<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usTue, 24 May 2016 19:07:48 -0500Tue, 24 May 2016 19:07:48 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Family Health Care Costs Have Tripled Since '01: Analysis]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:44:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/HEALTH_GettyImages-544488581.jpg

The costs of providing health care to an average American family surpassed $25,000 for the first time in 2016 — even as the rate of health cost increases slowed to a record low, a new analysis revealed Tuesday.

CNBC reports that the $25,826 in health-care costs for a typical family of four covered by an employer-sponsored "preferred provider plan" is $1,155 higher than last year, and triple what it cost to provide health care for the same family in 2001, the first year that Milliman Medical Index analysis was done.

And it's the 11th consecutive year that the total dollar increase in the average family's health-care costs exceeded $1,110, the actuarial services firm noted in releasing the index.

A significant cost driver identified by the index was the rapid growth in what health plans and insured people are paying for prescription drugs.

Photo Credit: Caiaimage/Chris Cross via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: Whooping Cough]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 11:57:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/seema-whooping-cough.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin talks about the rise in Whooping Cough cases and the Pertussis vaccine.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Natural' Mosquito Repellents Don't Last: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 09:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

Most so-called natural mosquito repellents containing naturally derived oils smell nice but don't keep mosquitos off as long as those containing synthetic chemicals, Consumer Reports found.

Consumer Reports said it tested 16 products to see which work best against the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika as well as against Culex mosquitoes, which spread West Nile, and the ticks that carry Lyme. The products contain a range of active ingredients, including conventional chemicals like DEET, synthetic plantlike compounds that resemble those found in nature, and plant oils like citronella and rosemary, according to the group.

Their three top pics contain a different synthetic chemical: Sawyer Picaridin (20 percent picaridin); Ben's 30 Percent Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula (30 percent DEET) and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (65 percent p-menthane-3,8-diol, a synthetic derivative of eucalyptus).

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[No Harm From 'Cry It Out' Baby Sleep Method: Study]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:00:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74146469-%281%29.jpg

A new study suggests that infants left to CIO — "cry it out" or cry themselves to sleep will not suffer any emotional, behavioral or parental attachment problems, Today.com reported.  

Researchers in Australia studied infants 6 months through 16 months and found that CIO did not produce any more signs of stress in the babies than a "gentler" method, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics. 

The lead author of the study, Michael Gradisar, an associate professor and clinical psychologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, said "graduated extinction was better in reducing the number of times the infants woke during the night, as well as the amount of time they spent awake during the night."

The new study adds to existing research showing that children sleep better when parents adopt the extinction method, said Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a professor of clinical pediatrics, emeritus, at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Aurora Creative
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<![CDATA[Strokes Affecting More Young People, Study Shows]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:07:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/young+stroke+patient.jpg

There is a new warning about the rise in strokes for a surprising age group. Strokes are declining in older Americans, but they're skyrocketing for younger adults.

A new study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that over 10 years, there has been a 44-percent increase in strokes for 25- to 44-year-olds, while strokes for those over 65 years old decreased.

Cassie Scantlin was only 21 years old old when she suffered a stroke.

The University of North Texas student was home alone when she says her body didn't feel right.

"I look down at my hand and I saw my receipts like floating out of my hand and I was like, 'Why can't I move anything?' My entire body felt electric," said Scantlin.

"I felt like someone was trying to control my body. I couldn't move anything," she said.

Her family quickly got her to Denton Regional Medical Center, where staff eventually transferred her to The Medical Center of Plano and the team run by Dr. Vallabh Janardhan, director of the Texas Stroke Institute.

"We normally think strokes happen in older people, and for a 21-year-old to have a stroke, which is a heart attack of the brain, is a pretty unique situation," said Janardhan.

However, the number of young stroke patients is on the rise.

Among the risk factors, according to scientists, are sports injuries, hormonal changes from birth control, undiagnosed heart defects and an increase in diabetes and obesity.

"More than 80 percent of people with a blockage in a brain blood vessel either die or are disabled for life. So Cassie is very fortunate to have gotten treatment quickly and get to the right place at the right time," said Janardhan.

Scantlin is still numb on the right side of her body, but her progress has been steady.

She said she hopes her story is a wake-up call for others.

"Everyone knows what a heart attack is but not everyone knows what a stroke is. Strokes are not usually talked about nearly as much because usually it's people's grandparents having them, not their roommates," said Scantlin.

Experts say be familiar with the signs of a stroke.

The symptoms spell "FAST": Facial drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; Time to call 9-1-1.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Prosthetic Arm Offers Life-Like Touch]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:12:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_prostheticarm0523_1920x1080.jpg A unique, thought-controlled prosthetic arm developed in part by the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, uses the the body's nerve signals to control movement.]]> <![CDATA[Fitbit Heart Rate Trackers 'Highly Inaccurate': Study]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 13:47:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/579056257-fitbit-charge-hr.jpg

A class action lawsuit against Fitbit may be bolstered by the release of a new study claiming the company's popular heart rate trackers are "highly inaccurate," CNBC reports.

Researchers at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona tested the heart rates of 43 healthy adults with Fitbit's PurePulse heart rate monitors. Results found that the Fitbit devices miscalculated heart rates by up to 20 beats per minute on average during more intensive workouts.

The study, commissioned by the law firm behind a class action suit taking aim at three Fitbit models that use the PurePulse heart monitor, found the trackers "cannot be used to provide a meaningful estimate of a user's heart rate."

But Fitbit said in a statement posted by the blog Gizmodo that the study is "biased, baseless, and nothing more than an attempt to extract a payout from Fitbit."

Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Singer Thomas Rhett Works Out with DFW Fans]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 21:44:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/052116+Rhett+Gym.jpg Before hitting the stage in DFW Saturday night, country singer Thomas Rhett hit the gym with fans.

Photo Credit: Tim Ciesco, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Denton Finds Rare Mosquito-Transmitted Virus]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 17:26:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/West+Nile+Mosquito+Trapjpg.jpg

North Texans have heard a lot about West Nile virus and Zika virus over the past few years, but now another mosquito-carried illness is joining the list in Denton.

On Friday, the City of Denton announced a mosquito trapped off of West University Drive and Gay Street, near the Rayzor Ranch shopping area, tested positive for California Serogroup virus.

City Environmental Services Director Dr. Ken Banks said the illness, and even the mosquitoes that carries, it is extremely rare in Texas.

Of all of Denton’s trapped mosquitoes, Banks said about 0.3 percent are the flood water mosquito needed to bring the virus around, and statewide could only find about five instances of the illness showing up in mosquitoes since 2009.

Most commonly found in the upper Midwest and mid-Atlantic states, California Serogroup is, as the name suggests, a grouping of viruses that are each very different.

Dr. Banks said most that would show up in this rare case are illnesses that show up in wildlife and aren’t an issue for humans.

Others though, especially one called La Crosse Encephalitis, are a concern.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, La Crosse virus is a lot like the West Nile virus in that there is a lesser form that carries a lot of flu symptoms and a more serious neuroinvasive disease form that can lead to long term complications, and in very rare situations, death.

Banks said the likelihood of that being in North Texas is very low and that it’s very unlikely this situation is of a serious health risk to the area, but until they know for sure which of the Serogroup their mosquito carried, they are proceeding with caution.

"We're waiting for an actual virus identification,” said Banks. “It could come back that it's a wildlife virus, it very likely will. There is a possibility, though, that it could be something like La Crosse, and if that's the case, we're going to have to look into this a little further."

In the meantime, the city has elected to keep their mosquito alert level where it is, but crews are monitoring more aggressively in the area where that sample was trapped earlier this month.

Banks said, regardless of which form of the virus the CDC finds in that sample, the defense against getting it is the same as they recommend with the West Nile virus: use bug spray with deet, avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn, drain standing water and dress in long sleeves and long pants.

City leaders are awaiting the results of that test and plan to put out more information when they know exactly what they found.

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Women Infected With Zika Virus in Garland]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 16:09:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/Zika.png

The City of Garland Health Department has confirmed the first case of Zika virus in a pregnant woman in Garland on Friday. They say another pregnant woman has tested positive in a preliminary Zika test, but is awaiting official results from the CDC.

Garland Health Department officials said in a press release these North Texas women traveled to Central American and returned several weeks ago without displaying any Zika virus symptoms.

The infected individual was tested for the Zika virus based on CDC guidelines since she is pregnant and recently traveled to a country with local transmission of Zika. The test came back as a preliminary positive and was sent to the CDC for confirmation. The CDC confirmed the case and notified the city of Garland today. The city of Garland is awaiting confirmation on the second case.

The names of these individuals have not been released. There is currently no information about the statuses of the babies' health or the mothers' pregnancies.

According to the press release, there is no local threat of Zika transmission in the metroplex at this time.The individual had not returned to Garland during the disease phase of the virus when she was capable of transmitting Zika via mosquitoes.

GHD reminds north Texas that the Zika virus is generally spread from person-to-person through the bite of the Aedes mosquito species. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters that typically lay eggs in artificial containers.There is no vaccine or cure for Zika.

Prevention measures that GHD recommends include dressing to prevent mosquito bites and drain and remove all standing water near your home.

The GHD encourages individuals traveling to areas where local transmission is occurring to protect themselves against mosquito bites and to contact their health care provider immediately if they develop Zika virus-like symptoms.

Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), but not everyone experiences symptoms. The illness can last several days to a week and severe cases may require hospitalization. The Zika virus has been associated with birth defects including microcephaly and fetal losses.

For additional information on Zika virus or other mosquito-borne diseases, visit the GHD webpage or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

<![CDATA[Half of US Cancer Deaths Due to Bad Habits: Study ]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 18:23:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SmokingCigarettes-AP_16117589693563.jpg

Researchers say people are in charge of their own risk of cancer — with as many as half of cancer deaths related to things people could easily change, NBC News reported.

Smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight and a lack of exercise were responsible for 20 to 40 percent of cancer cases and for half of cancer deaths, according to a team from Harvard Medical School. 

The group examined data from health professional of 140,000 people and determined that heavy drinking raises colon, breast, liver, head and neck cancer rates. Obesity raises the risk of colon, pancreatic and other cancers. Smoking caused 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. The risk of cancer was lower in those who exercised, kept a health weight, didn’t smoke and didn’t drink excessively. 

Researchers said health insurance companies should encourage doctors to help patients do what they can to prevent cancer, and that Americans need to believe that cancer can be a preventable disease.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Yellow Fever in Africa Not a Public Emergency: WHO]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:31:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/YellowFeverMosquitoes-AP_96386058689.jpg

The World Health Organization said the current yellow fever outbreak in central African requires urgent action, but doesn’t amount to a public health emergency, NBC News reports.

The organization’s advisory committee met Thursday and said the outbreak is slowing, not gaining speed.

Most of the cases are in Angola, but the virus has been carried to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya by migrant workers. Eleven travelers have also carried it to China.

Like Zika, yellow fever is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Those affected with the virus can’t be treated with drugs, but fluids can help patients survive.

WHO is working with companies that make yellow fever vaccine to build up the current stockpile and is working to vaccinate people at risk.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Reports First WNV-Positive Traps of 2016]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 15:39:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fumigan-condado-riverside-mosquitos-virus-nilo1.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services says the county's first positive West Nile virus mosquito traps have been collected for the 2016 season.

The WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped May 10 and 11, but the location of the traps was not disclosed.

No plans to spray pesticide in the fight against mosquitoes were announced.

Positive West Nile virus traps have also been collected in recent weeks in Arlington and Lewisville, indicating an early wide distribution of West Nile virus in the local mosquito population, according to DCHHS.

No confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year in North Texas.

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<![CDATA[Health Experts to Test HIV Vaccine in South Africa]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 19:43:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ThaiHIVVaccineTest-AP_09092502984.jpg

Scientists will be testing an HIV vaccine in South Africa that has had some success, NBC News reported.

The risk of infection dropped for 31 percent of volunteers tested in Thailand in 2009 when they were given the experimental vaccine.

The vaccine has been tweaked, and health experts hope they will see a higher success rate in this trial. Experts hope to enroll 5,400 people who aren’t infected with HIV in South Africa.

Health experts say the virus infects 35 million people globally and kills 1.2 million people each year.

<![CDATA[Cancer Drug Keeps Some Patients Alive for 3 Years]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 18:37:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JimmyCarter-AP_473126061319.jpg

A drug that helped former President Jimmy Carter’s cancer disappear is helping many other patients with similar conditions, NBC News reports.

The drug, Keytruda, stops tumor cells from cloaking themselves against the immune system’s response.

French researchers tested 655 patients with advanced melanoma for the trial. The patients were already given other cancer treatments. 

On average, the patients lived two years, and 40 percent of them are alive three years later. Sixty-one patients stopped taking the drug after their tumors went away — virtually all them are still in remission. 

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is easy to treat if caught early. More than 76,000 Americans will be diagnosed with it this year, and it will kill 10,000, according to the American Cancer Society.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fibrous Tissue Condition Affects More Women Than Men]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:51:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fibromuscular+dysplasia.jpg

Fibromuscular dysplasia, or FMD, is up to 10-times more common in women than in men, but it's often overlooked because patients and their doctors have a hard time identifying the symptoms.

Nurse Mary Lou Lucas has spent her career helping others understand their medical problems but she was stumped when doctors diagnosed her with fibromuscular dysplasia.

"'You have what? What is that?' A lot of people that I worked with never heard of it," Lucas said.

FMD happens when fibrous tissue inside a person's artery walls builds-up and creates a string of beads.

It can cause stroke, heart attack or aneurysm.

"There was a complete blockage in one of my vessels. Oh, I was scared to death," Lucas said.

Dr. Heather Gornik, a vascular medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, wants to get the word out about this serious, but not well-known, disease.

"It's a condition that affects mainly women. About 95 percent of our patients are women," Gornik said.

Migraine headaches, high blood pressure, dizziness, and a swishing sound in the ears are the main signs.

"I think it's really sad that it takes three or more years for a patient with symptoms to get a diagnosis," Gornik said.

Gornik helped start a registry that tracks patients with FMD.

She wants to help other doctors learn the signs so they can identify the condition.

Medication and surgery are often needed to treat it.

And the sooner it's diagnosed the better.

Lucas eats right, exercises and sees her doctor regularly.

"I would encourage good follow-up and proactive health care," Lucas said.

Now, her disease is under control and she wants to keep it that way.

FMD can be diagnosed with vascular imaging tests, such as ultrasounds, CT scans or MRI scans to look at the arteries.

Doctors aren't sure what causes the condition but suspect that hormones, genes and other factors play a role.

FMD is most common in women between ages 40 and 60, but it can also occur in children and the elderly.

Although rare, men can also have FMD.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cosmetics Can't Claim They Lighten, Plump Up Skin, FDA Says]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:50:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-464778768.jpg

Reviva Labs, a popular brand of cosmetics, must either prove its products plump skin, regenerate collagen and lighten age spots, or stop claiming they do, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

The FDA issued a warning to the New Jersey-based company over medical claims it makes for a batch of its products sold online and in stores. The government watchdog says if the products can do what the company claims on its website, it has to register as a new drug and go through the formal approval process.

It's the latest in a series of actions the FDA, which cannot regulate cosmetics when they're sold just as cosmetics, has started taking against cosmetics companies in recent years.

"We are in the process of changing our copy and eliminating all claims to which the FDA refers," Reviva President Stephen Strassler said in a statement.

Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Prepares for Active Mosquito Season]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 22:55:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito-AP_334068230276.jpg

Battle lines are being drawn in this year's fight against the bite.

Several hundred mosquito traps are now placed each week across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, capturing mosquitoes that could potentially carry the West Nile virus.

"We're starting to see virus earlier this year than we have in years past," said Municipal Mosquito's Patrick Prather. "Only time will tell through the summer how that's going to play out."

Working with many local governments, the Richardson company places nearly 100 traps in seven North Texas counties, and says the number of mosquitoes caught each night has been rising dramatically over the last week-and-a-half.

"The rain that we had last season, and then the relatively wet winter that we had, all the breeding sites around the Metroplex that may not have been charged in the last 25 or 30 years now have water in them," Prather said.

There are some fears conditions this summer are shaping up like those in 2012, when a West Nile virus outbreak killed 89 people in Texas.

"We're starting to see some reports comparing to 2012," said Prather. "In that we had a mild winter, we had a wet spring."

Spray trucks are ready to roll, but personal prevention can go a long way.

"Wear your repellent, wear your repellent, wear your repellent," said Prather. "Protect yourself and protect your family."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Many Sunscreens Don’t Meet SPF Claims: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 07:32:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-200535755-001.jpg

Consumer Reports tested 65 water-resistant sunscreens with SPF numbers of 30 or higher and found that nearly half did not meet their SPF claims. Nearly three-quarters of "natural" sunscreens also fell short.

Consumer Reports recommends 17 sunscreens that performed well on the tests, including La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk lotion, Pure Sun Defense SPF 50 lotion, No-Ad Sport SPF 50 lotion, Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+, and Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50.

If you're not using one of the top-rated products, Consumer Reports suggests using a chemical sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 to get the minimum protection needed. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Embryo Adoption for Couples Struggling to Conceive]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 22:43:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Christy+Trabun.jpg

Couples struggling to start a family face some tough choices.

The most common route is in-vitro fertilization, but there's another option gaining in popularity.

The booming industry of in-vitro fertilization leaves many families wondering what to do with the embryos that may be leftover.

Now more fertility clinics are offering couples the option to donate their embryos to another couple struggling to have a family.

"The reality is they had given birth to all of the children that they want to have and now they have embryos remaining and frozen in storage," said Kimberly Tyson, program director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions.

Turner estimates there are 700,000 frozen embryos in storage in the United States.

According to NBC News, the number of women using donated embryos nearly doubled between 2009 and 2013.

"For the families who are adopting, it is a 'Aha' moment for them when they discover, 'Wow, I can actually give birth to my adopted child,'" said Turner.

Mike and Christy Trabun adopted seven embryos from a family in Oregon in 2009 after failing to conceive, but were looking for options other than in-vitro fertilization.

Christy Trabun heard about embryo adoption through a radio program and said as they learned more, they knew it was the right option for them.

"We tried to have kids for a few years and we were not successful and did not want to pursue fertility treatment," Christy Trabun said.

"It was not a hard decision. There was no agonizing on whether this was the way to go. It just kind of really seemed perfect," she added, of the adoption program.

Embryo adoption is about half as expensive of a traditional adoption.

Doctors implanted three of the Trabuns' adopted embryos into Christy Trabun's uterus.

"They put in three hoping to get pregnant with one. And that's exactly what happened. One took and Christy was pregnant," said Mike Trabun.

Nine months later, they welcomed a healthy baby boy.

Cade Trabun is now 5 years old.

"We weren't wrapped around 'Well, we had to create our own genetic line.' For us, we just want a family," said Mike Trabun.

The Trabuns got pregnant with a biological child and then transferred the remaining adopted embryos into Christy Trabun, who became pregnant with twins.

"I cannot imagine what life would be like without these two little perfect human beings sitting here in my arms," says Christy Trabun. "Embryo adoption changed our life."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sports Science to Aid Firefighters Against Injury]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 21:27:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fusionetics.jpg

Human performance testing is helping firefighters in The Colony prevent injuries on the job.

All 50 of the city's firefighters will undergo Fusionetics analysis.

Fusionetics, according to its website, is a human performance company that integrates sports science, clinical application and cutting-edge technology to deliver efficient and effective solutions focused on decreasing injury, optimizing performance and enhancing recovery.

Using science and technology, the testing is normally used on athletes to help them gain maximum performance.

The testing will enable firefighters to strengthen areas of their body that, if not strengthened, could result in injuries on the job.

The performance testing looks at areas such as lower body strength, balance and range of mobility.

Baylor Medical Center Frisco offers Fusionetics at no charge to first responders and student athletes in the Frisco Independent School District and surrounding districts.

Mark Spahlinger, a firefighter with The Colony Fire Department, said he was pleasantly surprised by his results.

"I wasn't too bad, and the apps and the fitness that they give us to strengthen only takes about 10 minutes to do. We can do it at the station. We can do it at home," said Spahlinger.

"Injury prevention is paramount, whether it's an athlete, whether it's a firefighter or a police officer. We need to know that they're out there performing at 100 percent," said Brian Quesenberry, with Fusionetics.

<![CDATA[Heart Attacks Are 'Silent' in Nearly Half of Cases: Study]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 18:33:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/medical-GettyImages-57229731.jpg

A new study released Monday found that 45 percent of heart attacks in the United States are "silent" — people don't realize they're having them, NBC News reports.

But even though these heart attacks do not cause the classic symptoms of chest or arm pain, they're doing just as much damage as heart attacks that do.

"The outcome of a silent heart attack is as bad as a heart attack that is recognized while it is happening," said Dr. Elsayed Soliman of Wake Forest Baptist Medical center, who led the study.

Julie Llamas Rickman remembers going to the emergency room five years ago thinking her asthma was acting up — she felt short of breath and tired — but the 41-year-old was shocked to learn she had two blockages in her heart, and had had an attack: "I just started crying."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Breast Cancer Survivors Unite as Dragon Boat Team]]> Sun, 15 May 2016 23:48:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/051516+DFW+Dragon+Boat.jpg

Among the crowd of hundreds set up alongside Lake Carolyn Sunday morning, preparing to compete in the 9th annual DFW Dragon Boat Festival, one team easily stood out among the crowd; their base camp covered in bright pink.

However it was their shared bond and story that really had others stopping by to meet them: a story of breast cancer survival.

The Dallas United Crew Pink Dragon Boat team was just formed in March and competed for the first time at the Irving event.

Dr. Katie Maciulewicz-Gass founded the team as a support system for breast cancer survivors after the health and exercise coach worked with similar teams elsewhere in the country.

The unique sport offers the survivors and current cancer patients a physical outlet to take back their strength as well as camaraderie with others who know their struggle.

“The support that they get from each other and the camaraderie like, if they need like guidance or support it’s there, but there’s also that silent comfort zone,” said Maciulewicz-Gass, “they’ve all been through it.”

So far, the DFW team is made up of about 22 members, the amount traditionally needed for a full competing boat, but Debby Kehoe, a team member and 18 year participant of the sport, hopes to draw in more survivors to the team.

“It empowered me,” said Kehoe who first started dragon boating after her cancer fight 21 years ago. “At the end of the [first] race, we got off that boat, and I felt stronger than I’d ever felt in my life.”

Most of the women on the DFW team paddled their first competitive race on Sunday morning, but said they were hooked and looked forward to the next event.

“I took chemo this morning. Some oral chemo, my cancer is still under treatment,” said team member Sandra Chiles, “You feel powerful when you put that stroke in the water.”

Dragon boating is a Chinese sport with roots more than 2000 years old. Teams are made up of 22 members including 1 drummer keeping everyone in sync and 1 member at the back steering the boat.

The teams race one another in traditional boats that are often adorned as dragons.

The Dallas United Crew Pink team encourages anyone who’s battled or is currently battling breast cancer to get in touch with them and try the team out.  

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Young Adult Cancer Patient Unit Opens In Fort Worth]]> Sun, 15 May 2016 00:57:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-05-13-17h36m30s248.jpg

A new oncology unit is open to adolescents and young adults battling cancer.

The Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Coalition (FWAYAOC) celebrated the grand opening of its new adolescent and young adult (AYA) inpatient cancer unit and infusion center located at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center.

The FWAYAOC unit is the first community-supported AYA oncology inpatient unit in the nation and offers young adults diagnosed with cancer, ages 18 to 29, comprehensive, life-enhancing support, age-relevant resources and specialized care designed to improve their lives before, during and after cancer.

Cancer can have a devastating impact in the lives of young adults who are in school, starting families or beginning their careers,” said Susan Shields, Director of Cancer Program at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.   

“The FWAYAOC unit communicates to young adults that they’re important and that we’ll meet them where they are,” she said.

The unit will feature a specialized staff that includes a nurse practitioner, patient navigator, psychologist, social worker and patient activity specialist.

Patients will have access to life-enhancing programs that include fertility preservation education, peer-to-peer mentoring, counseling, navigation of school, career and financial concerns, treatment education, clinical trial information and assistance with other young adult-related needs.

Each year, more than 500 AYAs are diagnosed with cancer in and around Tarrant County.

Previously, young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have had to choose between a pediatric environment or one that serves mostly older adults, neither of which specialize in providing age-relevant care and resources to this demographic.

<![CDATA[ Pfizer Blocks Use of Its Drugs for Executions]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 19:19:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/PfizerLogo-GettyImages-524975736%281%29.jpg

The Pfizer drug company is taking steps to ensure its products do not wind up in cocktails being used to execute prisoners, NBC News reported. 

"Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve," the company said in a statement. "Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment."

The company is “enforcing a distribution restriction" for several products, including potassium chloride and the powerful anesthetic propofol, which caused the death of Michael Jackson. 

Under new guidelines, wholesalers and distributors must not resell the products to correctional institutions for lethal injections — and local governments must certify that products purchased are solely for medically prescribed patient care. 

The move shuts off the government's last open market source for drugs used in executions. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Living Long: Centenarians Share Their Secrets ]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 13:59:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_13060501691.jpg

When it comes to living long, people who've lived to be 100 years old get asked is "what's your secret?" But their keys to longevity seems to be as varied as their lives are long.

Though genetics may be the true reason some people lives stretch over a century and those who have lived the longest, past and present, swear by their ways of life. Whether it's eating bacon, getting a lot of sleep or avoiding men, the oldest from around the world credit many lifestyle choices to their success in age.

Emma Morano-Martinuzzi — Raw eggs
The 116-year-old, who became the world's oldest living person on Thursday, credits consuming raw eggs and staying single for her longevity. According to an interview with The New York Times, Morano-Martinuzzi eats three raw eggs a day, a tip she learned as a teenager from her doctor to help with her anemia. And after ending her marriage in 1938, Marano-Martinuzzi never settled down again. "I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she told the Times.

Alfonso Gonzales — Moderation
"My advice is don't smoke," Gonzales recently told the University of Southern California, who at 96 is the most youthful member of our group. He gets a pass on the 100-year-old criteria because on Friday he became USC's oldest graduate, receiving his BS in zoology. As for further advice on staying healthy into older age, he said, "For the way I eat, I like to quote Benjamin Franklin: 'Eat in moderation and do not drink to elevation.'"

Susannah Mushatt Jones — Lots of sleep
Mushatt Jones, who was the oldest living woman until she died Thursday, was a proponent of living a traditionally healthy lifestyle. According to NBC News, her practice to living to 116 consisted of a good night's sleep and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes.

Violet Brown — Faith
Brown, from Jamaica, is 116 years old and credits her faith for her old age. According to an interview back in 2010 with a local paper, Brown reads the Bible every day and frequents church.

Richard Overton — Good eats (and drinks)
Believed to be America's oldest living war veteran, the 110-year-old told "Today" in a 2014 interview that his tips for living longer included a steady diet of fried catfish, cigars, and butter pecan ice cream. Oh, and a splash of whiskey in his morning coffee.

Eudoxi Baboul — Flour called couac
The 114-year-old who lives in French Guiana consumes a local favorite that her grandson credits to her long life. According to RFI, Baboul's grandson said she eats lots of couac, a cassava flour-based semolina.

Jessie Gallan — Avoiding marriage
Like Morano-Martinuzzi, one of the secrets to Gallan's old age was staying single. The Scottish woman, who died at 109 in March of last year, told the Daily Mail that she eats a bowl of porridge every morning, and avoided marriage because men are "just more trouble than they're worth."

Miseao Okawa — Relaxing
"Eat and sleep and you will live a long time," Okawa has said. "You have to learn to relax," she told the Telegraph in 2014, and apparently it worked for her. Before she died in 2015, Okawa got 117 years under her belt. She said she consumed three large meals a day and made sure to get eight hours of sleep nightly.

Pearl Cantrell — Bacon 
Cantrell died in 2014 at 105. The great-grandmother from Richland Springs, Texas, said her secret to longevity was bacon. "I love bacon," Cantrell told NBC affiliate KRBC in 2013. "I could eat it for every meal — and I do." She encouraged those who wished to live a long life to follow her advice and eat a rasher of bacon with every meal.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Philips Lifeline
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<![CDATA[Senate Strikes Bipartisan Deal Worth $1.1 Billion to Fight Zika]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 19:56:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16127497121865.jpg

The Senate struck a bipartisan compromise deal to give President Obama more than half the money he’s asked for to fight the Zika virus, NBC News reports. 

The deal was brokered by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, and Washington Democrat Patty Murray. It will allocate $1.1 billion in emergency funding to help states prepare for the virus before mosquito season starts.

Obama has been pushing for $1.9 billion in emergency funding. Republicans in Congress have balked at giving so much money in a funding stream that gives Congress so little control. Some conservatives worry it will be used as a slush fund to pay for other public health initiatives. 

Zika is spreading quickly across Central and South America. Health officials say there will be cases and outbreaks in the United States once the weather gets warmer and mosquitoes get really active.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Internet Addiction on the Rise]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 18:26:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/internet-addiction-051216.jpg Do you constantly check your cell phone? Is it always by your side? A recent study reveals the average person spends about 90 minutes a day staring at their phone screen.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Experts Expect Active Summer for West Nile Virus]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 18:11:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/West+Nile+Mosquito+Trapjpg.jpg

North Texas may be facing a busy summer dealing with the West Nile virus, according to some experts.

Dr. James Kennedy, with the University of North Texas, just started his annual mosquito surveillance for the city of Denton and said, after just a few weeks of trapping and testing, conditions are looking very similar to 2012 when North Texas saw a lot of cases of the illness.

"This winter's been very mild, very warm spring. Right now the temperatures are getting much warmer than what we would expect in May," said Kennedy.

So far, his weekly mosquito traps have netted the bugs in big numbers, too. He said few have been of the breed that carry West Nile, but that's to be expected right now with the storm season keeping area waters from getting stagnant.

"That's going to go away and we're going to have wet conditions, and I think we're going to have a bumper crop of mosquitoes," he said.

Several North Texas communities, including nearby Lewisville, have already launched spray trucks this season after getting positive West Nile tests in their traps.

Kennedy urges people not to be scared by the outlook, but to definitely take mosquito season seriously and follow the CDC's recommendations to prevent getting bitten.

Like many biologists in the area, Kennedy also said his concern is much more focused on West Nile than the Zika virus.

"We're going to see it [Zika] in the human population before we see it in the mosquito population," he said.

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5
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<![CDATA[Positive West Nile Test Confirmed in Grand Prairie]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 15:17:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2015-08-25-18h05m40s74.jpg

Grand Prairie will spray for mosquitoes this week after a mosquito tested positive for West Nile virus.

The positive test is the first for Grand Prairie this season. Positive mosquito tests have also been returned in Arlington and Lewisville.

So far there have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus reported in North Texas this year.

Ground spraying will be done on consecutive nights beginning Thursday at 9 p.m.

"The spray area is bound by Dickey Road on the north, SW 3rd Street on the east, Freetown Road on the south, and Robinson Road on the west," the city said in a news release.

It's recommended residents stay indoors, keep pets inside and cover fish ponds while spraying is under way. Spraying will be rescheduled due to rain or high winds.


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Programs Keeping Asthma Patients Out of ERs]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 17:46:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/asthma+inhaler+generic.jpg

Children's Health reports a nearly 50-percent reduction in emergency department visits for kids with a primary diagnosis of asthma due to the collective impact of dedicated asthma management programs, including technology similar to the asthma app, My Asthma Pal.

My Asthma Pal makes it easy for children and families to track the necessary information to help monitor and manage their asthma symptoms effectively over time, playing a major role in how families address asthma.

"With that self-management tool, you have more of the ability to keep your kid out of the ER by being able to give medications when they're supposed to be given, by being able to understand the triggers for your child's asthma and also by being able to have those conversations with your child's regular doctors in terms of what your concerns," said Dr. Angela Moemeka, medical director of community health at Children's Health.

Over the past four years, Children's Health has managed to reduce emergency department visits for asthma by nearly 50 percent.

There are more than 155,000 children in North Texas with asthma.

According to Children's Health, the ER visit reduction is huge for Dallas health care and is due to a myriad of programs and partners like those in the Health and Wellness Alliance for Children.

Experts say nine of the 12 most common asthma triggers are found in most households, including pet dander, dust mites, roach droppings and even household cleaning products.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition to affect kids under the age of 18 in the U.S., and it is among the top five reasons for emergency department visits in most pediatric centers.

The asthma management program at Children's Health provides in-home asthma evaluations to help families identify triggers that could be exacerbating their child's condition.

You can learn more about asthma programs here.

<![CDATA[ FDA to Redefine 'Healthy,' 'Natural' Foods]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 17:01:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FDALogo0GettyImages-549010409%281%29.jpg

The Food and Drug Association is redefining what “healthy” really means following years of pressure to make changes to the way it labels food products, NBC News reports. 

Congress is also urging the FDA to update what is healthy and what is not. Under old rules — which were written in the 1990s — “healthy” foods must meet government criteria on fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and nutrients. 

The FDA is also redefining the definition of what a “natural” food is — a definition that has no standards and no verification in place. 

"Consumers want to make informed food choices and it is the FDA's responsibility to help them by ensuring labels provide accurate and reliable nutrition information. In light of evolving nutrition research, forthcoming Nutrition Facts Labeling final rules, and a citizen petition, we believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term 'healthy.' We plan to solicit public comment on these issues in the near future," the FDA said in a statement.

Photo Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant CrossFit Competitor Responds to Critics]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 14:50:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pregnant-woman-weight-lifter-today-160509-tease_c3701d86f14bf39ef4e4b38803d8cc84.today-inline-large.jpg

A North Carolina personal trainer has come under fire on social media for exercising six days a week while pregnant and completing strenuous workouts even past her due date.

Emily Breeze, a two-time CrossFit competitor, has posted photos and videos of herself lifting weights, performing pull-ups, doing pushups all while pregnant.

"It's all I know and it's what I believe in and I want to have a healthy, fit pregnancy," Breeze, 31, told NBC's "Today" show.

Critics said it's "selfish" and accused her of placing her own fitness goals over the health of her baby.

According to NBC News' Medical Contributor Dr. Natalie Azar, "people who were exercising prior to a pregnancy and feeling good about that, they can continue that activity. She added that any exercise done with too much intensity can hurt the mother and child. She said pregnant women should stay hydrated, avoid excess heat and stop working out on their backs after the first trimester.

Breeze said she is following her doctor's rules. 

"I've been with my same OB-GYN for over 11 years, and he's known me in every stage of my athletic career," Breeze said. "So, he always assured me that pregnancy is not a disease, not an illness. It's also not one prescription for everybody. You have to listen to your body and let your body do what it's comfortable doing. And, most likely, it will allow you to do so, because that's what it's always known."

Photo Credit: Adams Wood / Barcroft Images
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<![CDATA[Walnuts Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 12:20:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-121816140.jpg

United Natural Trading LLC is recalling several walnut and walnut-containing products sold under the Nature’s Promise, Woodstock, Market Basket and Woodfield Farms brands due to a possible listeria contamination.

The recalled items, which were purchased from Gibson Farms, were distributed in limited quantities to retailers and distributors throughout the United States. Only specific lot numbers and sell dates are included in this recall; click here for a full list. 

The recall was issued as a precaution after a single sample was tested positive for listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported, according to the recall announcement. 

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious infections in children and those that are frail or elderly, or those with weakened immune symptoms. It can also cause miscarriages or stillbirths in pregnant women. Affected individuals may experience fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

The Company is working with regulatory officials and has contacted its customers to ensure that any remaining recalled products are removed, the announcement said. 

Consumers who purchased the product should dispose of it, but retain their receipts, packaging or other proof of purchase. They may contact Melissa McCullough at Woodstock Farms Manufacturing customer service at 732-650-9905 with questions. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>