<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Health News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usThu, 28 Jul 2016 22:14:23 -0400Thu, 28 Jul 2016 22:14:23 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Mobile Unit Saves Lives of Stroke Patients ]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:49:53 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/MobileStroke0727_MP4-146971814986100001.jpg A new mobile stroke unit in ambulances in Colorado is saving stroke patients' lives, allowing them to get treatment before arriving at the hospital. ]]> <![CDATA[Man Donates Kidney to Friend: Video]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:48:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/graham+kidney.jpg

Born with a rare disease and just days away from kidney failure, Fort Worth nurse Danny Kolzow is getting a lifeline from a longtime friend. 

Graham McMillan is donating one of his kidneys to Kolzow. 

The operation took place Wednesday at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth – the same hospital where Kolzow works.

Wednesday afternoon, Mary Kolzow, mother of Danny Kolzow, and Claire McMillan, wife of Graham McMillan, shared a joint statement: Danny and Graham are recovering, doing well and praising Jesus. We have felt loved, encouraged and cared for by the hospital staff. Praise God for his faithfulness through this process. Thank you for the many prayers that have been answered."

McMillan said he wanted to break the news to Kolzow in a special way, so he made arrangements with other nurses to give him the news at work. The moment, posted on Vimeo, has now been viewed more than 800,000 times. 

He showed up with a sign that read, "Heard urine need of a kidney. Want mine?" 

"Pretty funny, right?" McMillan said. "Let's do this." 

He walked down a hallway and delivered the news to his shocked friend. 

The two hugged as other nurses wept. 

"My kidney's going inside that body right there," McMillan said as the two embraced. 

The two met while they were students at Texas Christian University and kept in touch. 

McMillan, a youth pastor, agreed to get tested to see if one of his kidneys would be compatible. 

It was a match. 

"Just to get the news, something I've been waiting for for so long," Kolzow said. "And it's incredible news, that I get to not have to worry, I am going to get this lifesaving organ that I need. It's incredible." 

The two men credit their faith with making it happen. 

"I'm getting a transplant literally the week before I would have to start dialysis," Kolzow said. "It's just perfect timing."

Photo Credit: Graham McMillan/NBC 5
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<![CDATA[FDA Reconsiders Gay Blood Ban]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 04:25:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Blood+donation-539869134.jpg

Facing increased pressure from Democrats in Congress, the Food and Drug Administration began to officially reconsider its policy limiting blood donations from gay and bisexual men on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The current policy forbids blood donations from men who have had sex with other men within the past year.

The ban was originally put in place with the intention of limiting the risk of getting the AIDS virus in blood, but activists say it's unfair and discriminatory.

The issue came to greater prominence after a June shooting killed 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, club favored by the LGBT community in June. LGBT groups complained that the restrictions made it difficult for friends and loved ones to give their blood.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to Disease Discovery: Paper]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:11:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/today-ice-bucket-challenge-140715-06.blocks_desktop_medium.jpg

The ice bucket challenge became a phenomenon in the of summer 2014, and the boost in funding it brought about helped lead to a significant discovery in the study of the ALS disease, according to a paper published Monday in Nature Genetics.

The donations flooded in as people across the world doused themselves in buckets of ice water, then challenged others to do the same. The videos of the challenge went so viral with Oprah, LeBron James, Bill Gates and many more celebrities taking part.

Though some dismissed the viral challenge as "slacktivism," the ALS Association notes on its website that the challenge raised $115 million for research in just eight weeks.

Apparently, it's had an effect: Researchers with Project MinE's global gene sequencing effort, which is funded by the ALS Association, conducted a large study of the inherited disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and ALS, and were able to identify a new gene that contributes to it, according to the new paper.

More than 80 researchers from 11 countries contributing to the discovery, which may help scientists develop targeted therapy for ALS, according to a news release.

The researchers behind Project MinE attribute much of the project's funding to the ice bucket challenge, which helped the project secure funding from new places and parts of the world.

"The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE's work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result," researcher Lucie Bruijn said in the news release.

ALS causes damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The progressive neurodegenerative disease, acquired by genetics in only 10 percent of ALS cases, affects muscle movement and eventually causes paralysis and death, usually within two to five years of diagnosis.

Photo Credit: Samantha Okazaki/Today, File
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<![CDATA[FDA Strengthens Warning on Powerful Antibiotics]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:46:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-1170747.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration strengthened warnings on a class of antibiotics, calling it too strong to be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections.

Fluoroquinolones, which include levofloxacin (as known as Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro), can cause serious and sometimes permanent side-effects, NBC News reported.

"While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system," the agency said in a statement.

The drugs are worthwhile to use for potentially fatal infections such as plague, anthrax and some types of bacterial pneumonia but not for the more minor stuff, FDA added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Myths About Leaving Kids in Cars]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 12:38:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/211*120/Generic+Sun+Generic+Sunset+Generic+Hot+Generic+Heat+Wave.JPG

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. And no matter how impossible it may seem, even the best of parents can forget a child in the backseat of their car.

This summer's unrelenting heat proved tragic for a family in Dallas, Texas, after their toddler died in a car parked outside of a church on July 24.

Twenty-five children died in hot cars in 2015, according to KidsandCars.org. And unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. 

Here are some myths and the truth about kids in cars, and some ways to keep yourself from making a fatal mistake.

Myth 1: This could never happen to me. That's an understandable reaction. But take a moment to read some of the reporting on cases of children left in cars, including this excellent examination by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post. As the story points out, habit, which occurs in an ancient part of the brain, can hijack conscious thought. That's especially true if you are under stress or have a small change in routine -- such as being asked to drop off the child when you usually drive straight to work.

And that's true no matter how good a parent you are. "The quality of prior parental care seems to be irrelevant," says a memory expert quoted in the article, who has consulted on a number of cases of kids left in cars.

As unimaginable as forgetting a child is, it's happened to a notable businessman, a hospital CEO, a postal clerk, a social worker, a police officer. It's happened to a soldier, a mental health counselor, even a NASA rocket scientist.

Myth 2: There is a recent spike in the number of child heatstroke deaths. Not exactly. The number has grown since the 1980s and early 1990s, when pediatricians began to recommend that children in car seats ride in the back, where they are less likely to be injured by an inflating air bag. Since that change was made, the number of children killed by air bags has plummeted, but the number of children who die by heatstroke in cars each year has risen and remained between 30 and 50 each year since 1997 (See this chart by KidsandCars.org.) Heatstroke deaths do tend to occur in the spring and summer, because of the temperatures.

Myth 3: It's OK to leave your children in an unattended car, just for a minute. Our parents did it when we were kids. It is not OK -- not even for a minute. It doesn't take long for a car to heat up, and younger children are more sensitive to heat than older children and adults. In 80-degree weather, it takes about 10 minutes for a car to reach deadly temperatures; in an hour your car can reach 123 degrees. Tests show that cracking the window had little effect and the biggest factor was probably the vehicle's interior color. 

Myth 4: Heatstroke is only a concern during the summer. While most deaths occur in June, July or August, records show each month except January has had at least one recorded child death since 2008. Even in 60-degree weather cars can heat up to well above 110 degrees and be fatal for kids. Heatstrokes become fatal for children once a child's temperature reaches 107 degrees.

Myth 5: Heatstroke only happens when parents forget children in vehicles. More than half the time, deaths occur when a child was forgotten by the caregiver, but almost 30 percent of deaths occurred while children were playing in unattended vehicles. Another 17 percent of deaths occurred when a caregiver intentionally left a child in the vehicle. 

Tips for prevention

Here are some ways to keep your kids safe and avoid a lifetime of regret.

1. Create routines. Every day, whether the baby is with you or not, open the back door and look in the back seat before locking the door and walking away. 

2. Give yourself visual reminders. Place your bag, briefcase, or even your shoe in the backseat with your child -- anything that you must take with you before going to your next destination will remind you not to leave your child in the car.

3. Give yourself audible reminders. Sometimes it can be as simple as telling yourself out loud, “remember to get the kids,” or “don’t forget the kids.”

4. Don’t ever let your kids play in the car. Keep keys out of your child's reach, and make sure the doors and trunk are locked when it’s not being used.

5. If you see a child left in a car, call the police immediately.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Takes Cancer Fight to DC]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:27:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Sadie+Keller.jpg

A North Texas girl is taking her cancer fight to Washington, D.C.

Nine-year-old Sadie Keller is battling leukemia. For the last year NBC 5 has covered how she video-blogged her cancer treatment and raised more than 1,000 toys for sick kids at Christmas.

In a new video, Sadie is calling on Vice President Joe Biden to help make childhood cancer research a national priority.

Through an organization called The Truth 365, which documents children fighting cancer, Keller is sharing the video and urging the vice president to attend an upcoming event called CureFest in Washington, D.C. The event is aimed at uniting the childhood cancer community.

"I hope you don't forget about all those kids like me," Keller said in the video.

In January, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new government initiative aimed at accelerating cancer research.

Sadie wants to make sure children's cancer research is on the mind of lawmakers.

"I don't think any parent should outlive their child," she said.

Sadie hopes the video is shared across social media so the vice president may see it and join her at the event.

Watch Sadie's video here on Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Drunkorexia' Common Among College Students: Study]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 18:07:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/BeerDrinking-GettyImages-144235968.jpg

Almost a third of college students say they’ve taken part in practices dubbed “drunkorexia,” according to a recent study, NBC News reported. 

That’s the name for behaviors such as skipping meals or heavy exercising to offset calories from binge drinking, or to pump up alcohol’s buzz. The study, conducted by a research assistant at the University of Houston, found that the behaviors were just as common in men as they were in women. 

The survey found that 80 percent of students engaged in at least one of the following behaviors: cutting back on food and increasing exercise; engaging in bulimic-type behaviors such as vomiting after eating or taking laxatives; boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking. 

Previous research showed that 40 percent of college students drink heavily at least once a month. The researcher said a cultural shift in men being more worried about their appearance may have led to the rise in the behavior. 

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surgery Successfully Cures Epileptic Patients]]> Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:59:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_epilepsy0720_1920x1080.jpg Doctors in Houston, Texas, are using a new procedure to eliminate seizures in many epilepsy patients. KPRC's Haley Hernandez reports.]]> <![CDATA[Helping Teens With Autism Learn to Drive]]> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:42:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_driveautism0718_1920x1080.jpg Researchers are working on ways to help autistic teens learn to drive. NBC's Erika Edwards reports.]]> <![CDATA[Can a Child's Own Cells Fight Type 1 Diabetes?]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 13:21:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Diabetes0713_MP4-146850629810200001.jpg Doctors hope this first-of-its-kind clinical trial will lead to a cure for Type I Diabetes.]]> <![CDATA[K2, Drug Linked to Mass NYC Overdose, Explained]]> Wed, 13 Jul 2016 17:13:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/185*120/AP_100215039023.jpg

Despite dire warnings about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids, popularly known by names such as K2, Spice, Black Mamba and Kronic, they continue to grow in popularity, NBC News reports.

On Tuesday, 33 people were rushed to the hospital in Brooklyn with symptoms that suggested an overdose on the drugs. New York City's health department told NBC New York there have been more than 6,000 K2-related emergency room visits and two confirmed deaths in New York City since 2015.

To get a better understanding of what K2 is and why the drug is so dangerous, NBC News spoke with Marilyn A. Huestis, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and former chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

"They can destroy the kidneys so people may die or need to have dialysis and/or transplants," she said. "They can cause cardiovascular effects and can bring on heart attacks and strokes in the brain."

Photo Credit: AP, FIle
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<![CDATA[Placentae Can Bring New Life to Vision Treatments ]]> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 11:51:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-07-12-at-10.08.53-AM.jpg “Think of it like a born again eye,” Dr. Chike Mordi from Vision Source in Houston, Texas says of a new treatment's ability to help regenerate eye tissue. With a placenta that meets stringent donor screening and tests, doctors like Mordi can fix scarring and inflammation.]]> <![CDATA[Improving Lesbian Health With Focus on Wellness]]> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 10:03:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/LesbianHealth0711_MP4-146832830246300001.jpg Lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of obesity, smoking and stress when compared to their heterosexual counterparts, but one University of Missouri researcher is working to change that. Dr. Jane McElroy led the first-ever national study to develop healthy weight programs for lesbian and bisexual communities. Ninety-five percent of the study participants achieved the health objectives that are critical for obesity prevention as identified by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.]]> <![CDATA[Health Experts Give Up on Zika Funding From Congress]]> Mon, 11 Jul 2016 16:17:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16127497121865.jpg

Congress started its final week of the summer Monday but there was still no agreement on a legislation that would get the U.S. ready for a fight against the Zika virus, NBC News reported. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has registered 1,133 cases of Zika infection — all brought by travelers from Zika-affected areas. The CDC now counts 320 pregnancies affected by Zika in the states, and another 279 in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mosquito season is also in full swing in the U.S. and experts predict it's a matter of time before there are local outbreaks.

Republicans in Congress repeatedly stalled bills that would have supplied at least some of the funding. Then last month, Republicans offered a $1.1 billion plan as part of another bill, but Democrats said it was full of "poison pills" that attacked Planned Parenthood and eased pesticide regulations. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Might Get a Gym Where You Can Smoke Marijuana]]> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 11:25:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/marijuanagym.jpg

A former pro football star and an advocate for athlete marijuana use have teamed up to open a gym in San Francisco that they say will be one of the first in the world to allow members to smoke pot while working out.

Ricky Williams, who played for the Saints, Dolphins and Ravens, and Jim McAlpine, a snowboard company executive, said Power Plant Fitness also will offer edibles and topical gels for those who don't like smoking the plant. They say using pot while exercising can help them focus or relax.

Members of the gym, which plans to open this year, will need a medical marijuana prescription to join, but that could change if California voters legalize recreational pot in November.

"I personally use it for focus. It's not about getting high. It's about keeping my mind engaged in the activity I'm in," said McAlpine, who organizes the 420 games, athletic events aiming to stop the stigma against pot use.

Carla Lowe, founder of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, a political action committee based in Sacramento, said it's not clear how the drug affects the body but "there's zero evidence that marijuana helps you focus. There is evidence that it makes you dopey."

Her group is working to defeat the ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in California, saying it "does not bode well for the future of our country."

But Williams, who was suspended several times by the NFL for marijuana use, said he wants to dispel the stigma.

"I think a lot of people buy into the stoner stereotype where guys just sit on the couch, smoke and don't do anything, and they're not very motivated," said Williams, who retired from the NFL after the 2011 season. "I found when I was playing football that using cannabis helped me relax physically, relax mentally and even spiritually."

Any potential benefits of marijuana on exercise have not been studied thoroughly. But one doctor who works with marijuana-smoking patients says the drug can help manage post-workout pain.

"To use cannabis in that sense for pain relief instead of the usual things you're able to use now, like opioids, is hands down why you would use it," said Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer for HelloMD, a digital health care platform for the cannabis industry.

<![CDATA[Billion Dollar Policy Proposed to Stem Opioid Epidemic ]]> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:30:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_heroin0706_1920x1080.jpg The White House has asked Congress to approve more than a billion dollars in emergency funding to combat the nation's growing opioid addiction crisis. The Obama administration also announced that it's loosening restrictions on a drug called buprenorphine used to ease addicts' cravings.

Photo Credit: NBC News ]]>
<![CDATA[More Second-Trimester Abortions Occurred Under Texas Law]]> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 06:31:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/SupremeCourtTexasAbortion-AP_16179555843580.jpg

A preliminary review of statistics released by the Department of State Health Services in Texas shows a 27 percent increase in abortions after 12 weeks, NBC News reported. 

The numbers appear to oppose the 2013 omnibus abortion bill passed by Texas, which said it would protect women’s health — a rationale rejected by the Supreme Court last month. 

The total number of abortions dropped, despite the increase in later abortions — which rose from 4,814 procedures in 2013 to 6,117 in 2014. 

"Although second-trimester abortion is very safe, it is associated with a higher risk of complications compared to early abortion, and it's more expensive for women," said University of California San Francisco professor Daniel Grossman, who shared his analysis exclusively with NBC News. 

The Supreme Court found in June that new requirements on abortion providers mandated by the state law led to closures of about half of Texas’ abortion clinics, while concluding the regulations were medically unnecessary.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Cases in the U.S.]]> Tue, 05 Jul 2016 16:38:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/zika-carto-thumb.jpg

Using data from the CDC, this map tracks Zika cases by state. The map is updated once a day.

Developed for NBC by CartoDB, a location intelligence and data visualization company.

Photo Credit: CartoDB
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<![CDATA[Health Officials Widen Flour Recall After 4 More People Get Sick]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:16:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Flour-recall-General-Mills.jpg

Federal health officials on Friday widened an already big recall of flour after four more people got sick from food poisoning linked to the flour, NBC News reports.

No one has died or developed the most dangerous symptoms from the E. coli infections, but 42 people have become ill from the General Mills flour, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said.

The CDC said health officials have found harmful E. coli 0121 strains in General Mills flour collected from the homes of ill people in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma. On Friday, the CDC said Indiana has been added to the list of states with ill people. 

The General Mills recall covers types of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour.

Photo Credit: General Mills]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Says He Expects Congress to Move on Zika Virus]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 16:41:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ZIKA_GettyImages-537671534.jpg

About $25 million was dispensed by federal health officials Friday to help states at risk from Zika defend against its spread — cash taken from other programs because Congress has not approved fresh funding to fight the virus, NBC News reported. 

New Zika funding has been deadlocked in Congress, despite demands from President Barack Obama for increased funding to the tune of $1.9 billion. 

"I expect Congress to get this funding done before they leave for vacation, before they adjourn. That's part of their basic responsibility," Obama said.         

Republicans in the Senate presented a $1.1 billion spending plan with provisions that Democrats said were unacceptable. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are 935 confirmed cases in at least 45 states and Washington D.C. Another 2,000 cases were reported in Puerto Rico, Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[New Zika Studies Reveal Invisible Damage to Babies]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:32:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/BabyZika-AP_698041135257.jpg

Zika virus causes different types of brain damage in babies, not just microcephaly, according to two new reports.

Brazilian researchers found as many as one in five babies born with brain damage caused by Zika had normal-sized heads, NBC News reports. That means babies who may seem normal may in fact suffer from serious conditions that parents and doctors may not notice until they get older.

Worse, one study confirms that many of the pregnant women whose babies were affected didn't have the obvious symptoms of Zika, such as a rash. The virus is known to cause invisible infections in most people who catch it — usually good news, but that's bad news for pregnant women who may not know anything is amiss until their babies start showing symptoms as they grow.

And the study also found that even late in pregnancy, babies can suffer brain damage caused by Zika. In other words, there's no stage of pregnancy that's safe.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[A Little Butter Won't Kill You, Study Says]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 19:35:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/175635030-butter-generic.jpg

A little butter isn't going to kill anyone, but it's not a health food, nutrition experts said in a study released Wednesday.

"I would say butter is neither good nor bad," Laura Pimpin of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University told NBC News. 

Many studies look at saturated fat or omega-3 fatty acids or calcium, but Pimpin's team set out to find studies that looked at whole foods that people actually eat and then calculated their risks for overall death, heart disease and diabetes.

When possible, butter should be replaced with more healthful plant-based oils, Pimpin said. And it might be more useful, she said, to focus on the stuff people eat butter with.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Water Systems Failing to Test for Lead]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:02:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/223*120/lead-faucet.jpg The Natural Resources Defense Council reports more than 18 million Americans got their drinking water from systems with lead violations in 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Whitewater Park Closes After Deadly Amoeba Kills Teen]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:01:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/USWhitewaterCenter-.jpg

Health officials found a brain-destroying amoeba in the water at a North Carolina water park, which suspended operations Friday, NBC News reported. 

Officials found evidence of the microbe, and shut down the affected parts of the park after an Ohio teen died earlier this week after visiting the U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte. Only whitewater activities are suspended, official said. 

The amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, occasionally kills people, and is often found in warm bodies of water. Cases of infection are rare. In cases that do result in infection, the microbe can get into the sinuses and from there infect the brain. Although the risk is low, experts say people worried about infection should avoid getting water up their noses. 

The North Carolina park says it disinfects the water used throughout the facility.

Photo Credit: U.S. National Whitewater Center]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities Come Out for National HIV Testing Day]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:55:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DanielFranzese-GettyImages-533405824.jpg

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation is among the organizations putting resources behind HIV prevention and is urging people to get informed and tested. 

The foundation will hold its first HIV-testing event at the Abbey in West Hollywood on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day, NBC News reports.

Celebrity advocates, including Daniel Franzese, Julie Benz, Lance Bass, Frances Fisher and Kyle Pratt, will be in attendance to encourage people to get tested, increase awareness and help eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. More than 156,000 of them are unaware they are infected.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[FluMist Nasal Spray Vaccine Doesn't Work: Experts]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 21:34:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/FluMistSpray-AP_16174566973522.jpg

Experts area saying the needle-free FluMist influenza vaccine has not protected against flu for years and should not be used this coming flu season, NBC News reported. 

The decision could nerve pediatricians short of vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, data reviewed from past flu seasons revealed it didn’t work in recent years. The CDC said it was only 3 percent effective last flu season. 

FluMist uses live but weakened strains of the flu virus to stimulate immune systems, and is sprayed up the nose.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Epidemic Has Doubled Abortion Requests: Study]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:31:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16127497121865.jpg

The epidemic of Zika virus has caused a spike in requests for abortion help in countries that ban or restrict abortions, researchers said Wednesday.

Several women whose fetuses have shown evidence of possible Zika-related birth defects have opted for abortions in the U.S. and other western countries where abortion is legal, NBC News reported. But millions of women live in Latin American and Caribbean countries where the mosquitoes carry the virus almost unchecked. Many of the countries also restrict access to birth control.

The researchers found a 36 to 108 percent jump in abortion requests in countries where Zika was spreading, where there were advisories to women and where abortion was legally restricted.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, who decided to investigate how the epidemic has affected requests for abortions.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[300 Charged in Nation's Largest Health Care Fraud Bust]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:20:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AG_AP_16137669714048.jpg

About 300 people in more than half the states have been charged in the largest crackdown to date on health care fraud, federal authorities announced Wednesday. 

According to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, those arrested account for more than $900 million in false billings to Medicare and Medicaid, NBC News reported. 

The crackdown ensnared 60 licensed medical professionals, including 30 doctors, officials said. The billings were for treatments or services deemed medically unnecessary — or for services that were never provided at all, including home care, medical equipment and phony prescriptions.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Americans Spend $30 Billion a Year on Alternative Medicine]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:01:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-75357983.jpg

Americans spend a substantial part of out-of-pocket health care costs on alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic care and natural supplements, even though there is little evidence some of these approaches work, NBC News reported.

Federal researchers reported Wednesday that Americans shelled out more than $30 billion in 2012 alone for some sort of alternative or complementary treatment — an average of $500 per person.

The team at the National Center for Health Statistics says the findings is "an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them."

Though studies have shown acupuncture can help in many ways, including with pregnancy-related nausea, other popular treatments have little or no science to back them up, including homeopathy, naturopathy, guided imagery, energy healing and traditional healers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Women in Puerto Rico at Risk for Zika: CDC]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 15:24:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/PuertoRicoZikaCDC-AP_16169572347522.jpg

The zika virus is spreading quickly in Puerto Rico, meaning hundreds of babies could be born with birth defects, NBC News reports. 

More than 1 percent of all Puerto Rico blood donations tested in early June tested positive for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"In coming months, it is possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico will catch Zika," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said at a briefing for reporters. "This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year." 

The CDC began testing for Zika in Puerto Rico in April. Health officials confirmed more than 1,700 infections in the territory so far this year. Any blood donations that test positive for the virus are thrown out.

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<![CDATA[Lung Cancer Patients Treated With Drug Over Chemo ]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 18:28:21 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/MerckKeytruda-AP_41869771122.jpg

Lung cancer patients who have never been treated will now get the same drug used to help former President Jimmy Carter, NBC News reported. 

Researchers said they wanted to give Keytruda to 305 lung cancer patients who never received treatment. They wanted to see how it worked against standard chemotherapy cocktails. 

It worked as well if not better than chemo, so researchers stopped the study to see if the drug worked well on its own. 

Keytruda was the same drug that helped Jimmy Carter stall advanced melanoma that spread to his brain. It also helped patients live longer without their tumors growing or spreading, according to Merck — the company that makes the drug. 

The company can now ask the Food and Drug Administration if it will approve Keytruda to use as the first treatment a lung cancer patient tries. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>