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Police: Mom says she fed kids PCP after mistaking it for vanilla extract

Police in Kansas are investigating a woman who says she accidentally fed her children PCP after mistaking it for vanilla extract.

Fox4 in Kansas City reported that the woman told police investigators she made French toast Tuesday morning for the children. The kids became ill after eating breakfast, detectives said. 

The mother and all three children -- a 16-year-old and two children under a year old -- had to be hospitalized, but are in stable condition, the news station reported. The woman told investigators that a family member’s ex-boyfriend used to live at the home and that the PCP may have come from him.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators told Fox4 that PCP users often put the drug in vanilla extract bottles because of the dark color of the bottles. 

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, PCP, or phencyclidine, was developed in the 1950s as an IV painkiller, but its use was halted when it was determined that it could make patients agitated, irrational and delusional. Those who abuse the drug today do so for its mind-altering properties, including hallucinations.

A bitter, white powder, PCP is easily dissolved in water or alcohol, the agency’s website said. The powder can be snorted or ingested and in liquid form, some users dip tobacco or marijuana cigarettes in it. 

Dr. Tama Sawyer, managing director of the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Poison Control Center, told Fox4 that the family in Kansas City is lucky. Not only can PCP make a person very violent, but overdoses can be deadly.

Sawyer said she has never seen a report of a child under the age of 1 having ingested the drug.

“In severe overdoses, it can actually lead to coma and death, and it tends to shut down body organs,” Sawyer told the news station

Detectives continue to investigate the case to determine if the poisoning was accidental. 

Groundbreaking 'cancer vaccine' set for human trials by the end of the year

Human trials of a “cancer vaccine” found to have eliminated tumors in nearly all treated mice are expected to start before the end of the year, according to a report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine published a study earlier this year in the academic journal Science Translational Medicine that claimed to have developed a strategy to treat cancer through immunotherapy, a treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight a disease. Researchers injected small amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in about 90 mice. The technique obliterated cancerous cells in 87 of the mice.

>> Related: New cancer 'vaccine' completely wipes out tumors in mice -- human trials are on way

Stanford University oncology professor Dr. Ronald Levy, who led the study published in January, told SFGate that Stanford plans to run a pair of trials of the treatment with about 35 test subjects by the end of the year. He said researchers are looking for subjects with low-grade lymphoma.

"Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer," Levy told SFGate. "People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be."

Levy said the drugs used in the treatment have already been proven safe for people and that the side effects known thus far include fever and soreness at the injection site, but not vomiting.

“It’s the combination (of the drugs) that we are testing,” Levy told SFGate.

He added that he doesn’t expect the Federal Drug Administration to give the treatment final approval until a year or two from now, if the treatment is cleared.

Levy is considered a leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy. His research previously led to the development of rituximab, a groundbreaking anticancer treatment for humans.

"All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice," Levy said in January. "I don't think there's a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Dentists seek 7-day limit on opioid prescriptions 

More than 115 Americans overdose on opioids every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, synthetic opioids like fentanyl and heroin has become a national epidemic.

>> Read more trending news

And now, the American Dental Association is advocating its support for the statutory seven-day limit for opioid prescriptions, a renewed stance that comes at a time when dental prescriptions were on the rise as opioid prescriptions were declining across the country.

The Chicago-based group represents around 161,000 dentists in the country.

“As president of the ADA, I call upon dentists everywhere to double down on their efforts to prevent opioids from harming our patients and their families,” ADA president Joseph Crowley said in the Monday announcement. “This new policy demonstrates ADA’s firm commitment to help fight the country’s opioid epidemic while continuing to help patients manage dental pain.”

The new policy also supports making continuing education courses focusing on limiting opioid use a requirement for licensing dentists, mandates many states have adopted.

The ADA announcement cites new research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association that sheds light on the public health epidemic from the dental perspective. 

Though most opioids are prescribed to patients by physicians and other medical professionals, dentists often prescribe opioids for short-term pain management, including for extractions, root canals and severe tooth decay.

And while the percentage of opioids prescribed by dentists has decreased since 1998, dentists are still the leading prescribers of opioids for U.S. teens.

For many of these younger patients, "This is going to be their first experience with opioids," Dr. Paul Moore, co-author of the analysis, told Modern Healthcare. "Maybe it is our opportunity to stop and counsel patients about the dangers."

CDC warns of second wave of flu virus

Although the flu season is coming to an end, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in recent weeks, a second wave of the deadly influenza virus has emerged.

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In its weekly flu report, issued Friday, CDC officials said they saw a decline in overall influenza cases for the week ending March 17. The decline was particularly apparent for the A-strain of the virus, which has been dominant since the flu season started in October.

However, officials noted that they’ve seen more reports of the flu virus’s B-strain, which has been slowly overtaking reports of influenza A. For the week ending March 17, influenza B made up about 58 percent of the week’s total flu reports.

The virus strain, while different, can pose just as many health problems as the A-strain, according to the CDC.

>> Related: What is the flu? 17 things to know about flu symptoms, flu shot side effects and more

"We know that illness associated with influenza B can be just as severe as illness associated with influenza A," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told CNN. "We also know that influenza B tends to be more severe for younger children."

Officials said five children were confirmed to have died of influenza during the week ending March 11. Two of the deaths were associated with the influenza B virus. Overall this flu season, 133 flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported.

>> Related: Flu virus spread by breathing, study finds

Officials recommend that unvaccinated people get the flu vaccine, as influenza viruses continue to circulate. Last month, officials said the vaccine “usually (works) better” against influenza B and H1N1 viruses than it does against the H3N2 virus most common this flu season.

>> Related: Why the flu shot worked less than half the time during last year's flu season

Norlund told CNN that the second wave of influenza cases was not unexpected.

"We often see a wave of influenza B during seasons when influenza A H3N2 was the predominant virus earlier in the season,” she told the news network. “Unfortunately, we don't know what the influenza B wave will look like."

Teacher contracts both flu strains, now on life support

A special education teacher in Texas is fighting for her life after contracting both flu strains.

Crystal Whitley, 35, was physically active and had no underlying physical conditions, friends told WFAA, when she contracted both strains of influenza two weeks ago. She then developed pneumonia in both lungs and a MRSA infection.

>> Read more trending news 

While she is showing some signs of improvement, Whitley remains on life support at Baylor Scott & White, WFAA reported.

Whitley received a flu shot after giving birth in October, friends told WFAA.

Doctors are cautiously optimistic about Whitley's chances for recovery, but told family that she could remain in the hospital for months, WFAA reported.

Jury awards Florida woman $109M after botched surgery led to amputation of hands, feet

A Florida woman who lost her hands and feet from complications after surgery to remove a benign ovarian cyst was awarded more than $109 million in damages, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

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A Tampa jury on Friday awarded Lisa-Maria Carter the damages from the University of South Florida. The surgery in November 2010 took place at Tampa General Hospital through the USF college of medicine, which employed the surgeon, the Times reported.

In a medical malpractice suit, Carter, 52, alleged that she suffers from constant abdominal pain due to a surgical error and the near severance of her small intestine. Complications from the surgery led to gangrene in her hands and feet, requiring four amputations below her elbows and knees, the Times reported.

Carter was an intelligence analyst with the Department of Defense, but now she must use a wheelchair and needs assistance when she eats or bathes, the Times reported.

“It’s very hard emotionally,” Carter told the Times on Monday from a rehabilitation center in St. Petersburg. “I try to keep my head up and not worry about it.”

To collect, Carter must go to the Florida Legislature and seek the passage of a claim bill. The university is protected from exposure in lawsuits through Florida’s sovereign immunity law, which has a cap for damages at $100,000, the Times reported.

The school also can appeal the case.

“The University of South Florida has great sympathy for Ms. Carter and we recognize the life-changing injuries she has suffered,” USF spokeswoman Lara Wade-Martinez said in a statement. “We also believe that the verdict that was delivered was not supported by the evidence. We will be carefully evaluating several grounds for appeal.”

Want to get rid of mosquitoes? Just swat them, study says 

Mosquitoes can be really irritating, but there is one simple thing you can do to get rid of them. Just swat, a new report says. 

Researchers from the University of Washington recently conducted an experiment, published in Current Biology, to further explore what attracts the bugs to certain host species.

>> Read more trending news 

To do so, they examined mosquitoes and their patterns. They found that the bugs can quickly learn and remember the smells of hosts as they store that information to develop preferences for particular agents.

However, they also pick up on movement, such as swatting. In fact, they can learn to associate an odor with an unpleasant gesture, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 

They tested their theory by training the mosquitoes to pair a scent from a person or animal with a “mechanical shock,” which simulated swatting. The insects soon noticed the link between the two senses and flew in a different direction away from the hosts. 

» RELATED: Rain increases need to protect against mosquitoes that may carry Zika 

“Once mosquitoes learned odors in an aversive manner, those odors caused aversive responses on the same order as responses to DEET, which is one of the most effective mosquito repellents,” senior author Jeff Riffel said in a statement

The scientists also discovered that dopamine is essential to mosquito learning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. During the second part of the study, they monitored the neurons in their brains. They found that without dopamine, “those neurons were less likely to fire,” leaving the mosquitoes with less ability to retain information. 

“By understanding how mosquitoes are making decisions on whom to bite, and how learning influences those behaviors, we can better understand the genes and neuronal bases of the behaviors,” said Riffell. “This could lead to more effective tools for mosquito control.” 

Researchers now want to further their investigations to determine how mosquitoes learn and remember sensations connected to their favored hosts. 

» RELATED: Google launches 10,000-person study to predict how and when people get sick 

Heartbreaking: Man with ALS grieves beside terminally ill 5-year-old granddaughter

It’s a photograph that will break your heart. 

>> Read more trending news

A 5-year-old Florida girl lies in a hospital bed, connected to a ventilator as she fights against an aggressive brain cancer. Her grandfather sits nearby, himself ravaged by Lou Gehrig’s disease, crying even though he no longer has the ability to speak.

Six weeks ago, Braylynn Lawhon was preparing to celebrate her fifth birthday when she was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor, a form of brain cancer that most commonly affects children between the ages of 5 and 9. According to the Dana Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital, approximately 300 children are diagnosed with DIPG each year.

The girl’s grandfather, 49-year-old Sean Peterson of Gulf Breeze, has been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for two years and has taken a turn for the worse, The Pensacola News Journal reported. Peterson is now unable to talk and can barely move his hands, the newspaper reported.

Both illnesses have been difficult for Ally Parker, who is Braylynn’s mother and Peterson’s daughter.

“Last year was hard for us, but I can't even begin to explain how difficult this year will be and has already been,” Parker wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 9. “In a few days I will have to bury this beautiful little girl. Months, maybe even weeks, later, I will have to bury my father. Both of my heroes, gone, within the same year.”

When Peterson visited his granddaughter at the Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart in Pensacola, he could not hide his grief.

“Tears were coming out and this horrible noise was coming out, but that's all he could do,” Beth Peterson-Hickman, Braylynn's grandmother and Peterson's ex-wife, told the News Journal. “I had to turn around. I thought maybe it upset him because I know he hasn't wanted me to see him like this.”

Parker has been giving updates about Braylynn’s condition on Facebook and is punctuating them with the hashtags #BraylynnsBattallion and #FightLikeAGirl, among others.

“DIPG is a monster,” she wrote in a Jan. 9 post on Facebook. “It seems as if it targets the people who have the most to lose, who are supposed to be the happiest, but also the people who are strong enough to deal with this gracefully and courageously.”

Because Braylynn’s condition has deteriorated, Parker is resigned to the fact that her daughter -- nicknamed Princess Belle -- has precious little time to live. 

“I nicknamed her 'Belle' before she was even born because her initials were 'B-E-L,'" Peterson-Hickman told the News Journal, referencing the character from the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” 

Peterson-Hickman said the family plans to hold a Disney-themed funeral. 

“She's gotten five or six Belle dresses mailed to her from complete strangers because we want to bury her in a Belle dress,” Peterson-Hickman told the News Journal. “They've sent tiaras and slippers and little gloves and all kinds of stuff to her.”

Parker, in a Facebook post on Thursday, wrote that “someone needs to find a successful treatment for this so our kids stop dying.”

“It may be too late to help my princess, but it gives other kids a little more hope,” she wrote.

GoFundMe account has raised more than $69,000 for Braylynn, as of early Saturday morning.

Man declared dead by 3 doctors starts snoring on autopsy table

A Spanish prisoner who was declared dead by multiple doctors began snoring on the autopsy table just as a pathologist was preparing to begin cutting, according to news reports. 

Gonzalo Montoya Jimenez, 29, was jailed in northern Spain when he was found unconscious in his cell Sunday, according to Live Science. Three forensic doctors reportedly examined him and determined that he had died.

Prison officials told Spanish news outlet La Voz de Asturias that Jimenez was found sitting in a chair, showing signs of death, including discoloration of his face and what appeared to be rigor mortis, or the stiffening of a body shortly after death. 

“Officials, seeing the cyanotic prisoner blue, alerted the medical services,” one official told the outlet. “All signs pointed to the prisoner being dead.”

>> Read more trending news

Four hours later, however, Jimenez started making noise while on the slab at the morgue and the pathologist found that he was still alive, Live Science reported. He was taken to the Central University Hospital of Asturias in Oviedo, where he remained in the intensive care unit through the week. 

Jimenez’s family told La Vos de Asturias that he suffers from epilepsy. They believe that, being jailed, he may not have been able to take his medication properly.

It is unclear if his epilepsy contributed to the episode. 

Live Science reported that some people with epilepsy can suffer episodes of catalepsy, described as a trancelike state in which they become unresponsive to stimuli and their muscles become rigid. That rigidity may have been taken to be rigor mortis in Jimenez’s case. 

Catalepsy can also result in a slowing down of vital signs until they’re nearly imperceptible.

La Voz de Asturias reported that the first thing Jimenez did upon regaining consciousness was to ask for his wife. Doctors at the hospital told his family that his ability to talk and remember his past are good signs, but it is too early to determine if a lack of oxygen will result in permanent problems. 

Prison officials are investigating how all three doctors who examined Jimenez found no signs of life. 

Flu kills Massachusetts mother of 2 as outbreak affects majority of U.S.

A well-known Massachusetts mother of two who thought she had a simple cold is dead after a bout of the flu turned fatal last week.

Jenny Ching, 51, of Needham, went to a hospital when her symptoms grew worse, The Needham Times reported. Doctors there diagnosed the flu.

The flu quickly turned to pneumonia, and she developed a severe bacterial infection. Ching died Friday, two days after being admitted to the hospital, the Times said. 

She leaves behind her husband, Matt Ching, and their two young sons. 

Ching was a beloved hostess at a Needham Chinese restaurant, and the restaurant’s patrons were among the mourners at her memorial service Wednesday. 

“Such an outpouring of support for the Jenny Ching family tonight,” Tom Keating posted to Facebook on Wednesday night. “The lines of people at the Eaton Funeral Home (were) literally around the corner.”

The owner of Ray’s New Garden, the Chinese restaurant where Ching worked for 28 years, also mourned her death on the establishment’s Facebook page

“Jenny always had a smile on her face and was one of the kindest people to touch so many lives,” the post read. “Please keep Jenny and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

A GoFundMe page established to help her family with expenses described Ching as a beautiful woman with a huge heart.

“She would do anything for anyone,” the page read. “If she wasn’t greeting you with a big smile at the New Garden restaurant where she worked, she was stopping you on the street to find out how you’re doing. She was a wonderful mom, and will be truly missed by everyone who knew her.”

>> Read more trending news

Ching’s obituary read that she would be remembered for her smile, her kindness and her devotion to her family.

“Most importantly, Jenny will be remembered for her boundless love for her two sons, David and Dennis, of whom she was so proud,” the obituary read

Her family asked that, instead of flowers, mourners contribute to an education fund for Ching’s sons. 

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the current flu season is a dangerous one, spreading quickly across the country. Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan told ABC News on Wednesday that the season, which began earlier than usual this year, is reaching near-epidemic levels.

Part of the problem is that this year’s most prevalent flu strain is H3N2, or Influenza A. That strain is particularly severe and harder to contain than other strains of the virus. 

“Whenever (H3N2) shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths,” Jernigan told ABC News

This year’s flu strain has been particularly hard on younger patients. 

Kyler Baughman, 21, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 28 of complications of the flu. The bodybuilder succumbed to organ failure brought on by flu-related septic shock, his family said.

In Ohio, Jonah Rieben, 4, died Saturday of complications of the flu. An 18-month-old boy from the Toledo area also died of the flu Monday. 

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