel to Central and South America.

"Even if we went and nothing went wrong, then great. If something did go wrong I would never forgive myself," Warnock said.

Warnock and her husband were scheduled to fly to Mexico on Thursday.

They'll use that time to prepare the nursery in their Dallas home.

There are now seven cases of Zika in Texas, including three in Houston and four in Harris County. All of the cases were contracted outside of the country.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dozens Climb Dallas Tower To Fight Blood Cancers]]> Sat, 30 Jan 2016 23:02:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/013016_Big_D_Climb_1200x675_612539459515.jpg Dozens of people climbed to the top of the tallest building in Dallas to raise money to fight leukemia and lymphoma. Learn more: http://www.lls.org/]]> <![CDATA[Six Cases of Zika Virus Confirmed in Texas: Officials]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 23:00:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zika+virus2.jpg

State health officials say there are now six confirmed cases of Zika virus in Texas, and travel agents are hearing from pregnant women and others who want to change their travel plans due to the virus.

"A lot of concern," said Steve Cosgrove at Southlake's Dynamic Travel and Cruises. "They're pleased that the major carriers are allowing them to cancel or re-book with no penalty. Carnival is now allowing people to rebook with no penalty, but quite a bit of concern out there."

About a dozen of his clients this week canceled cruises and other trips because of the virus.

"Cancel, rebook, reschedule, pick another destination," said Cosgrove.

Others who don't plan to travel are also concerned about their unborn babies, reaching out to their doctors with questions about the virus.

"(They say) 'Do we need to do something, do we need to be worried?'" said Dr. Kelli Culpepper, OB-GYN at Medical City Dallas. "I said, at this point, no. We don't have it in Dallas, but I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell every patient every spring when West Nile season starts: use bug spray."

Culpepper advises pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries affected by the Zika virus.

"I would say if you don't have to take the trip, don't take it. Don't take it," said Culpepper. "It's just not worth the risk."

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed six cases of Zika in Southeast Texas. All of the cases are associated with travel to areas where Zika is currently being transmitted.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington Police Detective Donates Kidney to Strangers]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 19:06:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/200*120/DET+GOWINS+PRESSER.jpg

An Arlington police officer is now a personal hero to three families, not because he solved a crime, but because he gave them a special gift that has changed their lives forever.

It all started about a year ago, when Detective Josh Gowins came across a post on Facebook.

"There were pictures that a father had taken of the back of his truck, which said my son needs a kidney," said Gowins.

During a news conference Friday, he said those images stayed with him. And so he began doing research on kidney transplants.

“I was pretty ignorant of what people with kidney disease and people on dialysis go through until I started researching it," said Gowins. "I think that really helped me make my decision.”

After talking it over with his wife, he came to Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth and told them he wanted to donate one of his kidneys to someone who could use it. He found out that list is a long one.

“There are more than 100,000 patients waiting for a life-saving transplant," said Dr. Sridhar Allam, a Transplant Nephrologist at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, and a member of the team that oversaw Gowin's donation.

The transplant team at the medical center was eager to work with him and gave him some unexpected news -- his one kidney was going to help three families.

“Having altruistic or good Samaritan donors like Josh will help start chains like this," said Allam. "It's very exciting."

Gowins' kidney went to a female patient. Her husband, who was not a match for her, then agreed to donate one of his kidneys to a young man. And finally that young man's brother, who was not a match for him, offered to donate one of his kidneys to another stranger.

That young man, 20-year-old Alonso Ruvalcaba, released a brief video message through the medical center.

"It should be a lot better than than the life I'm living right now," he said with a smile on his face.

That's all Gowins needed to hear.

"It was a small price to pay -- a few weeks of discomfort -- to give someone their life back," said Gowins.

Doctors at the medical center say the transplants could add at least ten more years to each recipient's life.

Gowins now encourages everyone to register as an organ donor.

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<![CDATA[Dallas Hospital Among First to Perform Uterine Transplant]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 17:40:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/surgery+transplant+hospital.jpg

Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas will be among the first hospitals in the United States to perform a uterine transplant.

The treatment was successful in Sweden two years ago and could be a major breakthrough for some women who are unable to have children.

"I have to emphasize this, the success here is not in the transplant. The success here is the birth of a healthy baby," said Goran Klintmalm, chief of the Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute.

The surgery would give a woman without a uterus – whose only options have been adoption or surrogacy – a chance to have a child.

"We want them to be between 20 and 35 years old because that's a healthy pregnancy age," said womb transplant research nurse Kristin Posey Wallis. "We want them to be physically fit, healthy and with no major health concerns. They need to have working ovaries which will help us have healthy embryos."

Recipients would be women who were born without a uterus, have had it removed or had uterine damage.

The women would have to wait a year to heal from the surgery before having in vitro fertilization.

Babies would be delivered by Cesarean section. Unlike transplant surgeries, where recipients keep the organ for life, after the women have one or two successful births the uterine transplant would be removed.

Doctors call the operation "highly experimental."

Patients would have to live locally since they would have to take anti-rejection pills before and during pregnancy.

"We would have to monitor these patients on a very tight schedule to make sure that there's no rejection of the uterus, and if there's rejection that the body is trying to get rid of this organ we would have to treat them," said Koon.

Baylor will use live and deceased donors of any adult age as long as the uterus is healthy.

Baylor is currently looking for patients between the ages of 20 and 35 who live in the area or are willing to relocate.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Baylor Hospital to Perform Uterine Transplant]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:04:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/217*120/baylor-dallas-med-ctr4.jpg Baylor Scott and White Health will soon become one of the first hospitals to perform a uterine transplant, which has only been performed successfully in Sweden.

Photo Credit: Baylor Health Care System]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Virus Possibly Spread Through Sexual Contact]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 23:09:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/mosquito-cdc-012616.JPG

Researchers suspect the mosquito-borne Zika virus could also be transmitted through sexual contact.

"The primary way that Zika is spread is going to be through mosquito bites, however from research is showing that there's a possibility of it can also be spread sexually as well," said Dr. Christopher Perkins, medical director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

International health officials say the Zika virus is "spreading explosively" in the Americas. The World Health Organization predicts there could be up to four million cases over the next year.

The virus has been linked to a spike in a rare birth defect in Brazil, and there is no medical defense against the infection.

The aedes aegypti mosquito that can transmit the Zika virus can be found in North Texas, most often hidden near homes.

"It's a mosquito that lives very closely to man," said Patrick Prather with Municipal Mosquito in Richardson. "So, trash, buckets, things that are out in the yard collecting water, trash that's along the side of the road, those mosquitoes are very at home breeding in those places."

Two cases of the virus are now reported in Southeast Texas; both people infected in another country.

With local mosquitoes able to transmit the virus, imported cases like those cause serious concern.

"They can introduce the virus into the local mosquito population and then that can start a vicious cycle," Perkins said.



Photo Credit: CDC]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Woman Has Zika: NYC]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 04:01:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_256601441416.jpg

A pregnant woman was diagnosed with Zika virus after visiting a country stricken with the mosquito-borne illness that may cause birth defects, New York City health officials say. 

New York City Commissioner of Health Mary Bassett said that the woman was diagnosed with the virus recently, bringing the city's total of residents diagnosed with the disease to three. 

Four other people in New York have been diagnosed with the virus -- including one each in Monroe, Nassau, Suffolk and Orange Counties. 

Officials wouldn't say where the people had recently traveled, describing the locations as areas where the "virus transmission is ongoing." Bassett said that because of that, she reminded New Yorkers to be careful when picking winter vacation destinations. 

"This might be a good winter to think about a vacation in the Catskills," she said. 

One additional case has contracted the case after traveling to Colombia, health officials there say. No cases have been reported in Connecticut.

Health officials say there is virtually no risk of catching the virus in New York City because mosquitoes are not active in the winter but wanted to discuss measures New Yorkers can take when traveling to countries where the disease is prevalent.

The species of mosquito that transmits the virus is also not seen in the northeast, though it is prevalent in the southern United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning for pregnant women thinking of visiting 22 countries, most in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Countries where Zika transmission is ongoing include Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela, 

The virus has been linked with microcephaly which can leave affected newborns with unusually small heads and abnormal brain development. The condition can usually be observed via an ultrasound in the first trimester of pregnancy. 



Photo Credit: File - AP]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Discusses Growing Zika Virus Concern]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 11:55:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_256601441416.jpg The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hold a conference call to discuss the growing alarm about the Zika virus and resulting birth defects.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['Silent Killer': Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 05:23:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/012516_A_coproblems1JH_70.jpg

At least six people died from carbon monoxide poisoning since a massive snowstorm swept through the East Coast last week. The deaths included 23-year-old Sasha Bonilla, a New Jersey mother, and her 1-year old son who died while sitting in a running car that had its tailpipe covered in snow. 

Bonilla's 3-year old daughter, who was found in critical condition in the carbon-monoxide filled car, died on Jan. 27. The kids' dad was shoveling snow just steps away when he found his family unconscious. 

Know as a "silent killer," CO is found in the fumes created when fuel burning equipment like cars, stoves, BBQ grills, fireplaces, and water heaters are used. It can't can't be seen or smelled. The gas is poisonous and can be fatal for anyone who inhales it, although the elderly, infants, and chronically sick are more at risk.

Each year more than 400 people die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most common symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, according to the CDC. The CO poisoning symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you have symptoms that you think could be the result of CO poisoning, leave the area immediately, and call 911 or go to the emergency room.

People who are sleeping can die from CO poisoning before they become aware of any symptoms. There are steps you can take to keep you and your family safer from the risk of poisoning. 

Take a look at safety tips from the CDC and nonprofit child safety organization KidsandCars.org that you can use all year-round: 

CO Tips for the Car:

- Annually take your car to a mechanic to have the exhaust system inspected -- small leaks can lead to trouble inside of the car.

- Never run your car inside of the garage, even with the garage door open.

- When opening the tailgate on your vehicles, make sure vents or windows are open to allow CO from the exhaust to circulate and not get trapped inside of the vehicle.

- When inclement weather strikes, make sure the tailpipe of your car is not blocked with snow, ice, or other debris and don't allow others to wait in the vehicle while clearing snow from around the car.

- Be careful with keyless or press-to-start vehicles as even if the key fob is indoors, the vehicle outside could be running.

- Make sure children are not playing near the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle and always keep vehicles locked with keys out of reach of children who may want to play inside.

CO Tips for the Home:

- Install -- and monitor -- a battery-operated CO detector in your home and be sure to place it somewhere where it will wake you if it goes off. These should be replaced every five years.

- Annually service your heating systems by a professional to ensure fuels are burning properly.

- Check your chimney each year as built up debris can cause blockage and in turn allow CO to build up in your house.

- Don't use portable gas stoves designed for outdoor camping inside your home and don't burn charcoal indoors.

- If you have a generator anywhere in your home, make sure it is less than 20 feet from a ventilation system like a door or a window.  



Photo Credit: Northjersey.com
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<![CDATA[Brazil Revises Birth Defect Count in Zika Investigation]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 18:01:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zika+virus1.jpg

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported fewer confirmed cases of a rare brain defect that may be tied to the Zika virus, NBC News reported.

In new figures released Wednesday, only 270 of 4,180 suspected cases have been confirmed as microcephaly. 

Officials in Brazil still believe there’s an increase in cases of microcephaly and suspect the Zika virus is to blame. The rare birth defect, which also can be caused by factors such as infections, malnutrition or drugs, means babies have unusually small heads.  

Concern about the virus has prompted a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning to pregnant women to reconsider travel to areas where Zika is present.

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<![CDATA[Basketball Coach Fights Cancer, Refuses to be Sidelined]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 17:48:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SGP-Coach-Morrow.jpg

High above the basketball court at South Grand Prairie High School are the words to its alma mater, which read in part, "May the red and gold bring a Warrior bold to his highest shining hour."

Perhaps no one exemplifies that more than the woman who rules that domain.

"Sometimes we forget that she has cancer because she's so energetic," said Kayla Wells, a junior small forward for the Lady Warriors. "Sometimes, she's more energetic than us."

Lady Warriors Head Coach Sam Morrow was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer and continues to receive treatments for the disease.

"It's the fear of the unknown," said Morrow. "Telling the kids was really hard."

But if you thought chemo or radiation would keep her off the court, then you don't know Coach.

"To me, it was 'let's get this going, let's get this done,'" said Morrow. "Get the tough [chemo] done before school starts because I don't want to miss school. I don't want to miss basketball."

Initially, the news was a devastating blow for her players.

"I cried," said Wells. "We're so close to her. And hearing that somebody that you love has cancer, it hurts you."

But in the months since she told them, it's become their source of strength and motivation.

"Seeing her fight, it shows that we can fight, as well," said Amber Bacon, a sophomore point guard for the Lady Warriors. "We want it more this year."

And to show they have her back, they made the decision to wear pink shoes, pink socks and pink "Sam Strong" bracelets during every game this season -- something Morrow was hesitant at first to let them do.

"I told them 'we're going to talk about my cancer and we're going to talk about what I'm going through and then that's it,'" said Morrow. "I don't want to talk about it again."

But she quickly realized that a lot of people were talking about it and wanted to get behind her -- including the Lady Warriors' opponents.

Several schools have worn pink to show their support. Others have given her gift baskets. And many have helped the Lady Warriors raise money for breast cancer research.

"I get a little teary eyed when I think about that because it's nice and it's genuine," said Morrow. "It's not fake. It's real."

And it's what keeps her fighting -- so that someday soon, she'll get to add another big victory to her resume.

"[Coach Morrow] can beat it," said Bacon. "Yes. Of course."

Morrow hopes that sharing her story will encourage people to support breast cancer research.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Wants to Test for Zika Virus Locally]]> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 22:37:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquitoes-AP_100665838820.jpg

There is growing concern that the Zika virus, suspected of causing birth defects in infants, may begin to show up in North Texas.

"We will not be shocked to see imported cases coming into the United States because of the travel," said Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson.

Now Dallas County is asking for approval to test for the virus locally, rather than send suspected blood samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

That would allow the county health department to get results more quickly.

"Zika is an emerging disease. We're getting guidance almost weekly," said Thompson. "And we're taking the proactive step of seeking certification of our lab so that we can be able to so the test locally."

"Having Zika is something that you really don't want to have," said Sherry Dean-Rovello, of Desoto, who said she contracted the mosquito-borne virus during a recent trip to Central America.

"It's like a pretty bad case of the flu," said Dean-Rovello. "So lots of joint swelling, a fever. I had migraine headaches that started it off."

Now she's waiting for her test results to come back from the CDC.

"It was hard to me to walk for a couple days," said Dean-Rovello. "Just walking was very painful."

Dallas County hopes the CDC will approve local testing by May, when the start of mosquito season in North Texas could spread any imported cases.

On Tuesday, the CDC issued new guidelines on when to test for Zika in newborns whose mothers traveled to affected areas during their pregnancy.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: Painkiller OD]]> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 11:50:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/seema-pharmacy.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses how people put themselves at risk of painkiller overdose by ignoring the label.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Officials Warn of Spike in RSV Cases]]> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 23:09:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/toddler+oxygen+mask.jpg

Texas health officials are warning families about a dramatic spike in the number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases in the state.

RSV is a respiratory infection that affects a person's lungs and is very contagious.

In both Tarrant and Dallas counties, the number of positive cases since the beginning of December has nearly tripled.

"It's easily spread from people sneezing, coughing – and also sneezing, and the material is on the counter. That that will stay alive for four to five hours," said Dr. Richard Honaker, with The Medical Center of Plano.

Honaker said the virus can be especially dangerous for young children and babies.

"In little ones, it's generally the ones under two years of age that have the most difficulty with it. It generally starts with coughing, upper respiratory congestion, runny nose," he said.

"Babies get it deeper in their lungs and it's basically a type of pneumonia. It's a viral pneumonia," Honaker added.

Some North Texas hospitals are reporting nearly half their beds are dedicated to children with RSV.

Coppell mother Kaci Balla said her six-month-old daughter, Bailey, came down with the virus just within the past two weeks.

"It was Friday afternoon when she came home from daycare. They said she'd been coughing a lot that day and I noticed her cough was pretty bad," Balla said.

Shortly after that, Bailey began wheezing and had a low-grade fever.

"It was scary to hear her struggling to breathe so much," she said.

Honaker said once a person has RSV, because it's a virus, there is not a lot doctors can do but treat the symptoms and wait for a person to get better.

Balla said Bailey had to go to a clinic three days in a row for doctors to monitor her, and after a week she began to improve.

Doctors said the best way to prevent getting RSV is hand-washing, good hygiene and wiping down often-touched surfaces.

Balla said she's just grateful her daughter is feeling better.

"We got through it, so it wasn't as scary as it could've been, I guess. But I definitely want to see her go through it again," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lewisville ISD Student Diagnosed with TB: Officials]]> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 22:27:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tuberculosis-dfw-generic-06.jpg

Parents in the Lewisville Independent School District have been notified of a serious health concern Friday evening.

In a letter sent to Hebron High School and Hebron 9th Grade Campus parents, the schools' principals said a student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

The message goes on to say the district is responding under the guidance of the Denton County Health Department.

Health officials say there is only a slight chance of the student being contagious.

The district says it takes the health of its students seriously, and school nurses will be watching for any signs or symptoms.

See the message below, in its entirety:

"Dear Hebron High School and Hebron 9th Grade Campus Parents,

We want to inform you that one of our students has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB) and HHS, HHS9 and Lewisville ISD (LISD) are responding under the guidance of the Denton County Health Department.

It is important to note, medical officials have informed us there is a very low probability of this student being contagious. No other students or staff members have tested positive or have been diagnosed with active TB, but we wanted you to be aware of the situation.

As with any health issue, our school nurses are aware of the symptoms and protocols related to TB. If you have any questions or concerns about TB, information can be found at the following websites:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/TB
Denton County Health Department at www.dentoncounty.com/health/tb

The safety and health of our students and staff remains our top priority. LISD will continue to partner with public health experts to monitor this situation, and will provide additional communication if indicated.

Thank you for your continued support of our campuses and of LISD.

Sincerely,
Scot Finch and Amanda Werneke
Principals, Hebron High School and Hebron 9th Grade Campus
"



Photo Credit: NBCDFW.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Virus Spreads to 20 Latin American Countries]]> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:49:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaBrazil-AP_324390883298.jpg

The Zika virus has now spread to 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries, NBC News reported.

The virus is now spreading locally in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela. Samoa, in the south Pacific, is also reporting Zika for the first time.

The spread of the virus can be expected to escalate, as the mosquitoes that carry it can be found across the region. Some popular tourist destinations have been hit and it’s likely to spread farther, according to international health officials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday repeated its recommendation that pregnant women avoid travel to affected countries until more can be learned about whether it can affect unborn babies.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>