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Baby with rare condition born without a nose

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Parents always have dreams and goals for their unborn children. Brandi McGlathery and Troy Thompson are no different. "I said I wanted him to have blond hair," Brandi recalled. "And Troy said, 'I hope he doesn't get my nose.'"

>> Controversy: Facebook claims photo of baby Eli too shocking

What sounded like a joke became serious when little Eli was born.

"I pulled back and said, 'Something's wrong!'Brandi told “The doctor replied, 'No. He's perfectly fine.' Then I shouted, 'He doesn't have a nose!'"

Eli was born with a condition called complete congenital arhinia, one of only 37 cases. Simply put, it means exactly what Brandi screamed, he doesn’t have a nose. The baby began breathing through his mouth immediately. “Didn't faze him at all," Brandi told the site.

Brandi said doctors took Eli out of the room for several minutes, then quietly returned alone.

"He had the most apologetic look," she told the site. Doctors explained the condition and then rushed Eli to a specialty hospital. Doctors performed a tracheotomy to help Eli breathe more easily.

There are other complications. Eli has no sinus cavities and won’t be able to smell. His brain is lower in his skull, and his palate aren’t completely formed.

Despite the problems, Brandi became the first mother to breastfeed a complete congenital arhinia child. by Eli's Story on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Go Fund Me account has raised nearly $5,000 to help with the “years of surgeries and doctor's appointments nowhere close to us," Brandi concluded. You can follow the progress on Eli's facebook page.

More here.   

Ebola outbreak: Global aid increasing, but critics say it's late

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On Saturday, charity organization DirectRelief sent 100 tons of medical supplies to West Africa to provide some much-needed support in fighting the deadly Ebola outbreak. 

The $6 million shipment will supply gloves, masks, goggles, antibiotics and much more to facilities where equipment is in short supply.

USA Today quotes a DirectRelief spokesman as saying, "We must do all we can to reduce further the human tragedy caused by this deadly outbreak and help communities avoid an even deeper setback than has occurred already."

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The aid shipment comes as more and more aid workers are criticizing world governments for not doing enough to stem the outbreak.

Dr. Kent Brantley, one of the only two Americans to be infected with the disease, spoke to a Senate committee on the issue last week.

Kent Brantley via NBC: "The response to date however has remained sluggish and unacceptably out of step with the scope and the size of the problem that is now before us."

That response includes a United Nations declaration that Ebola poses a "threat to world security," and a pledged emergency mission to stem the crisis.

President Barack Obama announced a plan to combat the outbreak that will cost $750 million over the next four months and place 3,000 U.S. troops on the ground in West Africa. 

Russia sent dozens of virologists to the Republic of Guinea back in August to establish a virus research laboratory; the country claims the team is developing a vaccine that was looking promising in early trials. 

And Germany has stationed military planes in the area to help establish a mobile clinic. 

The list of efforts from both governments and private organizations to stop the deadly outbreak could go on and on, but the critics are saying it all could be too little too late.

Bloomberg quotes an ambassador from Sierra Leone who said if this kind of aid rolled out two months ago, the spread of the Ebola virus could have been stopped.

One health expert told the International Business Times last week that "we wouldn't even be talking about an epidemic today" if governments had responded to the outbreak back in March. She also said of Obama's efforts, "My overriding concern is that it is coming awfully late in the game."

More than 2,500 people have died from the current Ebola outbreak so far. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

700 babies exposed to tuberculosis at Texas hospital

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Health care workers at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso, Texas, are scrambling to give tuberculosis screenings after more than 700 newborns and dozens of employees were exposed to the disease.

KDBC: "A test confirmed a healthcare worker who works in postpartum and the nursery with newborn babies had an active case of tuberculosis."

DR. ENRIQUE MARTINEZ: "The employee was immediately placed on leave and has not worked in the hospital since then." 

The worker tested positive on Aug. 25. The hospital conducts annual TB screenings on employees, but officials believe the infected worker contracted the disease after their most recent screening.

The more than 40 employees who came in contact with the sick worker have all tested negative, but now hospital officials are tasked with screening and, if needed, treating the hundreds of exposed infants. 

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To identify patients who might have been exposed, hospital officials matched the infected worker's schedule to the dates newborns were at the facility between September 2013 and August 2014.

In a press release from the El Paso Health Department, officials confirmed, "The families of each patient are being contacted via telephone and certified letter with proactive screening instructions. ... Post-exposure screen and follow-up will be provided free of charge. ... Public Health officials are collaborating with state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to facilitate these screenings."

According to WebMD, TB, which typically affects the lungs, often doesn't show symptoms. The disease is transmitted through the air. 

NHS Choices: "It's usually caught when other people cough up the germs and they then get breathed in and infect the lungs. ... If the immune system is depressed in any way they're more likely to progress to get active disease and become ill with TB." 

And that's one reason this outbreak is so troubling: Newborns have suppressed immune systems until they're about 6 months old, making them more susceptible to infection. 

But in a press conference last week officials attempted to ease some of the concern.

KGBT: "I want to say off the bat that the hospital is safe." 

Regardless, Eva Moya, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso and an international expert on tuberculosis, told the El Paso Times, there's more work ahead — especially in finding out how the worker contracted the disease in the first place. 

"You need a contact investigation to break the circle of infection. The source of tuberculosis could be anywhere. ... As long as you breathe, you are at risk for catching TB." 

Only active TB can be spread, and while the disease can be fatal if left untreated, Moya stresses it is curable. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

Miracle babies: Mom’s tooth infection saves twins

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It's time to check in on miracle twins Mackenzie and Anna, who were born at 24 weeks.

“Everything they do is awesome because we didn’t think they were going to get that far,” said their father Ryan Lloyd.Shortly after the twins’ mother, Lauren Lawton, learned she was pregnant, she learned the girls shared a placenta.  That meant one twin was getting too much blood and the other was getting too little.The couple and doctors credit an abscessed tooth with giving the girls a chance.

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An infection in Lauren Lawton’s tooth forced her into labor at 24 weeks. Negative effects from the shared placenta didn’t fully develop.The girls barely weighed over a pound when they were delivered by C-section at West Penn Hospital.“They showed them to me and then they took them.  I was glad they came out and cried,” said Lauren Lawton.But their fight for life wasn’t over yet.  Both girls underwent heart surgery to repair open valves.“They were a pound getting surgery.  It was nerve-racking because they could have died,” Lauren Lawton said.After three and a half months in the neonatal unit, the twins went home.Doctors said their progress is remarkable, and the girls are now 7 months old.

Famous people with diabetes

Phthalates may double diabetes risk

Phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), those common chemicals found in cosmetics, scented candles, and plastics, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies of phthalates have mainly focused on how they affect reproductive health and child development. These chemicals are believed to act as endocrine disrupters in the body, meaning they may have an impact on sex hormones.

The new study, however, looks at their potential health effects among people over age 65.

Critics of the new study are quick to point out that it does not show that exposure to these chemicals causes diabetes in any way, shape, or form. The study just shows an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship.

Researchers measured fasting blood sugar (when a person has not eaten for at least eight hours) and other factors associated with the hormone insulin in more than 1,000 70-year-old women and men from Uppsala, Sweden. Their blood was also analyzed for evidence of environmental toxins, including several substances formed when the body breaks down phthalates.

Diabetes Risk Doubles in the Presence of Phthalates

Overall, diabetes was more common among participants who were overweight and had high blood cholesterol levels. That said, risk was also elevated among those who had higher blood levels of some of the phthalates.

According to the new study, individuals with higher phthalate levels had roughly twice the risk of developing diabetes compared to those with lower levels.

"There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors," says researcher P. Monica Lind, PhD, via email. Lind is an associate professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Uppsala University in Sweden. "Even at relatively low levels of phthalate metabolites in the blood, the risk of getting diabetes begins to rise."

Exactly how, or even if, phthalates may increase diabetes risk is not known. "Further studies are needed that show similar associations," Lind says. "Experimental studies are also needed regarding what biological mechanisms might underlie these connections." One theory is that phthalates may interact with important players in the fat metabolism process.

The findings appear in Diabetes Care.

It is hard -- if not impossible --to avoid phthalates. Most people come into daily contact with them, as they are used as softening agents in everyday plastics and as carriers of perfumes in cosmetics and self-care products. "The implications of our findings must be to cut down on plastics, and choose self-care products without perfumes," Lind says in an email.

A Cause for Concern?

"There are chemicals in our environment including phthalates that may be able to interact with the body that changes the way we metabolize and regulate fat," says Johanna Congleton, PhD. She is a senior scientist for Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C.

Many companies are phasing these chemicals out of their products, but others still rely on them to make plastics more flexible and durable. And "they are doing a good job of getting into our bodies and could affect metabolic processes," she says.

Concerned consumers should call on manufacturers and legislators to phase out phthalates and other potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as the controversial plasticizer BPA, Congleton says.

Jill Stein, MD, a candidate for the Green Party's presidential nomination, reviewed the study for WebMD. "This study adds to a very powerful growing body of evidence that implicates these endocrine-disrupting chemicals in very pervasive diseases."

She says there "is real cause for concern." But "we can fix this; it is not as though the damage is done." Stein says these chemicals leave our body quickly if we avoid exposure.

"The burden should not be on consumers."

What can we do? A lot, she says. Choose products that don't contain these chemicals, urge manufacturers to phase these chemicals out, and let your state and local legislators know how you feel.

The movement to ban BPA had a setback, though, in late March when the FDA said it will not ban this chemical.

Critics: Phthalates Are Safe, Study Is Flawed

Members of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which represents the chemical industry, point to flaws in the research, as well as to phthalates' extensive safety record.

"The authors over-state the conclusions and, most important for the public to know, the study does not show any cause-and-effect relationship between phthalate exposure and diabetes," says Steve Risotto, senior director of the ACC Phthalate Esters Panel, in a written statement. "Phthalates have a long history of safe use and have been extensively reviewed by governments around the world including the CDC, which found that average phthalates exposure levels are actually far below those set by the government to be protective of human health."

What's more, the levels of phthalates seen in the study are based on one blood sample and were analyzed five to eight years following collection. "This single sample is meaningless for characterizing long-term exposure, as phthalates are rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body within 24 hours," he says.

SOURCES:Lind, P.M. Diabetes Care, published online April 12, 2012.P. Monica Lind, PhD, associate professor of occupational and environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.Johanna Congleton, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Working Group, Washington D.C.Steve Risotto, senior director, ACC Phthalate Esters Panel, Washington, D.C.Jill Stein, MD, candidate for the Green Party's presidential nomination.

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Which doctors are happiest? Healthiest?

Which doctors are happiest? Which are healthiest? How many doctors are churchgoers? How many doctors are overweight? And where do they go on vacation?

Last year's Medscape/WebMD's 2012 Physician Lifestyle Report gave a peek at what doctors do when the white coats come off. More than 29,000 doctors, representing 25 specialties, replied to the online poll from Jan. 12-27, 2012.

So what are doctors really like? The poll isn't scientific, but it offers interesting insights into what your doctor does outside the office, clinic, and hospital.

The Happiest Doctors

Medscape asked doctors to rate their happiness on a five-point scale, with 5 being as happy as can be.

Rheumatologists -- specialists in arthritis, joints, muscles, and bones -- topped the list with an average self-reported happiness rating of 4.09.

They were followed closely by dermatologists (4.06), urologists (4.04), ophthalmologists (4.03), and emergency medicine doctors (4.01).

The least happy doctors are a three-way tie between neurologists, gastroenterologists, and internal medicine doctors. They rated their happiness at 3.88 -- hardly unhappy, but trailing the pack.

The next least happy docs are oncologists, general surgeons, and plastic surgeons at 3.89 on the happiness scale.

That's still pretty happy. Why? A clue comes from doctors' financial report card: 61% of those in practice say they have adequate or more than adequate savings for their stage of life, while only 7% say they are in unmanageable debt.

And it isn't all about money. More than 4 out of 5 doctors say they are religious, and more than 40% actively practice or attend religious services.

The Healthiest Doctors

When asked to rate their own health on a five-point scale, dermatologists report being the healthiest of all doctors with a 4.23 average rating.

They're followed by plastic surgeons (4.22), diabeticians/endocrinologists (4.20), orthopedists (4.19), and cardiologists (4.17).

The "least healthy doctors" -- critical care doctors -- are still pretty healthy, giving themselves as 3.98 rating.

Just above them are pediatricians (4.01), obstetricians/gynecologists (4.02), pathologists (4.02), and psychiatrists (4.02).

Doctors' Weight, Doctors' Exercise

More than 1 in 3 male doctors and over 1 in 4 female doctors say they are overweight.

And obesity isn't just a problem for patients: 5.33% of male doctors and 6.21% of female doctors admit to being obese.

This may be linked to how much time doctors find for exercise. Even when they are in their 20s, over half of doctors say they exercise less than twice a week.

By age 41 to 50, more doctors are taking their own advice, and the fraction exercising less than twice a week drops to 40%. By age 61 to 70, only 28% of doctors get this little exercise.

Where Doctors Go on Vacation

When it's vacation time, both male and female doctors like to go to faraway places. Foreign travel is among the top 10 vacation plans for 50% of male doctors and 57% of female doctors.

Second on the top 10 list is a beach vacation for 48% of male docs and 54% of female docs.

For men, road trips (23%), visiting a vacation home (20%), cruises (19%), camping/hiking (18%), cultural trips (museums, theatre, etc., 17%), luxury spas/hotels (16%), winter sports trips (15%), and adventure outings (15%) round out the list.

For female physicians it's luxury spas/hotels (23%), road trips (22%), cultural trips (22%), vacation home (21%), camping/hiking (20%), cruises (17.5%), adventure (14%), and winter sports trips (13%).

What Doctors Do For Fun

It's not just golf. Doctors list a wide range of things they do when the sign on the office door says "closed."

Top five pastimes:

  1. Exercise/physical activity (69% of men, 63% of women)
  2. Reading (59% of men, 71% of women)
  3. Travel (55.6% of men, 63% of women)
  4. Cultural events (41% of men, 53% of women)
  5. Food and wine (41% of men, 49% of women)

But it's easy on the wine for most doctors. In fact, it's no wine at all -- or any other alcoholic beverage -- for 27% of male doctors and for 35% of female doctors.

Just over half of doctors limit their alcohol intake to less than one drink a day. Only 3% of male doctors and 1% of female doctors say they drink two or more drinks a day.

Volunteer Work

Time off work doesn't always mean fun. Two-thirds of doctors do volunteer work.

Much of this volunteering means putting the white coat back on and offering free medical services in local areas. Working with religious organizations and tutoring/counseling are also popular volunteer work for doctors.

Not All Doctors born in the U.S.

Just over two-thirds of doctors were born in the U.S. Nearly 20% came to the U.S. as an adult, while about 8% were born abroad but came to the U.S. as children.

Doctors' Favorite Cars

When the white coat is on the peg and doctors are heading home, what kind of car will they drive?

Here are the top 10 doctor-mobiles (and the percentage of doctors who drive them):

  1. Toyota (17%)
  2. Honda (15%)
  3. Lexus (8%)
  4. BMW (7%)
  5. Mercedes (5%)
  6. Ford (5%)
  7. Nissan (4%)
  8. Chevrolet (4%)
  9. Subaru (3.5%)
  10.  Audi (3%)

Two percent of doctors say they don't own a car.

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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