<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:57:50 -0400 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:57:50 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Removing Stigma from Lung Cancer]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:46:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Molly-Golbon.jpg

Molly Golbon doesn't take much for granted these days.

The 39-year old married working mom of two knows life can take unexpected turns. For her, it came with a pain in her throat, tiredness, and cough that wouldn't go away. 

"I went in for an MRI, and that's when they found there was something on the MRI," Golbon recalled. That something turned out to be lung cancer. "I think when they told me it was lung cancer, I thought it can't be. It can't be. It's probably bronchitis or pneumonia, it's not that."

Unfortunately, it was.

Until her diagnosis, Golbon, like many people, thought only smokers got lung cancer.

"The stigma for lung cancer is that it's a smoker's cancer and it's not. I've never smoked. No one in my family ever smoked," Golbon said.

Over a three week period, after going through a series of tests and scans, Golbon learned her cancer had spread into her brain, left hip and right shoulder.

"It was just too much to handle," Golbon said. "I think I had thoughts that my 4-1/2-year-old would not have any memory of me, and I just couldn't bear that thought."

Molly Golbon and her family enjoy an afternoon together at home.

Not Just a Smoker's Disease

When it comes to lung cancer, the statistics are scary. It kills more people than colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined.

While the majority of people who get lung cancer have smoked in the past, many, like Golbon, are non-smokers.

"Our estimates were about  10 percent of men in the U.S. who have never smoked get lung cancer and about 20 percent of women," said Golbon's oncologist Dr. Heather Wakalee, a nationally renowned  thoracic oncologist at Stanford University Medical Center.

"There's a lot of work being done trying to figure out how lung cancer in never smokers differ from lung cancer in smokers," Dr. Wakalee explained. "About a decade ago we were able to identify that there were gene mutations, changes in that particular gene that led to changes in the EGFR protein, and when that happened, it would develop lung cancer. It was the driving force behind lung cancer."

Treating Lung Cancer without Chemotherapy or Radiation

Dr. Wakalee suspected Golbon had this type of gene mutation and tested her for it.

"I was EGFR positive," Golbon said, which was was some of the best news she could have received. "If there was a cancer lottery, I feel like I had won it because I didn't have to go through chemotherapy, I didn't have to go through radiation, at least not yet." 

Here's why. With this type of lung cancer, doctors usually start out treating patients with oral medications. Since December, Golbon has been taking an oral drug called Tarceva, and the results have been remarkable.

Molly Golbon takes one Tarceva pill a day.

"My tumor was down 50 percent in February," she said. Not only that, the cancer that metastasized to Golbon's hip, shoulder, and brain is now almost undetectable.

This quick response to the medication isn't surprising to Dr. Wakalee.

"These drugs tend to work really quickly, they work within a week or two and people generally start to feel better, but they don't work forever," Dr. Wakalee said.

Every patient is different. Some patients stay on the medication for years, but for other people stop seeing benefits sooner.

"I can't tell someone how long they have, but I can tell them this is their step one," Dr. Wakalee said.

Golbon understands this, but for now, she's feeling healthier and is in a lot less pain.

"I'm breathing really well. I'm back to work. I'm back to yoga. I'm back to working out and to think it was one little pill."

Lung Cancer Research

Part of the reason Golbon decided to share her story was to get more funding for lung cancer research. At any given time, there's anywhere from 15 to 20 lung cancer clinical trials going on at Stanford.

"We couldn't have all these new drugs without doing the clinical trials," Dr. Wakalee said. "We all need to be working together to figure out how do we move forward to help everyone with the disease."


American Lung Association

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation


<![CDATA[3 Die of Meningitis in LA]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 06:55:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/invasive+meningococcal+disease.jpg

A day after health officials said at least eight cases of the most dangerous form of meningitis hit Los Angeles County since January, officials reported that three men died from it.

The three men, between 27 and 28, who died, contracted meningitis through sexual contact with other men, officials said. They were HIV positive.

Half the confirmed eight cases were among gay men, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Of the remaining five, four have recovered. The condition of one is still unknown.

Invasive meningococcal disease, or IMD, is highly contagious and is the most severe form of meningitis, health officials said.

The health department came under fire when asked why officials hadn't reported that three men had died in the rash of cases this year.

"If people at home knew that these infections ended in fatalities, I think it would ramp up their interest, and perhaps urgency, of seeking out information about the disease," said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Health officials said they were not hiding anything. They said they only wanted to urge gay and bisexual men to get the meningococcal vaccine regardless of HIV status, especially those who share cigarettes, marijuana or use illegal drugs, officials said.

Symptoms may include:

  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Altered mental state
  • Skin rash
  • Severe headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Aversion to bright lights
  • General muscle pain

Symptoms usually occur within 5 days of the exposure, but may present as many as 10 days after exposure. The disease progresses rapidly and officials urge immediate diagnosis and treatment.

People who do not have health insurance can get free vaccinations through the health department beginning Thursday.

For a listing of clinics, call the LA County Information Line at 211 or visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/.

<![CDATA[8,730 Pounds of Chicken Recalled]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 06:57:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/recalled-chicken.jpg

AdvancePierre Foods is recalling approximately 8,730 pounds of frozen chicken breast products due to misprinting and undeclared allergens, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The products recalled were "Our Down Home Style Chicken Breast Fritters for Chicken Frying" with lot code 5440730403 or 5440800403, produced March 14 and 21, 2014. Only these lot codes and dates are affected.

Oklahoma-based firm said these products were distributed to food service establishments in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
AdvancePierre Foods discovered the issue during an internal label review. The USDA said the problem occurred when AdvancePierre Foods used labels with an incorrect ingredient statement.
There have been no reports of allergic reactions.

Photo Credit: USDA]]>
<![CDATA[Missed the Obamacare Deadline? Here's What You Should Know]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 07:31:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ObamaCarePic.jpg

March 31 was the day.

The last day to enroll in a health insurance plan on the federal and state Obamacare exchanges has officially past.

If you procrastinated, or if you're just wondering what happens next, here's what you need to know.

What if you didn't sign up by the deadline?

If you live in a state that uses the federal exchange and you haven't signed up by Monday night, not all is lost. An honor-system deadline extension may be available.

If you need extra time, explain that you tried to enroll during the open enrollment period but were not able to finish the process in time. (Initiating the online process before midnight or leaving your number on the phone hotline, for instance, would fulfill this requirement.) 

You can also request an extension based on qualifying life events. And some state-run exchanges have also extended the deadline further and have their own sets of rules.

But I didn't even try to sign up. What will happen to me?

If you can't say you tried to get a plan in time and didn't get health insurance by the deadline, you will have to pay a fee of $95 or 1 percent of your annual income — whichever is greater — on next year’s tax return.

I signed up for insurance. When will I be covered?

You must apply by April 15 in order to receive coverage starting in May. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the consumers who are "in line" on the exchanges will still be enrolled, though, provided they pay their first month's premium in time.

What if I can't afford insurance at all?

The penalty for not buying health insurance only applies to people who can afford insurance but don't get it. If you didn't sign up by the deadline because you can't afford health insurance, you won't be charged the fee.

If that's the case, you should call (800) 318-2596 to explore your Medicaid options. If you live in a state that is not expanding Medicaid, you will not have to pay the fee — but you probably won't receive any insurance.

What happens next year?

If you didn't sign up for an insurance plan this year, the enrollment period for next year will start Nov. 15 and continue through Feb. 15, 2015.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sex Harassment Study: Surprise Effect on Military Men]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 07:46:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/military+troops+generic.jpg

Frightening and threatening sexual harassment in the military may cause its male victims more distress than its female victims, a new study by the American Psychological Association has found.

The study analyzed Pentagon data from 2002, in which 6,304 service members who reported sexual harassment were asked to define how the incident made them feel. Fifty-two percent of women said they faced frightening and threatening sexual harassment, compared with 19 percent of men.

Although women more frequently reported frightening experiences of sexual harassment, men were more often distressed by them, according to the APA study, published this month in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Researchers were surprised to find that men had more trouble coping with the incidents of sexual harassment and had more issues with work performance as a result than women did.

“Men may be less likely to think they’ll be sexually harassed, so it’s a particularly strong violation of their expectations and that could result in stronger negative reactions,” Dr. Isis Settles wrote in the study. “Another possibility is that men feel less able to cope with their sexual harassment than women, who know it’s a possibility and therefore are perhaps more emotionally prepared.”

Military members endure a lot while in combat, and that stress, in combination with sexual harassment, can leave long-lasting negative psychological effects, explained Dr. Carrie Bulger, who chairs the psychology department at Quinnipiac University.

“The types of effects after discharge would mostly be related to psychological health, such as depressive symptoms, anxiety, and even some physical health issues such as frequent headaches,” said Bulger, who has done extensive research on the prevalence of sexual harassment in different settings.

Bulger cautioned that the APA study's findings do not imply that experiences of sexual harassment are less negative for women, but rather suggest that the effects on men were more pronounced.

“Sexual harassment of men should be given more attention than it is in the military and in other work organizations,” Bulger said. “This is not just a women's issue. It should be something we are all concerned about for the health of our military members.”

Bulger added that although the study analyzed data from 12 years ago, its findings are still valid, because the issue of sexual harassment still persists in the military. However, now that the military's "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy has been repealed, it is possible that conditions may have changed for openly gay military members, she noted.

<![CDATA[Recall for Parkers Farm Products]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 19:10:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1148953.jpg

A major recall out of Minnesota is affecting foods sold at Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods and more stores nationwide.

Parkers Farm Acquisition has issued a voluntary recall of certain peanut butter, cheese, salsa and spreads due to a possible Listeria contamination.

A Minnesota Department of Agriculture test first detected the bacteria.

No illnesses have been reported from the tainted food, but people who have bought the following products are encouraged to return them or throw them out:

  • 16-ounce Parkers peanut butter in square plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including creamy, crunchy, honey creamy and honey crunchy varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 34-ounce Parkers peanut butter in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including creamy and crunchy varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 12-ounce Parkers spreads in round or square plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including jalapeño and pimento varieties with a sell by date before 9/20/2014
  • 8-ounce and 16-ounce Parkers cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, bacon, onion, smoked cheddar, Swiss almond, horseradish, garlic, port wine, and “Swiss & cheddar” varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 16-ounce Parkers salsa in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including hot, mild, garlic, and fire-roasted varieties with a sell by date before 7/20/2014
  • 10-ounce Parkers cheese balls or logs (plastic overwrap), including sharp cheddar, port wine, ranch, and “smokey bacon” varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 10-ounce Happy Farms cheese balls (plastic overwrap), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 16-ounce Happy Farms cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 8-ounce Central Markets cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, port wine, horseradish, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 12-ounce and 20-ounce Hy-Top cheese spread in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including pimento and jalapeño varieties with a sell by date before 9/20/2014;
    8-ounce Amish Classic cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, port wine, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 14-ounce Say Cheez beer cheese in round plastic container (tub with snap on lid), including regular and hot varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015;
    10-ounce Win Schuler original variety cheese balls or logs (plastic overwrap) with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 8-ounce,12-ounce, and 14-ounce Bucky Badger cheese spreads (tub with snap-on lid) including cheddar, port wine, bacon, garlic, horseradish, jalapeño, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell by date before 3/20/2015
  • 5-pound foodservice products including cold pack cheese foods, cheese spreads and peanut butter with a sell by date before 3/20/2015.

Listeria can cause listeriosis, a disease with symptoms including fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. The USDA says healthy people rarely contract listeriosis, but it can prove fatal to infants, elderly people and those with weak immune systems.

It can also lead to miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

If you have any questions about the recall, you can call Parkers Farm at 800-869-6685 or visit its website.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Inspires Nationwide Support]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 06:56:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Hannahs-Law.jpg

A fundraiser is set to take place next month for a Levittown, Pa. baby girl who captured the hearts of thousands nationwide and even inspired the proposal of a state law.

JoJo’s Ice Cream & Water Ice will host an event raising money for Hannah Ginion, a 1-year-old girl suffering from a rare genetic disorder known as Krabbe Disease.

The young girl, who was born on January 15, 2013, seemed healthy at first, according to her mother Vicki Pizzullo.

"She was progressing like a normal baby," Pizzullo said. "She was perfectly healthy."

By the time Hannah turned 4-months however, the family noticed that something was wrong.

"It came on really slow," Pizzullo said. "She started crying all the time. She hated eating out of a bottle, she was choking and she was losing her swallowing ability. She would suck on a bottle and she would start choking. When we went to go feed her again, she was scared to eat."

The family then took her to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where they learned the devastating news. On June 17, 2013, Hannah was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease, a rare degenerative disorder that affects the myelin sheath of the nervous system. Damage to the sheath slows down messages between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to problems with mental and physical development.

Krabbe Disease is so rare that it only affects 1 in 100,000 people, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Symptoms of the disease, including feeding difficulties, fever, vomiting, limb stiffness and seizures, normally begin to show when the child is between 3 to 6 months old. Infants who suffer from the disease generally have a life-expectancy of 2 years at the most. There is currently no cure.

After being told by doctors at CHOP that they weren't familiar enough with the disease to properly treat it, the family took Hannah to Dr. Maria Escolar, a specialist in the study of Neurodevelopment in rare disorders at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. By then however, it was too late to get a transplant that could have alleviated some of the symptoms.

"Once symptoms start, it's too late to go back to a transplant," Pizzullo said. "That's why it's so important to have it when they're born."

According to the family, Hannah could have received more effective treatment if doctors knew she had the disease immediately after her birth, a message that they ultimately took to Pennsylvania lawmakers.

"We went to Harrisburg in October and went in front of the House and had a press conference," she said.

The press conference led to the introduction of a bill known as Hannah’s Law, which would add Krabbe disease and five other disorders to the list of conditions Pennsylvania hospitals must screen for newborns.

House Bill 1654, introduced by State Rep. Angel Cruz, passed the state house last January. Despite this, Pizzullo says the Senate still hasn't placed it on their agenda.

"We don't think they did it intentionally," she said. "We just don't know if they know the importance of it."

That's why Pizzullo says she and her followers have worked so hard to raise greater awareness.

"We're trying to get the word out there and let them know they need to get this on the agenda as soon as possible," Pizzullo said. "We're trying to get this law passed so that all babies born in Pennsylvania will be tested for this disease as part of their screening."

Pizzullo quit her job of 15 years to be with her daughter and dedicated her life to raising awareness for the disease. Along the way, the family gained support from the community and followers nationwide, after they created a website and Facebook page as well as a support page for the bill.

"We just love all of her followers," Pizzullo said. "They're just amazing. People are so supportive, especially our community."

As Pizzullo continues the fight to bring awareness, she's also dealing with her daughter's deteriorating health.

"She's tube fed and she's on oxygen 24/7," Pizzullo said. "She should be walking around right now and living her life. She can't because she was never tested at birth. The disease deteriorates her brain, that's why she doesn't smile or laugh. She hasn't laughed in five months."

Despite her situation, Pizzullo says she takes solace in the fact that her daughter has proven to be an inspiration and major factor in a movement that could ultimately save the lives of other children.

"If we could help other families and have her name be forever known, it would just be amazing," Pizzullo said.

A fundraiser for Hannah will take place at JoJo’s Ice Cream & Water Ice on 8801 New Falls Road, in Levittown, Pa. on April 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event will include a raffle and music. You can also email the family at hopeforhannahbear@gmail.com for more information.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Technology Means Better Knee Surgeries]]> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 13:12:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/146275121.jpg

New digital mapping technology is allowing doctors to drastically improve the outcome of knee surgeries and improve the fit of new knees on patients' bodies.

Knee replacement surgery has become an increasingly common medical procedure for those in their 40s, 50s and 60s. But as many as 20 percent of all knee replacement recipients say they are unhappy with the results of their operation.

That may be because the pieces of their new artificial knee don’t fit as well as they should.

Dr. Jaime Hernandez, an orthopedic surgeon at Northridge Hospital, said knee replacements are usually done by feel with surgical instruments that aren’t designed for precision measurement. As a result, some of these surgeries could have more accurate results.

To solve this problem, Hernandez is using two high-tech imaging systems that create a GPS-like map of the knee and surrounding area and provide measurements within half a degree and half a millimeter.

"The idea is that, with this new technology, we can turn that 80 percent into a 90 percent or 95 and make this an almost perfect surgery," Hernandez said.

Using infrared signals and a special pointing device, the doctor first creates a virtual map of the area. He then receives real-time live measurements of the knee and its parts as he puts the new knee together. This helps to ensure that he is putting in the pieces as accurately as possible.

Another device then checks the pressure of the new knee before he puts in the final piece.

“The most important part of a knee replacement is to have the knee nice and snug and equal on both sides,” Hernandez explained. “You don’t want your knee too loose on one side and too tight on the other. You want it nice and snug all the way around.”

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Sandra Liddy tested Hernadez' surgery method and is currently recovering with hopes to get back on the streets as soon as she can.

"I'm in constant pain so I cannot put a uniform on right now," Liddy told NBC4 before her surgery. "Because I'm in pain, because I'm on medication, I can't get into a black and white (patrol car)."

"It needs to work, it has to work, because I need to go back to normal life," Liddy said.

NBC4 spoke with Liddy's doctor, and although she needs physical therapy, she is expected to be back at work with a pain-free knee.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/PhotoAlto]]>
<![CDATA[Swimming Advisory for North Shores Beach Lifted]]> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 16:07:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/generic+beach+resized.jpg

Health officials have lifted a swimming advisory that was issued for Miami Beach's North Shores Beach after a strain of bacteria known to cause infections was detected in the water.

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County issued a swimming advisory for the waterfront area at 73rd Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach Wednesday after a two samples showed levels of enterococci that exceeded state and federal health standards.

Officials said entering the water could put swimmers at an increased risk for illness.

On Thursday, however, they said tests showed the water was safe.

Some swimmers at the beach this week weren't detered by the short-lived advisory. 

"I feel great. Couldn't have had a better experience in the water," said Dan San George, who was visiting from New York.

He and other tourists said they were just glad for the relief from the cold.

"It's nice, it's warm, it's not freezing like up north," said Ray Da Costa from Massechusetts.

The rest of Miami-Dade County's public beaches did not show dangerous levels of the bacteria, which can indicate fecal pollution in the water.

Health officials had their eye on several potential causes for the outbreak, including storm water run off, sewage and even pets.

<![CDATA[Swimming Advisory Issued for North Shores Beach]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:22:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/generic+beach+resized.jpg

Health officials are warning people not to swim at North Shores Beach after a strain of bacteria known to cause infections was detected in the water.

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County issued a swimming advisory for the waterfront area at 73rd Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach after a two samples showed levels of enterococci that exceeded state and federal health standards.

Officials say entering the water could put swimmers at an increased risk for illness.

Yet swimmers at the beach said they weren't aware an advisory had been issued.

"I didn't even know there was an advisory, but I'm not surprised," said Miami Beach resident Judy Carson.

Others didn't seem to mind the warning.

"I feel great. Couldn't have had a better experience in the water," said Dan San George, who was visiting from New York.

He and other tourists said they were just glad for the relief from the cold.

"It's nice, it's warm, it's not freezing like up north," said Ray Da Costa from Massechusetts.

The rest of Miami-Dade County's public beaches did not show dangerous levels of the bacteria, which can indicate fecal pollution in the water.

Health officials have their eye on several potential causes for the outbreak, including storm water run off, sewage and even pets.

<![CDATA[Obama Reveals NCAA Picks, Touts "ACA Bracket" GIFs]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pres_thumb_basketball.jpg

President Barack Obama picked Michigan State to beat defending champions Louisville in the NCAA  men's basketball tournament title game.

The nation’s first basketball fan filled out his bracket in his annual "BARACK-etology" segment that aired on ESPN Wednesday. The reveal came two days after the White House launched its own GIF-friendly, March Madness-themed Affordable Care Act bracket.

"Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach," Obama said. "I've got Michigan State going all the way. ... He knows how to motivate folks and he knows how to coach. My pick: Michigan State. Bring it home for me. It's been a while since I've won my pool."

Besides the fourth-seeded Spartans and Cardinals, Obama also selected No. 1 overall seed Florida and top seed Arizona to reach the Final Four in Arlington, Texas.

Obama's bracket is available on Whitehouse.gov, which is using March Madness to get more young people to sign up for health insurance before the March 31st deadline.

The  “ACA Bracket” called, “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered," originally featured 16 GIFs, and on Wednesday afernoon was down to the final four. The interactive compilation allows users to vote for the top two reasons to get health coverage and is full of links to healthcare.gov.

People can vote using their Twitter or Facebook accounts for the their favorite GIFs. The “Insurance Companies are Accountable to You” GIF shows a cat dressed in a tux. The "Nobody's Invincible" GIF features an Elmo toy falling from a store shelf. The “You Might Qualify for Free or Low-Cost Coverage” GIF portrays “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon “mom dancing” with First Lady Michelle Obama. And "Women Can't be Charged More Than Men" shows the first lady slam dunking a basketball using a hoop held up by LeBron James.

The ACA bracket is part of the effort by the White House to spread the word about the health care deadline. In the first week of March, Obama sat down with comedian Zach Galifianakis for a “Between Two Ferns” mock interview meant to convince young people to get coverage.

On Thursday, the president is scheduled to appear on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to talk about the ACA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Recalls Kirkland Signature Real Sliced Fruit]]> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:00:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CostcoResized.jpg

Costco has recalled 59,780 cases of Kirkland Signature Real Sliced Fruit from shelves after the company behind the product, Oregon Freeze Dry Inc., determined that it could be contaminated with Salmonella.

Customers who could have purchased the sliced fruit were contacted by phone or mail and news of the recall was posted on the Costco website. The remaining Kirkland Signature Real Sliced Fruit has been tested and is safe for consumers, according to Food Safety News. No illnesses related to the sliced fruit have been reported, but Food Safety News warned that it is too early to tell.

Consumers who purchased the product with “best before” dates of February 14, 2015 to March 11, 2015 are encouraged to return the product to Costco for a refund.
Salmonella can cause infections in young children, the elderly and people with sensitive immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Some people could develop Reiter’s syndrome, a disease that can lead to chronic arthritis.
Those with questions or concerns can call 1-888-641-2933 or email recall@ofd.com


Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[E-Cigs "Gateway" to Real Smoking: Study]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:56:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ecigarette+woman+smoking.jpg

Teenagers using e-cigarettes are more likely to try smoking real cigarettes and are less likely to quit than kids who did not use the battery-powered devices, a new study found.

“The use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among U.S. adolescents,” the study concluded.

Published online on Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, the study examined data collected from nearly 40,000 U.S. middle and high school students who completed the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The report also found that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students doubled between 2011 and 2012, from 3.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

"E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco," said lead author Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

But not everyone agrees with the conclusion drawn by the researchers. The study did not prove that teen e-cigarette smokers used tobacco after smoking e-cigarettes, because it examined two large data pools of teens in 2011 and 2012 rather than tracking the same people over two years.

Other experts said that just because e-cigarettes are being used by young people who smoke more and have a more difficult time kicking the habit does not mean that the devices are the root of the problem, according to The New York Times.  Those experts say it is possible that young people who use e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through vapor instead of the smoke associated with traditional cigarettes, were heavier smokers to begin with, or would have become heavy smokers down the line, the Times reported.

“The data in this study do not allow many of the broad conclusions that it draws,” said Thomas J. Glynn, a researcher at the American Cancer Society, according to the Times.

Experts remain divided on whether e-cigarettes, which entered the market about a decade ago, are a gateway to smoking or a path for the nation's 45 million smokers to help quit. 

A large federal survey published last year found that the overwhelming majority of young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke real tobacco. Another report concluded that while e-cigarette use among youths doubled from 2011 to 2012, real cigarette smoking for youths has continued to decline.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Obama, Biden Work Out Together]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:00:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/obamarun.jpg

Who needs sneakers or a gym to get a little exercise?

President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden showed in a playful workout video that even the leaders of the free world can get a little exercise — even if it means running laps through the White House in a shirt and tie.

The video, released Thursday as a part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move fitness challenge, shows Biden entering the Oval Office as Obama is reading at his desk.

"Mr. President, are you ready to move?" Biden asks. Then both men set out running down the halls of the White House, outfitted in dress shoes and ties.

The first dogs Bo and Sunny look on quizzically as the pair jogs together outdoors. Finally, the president and vice president stretch before heading back into the Oval Office for a drink of water.

"After a good workout, you've got to drink up; otherwise, we're going to be in trouble with Jill and Michelle," Obama said.

The video was posted after Michelle Obama’s appearance last week on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," where she announced an online contest to promote staying healthy. If enough people participated, she said, the president and vice president would share how they move, too.

The contest challenged Americans to post on social media about how they exercise and eat healthy foods, and in response, thousands of users — including celebrities from Ryan Seacrest to Nancy Pelosi — submitted their habits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #LetsMove.

"I want to see how people around the country are moving and changing the standards of health for our kids, because people are doing some amazing things," the first lady told Fallon.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Let's Move/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Doctors Compete to Go to Sochi]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:32:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/sochiteamdoctors.jpg

The Olympics are all about the athletes, but there is an immense support staff as well, including hundreds of specially trained doctors.

It is no secret that the odds of becoming an Olympian are slim, but that does not apply to athletes only.

Jonathan Finnoff had to compete to go to the Olympic Games as a U.S. team doctor. He said the road to Sochi was not easy.

"It's almost as hard for the medical personnel as it is for the athletes," he said. "Cream of the crop in order to get selected to go to the Olympics."

Dr. Finnoff is the Director of Sports Medicine at Barton Healthcare based in Lake Tahoe. He is off to Sochi with the U.S. Nordic combination ski team, a team he’s accompanied to smaller events.

Finnoff describes this process as training for team physicians.

“Train for years and try to get to go to the Olympics,” he said.

Once selected, the task at hand is simple but packed with pressure.

"People train for decades in order to actually get a chance to go to the Olympics," Finnoff said. "And then when they go to the Olympics, even the smallest thing can ruin their chances--whether that’s injuring their knee…or a cold."

Finnoff added that sports medicine doctors are crucial because they’ve dealt with one of the biggest and most pervasive injuries of all--concussions.

"You think about the downhill ski races and they're going 70-80 mph on an icy run, so when you fall like that, it's like jumping out of a car onto the asphalt," he said. "It is that hard and that big of an injury."

"Yes they have helmets on but concussions are because your brain shakes around inside of your head so the helmets help protect against skull fractures and some of the hemorrhages that happen in our brains, but it doesn’t protect against a concussion," Finnoff added.

Team doctors volunteer their time to go to the Olympics. Dr. Finnoff said the payoff comes in the once-in-a-life-time opportunity.

“I cant wait. It's going to be a fantastic experience," he said.

Finnoff also said he would try to do some skiing while at the Olympics.

American doctors are not licensed to practice medicine in Russia, so they can't take care of the athletes. But if there’s a more serious injury, they become advocates, making sure Russian doctors are informed and delivering the best possible care.

<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Hazards of Hot Yoga]]> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:27:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hot+yoga.jpg

Hot yoga classes are soaring in popularity. A number of celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Madonna, swear by hot yoga. So do legions of yoga practitioners. But many of the hot yoga classes require heat of at least 105°F and humidity around 40 percent. Is exercising in extreme heat and humidity healthful? Consumer Reports medical experts have a caution.

Though there is little specific research on hot yoga, we do know that exercising in extreme heat can cause a number of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. It can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Warning signs include feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or experiencing nausea or muscle cramps. If you suffer more serious symptoms either during or after class, such as unusual weakness, fever, vomiting, or confusion, Consumer Reports advises going to the nearest emergency room.

Bikram hot yoga practitioners say the high temperature and humidity promote health. Studio owner Rich Pike says he hasn’t had complaints of heat exhaustion and touts the benefits. He says, “Heat allows you to bend safely and be more flexible. What the sweating does is it eliminates toxins through your sweat.”

Consumer Reports says that though the heat may help you stretch further, it can also cause you to overstretch, leading to possible joint or muscle damage.

Consumer Reports’ advice: Whatever exercise you do, stop if you feel pain or heat exhaustion. Be sure always to drink plenty of water. And with any type of yoga, Consumer Reports says there are steps you can take to avoid picking up viruses or bacteria. Bring your own mat and towels. Cover any cuts or scrapes with an adhesive bandage, and use alcohol wipes to wipe down any surfaces, such as mats or blocks.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

<![CDATA[Man Run Over and Dumped Behind Garbage]]> Sat, 08 Feb 2014 16:44:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/crash+victim.jpg

Craig Camlin mustered a smile for the TV cameras crowding his room at Broward Health North Medical Center, even though his body is broken, and he can barely whisper.

"Very mad," Camlin whispered to his sister, Jayne Camlin, who was standing next to his bed.

Very mad at Alex Inostroza. Fort Lauderdale Police say on the morning of Dec. 16, Inostroza crashed into Camlin, who was riding his bicycle, Camlin flipped over the hood of Inostroza's car, rolled over the roof and stopped on the trunk.

"Do you have any recollection of the crash?" Jayne Camlin asked her brother.

"Nothing," he said.

Police say Inostroza was drunk. They say he drove two miles with Camlin on his car, and when he got home, he picked up Camlin and dumped him behind a garbage bin in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Pompano Beach.

"He was an animal," Camlin said.

"It's devastating, actually, and for our family, it's devastating, it's not only changed Craig's life it's changed us as a family," Jayne Camlin said, explaining that Craig is one of five close-knit siblings.

Craig can't speak because he's been on a ventilator from the day of his accident until two days ago.

He is paralyzed below the waist. Lucky to be alive, but his family's faith has not been shaken.

"God's doing some amazing things in his life,this is a man who came in not sure if he was going to live," said Pastor Greg Anderson of Calvary Chapel. 

If not for chance, lawn workers passing by at the right time, Camlin would've died behind the garbage bin.

"That was a god thing because they were there randomly, he definitely, the doctor said, when they brought him here was DOA  they brought him back to life," Jayne Camplin said.

Craig Camlin still has hope, hope that he'll recover a normal life. But he has no health insurance and a million dollars of medical bills already. You can help by donating at helphopelive.Org and by taking craig's advice: "Don't drink and drive, don't drink and drive," Camlin whispered.

Inostroza was arrested after police say he tried to repair the damage to his car to cover his tracks. He bonded out of jail and is awaiting trial.

<![CDATA[SoFla Man Blames Liver Disease on Weight Loss Product]]> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 01:56:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Oxy-Elite-Pro.jpg

A South Florida man who was out to shed some pounds is now fighting liver disease – and he blames it on a weight loss product.

Eric Rizzo told NBC 6 his life took a terrible turn when he decided to take a product he claims to have purchased at two outlets of The Vitamin Shoppe. It is called Oxy Elite Pro, and Rizzo said he took the product, in both powder and pill form, to help him drop pounds.

“I was assured it was safe as long as you exercised. I had energy, I was losing more weight,” he said.

Rizzo said he lost more than 50 pounds, and was getting in exercise – but then he got sick. His lab test prompted his doctors to take immediate action.

“You’re perfectly healthy, but your liver is in complete failure,” Rizzo recalls being told.

Now, he is suing The Vitamin Shoppe and USPlabs, the company that makes the weight loss supplement.

“It can cause death. It can cause the need to have your liver replaced. Or it can cause permanent liver damage,” said Rizzo’s attorney Mike Eidson. “And you can see it, when you see my client you can see his eyes, you can see that he's still suffering the consequences of this and probably will for the rest of his life.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been sending warning letters to Oxy Elite Pro’s maker, which recalled the product in November. But Rizzo’s lawyer says his client was still able to buy it in Fort Lauderdale after the recall.

“I couldn’t find it in the store, and the salesgirl had taken it out from underneath the counter and sold me two,” Rizzo said.

Dr. Kenneth F. Miles, USPlabs’ chief compliance officer, has written to the FDA that the supplements “do not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers.”

USPlabs did not respond to a request for comment on the litigation Wednesday. The Vitamin Shoppe also did not respond to a request for comment.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Beautiful Shoes, Painful Feet]]> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 23:11:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000011192968_1200x675_132845635634.jpg

More than half of us suffer from foot problems and often those problems are directly related to our shoes. That according to a study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health.

Consumer Reports On Health says wearing the wrong shoes can lead to lifelong deformities that require surgery to fix.

Shoes that force feet into narrow or pointy toes can cause bunions or hammertoes, where the toes curl downward unnaturally.

High heels can shorten your Achilles tendon, and can trigger planter fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissues of the soles of the feet. Even flat shoes can harm your feet if they lack support and cushioning.

So, how do you put your best foot forward? Consumer Reports On Health advises opting for a lower heel to take some of the pressure off the ball of your foot. Make sure that there is enough room in the toe, and avoid thin-soled shoes that have little or no support.

The most common problem is simply wearing the wrong shoe size. One study revealed that over a third of people wore shoes that were off by a half-size. And 12 percent wore shoes that were off by one and a half sizes!

So have your feet measured each time you buy and keep your emotions in check. Be aware that your feet change as you age. They lose padding and they lengthen and spread. People over the age of 40 can gain half a shoe size every 10 years. All the more reason to measure.

Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

<![CDATA[Pet Poisons: What to Watch Out For]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 11:50:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/189*120/Dog5.jpg The ASPCA compiled a list of the top pet poisons. All pet owners should be aware of hazards in their homes.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CrossFit Trainer Severs Spine During SoCal Weightlifting Competition]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:45:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/01-kevin.jpg

A 28-year old CrossFit trainer severed his spine as he tried to lift more than 200 pounds during a weightlifting competition in Southern California.

Colorado native Kevin Ogar is recovering in Western Medical Center’s critical care unit and is not expected to be able to walk again.

His doctor, neurosurgeon Mohsin Shah, called what happened during the Jan. 12 OC Throwdown competition a "freak catastrophe." He likened the injury to someone being thrown from a moving car.

“He’s got everything I think in him that would allow him to recover from this in a very meaningful way, even if not walking... certainly (being) able to do a lot much more productive things,” Shah said.

Ogar is in the critical care unit, working toward sitting up and planning to talk publicly. He’s had two surgeries so far.

“Kevin has a heart of gold and he always has,” said Megan Ogar, his sister. "And that should get him through this."

Some doctors say the popular conditioning and strength training program is no more dangerous than any other. In a statement to NBC4, organizers for the Costa Mesa event said there was a medical team by Ogar’s side and the paramedics arrived within minutes.

“He doesn’t feel diminished, like, he doesn’t feel like he’s lost much,” said Megan Braunsdorf, a friend.

Ogar has no insurance, so friends are hoping to raise money for his recovery. Those who know him say he has the guts and the will to go on.

“It would be really easy to look at this and see all the things that Kevin has lost,” his sister said. “But I think I prefer to look at all the things that Kevin still has.”


Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Ogar family]]>