<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/healthhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.pngNBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worthhttp://www.nbcdfw.comen-usMon, 25 Jul 2016 13:43:56 -0500Mon, 25 Jul 2016 13:43:56 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA['Drunkorexia' Common Among College Students: Study]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:07:20 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BeerDrinking-GettyImages-144235968.jpg

Almost a third of college students say they’ve taken part in practices dubbed “drunkorexia,” according to a recent study, NBC News reported. 

That’s the name for behaviors such as skipping meals or heavy exercising to offset calories from binge drinking, or to pump up alcohol’s buzz. The study, conducted by a research assistant at the University of Houston, found that the behaviors were just as common in men as they were in women. 

The survey found that 80 percent of students engaged in at least one of the following behaviors: cutting back on food and increasing exercise; engaging in bulimic-type behaviors such as vomiting after eating or taking laxatives; boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking. 

Previous research showed that 40 percent of college students drink heavily at least once a month. The researcher said a cultural shift in men being more worried about their appearance may have led to the rise in the behavior. 



Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Poor Pelvic Health Can Cause Back Pain, Other Problems]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:57:32 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pelvic+health.jpg

Women, even those who've never had children or been pregnant, can experience extreme pelvic health problems but when they do, many assume it's an issue with their back.

Winn LaRue made the same assumption after an injury while jogging.

"I ended up stumbling and I thought no big deal, until I went home and I put my leg in my bathtub and something popped in my back," says LaRue.

The pain she in her torso was so bad, she resorted to only wearing long flowing dresses to reduce the amount of pain.

"I would sneeze and my entire back would spasm and I would just fall to the floor in a fetal position," says LaRue.

The 35-year-old comedian went through months of rehabilitation but still didn't achieve the wellness she had hoped for.

"Other surgeons wanted to perform a spinal fusion on me and I wanted to avoid that at all costs," says LaRue.

LaRue was referred to the Ben Hogan Sports Medicine at Texas Health Fort Worth for the sports rehabilitation and pelvic wellness program.

She ended up in the care of pelvic wellness physical therapist Jenny Kurz, who knew right away the problem was no longer in LaRue's back.

LaRue learned that her pelvic bone and wall had both tilted forward and that the muscles in the pelvic floor had tightened up, causing the pain she was feeling.

"If you think about what happens, if someone punches you in the stomach, you want to pull away. It's a protective mechanism and for a lot of people, that happens in your pelvic floor as well," says Kurz.

"Just like any other muscle in the body, these muscles need to have strength. They need to have coordination. They need to have the ability to relax. So if these muscles aren't acting appropriately, it makes sense that you're going to have faulty movement, which can then lead to pain," adds Kurz.

Winn spent six more months in physical therapy focused on the pelvic floor of her body.

"I changed the way I sit, the way I stand, the way i exercise. Everything had to change in order to avoid surgery and I don't regret a moment of it," says LaRue.

"Now I can do comedy again. I can engage with life. I work with my church again and I can stand tall."

Poor pelvic health can lead to back pain, incontinence or balance issues.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Non-Surgical Procedure Treating Acid Reflux Patients]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 18:13:16 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/acid+reflux+procedure.jpg

Dealing with occasional heartburn is one thing, but living with debilitating acid reflux disease is another.

Millions of people spend years on powerful drugs to keep their symptoms in check, but a non-surgical procedure is giving them freedom from their disease and their medications.

Gastroesophogeal reflux disease, or GERD, is when stomach acid or bile flows up the food pipe and irritates the lining.

Acid reflux and heartburn more than twice a week may indicate GERD, and doctors typically prescribe lifestyle and diet changes, followed by prescription medication.

Carol Carlson, of Fort Worth, spent years suffering from a single symptom of GERD that she says controlled her life.

"Constant coughing, all the time, clearing your throat," Carlson said. "You worry about going some place that's quiet like a movie theater, graduation or church and you're going to be coughing all the time."

She has been taking a proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, for several years, but worried about the amount she needed, four daily pills of Nexium, and she worried about taking PPIs for a long period of time.

Studies show a link between proton pump inhibitors and increased risk of kidney disease and dementia.

"I'm 69 years old, so you're looking at these different things that can cause problems and then early Alzheimer's? Nobody wants to deal with these things," Carlson said.

Dr. Jay Yepuri, medical director of endoscopy at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital HEB offered a solution called a STRETTA procedure.

Using an endoscope, doctors can apply heat in the form of radio waves to the sphincter of the esophagus.

The heat thickens the muscle, building a stronger barrier to help keep down stomach contents.

"It's a great stop-gap for patients who want to come off medications, but perhaps are a little leery of a more invasive anti-reflux procedure that can be permanent, because in some cases you're arranging anatomy. It's kind of a good in-between," Yepuri said.

Carlson got the procedure nine months ago and is now off all reflux medications and living symptom free.

"I don't get tired out so much. I can chase after those grandkids a lot easier," she said.

Doctors determine whether you're a good candidate for the procedure, and according to Yepuri not all health insurance policies may cover the procedure.



Photo Credit: Texas Health Harris Methodist]]>
<![CDATA[Treatment Helps People Have Fewer Epileptic Seizures]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 17:10:24 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/epilepsy+treatment+robot.jpgEpilepsy is a disease that alters the way people live, but now doctors are using a robot to help treat patients that often leads to fewer seizures.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Two More Cases of Zika Confirmed in Dallas County]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:37:14 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

Two more people have been diagnosed with Zika virus in Dallas County, public health department officials say.

The patients, ages 37 and 38, are the 17th and 18th to contract the illness in Dallas County. Both patients acquired the virus while traveling in Mexico.

After confirming the cases through the Dallas County Health and Human Services lab, the cases were referred to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

No other health information will be released about the patient, as per usual, to protect his or her identity.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Surgery Successfully Cures Epileptic Patients]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:59:38 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_epilepsy0720_1920x1080.jpgDoctors in Houston, Texas, are using a new procedure to eliminate seizures in many epilepsy patients. KPRC's Haley Hernandez reports.]]><![CDATA[New Device May Ease Chronic Pain Without Pill]]>Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:13:43 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brain+stimulation+uta.jpg

Hi-tech research is happening at the University of Texas at Arlington that could play a big role in curbing the opioid crisis.

Scientists are working on a device that can ease chronic pain using electric brain stimulation.

The form of medical technology is being engineered by the team of professor J.C. Chiao. For more than a decade, they've been hard at work creating a wireless implant that creates electrical stimulation of a deep, middle-brain structure, blocking pain signals at the spinal cord level without drug intervention.

According to Chiao, the patented custom-designed wireless device is implanted in the ventral tegmental area of the brain.

The device communicates with a wireless recorder worn on the patient's body in a process Chiao calls "digitizing pain."

"You can only verbally communicate with your doctor how much pain you have, but in this case, because a computer receive the digital transmittance, we can actually show in electronic form how much pain you have," Chiao said. "That implant is going to deliver a very weak electrical signal to the neuron. That signal can inhibit or reduce the pain signal that you perceive."

"Because it's wireless, you do not need to walk around with all the wires around your body," he added.

The patient can also monitor the pain management on smartphone software Chiao and his team created.

"Your portable phone will continuously monitor how much pain you have right now and optimize the reduction of the pain signal," Chiao said.

Similar technology is already being used on patients with Parkinson's disease to help control their tremors.

Years of study are still needed to make sure the implant won't cause tissue damage or scarring.

He believes it will take about five to 10 years for the technology to become available to the public.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Setback for North Texas Face Transplant Recipient]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 04:10:09 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dallas+wiens3.jpg

Dallas Wiens, the North Texas man who received the nation's first full-face transplant, has had a setback.

Wiens is at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas being treated for possible rejection of the transplant.

By phone from his hospital bed Wednesday, Wiens said he began having severe jaw pain on July 9, followed by pain in his neck and back, and that his wife took him to the hospital. Wiens said doctors initially thought he may be rejecting the transplant and stabilized him with antibiotics.

Wiens told NBC 5 that he expects to be released from the hospital in the next few days.

Wiens was in a construction accident in 2008 that burned his face and left him blind. His dream to receive a face transplant became a reality in 2011. A donor was a perfect match and the risky surgery was performed in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The surgery was a success and 10 months later Wiens said he had feeling in 60 percent of his face, noting he could feel his daughter's kisses on his face.

The hospital has not yet released a statement on Wiens' condition.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 16th Case of Zika Virus]]>Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:40:50 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

A 16th person has been diagnosed with Zika virus in Dallas County, public health department officials say.

The 49-year-old patient contracted the illness while traveling in Mexico.

After confirming the case through a private laboratory, Dallas County Health and Human Services referred the case to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

No other health information will be released about the patient, as per usual, to protect his or her identity.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lewisville Spraying After 3rd Case of Zika Hits Denton Co.]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 12:33:14 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

The city of Lewisville will spray for mosquitoes after a 3rd person has been diagnosed with Zika virus in Denton County, county public health department officials say.

The Denton County Public Health Department did not provide any identifying information about patient other than that the person resides in Lewisville and that the case was contracted during a recent visit to Nicaragua.

"This third case shows on ongoing risk when traveling abroad," said Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health. "Taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites remains very important. Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant should consider delaying travel to affected countries with active Zika transmission."

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

"In an abundance of caution, and an attempt to combat Aedes mosquitos, crews from Vector Disease Control International, a private company hired by the City of Lewisville, will conduct mosquito spraying/fogging in the areas closely surrounding the infected resident's house. This spraying/fogging will be conducted using backpack sprayers and, weather permitting, will happen Thursday, July 21, 6-8 p.m."

The case is the first for the city of Lewisville.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.

[[309639121,C]]



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Helping Teens With Autism Learn to Drive]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:42:04 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_driveautism0718_1920x1080.jpgResearchers are working on ways to help autistic teens learn to drive. NBC's Erika Edwards reports.]]><![CDATA[Children's Health Benefits From 'Pokemon Go']]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:13:09 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pokemon+perro.jpg

On most summer mornings, 8-year-old Will Hammond, of Fort Worth would be inside, playing Legos, Minecraft or Pokemon cards, his mother says.

However, since the release of Pokemon Go, Will has been spending much of his time outdoors.

"It's so hot. He doesn't like being outside when it's hot, but now there's incentive go outside because he actually has a goal now!" Terry Hammond said.

Children across North Texas have traded in hours of screen time inside for hours of it outside and their "hunts" are providing valuable physical activity for what's been called a "sedentary generation," according to some doctors.

"Getting outside, getting sunlight, getting fresh air, being active, not being on a couch all day long, is really important for our kids," said Dr. Justin Smith, a pediatrician with Cook Children's Medical Center.

The game also seems to be providing mental health benefits.

Online are thousands of testimonials from players who claim the game has helped them overcome anxiety and depression.

Smith said the game also has benefits for families wanting to be more active and spend more time together.

"We know that if you want a child or a teenager to get out and get active, you've got to find something the whole family can do," Smith said.

Terry Hammond said she and Will walk to the Texas Christian University campus to play Pokemon Go with friends, then walk to dinner and walk home, making game night a family night.

"Just having him outside and being active, that's number one. Today's world, there is so much technology inside, now we got it outside so you're kind of getting the best of both," the mother said.

CHRISTUS Health is offering a Pokemon Go class for its senior citizens at the CHRISTUS St. Joseph Village in Coppell.

According to a press release, a group of senior citizens wants to learn what it is like to capture some of the illusive virtual critters.

"Like most of the rest of the country, they've heard the reports of people wondering into oncoming traffic or off of cliffs. They are not interested in that aspect of the game! Instead, they want to at least learn how to compete so to connect with other millennials, the grandkids or other children in their lives," reports the press release.

Health risks of the game include distracted walking, which leads to accidents.

Parents are urged to speak with their children about broader safety lessons, such as interacting with strangers.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mysterious Zika Spread Investigated]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 08:40:40 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_zika0718_1920x1080.jpgElderly Utah man who died with the Zika virus has somehow infected another person. There was no sexual contact and also no evidence the mosquitoes that transmit Zika are in Utah.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[NTX Researchers Study 'Lone Star Tick']]>Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:03:42 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TickResearch.jpg

As if mosquitoes weren’t a big enough worry in North Texas, they’re not the only critters that can cause harm to you when out and about this summer.

Researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth are working to learn more about what ticks may be carrying, where they're at and how it can impact those bitten.

Deep within one of the buildings at UNTHSC, in a secured laboratory, researchers are working to understand the smallest of threats to human health.

"It's very hardy and very aggressive toward people and seems to be spreading its range across the United States," said UNTHSC associate professor Dr. Michael Allen.

Allen is talking about the Lone Star tick, named for the shape on its back — not the state. The arachnid does call Texas home and it's in greater numbers during the warmer summer months.

The mission inside Allen's lab is a simple one.

"We try to get an idea of what ticks are carrying, what particular pathogens," he said.

Ticks in Texas can leave humans with forms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can be fatal, and to a lesser extent Lyme disease. Lyme disease is more common in the northeastern part of the country than in Texas.

"Lyme disease will often have the characteristic bullseye looking rash with a red spot and a red circle around it, that grows increasingly larger," Allen said.

Each year around 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease across the country, which makes the research work so vital to public health.

"From a human health standpoint, a public health standpoint, (we) follow what diseases may be on the increase, as well as assist physician's in potential diagnosis of tick-borne illness," he said.

The research is part of a collaboration with the Department of State Health Services. If you’re a Texas resident and get bit by and recover a tick, you can send it for free to DSHS who’ll then send it to the Health Science Center team who will determine what, if any, bacteria it may contain.

"They’re (the ticks) several tens of thousands of times larger than the bacteria that we’re worried about inside of them," he said.

It's a tiny pest that could carry large health problems which is why these scientists hope Texas residents help them learn more about them and what's inside of them.

Like mosquitoes, the best way to prevent a tick bite is by using bug spray with DEET.



Photo Credit: Chris Van Horne]]>
<![CDATA[Trauma Nurses Reflect a Week After Dallas Police Shooting]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:09:43 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baylor+er+nurses.jpg

Physicians and nurses at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas treated several of the police officers and civilians shot during the ambush on law enforcement last Thursday night in downtown Dallas.

At the front lines of the trauma department were nurses Erick Jenkins, Brad Blacketer, Brittany Fairchild, Greg Terry and Kaley Almanza.

"I've worked in the E.R. of Baylor for three years, but I've been a nurse for almost six. I have never experienced anything like this in all my six years of nursing," Fairchild said.

The five started their 12-hour shift at 7 p.m., about two hours before injured officers started arriving.

"On the TV, I saw everything unfolding. The next thing you know, I see respiratory therapists running past so I knew something had happened," Almanza said.

Their training kicked in, but so did unexpected emotions as lives were saved while others were lost.

"Outraged. I couldn't believe someone was capable of actively targeting police officers intentionally," Jenkins said.

"I didn't expect to be as sad days later as I was. As much horror as I've seen in my career, I can distance myself from that relatively easily. This, I could not do that with this," Terry said.

"Emotionally, you have to go home and cope with it somehow," said Blacketer, who said he coped through spending time with his children.

For Jenkins, the biggest issue in the days after shooting was the constant questions from others.

"The thing for me, when I came back was I didn't want to keep answering the questions about how it was. People kept asking. Patients would ask," Jenkins said.

For Fairchild, the days since the shooting have been difficult.

"I still think about it every day. I see it all over social media. It's just something that you can't really avoid. It's all over the news. It's all anybody seems to be talking about – for good reason – but it does make it very, very hard to move on," she said.

Everyone, however, returned to work the next day, ready to serve.

That includes Almanza, who finished her trauma department orientation four days before the shooting and is married to an Ellis County sheriff's deputy.

"I try to not put myself in that position, to think, 'What if that was my husband, right then, right now? I need save this person's life first.' I did have those thoughts in the aftermath," she said.

"It was hard not to break down multiple times. Definitely one of the hardest things – hardest shifts – I've ever had to go through," Almanza added.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 15th Case of Zika Virus]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 15:20:31 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

A 15th person has been diagnosed with Zika virus in Dallas County, public health department officials say.

The 40-year-old patient contracted the illness while traveling in Puerto Rico.

After confirming the case through a private laboratory, Dallas County Health and Human Services referred the case to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

No other health information will be released about the patient, as per usual, to protect his or her identity.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Can a Child's Own Cells Fight Type 1 Diabetes?]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 12:21:17 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Diabetes0713_MP4-146850629810200001.jpgDoctors hope this first-of-its-kind clinical trial will lead to a cure for Type I Diabetes.]]><![CDATA[Dallas County Considers Aerial Mosquito Spraying]]>Wed, 20 Jul 2016 05:40:16 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aerial-spraying-081612.jpg

Beekeepers are angry about a new Dallas County contract to arrange for possible aerial mosquito spraying if human cases of West Nile virus surge.

The beekeepers fear aerial application of insecticides that kill disease carrying mosquitoes will also kill useful insects that help gardens produce food.

Members of the Trinity Valley Beekeepers Association discussed those fears over lunch at the Garden Café, an East Dallas restaurant in front of a garden that grows some of the food.

“If we really want to grow our city and grow south Dallas, then we’ll have more people growing food. And you can’t grow food if you don’t have pollinators. Pollinators make it happen,” said beekeeper Brandon Pollard.

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson said cities must specifically request aerial spraying before the county’s hired planes will fly.

“We want to be prepared if aerial spraying is necessary,” Thompson said. “Right now, we’re seeing an uptick in the number of positive mosquito traps.”

Dallas County has reported six human cases of West Nile virus so far this year. Tarrant County reported its first 2016 human West Nile virus case on July 13.

But Thompson said the rate of mosquito infection is approaching the levels of 2012 when 20 people died in Dallas County and 398 became ill. Tarrant County reported 280 human West Nile Virus cases in 2012 and 11 deaths.

“This year is very concerning,” said Dr. John Carlo, a public health expert. “We don’t want to be aerial spraying. That’s the last thing we want to do. However, what we do know, West Nile is a horrible, horrible condition, particularly what we saw in 2012.”

Carlo said overnight aerial spraying was an effective weapon in 2012.

“As soon as it happened, the rates went way down in both the infected mosquitoes and the number of human cases. So from our assessment, we did see a very positive result,” Carlo said.

The beekeepers want other mosquito control tactics used instead.

“We encourage more proactive and more protective methods of dealing with these mosquito issues in as much as larvaciding and source reduction and not just blanketing spraying our neighborhoods,” Pollard said.

Dallas County already uses all those other methods and targeted ground spraying has been used this year as well.

Thompson said the complaints about possible aerial spraying are not new.

“We already went through that whole discussion about the concerns that people had. We heard everyone. We moved forward in 2012. We’re saying we are ready to move forward again if it’s necessary,” Thompson said.

Since 2012, North Texas health officials have greatly expanded the number of mosquito traps used to monitor possible infection and expanded other West Nile virus prevention programs.

The experts urge everyone to wear bug repellent to avoid bites since infected mosquitoes are known to be present. Clothing to cover arms and legs is suggested at dawn and dusk when West Nile mosquitoes are most active. Getting rid of standing water that breeds mosquitoes is strongly recommended, too.

Mosquito-carried Zika virus is another concern this year, but so far no Zika-infected mosquitoes have been detected in North Texas. All Zika cases reported in the region so far have come from contact with infected mosquitoes in other countries.

The mosquito variety thought to carry Zika is active at all hours of the day, so Zika mosquito control strategies would be different in mosquitoes that test positive for that disease.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Cook Children's Staff Sends Letters of Love to Police]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 04:57:17 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cook+Childrens+Letters.jpg

A crew that's known for healing people's bodies has begun working to help heal the emotional wounds plaguing many in local law enforcement right now.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth launched a campaign simply titled “We Support You” on Wednesday.

Doctors, nurses and support staff swarmed a table in the Fort Worth campus atrium Wednesday morning to hand-write personal notes of support to local police.

The letters will be sent to the Dallas Police Department and DART Police Department who lost officers in last week’s ambush in downtown Dallas, but notes will also go to Fort Worth police and the hospital's security team as well.

Leaders say all law enforcement are grieving the losses right now, after all.

"Letting them know we're here to back them up," said nurse practitioner Lakeshia Johnson.

Many employees Wednesday morning actually took time to write a letter to each of the four departments, and some patients and families at the hospital also took time to pen letters.

Hospital president Nancy Cychol said staff members are hurting alongside everyone else in Dallas-Fort Worth, and this seemed like a good way to help the healing process for them and the officers who need it most of all.

"They were aching to do something – 'How can we get involved to help?' – especially when (Dallas Police) Chief (David) Brown said they're all hurting. And that's just what we do. We take care of people," said Cychol.

Cook campuses across the area will participate in the letter writing campaign.



Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[K2, Drug Linked to Mass NYC Overdose, Explained]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 16:13:08 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/185*120/AP_100215039023.jpg

Despite dire warnings about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids, popularly known by names such as K2, Spice, Black Mamba and Kronic, they continue to grow in popularity, NBC News reports.

On Tuesday, 33 people were rushed to the hospital in Brooklyn with symptoms that suggested an overdose on the drugs. New York City's health department told NBC New York there have been more than 6,000 K2-related emergency room visits and two confirmed deaths in New York City since 2015.

To get a better understanding of what K2 is and why the drug is so dangerous, NBC News spoke with Marilyn A. Huestis, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and former chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

"They can destroy the kidneys so people may die or need to have dialysis and/or transplants," she said. "They can cause cardiovascular effects and can bring on heart attacks and strokes in the brain."



Photo Credit: AP, FIle
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<![CDATA[Baby Born in Texas With Microcephaly Linked to Zika]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 04:58:17 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

A baby recently born with microcephaly in Harris County is confirmed to have had a past Zika virus infection, the Texas Department of State Health Services says.

Texas' DSHS said the child's mother was likely infected in Latin America and that the baby acquired the infection in the womb.

“It’s heartbreaking. This underscores the damage Zika can have on unborn babies,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner. “Our state’s work against Zika has never been more vital.”

Neither the baby nor mother are infectious, the DSHS said, and there is no additional risk in Texas.

The microcephaly case is the first Zika-related case in Texas, DSHS confirmed.

The DSHS said Texas has logged 59 cases of Zika virus disease, including three confirmed cases of Zika in pregnant women. All are related to travel abroad to areas with active Zika transmission. There have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas; one case in Dallas is confirmed to have been transmitted sexually.

"With its link to microcephaly, Zika poses a serious threat to unborn children. DSHS is working to educate women and families about how to protect themselves through its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and via healthcare providers," DSHS said in a news release. "DSHS is working closely with other state agencies to emphasize precaution information to their specific audiences, such as through schools, daycares and women’s health programs.

The state's health department said they've made significant progress delaying the impact of Zika on the state and that while local transmission remains likely it is not expected to be widespread.

"Small pockets of cases in limited clusters are more likely. This assessment is based on the state’s past experience with dengue, a similar virus spread by the same mosquitoes, and on the prevalent use of window screens, air conditioning, insect repellent and other mosquito control efforts in Texas," the DSHS said.

“Our central goal is protecting unborn babies from Zika,” said Dr. Hellerstedt. “We are on alert for local transmission and will act fast to identify actual risk and continue to do everything we can to protect Texans.”

For more information about Zika prevention for Texas go to www.TexasZika.org.



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hospital Chaplain Calls Dallas Shooting Most Difficult Night]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 04:31:19 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baylor+chaplain.jpg

In times of tragedy, people turn to their faith, and the night five police officers lost their lives in Dallas was no different.

That's why the pastoral care staff at Baylor University Medical Center called in extra help on the night of the shooting.

Staff chaplain Millicent Albert was making her rounds when she received a call from a colleague who was in the Emergency Department as shooting victims began to arrive.

She says when she made it down to the ER, she knew the night would be a long one.

"There was an absolute multitude of police officers, just a family of police officers," Albert said. "At that time, I knew that it was bad. I knew that we were going to need all the help we could get."

Albert is trained in critical incident stress management, but says the emotional difficulty of the evening reached a level she had never experienced.

In all, eight chaplains were on site to help patients and staff with emotional and spiritual needs.

"Faith is very, very important because it's that element of hope that goes along with faith, and without hope you start experiencing hopelessness," Albert said.

"You're looking at victims who were out there protecting other people, doing nothing wrong, but walking upright, in their calling. They're doing what they're doing and protecting, and they get killed for that," said Albert, as she described why that night was the most difficult of her career.

But, she says, with faith comes strength.

"I know everybody doesn't believe in God but whatever your source of strength is, hold onto it," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Therapy Dogs Help Dallas Hospital Staff And Patients Heal]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 06:07:21 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baylor+therapy+dogs.jpg

As the saying goes, dogs are man's best friend and they are coming through in a big way for staff at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

The hospital networks' assisted animal therapy program includes 103 specially trained therapy dogs. They are used not only for specific therapy treatments, but also to simply visit with patients to brighten their day.

On Friday, a day after the shooting of police officers in downtown Dallas, they comforted the emergency department staff.

Eli is one of the dogs on the team, handled by Linda Marler, the program coordinator, who visited staff.

"It's unconditional love, just gives them an outlet to be able to hug something soft and warm," Marler said.

For Rachel Meyer, a radiology technologist, the snuggly embrace and wet kisses brought smiles on a day where there wasn't much to smile about.

"You forget for a second what happened and you forget what's going with everything. Having to be up here – the atmosphere – you kind of forget for a second. So it was nice just for that moment forgetting about all that has happened," Meyer said.

Eli also provided comfort to one of the injured officers and his family.

"They were just really glad that we were there. Eli got up on a chair right beside him and he was able to pet on him," Marler said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Placentae Can Bring New Life to Vision Treatments ]]>Tue, 12 Jul 2016 10:51:08 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-07-12-at-10.08.53-AM.jpg“Think of it like a born again eye,” Dr. Chike Mordi from Vision Source in Houston, Texas says of a new treatment's ability to help regenerate eye tissue. With a placenta that meets stringent donor screening and tests, doctors like Mordi can fix scarring and inflammation.]]><![CDATA[Improving Lesbian Health With Focus on Wellness]]>Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:03:31 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LesbianHealth0711_MP4-146832830246300001.jpgLesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of obesity, smoking and stress when compared to their heterosexual counterparts, but one University of Missouri researcher is working to change that. Dr. Jane McElroy led the first-ever national study to develop healthy weight programs for lesbian and bisexual communities. Ninety-five percent of the study participants achieved the health objectives that are critical for obesity prevention as identified by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.]]><![CDATA[Health Experts Give Up on Zika Funding From Congress]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:17:40 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16127497121865.jpg

Congress started its final week of the summer Monday but there was still no agreement on a legislation that would get the U.S. ready for a fight against the Zika virus, NBC News reported. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has registered 1,133 cases of Zika infection — all brought by travelers from Zika-affected areas. The CDC now counts 320 pregnancies affected by Zika in the states, and another 279 in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mosquito season is also in full swing in the U.S. and experts predict it's a matter of time before there are local outbreaks.

Republicans in Congress repeatedly stalled bills that would have supplied at least some of the funding. Then last month, Republicans offered a $1.1 billion plan as part of another bill, but Democrats said it was full of "poison pills" that attacked Planned Parenthood and eased pesticide regulations. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tracking the Heart with New Wearable Technology]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 20:18:36 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/wearable+vital+sign+electronics.jpg

This is not your father's heart-rate monitor. Wearable, stretchable electronics can now monitor several body functions and instantaneously send the information to a doctor. The implications could be huge for patients in sickness and in health.

Bill Winkler runs for fitness and to keep his two heart problems in check. He has cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation.

"It tends to make me a little more tired and when I'm in atrial fibrillation. I feel a lot worse than with the cardiomyopathy," Winkler said.

Winkler has an implanted defibrillator, which tracks his heart and can shock it back into rhythm, and a heart rate app on his phone.

"It will tell you at the end whether you're in AFib or normal," said Winkler.

However, information gets to his doctor later.

"We've been able to create a new class of materials that we call stretchable electronics," said Marvin Slepian, associate department head of biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona.

Slepian figured out how to put thin electronics into materials that move with the body. The bio stamp sends metrics on heart rate, movement and more to an iPad in real time.

"If the patient is wearing this, we can track that and we can actually see decompensation, which may occur even before they wind up in the hospital," Slepian said.

He also developed a catheter and balloon with a thousand sensors to detect atrial fibrillation, and then fix it in minutes. It's all good news to Winkler.

"Knowing that all the vitals are being watched would be very reassuring," said Winkler.

Slepian is working in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois, Tufts and Northwestern. They've also developed a wearable sweat sensor that can track electrolytes and hydration. It could be used for athletes and for soldiers in the field.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Same-Day Joint Replacement Helps Patients Heal Faster ]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 20:04:07 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/knee+joint+replacement.jpg

Same-day joint replacement is now being performed on patients in North Texas.

The surgery uses advances in less invasive procedures and pain management, allowing patients to begin rehabilitation within hours after the procedure with minimal discomfort. After additional therapy the day after surgery, patients can usually discharge home that afternoon.

Dr. John Barrington, director of the joint replacement program at Baylor Scott and White Frisco, says patients can walk within an hour or two of their surgery and then go home in less than 24 hours, compared to a typical four-day hospital stay.

"What we do here is very special," Barrington said.

The simple joys had become too painful for one of his patients, Ken Licker, of Plano, prior to his hip replacement.

"It was a chore to go to the mail box. I mean, it was like, 'I don't want to go, I don't want to go because it's too far,'" Licker said.

Licker consulted with Barrington and learned he'd be a good candidate for same-day hip replacement surgery.

"No matter good the hospital is, it's not like being at home," said Licker, whose procedure was successful.

Licker was back home and back on his feet, able to keep up with his grandchildren, in no time.

"Whatever it may be, I can do it and that's huge. That's amazing," he said.

This concept is new, and orthopedic surgeons are still clarifying how to maximize the benefits of this idea for patients, according to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Barrington said the success of the surgery depends on the team inside the operating room.

"The patients really find that the experience is one that flows smoothly. If I do a fine job, many of them forget that they even had a joint replaced," Barrington said.

"What we've learned in the past decade is that the patient experience has become the most important factor in the quality of how we take care of people," he added.

According to Baylor Scott and White Frisco, many patients qualify for one-day joint replacement discharge, including those who are overall in good health, have a healthy body mass, have a support person to help at home, take a pre-operative training class, review educational materials and have discussed one-day joint replacement discharge with their surgeon.

The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons says the advantages of the procedure include a reduced hospital stay, a possible reduced chance for hospital acquired infections and the possibility of increased patient satisfaction.

There is also potential for reduced cost to the health care system.

The association says the disadvantages include the chance of having a complication at home, having difficulty with pain management and the chance for readmission to the hospital.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[California Might Get a Gym Where You Can Smoke Marijuana]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 10:25:57 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/marijuanagym.jpg

A former pro football star and an advocate for athlete marijuana use have teamed up to open a gym in San Francisco that they say will be one of the first in the world to allow members to smoke pot while working out.

Ricky Williams, who played for the Saints, Dolphins and Ravens, and Jim McAlpine, a snowboard company executive, said Power Plant Fitness also will offer edibles and topical gels for those who don't like smoking the plant. They say using pot while exercising can help them focus or relax.

Members of the gym, which plans to open this year, will need a medical marijuana prescription to join, but that could change if California voters legalize recreational pot in November.

"I personally use it for focus. It's not about getting high. It's about keeping my mind engaged in the activity I'm in," said McAlpine, who organizes the 420 games, athletic events aiming to stop the stigma against pot use.

Carla Lowe, founder of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, a political action committee based in Sacramento, said it's not clear how the drug affects the body but "there's zero evidence that marijuana helps you focus. There is evidence that it makes you dopey."

Her group is working to defeat the ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in California, saying it "does not bode well for the future of our country."

But Williams, who was suspended several times by the NFL for marijuana use, said he wants to dispel the stigma.

"I think a lot of people buy into the stoner stereotype where guys just sit on the couch, smoke and don't do anything, and they're not very motivated," said Williams, who retired from the NFL after the 2011 season. "I found when I was playing football that using cannabis helped me relax physically, relax mentally and even spiritually."

Any potential benefits of marijuana on exercise have not been studied thoroughly. But one doctor who works with marijuana-smoking patients says the drug can help manage post-workout pain.

"To use cannabis in that sense for pain relief instead of the usual things you're able to use now, like opioids, is hands down why you would use it," said Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer for HelloMD, a digital health care platform for the cannabis industry.

]]>
<![CDATA[Billion Dollar Policy Proposed to Stem Opioid Epidemic ]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 08:30:28 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_heroin0706_1920x1080.jpgThe White House has asked Congress to approve more than a billion dollars in emergency funding to combat the nation's growing opioid addiction crisis. The Obama administration also announced that it's loosening restrictions on a drug called buprenorphine used to ease addicts' cravings.

Photo Credit: NBC News ]]>
<![CDATA[Hi-Tech Vests Could Help Communication For Hearing-Impaired]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 20:03:01 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hearing+vest.jpg

Using the sense of touch to replace the sense of hearing may seem like science fiction, but it's very much a reality and it could be a game-changer for people who are deaf.

It started out as the doctorate project of Scott Novich in the lab of neuroscientist and best-selling author David Eagleman. The goal was to create a vest that allows the deaf to feel speech.

Jonathan Leach is profoundly deaf and while he doesn't hear words, he feels them through the vest he wears.

"You can feel the 'r.' The 'r' in 'car' is more rumbly. 'House' has a sudden stop," Leach said.

The V.E.S.T., which also stands for Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer, uses an app that picks up sound frequencies from a microphone and translates them into vibrational patterns.

More than two dozen vibrating motors are sewn into the vest. Lights are used to let you see what the words would feel like.

"You can kind of tell the difference just from the lights," said Scott Novich, co-founder of Neo-Sensory, Inc.

Leach said at first it just felt like vibrations across his torso, but after a few weeks his brain started to recognize patterns in words.

"You might not totally know quite what the 'r' feels like, you can't describe it, but your brain knows that's an 'r' so your brain is associating these feelings with different words just by training all the time," described Mike Perrotta, clinical coordinator of Neo-Sensory Inc.

"The thing to note is that this is exactly what your inner ear does. Your inner ear just breaks things up into frequencies, and you've got from high to low and that's how your brain receives the information. So this is the same thing, it's just translating it through your torso instead of your inner ear," Eagleman said.

Leach wears the vest every day. It also gives him a gut feeling that this will be a game-changer in the deaf community.

"With family who don't know how to sign, maybe it'll help me communicate with them better," Leach said.

Eagleman said it took deaf volunteers a few days to start learning the patterns in the vibrations and the training lasts several months. The Neo-Sensory team is now working to commercialize the vest and expect that it will cost a few thousand dollars compared to a cochlear implant which can cost around $100,000.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[More Second-Trimester Abortions Occurred Under Texas Law]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 05:31:23 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SupremeCourtTexasAbortion-AP_16179555843580.jpg

A preliminary review of statistics released by the Department of State Health Services in Texas shows a 27 percent increase in abortions after 12 weeks, NBC News reported. 

The numbers appear to oppose the 2013 omnibus abortion bill passed by Texas, which said it would protect women’s health — a rationale rejected by the Supreme Court last month. 

The total number of abortions dropped, despite the increase in later abortions — which rose from 4,814 procedures in 2013 to 6,117 in 2014. 

"Although second-trimester abortion is very safe, it is associated with a higher risk of complications compared to early abortion, and it's more expensive for women," said University of California San Francisco professor Daniel Grossman, who shared his analysis exclusively with NBC News. 

The Supreme Court found in June that new requirements on abortion providers mandated by the state law led to closures of about half of Texas’ abortion clinics, while concluding the regulations were medically unnecessary.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Dallas Co.]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 21:33:09 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-GettyImages-563546355.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in the county for the 2016 season.

The patient, who will not be identified due to medical confidentiality and privacy reasons, lives in Irving in the 75060 zip code. The individual was diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

“Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions,” Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director said in a statement.

The best way to avoid exposure to West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquito bites.

Residents should use the 4Ds to reduce their risk:

  • Deet All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain Deet or other EPA approved repellents and follow instructions.Dress: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.
  • Drain: Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home or workplace.
  • Dusk & Dawn: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

“Since there is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for WNV infection, residents should adhere to preventive measures to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority said in a statement.



Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Rudy Bush: Parkland Budget Gap]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 11:48:18 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bush-parkland.jpgThe Dallas Morning News government editor Rudy Bush discusses a $100 million budget gap faced by Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant County Confirms Eighth Case of Zika Virus]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 11:24:19 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

An eighth person has been diagnosed with Zika virus in Tarrant County, public health department officials say.

The patient contracted the illness while traveling in Honduras. The case is the second known to have been imported from Honduras, a country known to have local transmission of the disease, TCPH officials said in a statement Wednesday.

The first case from Honduras was reported last week.

A private laboratory received, tested and confirmed the latest finding, county health officials said.

TCPH said no other health information will be released about the patient, as per usual, to protect his or her identity.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.

TCPH's Zika Hotline at 817-248-6299 is available to help answer any questions residents may have about this disease. For more information on Zika virus and for other useful tips, click here.



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<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 12th Case of Zika Virus]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 05:19:13 -0500http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zika-Mosquito-GettyImages-513621730.jpg

A 12th person has been diagnosed with Zika virus in Dallas County, public health department officials say.

The 55-year-old patient contracted the illness while traveling in Jamaica.

After confirming the case through a private laboratory, Dallas County Health and Human Services referred the case to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

No other health information will be released about the patient, as per usual, to protect his or her identity.

Still, no known Zika cases have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes, local health officials confirm -- all local cases have been imported with the exception of one case in Dallas County that is believed to have been spread by sexual contact.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, a known aggressive daytime biter. 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, though there can be profound impact to a developing fetus should the mother contract the virus.

There is no medication to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine; the best prevention is to avoid mosquitoes and sexual contact with infected people. The recommendations for avoiding the Zika virus are the same for avoiding West Nile virus.

[[309639121,C]]



Photo Credit: LatinContent/Getty Images
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