<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usThu, 25 Aug 2016 20:34:17 -0500Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:34:17 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Study Finds Zika Flourishes in the Vagina]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:04:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/081516+zika+mosquito.jpg

The vagina is a welcoming home for Zika. In a new study published today [Thursday], researchers at Yale University found that Zika reproduced in the vaginas of pregnant mice four to five days after infection and that the virus spread from the vagina to the fetal brain.

Studying Zika in mice is tricky. A mouse’s immune system fights off the infection, making the animal quite resistant to Zika.

When researchers want to study the infection in mice, they first tweak the animal’s immune system to make it more susceptible.

Click here to read more about this report from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Reports 31st Human Case of West Nile Virus]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:26:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile1.JPG

Health officials in Dallas County have reported the county's 30th and 31st human cases of West Nile virus for the 2016 season on Thursday.

One person lives in the 75019 ZIP code in Coppell and was diagnosed with West Nile fever, and the other lives in the 75229 ZIP code in Dallas and has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, Dallas County Health and Human Services said in a news release.

Other identifying information was not available.

So far this season, there have been 18 human cases of West Nile virus in Tarrant County, eight cases in Collin County and seven cases in Denton County.

One person has died from the disease in Dallas County, a Carrollton resident in their 60s, officials said.


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<![CDATA[Free Screening of Glen Campbell’s Documentary About Alzheimer’s Diagnosis]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Alz+-+Weatherford+-+IllBeMe+2016.jpg

The Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter will be hosting a free showing of the Glen Campbell documentary “I’ll Be Me” on Tuesday, September 6, at 6:00 p.m. at City Lights Theatre in Hudson Oaks.

The documentary focuses on Campbell’s fight with Alzheimer’s disease and his enduring devotion to his family and music while living with the disease. Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and was one of the first American celebrities to go public with his fight. Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton and Brad Paisley are featured in the film supporting Campbell.  Campbell is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is known for hits such as, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and “Gentle On My Mind.”  

Weatherford local, Kip Young with Forever Young Ministry, will be performing pre-film entertainment at 5:30 p.m. and light bites will be provided. The showing is free of charge however, registration is requested. Please call 1-800-272-3900 or click here for more info and to reserve your seat.

The event will benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Weatherford. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Weatherford is Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. Registration is open online, click here.

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.  The North Central Texas Chapter covers a 40-county service area and Fort Worth serves as headquarters for the chapter, which has regional offices in Abilene, Waco and Wichita Falls. The chapter is a nonprofit, donor-supported organization. The programs and services are made possible through contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.

Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter
“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” Screening

Tuesday, September 6
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
City Lights Theatres
1000 Cinema Drive
Hudson Oaks, TX 76087
For tickets, click here



Photo Credit: Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter]]>
<![CDATA[Garland Boy's Brush With Death and Miraculous Comeback]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:45:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hot+car+recovery.jpg

 

Another Texas summer and another season of hot car deaths.
According to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University, six Texas children have died inside a hot car this year.
For the children who survive time in a hot car, the road to recovery is a difficult one. 
Eric Stuyvesant accidentally left his three-year-old son Michael in the back seat of the car for a little more than an hour last summer.
Michael suffered six strokes in different areas of the brain when his body temperature soared to 105 degrees while inside the hot car.
While his comeback hasn't been easy, doctors say Michael's progress has been miraculous. 
After the incident, Michael spent 28 days at Our Children's House, now part of Children's Health.
"When Michael first came to us, he was not able to sit up on his own. He had difficulty holding his head up. He had difficulty using his hands his legs, eating by himself and problems with his vision," says Rajashree Srinivasan, MD, Chief of Service at Our Children's House. 
Eric and Michelle Stuyvesant say doctors wouldn't be able to tell the amount of damage done until after Michael was brought out of an induced coma four days after the accident.
"It was all just wait and see. We went day to day," says Michelle.
"The last time I counted, he was on 947 prayer requests around the world.  There was a lot of intervention going on on our behalf," says Eric.
"I had a child that was blind, that was crying and didn't know how to regulate himself. His motor skills weren't great, but I could see enough in him that I was pretty confident he could get back to walking," says Dan Swan, therapy team lead.
The therapy team worked extensively with Michael and in just a few days, Michael took his first steps.
"I was crying. That was a wonderful moment that was the beginning of a magical 28 days here, watching Michael bounce back from the doorstep of death," says Eric.
Michael learned how to walk, talk, drink and eat again.  
His speech is delayed and doctors expect Michael to make a full recovery within two years.
"I know that I live with the fact that I made a mistake, and I also live with the fact that we have been forgiven for that mistake and he's made a complete comeback," says Eric.
The Stuyvesants were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after a lengthy investigation.
They're working with the auto industry to come up with technological solutions to help solve the problem of pediatric heatstrokes in cars.

 

Another Texas summer and another season of hot car deaths.

According to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University, six Texas children have died inside hot cars this year.

For the children who survive time in a hot car, the road to recovery is a difficult one. 

Eric Stuyvesant accidental left his three-year-old son Michael in the back seat of the car for a little more than an hour last summer.

Michael suffered six strokes in different areas of the brain when his body temperature soared to 105 degrees while inside the hot car.

While his comeback hasn't been easy, doctors say Michael's progress has been miraculous. 

After the incident, Michael spent 28 days at Our Children's House, now part of Children's Health.

"When Michael first came to us, he was not able to sit up on his own. He had difficulty holding his head up. He had difficulty using his hands, his legs, eating by himself and problems with his vision," said Rajashree Srinivasan, MD, Chief of Service at Our Children's House. 

Eric and Michelle Stuyvesant said doctors wouldn't be able to tell the amount of damage done until after Michael was brought out of an induced coma four days after the accident.

"It was all just wait and see. We went day to day," said Michelle.

"The last time I counted, he was on 947 prayer requests around the world. There was a lot of intervention going on on our behalf," said Eric.

"I had a child that was blind, that was crying and didn't know how to regulate himself. His motor skills weren't great, but I could see enough in him that I was pretty confident he could get back to walking," said Dan Swan, therapy team lead.

The therapy team worked extensively with Michael and in just a few days, Michael took his first steps.

"I was crying. That was a wonderful moment that was the beginning of a magical 28 days here, watching Michael bounce back from the doorstep of death," Eric said.

Michael learned how to walk, talk, drink and eat again.  

His speech is delayed, but doctors expect Michael to make a full recovery within two years.

"I know that I live with the fact that I made a mistake, and I also live with the fact that we have been forgiven for that mistake and he's made a complete comeback," said Eric.

The Stuyvesants were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after a lengthy investigation.

They're working with the auto industry to come up with technological solutions to help solve the problem of pediatric heatstrokes in cars.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['They Know She Cares': Michelle Obama's School Nutrition Legacy]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:00:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491569906.jpg

Fried chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, and patties are the thing of the past at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. Healthier options have been on the menu thanks to Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch initiative. 

When Rodney K. Taylor, director of food and nutrition services at the schools, received a directive to make lunch food healthier, by adding fruits, veggies and whole grains, he decided to take it a step further and eliminate the fried options. 

He begun serving grilled spice-rubbed chicken to students instead.  

“No-one made a peep,” Taylor said of the reaction among students.

The new nutritional standards in schools were spurred by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, one of the central policies at the heart of Obama’s effort to address childhood obesity. It was signed in 2010 and took effect in 2014. The legislation required schools to increase the servings of fruits and vegetables, increase the amount of whole grains, and reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in meals provided to students.

As Obama prepares to leave the White House at the end of 2016, it's not clear yet whether the changes are helping reduce childhood obesity. But supporters say the program is already a win because kids are eating whole grains and lower-sodium options.

“It was revolutionary, it took away the focus from the bottom line and moved it to nutrition,” said Taylor, who has over a decade of experience as food director. “When I first started no-one was talking about nutrition so we really contributed to the obesity epidemic. It’s a good thing the legislators stepped in.”

The act encountered heavy pushback from conservatives who viewed it as executive overreach. Obama, however, has never relented, exerting pressure on the GOP, including in a 2014 New York Times op-ed piece.

“Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense,” she wrote.

Later that year, at a White House event, she said, “I’m going to fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have in our schools.”

The first lady’s strategy paid off because in late January the Senate Agriculture Committee released a statement in favor of reauthorizing the program.

“Folks said we couldn’t come to an agreement on child nutrition reauthorization – let alone a bipartisan agreement – but we did,” chairman Pat Roberts said. “This bipartisan legislation is a true compromise. Not everyone got everything they wanted, but a lot of folks have a lot to be happy about.”

The School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit professional organization that advocates for healthful school meals, is one such party. The group previously criticized the new standards as financially prohibitive, too strict, and unfeasible for schools to adopt so quickly. HHFKA originally required 100 percent of all grains served at schools be whole grain rich and that sodium levels be cut in half by 2017. Those standards have been loosened—the whole grain requirement to 80 percent of all grains served and the sodium deadline extended to 2019.

“The SNA was pleased to work with the USDA and the White House to reach an agreement,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations at the SNA.
Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said “we didn’t want to punish schools who were struggling to meet the standards.” Concannon went on to say, though, that more than 98 percent of schools are meeting the guidelines.

Sept. 30, 2015, marked the deadline for Congress to reauthorize the HHFKA but lawmakers blew past it. While the lack of reauthorization didn't impact existing programs, advocates pushing for reauthorization look at it as an opportunity to increase funding for school lunches. 

HHFKA is relatively new and measurable public health outcomes will take years if not decades.

Margot Wootan, director of of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, though, expects a positive effect. Wootan called the act “enormously important” and explained that her expectations are not unreasonable because children get a third to half their daily calories from school meals. With the calories now coming from more nutritionally dense foods, positive outcomes are likely. Jessica Donze Black, director of Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said with all the sound science behind the policy she expects that HHFKA will "significantly impact the health outcomes of children."     

Schools across the country have been reporting other positive outcomes. Since the widespread acceptance of the standards independent studies have shown that plate waste, where uneaten food ends up in the trash, is actually down while fruit and vegetable consumption has gone up.

Lynette Dodson, director of school nutrition of Carrolton City schools in Carrolton, Georgia, said that the children are eating the fruits and vegetables, going through three times as many bananas alone compared to before the act. Schools in Carrolton track the amount of fruit and vegetable consumption using production records. She also said that teachers in her district saw almost immediate positive impacts on student attentiveness and behavior.

Because of this Dodson said the district has adopted a new mantra. “Whole food is good food.”

Undersecretary Concannon, said he hears similar stories during his visits to schools all over the country. He called a lot of the early criticisms of the first lady’s initiative “more noise than anything else.” Concannon said families are on board, given that the school lunch program now serves close to 31 million children and the school breakfast program serves almost 15 million children, about 5 million more than before HHFKA was enacted. Statistics from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support Concannon’s claim, with the number of parents who support the new standards outnumbering parents who do not 3 to 1.

“For kids, Michelle Obama has become a symbol," Concannon said. "They know she cares.” 

The first lady has vowed to continue to work on issues of childhood obesity even after her time in the White House is up.

“It's not like I have a one-year or two-year time frame on this issue. For me, this issue is the rest-of-my-life kind of time frame," she said at the White House earlier this year. "Because I know that's what it's going to take to truly solve this problem."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Affected by Zika Stayed Infected for 2 Months ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:07:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaBaby-AP_272141986039.jpg

Doctors said a Brazilian baby with brain damage caused by the Zika virus stayed infected for more than two months after his birth, NBC News reported. 

The baby already had brain damage from the virus, which can infect a growing fetus. But the virus continued to actively infect him after he was born, Danielle Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo and colleagues wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. 

"When the infant was examined on day 54, he had no obvious illness or evidence of any immunocompromising condition," they wrote. An immune condition might explain a prolonged infection. The baby was developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 

This suggests that newborns may still be at risk from the virus while their brains are growing and developing — another unpleasant surprise about the virus.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Possible Vaccine For Lung Cancer Being Studied]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 21:02:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-08-24-15h37m27s4.jpg

Treatment options for lung cancer, the number one killer in the U.S., have been limited, but researchers are studying a revolutionary treatment for cancer patients and those at high risk, like smokers, even if they are not yet showing signs of the disease.

Susan Roney is a successful attorney and a partner in her law firm. She also has a loving family. But seven years ago her life was forever changed.

"I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in January 2009. I thought I had bronchitis, so it was an enormous shock," Roney said.

Roney said she didn't have any of the risk factors for lung cancer.

"I was otherwise healthy. I was a non-smoker. I was 50 years old," she said.

Now a revolutionary lung cancer vaccine may have the potential to significantly help people like Roney.

"Instead of going after the cancer directly it goes after the growth factor and prevents the cancer from growing with the idea of turning the cancer into a chronic disease," said Kelvin Lee, MD, the chair of immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

The vaccine, called CimiVax, was developed in Cuba, where it is already in use. Lee said the vaccine has already been shown to be effective.

"The vaccine is inexpensive. It's easy to give. It's given as a shot once a month. It has very little toxicity. Patients really do very well with it," Lee said.

As for Roney, the lung cancer metastasized to her brain in the summer of 2015, but she is responding well to treatment. She's encouraged by news of the potential vaccine. 

"The one thing you need when you're diagnosed with cancer is hope because hope keeps you going," explained Roney.

The vaccine has also been approved for use in Paraguay and Peru and is expected to be approved soon in Colombia. Meanwhile, phase one clinical trials at Roswell Park in New York City could get under way by the end of this year.

The CimaVax vaccination is intended for lung cancer patients and for those at high risk for the disease, targeting a growth factor necessary for the cancer to survive.

This depletes the cancer's growth factor and starves it. As the cancer's progress slows, it prolongs the a patient's life.

The vaccine has been administered to 5,000 patients across the world, and expansive clinical trials have published data showing a mean survival of 18.53 months in vaccinated patients compared to 7.55 months for the unvaccinated patients.

The Cancer Institute at Roswell Park in Buffalo is hoping to gain FDA approval so the vaccine may be available to the public. They are also looking into testing similar treatments to aid colon, head and neck, prostate, breast, and pancreatic cancers.



Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Food Stamp Rules May Bring Produce, Problems to Dallas]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:12:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Grocery_Store_Window.jpg

Regulators with the United States Department of Agriculture have proposed new guidelines for food store retailers that accept SNAP benefits or food stamps.

Each year in Texas, close to 4 million people rely on the government’s food stamp program. Last year in the United States, more than 45 million people utilized the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

If the regulations are passed, food stamp retailers that accept food stamps would have to stock seven varieties of foods in each of the four food groups: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy meats, poultry, and fish. At least three of the items would have to be perishable.

Through the program, the USDA is trying to provide healthier choices for residents that depend on smaller grocery stores, and corner stores for their food.

“I think that would be great,” said Tara Pratt who is a mother of two teenagers.

“My son loves to eat salads, and I’m trying to eat healthier too. If these stores had more fruit it would be a boost to parents on the go."

"In the morning for breakfast, fresh fruit would be a benefit for people on the go. In a lot of fast food restaurants it costs more money to get a salad than it does to buy a burger. So to have that option for people who are trying to eat healthy, that would be beneficial,” Pratt said.

If stores are not able to meet the requirements they could lose the ability to accept food stamps. The southern sector of Dallas is void of “quality grocery stores,” making it difficult for families who live in below I-30 to buy fresh produce.

“There aren’t many places that you can buy food around here,” said Joseph Alrob, who manages a small grocery store in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood.

“There aren’t many restaurants either. We sell grocery store items and hot food. We have tried to sell vegetables in the past. A few people will ask for them, but when we stock them, we don’t have many buyers and we have to throw the food out,” he said.

Store owners, however, believe the proposed regulations would hurt their business and families in their communities.

“For some people, this is all they have. People don’t just buy hot foot here, they are buying daily items like cereal, milk, bread, and meat. If we don’t accept food stamps, that’s going to hurt a lot of people. They are going to have to travel far to get food, and some of them don’t have transportation,” said Arob.

The proposed regulations are still being revised by the USDA.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant Co. Leaders Consider Aerial Spraying for Mosquitoes]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:11:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/184*120/Mosquito+Illnesses+Fort+Worth.jpg

Local leaders are preparing for a double punch of mosquito-borne illnesses.

This, as we're hitting the peak of West Nile season.

On Tuesday, Denton County reported two new cases, now totaling seven.

Collin County has eight; Dallas County has 27 and Tarrant has 16 cases.

Then there's that looming question about the Zika virus. That combination could potentially lead to a first in Tarrant County: aerial spraying.

It's the last option Fort Worth city leaders want to take. They're focused now on educating people about how to keep themselves safe and on killing off mosquito eggs. But they want to be ready in case those steps aren't enough.

“Hey bud, you’re good,” Whitley Siqueiros cooed to her three-month-old baby, while pushing a stroller through Sundance Square.

When you have a new baby, he's your world and anything that threatens that, especially during pregnancy, will keep you up at night.

"At what point are mosquitoes going to start carrying it and when am I going to be effected?" said Siqueiros.

It's a question local leaders are worried about, too.

On Tuesday, Tarrant County Commissioners said they're not ready to start aerial spraying yet. But they want city councils to decide if they want in, if it gets to that point.

"We want to make sure that we have all the resources available to us to combat the virus, so that we're not playing catch up," said Fort Worth Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett.

He thinks Fort Worth should sign on, if the county decides aerial spraying is necessary, and if they pick up the city's $1.2 million cost.

The trigger point would be widespread cases of West Nile virus, or any local transmissions of Zika.

"It's critical in an epidemic, or Zika outbreak, to knock down as many, if not all, of the disease-carrying mosquitoes that you can," said Bennett.

He says that can't happen fast enough with ground spraying. But to parents like Siqueiros, spraying from the sky brings a whole new set of worries.

"For me, self-regulation would be my preferred way to attack it because that's something I have control over,” said Siqueiros. “I don't have any control over the chemicals that they put into the air. I have control over where I go, what I wear, what I put on my body to try to protect myself."

After Fort Worth’s Pre-Council meeting Tuesday afternoon, the council plans to follow Bennett’s advice and work with the county to allow aerial spraying, if necessary and if they pay for it. But right now, numbers of West Nile cases are well below the marks set in the outbreak of 2012. So prevention and control techniques will continue as they stand for now.

The cost of aerial spraying for all of Tarrant County would be more than $3 million.



Photo Credit: Alice Barr]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms Seven More Cases of West Nile]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:00:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+bite.jpg

Dallas County health officials have confirmed several more cases of West Nile virus -- bringing the 2016 total to 29.

The most recent patients live in the following ZIP codes: 75219, 75211, 75205, 75229 and 75217.

The patients in the 75219, 75211 and 75217 ZIP codes have the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The county is not releasing any more details, in order to protect that identities of the patients.

“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,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Standing Desks Can Lower BMI in Students: Study]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:40:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/standing+desks+in+classroom.jpg

Researchers at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center say standing desks in classrooms can slow or lower a child's body mass index (BMI).

The study showed the increase an elementary-aged child's BMI, a key indicator of obesity, could be slowed by an average of 5.24 percent.

"The standing desks just become a proxy for movement. What we are after, what we had hoped for, the whole goal of this was to get kids to move more," said Mark Benden, PhD, CPE, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health and an author of the study.

In his study, university researchers outfitted twelve classrooms in three schools with desks that allowed students to stand or sit on a stool.

Researchers then used twelve other classrooms at the same schools using standard desks as a control.

The researchers then followed the 193 students during their entire third and fourth grade school years and charted the results.

"The researchers found that the students who had the stand-biased desks for both years averaged a three percent drop in BMI, while those in traditional desks showed the two percent increase typically associated with getting older," the university said in a news release. "However, even those who spent just one year in classrooms with stand-biased desks had lower mean BMIs than those students in traditional seated classrooms for their third and fourth grade years."

The study noted there were not significant differences between genders or races.

At least ten schools in North Texas use standing desks in their classrooms.

The Episcopal School of Dallas installed two standing desks in each of the middle school classrooms last year and plan to get more.

"The students seem more focused in class and less antsy because they can stand up and don’t have to sit the whole time," said Mike Jenkins, Head of Middle School.

"We want healthy kids. Healthy kids are happy kids and they’re the ones who learn best," said Jenkins.

The research was published Tuesday in the American Journal of Public Health. Read more on the A&M study here.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Study Fruit Flies for Secret to Good Sleep]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:24:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fruit+flies1.jpg

Researchers are studying the impact of sleep on insomniac fruit flies to see how they can help humans.

Neurobiologist Paul Shaw, Ph.D., from Washington University in St. Louis, says of all animals, Shaw says fruit fly genes are easy to manipulate.

"I can take a human gene that's involved in patterning your hand, I can take that human gene and put it in a fly and I get a wing," explained Shaw.

Shaw takes flies that are missing the gene responsible for memory and puts them to sleep for two days, either with drugs or by using light to activate brain neurons. When they wake up, the flies behave normally.

"These animals are still broken, the gene is still missing, the brain structure is gone. Somehow sleep has allowed the brain to adapt and do interesting things," Shaw said.

The research from the Washington University School of Medicine has shown that getting more sleep can help the brain withstand severe neurological defects that may block the formation of memories.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

Although scientists have yet to figure out a way to induce this specific type of sleep in humans, they are hopeful that in the future it could have therapeutic potential.

The cost of insufficient sleep is much higher than most people recognize.

Sleep loss and poor sleep quality can lead to an increase in errors at the workplace, decreased productivity and accidents that cost both lives and resources, according to experts at Harvard.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: Zika Vacine]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/seema-zika5.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin joins NBC 5 live via satellite to talk about a call for volunteers to test a Zika vaccine.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Recalls 29M Wristband Toys Following Burns]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:33:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/StepIt.jpg

That's a lot of unhappy meals.

McDonald's is recalling approximately 29 million "Step-It" activity wristbands distributed across the country in their "Happy Meals" following more than 70 reports that children suffered skin irritation, blisters and burns after wearing the toy.

The bands were distributed exclusively by McDonald's restaurants nationwide from Aug. 9 to Aug. 17 with "Happy Meals" and "Mighty Kids Meals."

The "Step-iT" activity wristbands come in two styles — "Activity Counter" and a motion-activated "Light-up Band." The "Activity Counter" comes in translucent plastic orange, blue or green and features a digital screen that tracks a child’s steps or other movement. The "Light-up Band" comes in translucent plastic red, purple, or orange and blinks light with the child’s movement.

Both styles of activity wristbands have a square face with the words "STEP-iT" printed on them and a button to depress and activate the wristband. The back of the square face contains the etched words "Made for McDonald’s." 

If you believe you purchased one of the toys you can contact McDonald’s at 800-244-6227 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT daily, or online at www.mcdonalds.com and click on “Safety Recall” for more information.



Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission ]]>
<![CDATA[New Emergency Department Ready for Back-to-School Injuries]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 04:34:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/xray+cook+childrens.jpg

Back-to-school week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for local emergency rooms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, emergency departments across the country treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth opened its new $14.2 million emergency department to coincide with the start of school.

"Our volume goes up dramatically once school starts, so this was the time to do it," said Dr. Corwin Warmink, medical director of the Emergency Department.

The 36,000 square-foot space has 88 patient beds, 29 more than the old ER.

Technology inside the rooms allow staff to perform procedures from X-rays to ultrasounds right by the patient's bed.

The emergency department has four trauma rooms and several palliative care rooms, where families can go during patients' end-of-life care.

The medical staff expects a busy week, with playground injuries, falls and sports injuries, like the one Paul Mullins received Monday morning.

The Burleson High School junior injured his collar bone during football practice Monday morning.

"He comes on top of me and I felt a pop. I didn't know what it was. I just knew it hurt," Mullins said.

"He's worked all the way through two-a-days and trying to improve on his position and, you know, here we are," said his mother, Tammie Robinson, who added that spending the morning in the emergency room wasn't what they expected for the first week of school.

She also added that Monday's visit was the latest of several trips to the Cook Children's emergency department.

She has five boys, all of whom play football, and said Monday's visit to the new emergency department was the best experience yet.

"They always take care of us," Robinson said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Several TWU Student Athletes Hospitalized]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 15:20:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TWU+Texas+Woman%27s+University.jpg

Eight student athletes from Texas Woman's University in Denton have been hospitalized, school officials said.

Over the weekend, the athletes were treated for symptoms related to rhabdomyolysis, a condition involving muscle tissue break down.

University officials said the conditions of all the student athletes are stable and improving.

The reason behind the illnesses has not been released.

A letter from Vice President for Student Life at TWU, Monica Mendez-Grant, was released to the members of the student body, which read, in part:

The university is assessing the situation and will take appropriate actions as necessary.

Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) we cannot release any more information at this time.

Please know that the university takes the safety and well-being of our students very seriously. I assure you that our students’ safety and security is the single highest priority on our campus. At Texas Woman’s, our student-athletes are students first, and their health is of the utmost important to us.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas City Council Mulls Park Smoking Ban]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:28:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/smoking_generic1.jpg

The Dallas City Council is recommending a smoking ban in city parks with no exceptions, NBC 5 has learned.

A final vote of the full Dallas City Council will come next and city staff members said the vote would be scheduled soon.

The recommendation Monday is stronger than the plan that came from the Dallas Park Board after months of study.

The Park Board supported exceptions to the smoking ban for golf courses, the Elm Fork Shooting Range and contract events that were already scheduled. Fair Park and The State Fair of Texas were not exceptions.

It is not clear if the ban includes electronic cigarettes.

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston argued that Houston has imposed a total park smoking ban and Dallas should do so too to protect public health.

Kingston said he uses the Elm Fork Shooting Range and smoke there is offensive.

Councilman Lee Kleinman said a park smoking ban would be "well intended, but unenforceable."

If it passes the full Dallas City Council quickly, a Dallas park smoking ban could apply to this year's State Fair of Texas.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mother's Cancer Fight Inspires Coppell Eagle Scout]]> Sun, 21 Aug 2016 23:36:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/082116+Joshua+Moikeha.jpg

A Boy Scout from Coppell dedicated a lifetime achievement to bring comfort to people fighting cancer. It’s a project inspired by his mother and fueled by a competition with his father.

“This is basically where I spend most of my life at home,” said Joshua Moikeha, laying on the floor playing on his computer.

Like many 14 year olds, “I’m showing him Minecraft,” Joshua is a huge fan of video games.

“Making video games, playing video games, talking with friends about video games,” Joshua said.

For him, being inside a virtual reality can be way more comfortable than the real world.

“I have Asperger’s and I find some somethings a little bit difficult for me,” said Joshua.

According to the website Autism Speaks, Asperger syndrome is considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the Autism spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors.

Joshua's parents said socializing is one of those things. So his dad: a doctor, military man, and long-time scout, motivated him with Boy Scout merit badges. “He had 73, I currently have 54, so I mean— I’m gonna blow him out of the water pretty soon,” Joshua said with a smile.

This competition let Joshua force himself to get outdoors and face new challenges, including carrying a 60 pound pack on a week-long hiking trip. The side effect: new muscles, “look at this, look at this!” Joshua says while laughing and pointing at his bicep.

But individual merit badges pale in comparison to his year-long project that earned him scouting’s highest honor: becoming an Eagle Scout.

“Yes!” Joshua says while throwing his hands up in victory.

He received countless letters of “congratulations” including from a U.S. president, and more importantly to him, “Nintendo, this is his prize letter,” his mother, Windy Moikeha, said while showing us an album filled with letters of recognition.

The focus of his Eagle Scout project was his mother, Windy, and her courageous fight with cancer.

“[I] had a mammogram and they said everything was fine come back in six months, and five months later I actually felt the first lump," said Windy.

Windy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when Joshua was just 8 years old.

“As much as I was positive and really felt like I was gonna beat it— there was that fear in the back of my head that what if I don’t? Ya know what is my boy gonna do without me?” Windy said.

After a mastectomy, chemo and radiation— today, she’s healthy.

“Alright, so here’s the chemo care kit,” Windy said while pointing to a box covered with pink tissue paper. Her experience during treatment inspired Joshua’s Eagle Scout project.

They made and collected items that could help bring comfort to other people fighting cancer.  Home-made socks, puzzle books and tissue packets are some of the dozen items in each care package.

They delivered 200 care packages to cancer patients.

“It felt good because I . . . because I knew that I was actually doing something to help other people,” Joshua said.

His thoughtful generosity was reciprocated with thank-you notes from patients, including one that stated “when I read your note and scripture, I had tears in my eyes.”

And for Joshua’s mother, seeing her son go beyond his comfort zone to help others who are struggling, “to know that he’s touching people, and knowing where their mind is at you know at the moment they received his gift is pretty special.”

A lifetime achievement reached at just 14, thanks to the support of his parents and countless hours of scouting. Otherwise he’d be: “he would probably be playing video games all the time, Joshua’s mom said with laughter, “nothing else.”

Joshua quickly agreed, “True, true, very true.”



Photo Credit: Family photo]]>
<![CDATA[Parasite Found in Arizona Swimming Pools]]> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 12:19:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459418465.jpg

More than 100 people in Maricopa County, Arizona, have become infected with a parasite officials believe was in at least 20 pools in the community, NBC News reported. 

Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto,” causes problems from stomach cramps to vomiting to fever. Those with healthy immune systems don’t need treatment and usually recover after a week or two. 

The highly contagious parasite is hard to get rid of because chlorine doesn’t always kill it, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Officials didn’t say which pools were identified. The parasite was first discovered in Maricopa County on Aug. 4 after 19 cases were reported in July.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Collin Co. School Districts Lead Among Unvaccinated Students]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 22:33:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vaccines.jpg

For many North Texas students, school starts Monday. And new numbers show that more students will be walking through those doors without their vaccinations.

Parents of 45,000 kids across Texas opted out of vaccinations last school year.

That's up 9 percent from the year before.

In Collin County, that rate is even higher. It's up 14 percent over last year.

State law requires students attending public school to be vaccinated, but Texas is one of 18 states allowing parents to opt out based on personal beliefs.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Frisco ISD is second in the state for students who aren't vaccinated because of a "conscientious exemption."

Plano ISD is sixth, McKinney ISD is 22nd and Allen ISD is 24th.

"This is not a public health emergency. This is less than 1 percent of all school children," said Rebecca Hardy, with the organization Texans for Vaccine Choice.

Despite an ongoing debate over whether vaccinations help or hurt, she says legally, the choice remains with parents.

"All medical procedures come with risks, and when there's a risk there must be a choice and ultimately it's the parents that are best equipped to make these choices for their children," Hardy said.

Friday, the Collin County Health Care Services was packed with parents waiting to get their kids vaccinated.

"Just so we don't spread any other kinds of diseases and they don't catch anything else from anybody else spreading diseases that are not getting vaccinated," Meadows said.

Health professionals with whom NBC 5 spoke on Friday stressed the importance of immunizations.

Parents requesting an exemption must fill out a form from the state.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[McKinney Swimmer Excels Despite Scoliosis]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 18:13:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/scoliosis+spine.jpg

In the water, Ashlyn Fiorilli is a force to be reckoned with.

"Right now, I'm first in the country for 15-year-old girls and that's really exciting," said Fiorilli, after recently winning silver in the 200-meter butterfly at the Junior National Championships in Minnesota.

Her accomplishments go beyond the water, however, as she has fully recovered from surgery to correct the effects of scoliosis, a condition that affects the curvature of the spine.

Ashlyn was diagnosed with progressive scoliosis at age 13 and surgery would be her only option if she wanted to continuing competitive swimming.

"Three percent of the people in the planet have a scoliosis that can be progressive, much likes hers, what we call adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Of that three percent, probably 10 to 20 percent eventually require something done surgically," said Dr. Isador Lieberman, orthopedic & spinal surgeon and medical director of the Scoliosis and Spine Tumor Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.

Lieberman performed a selective thoracic fusion, using titanium rods and numerous screws to straighten her spine.

"Her curve continued to progress, so I recommended that she consider what we call a selective thoracic fusion, just correcting the upper spine, getting it back in balance and leaving the remainder of her spine free, so that she would not be restricted in her athletic endeavors," Lieberman said.

Ashlyn recovered like the champion she is and was back in the pool within three months.

Her sights are now set for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

"I'm hoping that I can stay up there and continue four more years, hopefully for Tokyo!" she said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Bats to Battle Zika in Texas]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:27:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_bathouses0819_1920x1080.jpg As public concern about Zika continues, people are taking unusual precautions to prevent the disease. Many use bug spray and empty standing water, but now some people are keeping bat houses in their backyards, hoping that the bats will eat nearby mosquitoes. Reggie Regan of Texas makes bat houses, which are essentially small wooden boxes, and these days he is barely able to keep up with demand. "There is some hysteria. People are buying bat houses because of it," Regan said.

Photo Credit: WOAI]]>
<![CDATA[Parkland Hosts Rehab Olympics]]> Sun, 21 Aug 2016 16:45:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Parkland_Rehab_Olympics_1200x675_748215363745.jpg Parkland Memorial Hospital's rehabilitation facility hosted an Olympics party featuring Olympic event-themed therapy.]]> <![CDATA[Fentanyl Deaths Jump 636% in Philly]]> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 13:27:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Girl+Overdose+Kensington+Street.jpg

A disturbing 636 percent increase in overdoses from the medical-grade opioid fentanyl in Philadelphia has city health officials warning medical professionals and the public about the increased pervasiveness of the dangerously strong drug.

City health officials said Friday that 184 people died last year as a result of a fentanyl overdose, whether by using the drug alone or in combination with another, like heroin. Two years prior, in 2013, the drug killed 25 people. The change equates to a seven fold increase.

"Clearly, we have an epidemic,” Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said at a news conference in City Hall.

This year’s data shows there’s no expectation the epidemic will slow down. In the first four months of 2016, 99 of the overdose deaths involved fentanyl, city data shows.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid in the same family as heroin, oxycontin and morphine. But it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. A small dose can prove fatal by causing a person to stop breathing. Often the drug is used to cut another, like heroin, for a stronger high. Sometimes, it’s sold by itself.

“People are buying this drug in the same way as others,” Farley said.

Those suffering from opioid drug addiction quickly grow tolerant to the highs prescription painkillers and heroin provide. The result forces them into increasingly painful withdrawal. So they seek stronger highs, putting themselves at further risk with each hit and each new drug they try.

Heroin users explained the vicious cycle to NBC10 earlier this year as part of our special investigation Generation Addicted. The project, which debuted in March, explored the tragic world of opioid addiction in Philadelphia and beyond. It also looked at its effects on the addicted, their families and society.

Drug overdoses continue to rise despite frantic efforts by local, state and federal health and law enforcement officials to stem a tidal wave of deaths nationwide. More people died of a drug overdose than in a car wreck for the past three years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdose deaths accounted for more than 28,000 of the lives claimed in 2014 — the highest on record.

A recently released Drug Enforcement Administration report showed similar trends involving fentanyl across Pennsylvania. Agents saw a 93 percent jump in deaths involving the drug from 2014 to 2015. Further troubling is the fact that “fentanyl was the most commonly reported drug” among people who overdosed from heroin, the agency wrote.

The overdose reversal medicine naloxone — commonly known as Narcan — has helped to bring countless people back to life, but doses may not be large enough to overcome fentanyl’s effects.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Jeremiah Laster said while naloxone typically will coax a person back to consciousness and allow them to breathe on their own following a heroin overdose, the same isn’t true for fentanyl. Medics often try to keep a person’s airway open as they rush them to the closest emergency room, he said.

“The goal is to get somebody to the hospital to get them help,” he said.

Laster, who oversees emergency medical services, said the department is conducting a time-consuming review of patient records to determine whether an increase in naloxone dosage could make a difference in reversing fentanyl overdoses.

Increased dosage will undoubtedly result in higher costs — an issue that’s already becoming a problem for the city and other naloxone providers. Three years ago, the city paid $13.74 for a dose of the medicine. Today, that same dose costs $37.52. Laster said that’s still at a deep discount since the city gets government pricing. Some providers pay upwards of $100 a dose.

Everyone sees the medicine as a stopgap, preventing a person from ending up at the morgue. “Prevention is key to solving this problem,” Laster said.

Dr. Arthur Evans, Philadelphia’s behavioral health commissioner, said the city is taking a number of steps to address the crisis.

Evans said the city is “significantly expanding” access to services and medicine-assisted treatment. These medicine therapies help stabilize a person as they work to wean themselves off of drugs over a long-period of time.

The city is adding 500 extra slots for methadone treatment, 500 additional detox opportunities and doubling access to buprenorphine, widely known as Suboxone, to offer people help when they are asking for it, Evans said.

Behavioral health staff are doing outreach in communities with the highest concentrations of drug addicted people, like hard-hit Kensington, to let people how they can get help.

An assessment center at the North Philadelphia Health System (801 W. Girard Ave.) operates 24 hours a day helping to connect people to treatment offerings. A phone hotline (888-545-2600) does the same, Evans said.

Three state-sponsored Centers for Excellence will begin offering expanded treatment for Medicaid patients starting in the fall. Evans is hoping new money appropriated through the recently-passed federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will makes it way to the city through grants.

Outreach is also taking place among the medical community. For years, doctors freely prescribed prescription opioids, in the form of pills like Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, and benzodiazepines like Xanax contributing to the epidemic’s wide scope. Now officials are trying to help physicians balance managing a patient’s pain and preventing addition from taking hold.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society and Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration issued new prescribing guidelines in July issuing a number of recommendations to doctors including putting a limit of seven days on opioid prescriptions doled out in the emergency room.

Addiction experts say many times patients are given too many pills to treat a minor issue leaving the door open for dependence or abuse by another person in their home.

Farley couldn’t say whether the city’s emergency rooms were following the guidelines (they are not required), but said his office plans to conduct outreach with doctors to keep them abreast of the epidemic.

And as the city works to address this latest facet of the complex crisis, there are new concerns from law enforcement about even stronger opioids hitting Philly’s streets.

Narcotics officers and DEA agents believe the synthetic opioid W-18 has begun to seep into the the local drug market. Designed in China, the drug can be up to 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Large amounts of the drug were seized in Miami and Alberta, Canada. Police drug labs have begun testing for it.

But as addiction specialist Dr. Brian Work told NBC10 earlier this year, with the heroin and fentanyl problem as pervasive as it is, “it's hard worrying about the next thing down the pipe."


Explore NBC10's digital exclusive investigation Generation Addicted by visiting our special section here.

Wednesday, August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. NBC10 will be re-airing our 30 minute documentary from Generation Addicted at 7 p.m. that night.



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Some College Students Getting Wrong Vaccines]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 19:44:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/student+health+center.jpg

Dallas County Community College District health officials say students aren't getting the right vaccinations, and when they're showing up to register they are being turned around.

Since January 2012, incoming college and university students are required to receive one dose of meningococcal vaccine prior to attending school to combat bacterial meningitis (meningococcal disease).

The vaccine is typically called Meningitis ACWY vaccine.

In 2014, the Meningitis B vaccine became available and now students are receiving it instead of the required vaccine.

The Meningitis B vaccine is recommended but not required.

"Sometimes, the students and parents will just say, 'We need the meningitis vaccine to get into college,' and they end up receiving the B, when in fact, the state law says they should have had the ACWY," said Mildred Kelley, campus nurse at Brookhaven College.

Kelley says problems with misunderstanding of immunization requirements among students have been reported at three Dallas County community colleges, including Brookhaven.

Students who don't have the mandated immunizations face a delay in registration for fall classes, which ends Aug. 20 at Brookhaven.

"They don't want to be delayed. They don't always complain about getting another shot, they just don't want to be delayed," said Kelley.

Meningococcal disease is spread from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can be fatal.

"One out of eight will die, and about one in five will have serious morbidity after they survive. That means potential cognitive defects, basically brain damage," said Dr. Daniel Moulton at TLC Pediatrics in Allen.

Moulton says students should get both meningitis vaccinations to be safe.

New students should make sure they get at least the mandated immunization before attempting to register for college courses.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About Drug, Alcohol Abuse for College Students]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 04:03:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/111008+Alcohol+Generic.jpg Students across the country are heading off to college. Some concerns for parents include alcohol and drug abuse, but parents can address the issue before it becomes a problem by being well-informed. ]]> <![CDATA[28th Zika Case Confirmed in Dallas County]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:41:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zika+pensilvania+9+feb2.jpg

Another Dallas County resident has contracted the Zika virus while traveling, public health department officials say.

The patient, age 48, is the 28th Dallas County resident to contract the illness while traveling abroad; the latest case was contracted in Mexico.

After confirming the cases through a private lab, the cases were referred to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Other than the patient being a resident of DeSoto, no other health information will be released about the patient.

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.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 21st, 22nd Cases of West Nile of 2016]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 15:16:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+bite.jpg

Dallas County health officials confirmed the county's 21st and 22nd human cases of West Nile virus in 2016 on Thursday.

The patients, who live in the 75243 and the 75215 ZIP codes, both have the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The county is not releasing any more details, in order to protect that identities of the patients.

“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,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.

[[309639121,C]]



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[EpiPen's 400 Percent Price Hike Has Parents Scrambling]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:10:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_epipens0617_1920x1080.jpg

Doctors and patients say the pharmaceutical company Mylan has increased the prices for an EpiPen — the portable device that can stop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — from around $100 in 2008 to $500 or more today, NBC News reports.

Following a recall by Mylan's chief competitor last year, the company now enjoys a near monopoly.

EpiPens have a stated expiration date of one year, meaning there is an additional co-pay to refill them annually.

In a statement, Mylan said that the prices have "changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said "there's no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600. The only explanation for Mylan raising the price by six times since 2009 is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans."



Photo Credit: KARE]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Back Institute on Injuries Like Prince Fielder's]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 15:49:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Prince+Fielder+Emotional.jpg After Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder announced he's medically disabled, NBC 5's Bianca Castro sat down with Dr. Scott Kutz of Texas Back Institute.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tourniquet Training For DART Officers and Public]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:09:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DART+Officer+tourniquet+training.jpg

All 300 members of the DART Police Department will soon be trained on how to properly use a tourniquet and stop a wound from bleeding.

Training, led by staff at Baylor Scott & White Health, started Tuesday.

It's part of the Department of Homeland Security's "Stop The Bleed" campaign, which looks to empower immediate responders and bystanders with the ability to act quickly and save lives.

Trauma surgeons and educational staff will teach officers how to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding from gunshot wounds or other life-threatening injuries.

"It's not just the gunshot wound. It's someone who trips and falls at home and breaks a glass table and has a large laceration. People still bleed to death from that and these are areas that we hope to be able to make a difference," said Dr. Michael Foreman, Trauma Director at Baylor Scott & White Dallas.

"You don't realize how that little piece of plastic can make a big difference in life or limb. I think all the officers will be excited about this," said Sergeant Donovon Collins, who was part of Tuesday's training.

Officers will also learn how to put pressure on the wounds to stem bleeding before medical personnel arrive.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth will launch classes for the public that will teach how to apply a tourniquet and apply pressure to stop massive bleeding.

Doctors hope a “Stop the Bleed” kit can someday be put in emergency stations in public places the way that defibrillators are now.

"What we will see is hopefully people who will not have bled as much in the field, so that way, we can resuscitate them with less blood and products and have a better outcome. Not only less death, but a better outcome, faster return to function, better return to function," said Dr. Raj Gandhi, Trauma Medical Director at JPS.

Other Level I Trauma Center hospitals are doing likewise in their communities, joining a statewide effort called Stop the Bleed.

Classes at JPS are free to the public.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 20th Case of West Nile of 2016]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 17:03:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+bite.jpg

Dallas County health officials confirmed the county's 20th human case of West Nile virus in 2016 on Wednesday.

The person lives in the 75248 ZIP code and has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The county is not releasing any more details, in order to protect that person's identity.

“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,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[McDonalds Packs Happy Meals With Fitness Tech]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:42:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mcdonalds_pedometer.jpg McDonald's is packing its Happy Meals with "Step It" trackers.]]> <![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms 19th Case of West Nile of 2016]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 16:53:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile1.JPG

Dallas County health officials confirmed the county's 19th human case of West Nile virus in 2016 on Tuesday.

The person lives in the 75061 ZIP code and has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The county is not releasing any more details, in order to protect that person's identity.

“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,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.

[[309639121,C]]


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<![CDATA[Rare Weather Pattern May Lead to Early End for WNV Season]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 04:22:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-GettyImages-563546355.jpg

The wet and cooler weather may lead to an early end for West Nile virus.

Health officials are closely watching the rare August weather pattern to see how it could change the fight against West Nile.

"We hope that after the rain, the temperatures will be below 100, so we can now begin to focus on Zika preparedness," said Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson.

The rain can clear out stagnant water, but more important are the temperatures, which have dipped to the low 70s.

Mosquitoes prefers temperatures in the 80s.

In Dallas County, numbers of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes are down, while in Tarrant County, the number is at its peak for the season, about six weeks earlier than when it peaked last year.

The Tarrant County Commission will talk about whether aerial spraying should be an option, as officials continue to monitor the weather.

The cooler weather can be deceptive, however, as people may venture outside to enjoy the outdoors but forget the bug spray.

"Right now, mosquito season, if you look at our vector index, is going down and that's good news, but we're still not out of the woods yet, so we still need everyone to use mosquito repellent all day, every day," adds Thompson.

[[309639121,C]]



Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Child Among Latest Zika Cases Confirmed in Dallas County]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 16:00:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zika+pensilvania+9+feb2.jpg

Two more cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Dallas County Tuesday, including a 50-year-old Grand Prairie resident and a 6-year-old Dallas resident, health officials say.

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed both cases were travel-related.

The child, officials said, contracted the virus during a recent trip to Guatemala; the 50-year-old contracted the case while traveling in the Dominican Republic.

The cases are the 26th and 27th Zika cases confirmed in Dallas County this year.

After confirming the cases through testing at the DCHHS lab, the cases were referred to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

No other health information will be released about the patients, as per usual, to protect their identities.

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]]


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Cards for Kids' Program Helps Patients and Hospital]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 04:14:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cards+for+Kids+081516.jpg

Art is a form of expression. It's like life, according to 16-year-old Paige Scanlan.

"When you're drawing and it comes out the way you want it to, it's great," she said. "But it can also be frustrating."

Scanlan has been in and out of hospitals since she was just a year old.

"They found that I had a tethered spinal chord," she said.

All the while, she continued to draw.

"It's a really great outlet," Scanlan said.

"When they pick up a paint brush, they begin telling their story," said Cook Children's Medical Center volunteer Lucy Biggs. "It's amazing to see the compassion and the love."

Biggs is with the Woman's Board of Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. The organization takes patient artwork and turns it into cards sold online and in the hospital's gift shop.

Through the years, the Cards for Kids program has raised $4.3 million and all of the money goes right back to the hospital.

The board has purchased, among other things, an ambulance and hospital equipment with the money raised through the program.

"If our program can get them to smile for one minute, it just makes a huge difference," Biggs said.

Scanlan's artwork has become a very popular card. She drew a picture of a big yellow cat named "Blobulous" three years ago after brain surgery.

"Some people, after surgeries like that, you don't have your full potential like you used to," Scanlan said. "Doing the painting actually showed me, 'I can still do this,'" she said with a big smile.

It also helped her envision bigger goals.

"I'm planning on probably making this a career when I grow up," she said.

Proving life really does imitate art.

More: CardsForKids.com



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers: Vaccinate Mom to Protect Baby]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:53:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baby+generic.jpg

A large study of nearly 500,000 moms and babies shows that moms who got a flu shot while pregnant helped their babies stay healthier.

That’s big news, since newborns under six months of age are at the highest risk of getting the flu, which can be dangerous or deadly.

Newborn Luke Mallin may be protected against getting the flu for up to six months because his mom got a flu shot while she was pregnant.

“He’s only two months old, so knowing that he’s going to be protected while under the age of six months when he can’t get the vaccine himself, makes me feel very good,” said Luke’s mom, Brittany Mallin.

"There was a 70 percent reduction in lab-confirmed influenza if a mom reported she received the vaccine during pregnancy," explained Julie Shakib, DO, MS, MPH, medical director of Well Baby Nursery at the University of Utah.

Shakib studied health records of 245,000 pregnant women over nine years.

She found that babies of women who got flu shots had a 70 percent reduction in getting the flu, and an 80 percent reduction in flu-related hospitalizations in their first six months.

Ninety-seven percent of baby flu cases in the study were born to moms who didn’t get the vaccine during pregnancy.

"Instead of causing harm, this actually causes true benefit for the baby, and that is really what we want moms to take away from the study,” Shakib said.

Mallin knows some people are against vaccines.

“I know there’s some scary research out there that has been discredited that can make people believe that vaccines are scary, but I don’t think they are,” said Mallin.

She said helping Luke avoid the flu just by her getting a shot is worth it.

Shakib is now trying to find out if breast-feeding increases flu vaccine protection for infants. 

Read more about the study here.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FWISD Bus Drivers Train in 'Mental Health First Aid']]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:57:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TLMD-School-Bus-.jpg

When you think of first aid, you probably picture CPR for someone choking or having a heart attack. Maybe you even know how to do it.

But would you know what to do for someone having a mental health crisis? Advocates are now pushing to train a million people nationwide in "mental health first aid."

Locally, MHMR of Tarrant County – the mental health, addiction and developmental disabilities service group – has already trained hundreds of police, firefighters and private company employees in how to help a person in mental health crisis.

Now, before the school year starts, they're focused on educators and for the first time this year, they're going far beyond teachers and counselors.

Before the bell rings for a new school year, before new teachers and friends, there's one face students will see first.

"We're the first ones to see them in the morning and the last to see them in the afternoon," said Fort Worth ISD school bus driver Joan Shackelford.

She and her fellow bus drivers work every day to get kids to school safely.

"Sit down, do not sit with your head up against the window," recited FWISD bus driver Regina Syas.

Now, in the Fort Worth ISD, they'll be watching for something more.

"These are our warning signs of a youth who may be impacted by mental illness," James Turnage told a classroom full of FWISD school bus drivers.

Turnage is director of supports with disability services for MHMR of Tarrant County. Before the start of the school year, he led an eight-hour training in "mental health first aid," like CPR for the mind.

"You're more likely to encounter someone experiencing emotional or mental health crisis than you are someone experiencing a heart attack," said Turnage.

Many of the drivers in the class had already seen students in crisis.

"One of the parents had been gravely ill with cancer and had to be away from home a lot for treatments so this child did not want to go to school because of that," said Shackelford, recalling one recent student.

Now when they see signs of anxiety, trauma or depression, they'll know how to respond.

"Listen non-judgmentally, provide support and reassurance, to know what professional helps are out there, to know the resources that are out there in your area," said Turnage.

For Regina Syas, it hits close to home. Her son tried to commit suicide while serving overseas in the Army.

"He was diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar and something else they diagnosed him with," said Syas. "Had I caught any of that when he was a child, had I noticed it, maybe I could have gotten him help."

It's a deep reminder of how common mental illness is and motivation for the next wave of kids who might need someone to turn to.

"We care about them too," said Shackelford. "We want them to feel like we're a resource just like their teachers are, or just like their counselors are."

MHMR stresses this is not about teaching people to diagnose or treat mental illness. It's learning to recognize the signs then refer to professional help, and before approaching someone asses if they seem likely to hurt themselves or anyone else.

MHMR hopes to train 600 people working in area schools this year and next.

For more information visit the MHMR of Tarrant County website.

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<![CDATA[Back-to-School Lunch Nutrition Tips]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 04:22:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LunchArgentina2.jpg Keri Stoner-Davis, from Lemond Nutrition, discussed easy and fast ways to pack healthy lunches for your kids.

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Proteins Research Underway]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 17:45:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZIKA17.jpg Researchers have discovered a key weapon to fight the Zika virus.]]>