<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usSat, 30 Apr 2016 16:02:03 -0700Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:02:03 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[A Look at How the Zika Virus Can Kill You]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:34:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/virus+zika+puerto+rico.jpg

The Zika virus is not usually thought of as a life-threatening virus, but it did kill a man in Puerto Rico. The man, in his 70s, is the first reported U.S. death from the virus, which is spreading across the Americas, according to NBC News. 

Zika can lead to complications like immune thrombocytopenic purpura, as in the case of the man in Puerto Rico. In cases like these, patients can suffer internal bleeding. 

The virus can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, severe birth defects and other dangerous nerve conditions in adults. 

There is no specific treatment for Zika infection, and there’s no known way to reverse damage done to a developing baby. A vaccine is in the works, but would be years away from the market.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Company Supports 24/7 Crisis Line ]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:10:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cell-GettyImages-536989145.jpg

A San Diego-based business is working with the county to provide around-the-clock access to suicide prevention and other services for residents in crisis.

Optum San Diego is an information and technology-enabled health services business that’s been working with the county since 1997.

In May, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Optum and the County of San Diego are working together to spread the message about the confidential help residents can get through the San Diego Access & Crisis Line (ACL).

Anyone who calls (888) 724-7240 will receive assistance from a Master’s level and/or licensed clinician, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crisis counseling is available in 150 languages, accordingt to a company statement.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Approves First Commercial Zika Virus Test]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:38:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ZikaBloodTest-GettyImages-508017592.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first commercial U.S. test Thursday to diagnose the Zika virus, NBC News reported.

Quest Diagnostics will use the same method that government labs use to look for Zika virus in a patient's blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing pregnant women with Zika symptoms, those who have traveled to areas where Zika is spreading while they are pregnant and women who have had sex with someone who has Zika.

Doctors can now order the test through Quest, which says it can get results in three to five days. Until now, patients who wanted the test had to go through their state or local health departments.  

A spokeswoman for Quest said most patients with a health plan may receive some coverage benefits. Uninsured patients can expect to pay $120 for the test, she said. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Birth Rates Drop Among Blacks, Hispanics: CDC]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:55:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TeenPregnancyGettyImages-459016410.jpg

Birth rates among black and Hispanic teenagers have fallen dramatically over the past decade, but they’re still more likely to have babies compared to their white peers, according to a new report, NBC News reports. 

The birth rate among teens aged 15 to 19 dropped 61 percent, from 61.8 to 24.2 births per 1,000, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

The national teen birth rate declined 41 percent between 2006 to 2014 — and dropped by 51 percent among Hispanics, 44 percent among blacks and 35 percent among whites. But the rate remained about twice as high for Hispanic or black teens, when compared to white teens. The CDC said high unemployment rates, parents who have less education and high poverty levels are the reasons for the gap.

The CDC says most teens do not use effective methods of birth control. Many other researchers have shown that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cheaper & Designer Sunglasses Give Full UV Protection]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:07:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sunglasses-GettyImages-106750577.jpg

Cheap sunglasses and expensive designer eyewear deliver the same amount of UV protection, according to an investigation conducted by the “Today” show.

University of California, Berkeley optometrist Dr. Dennis Fong examined an assortment of cheaper and expensive sunglasses. His sensor found that both sets delivered full UV protection. 

"Bottom line is, at any price point you can get 100 percent UV protection," Fong said. 

The takeaway: Your eyes will be fully protected no matter what the price tag on your sunglasses says. Just look for the sticker that says “100 percent UV protection” or “UV 400.”

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Zika Was in Haiti Before Brazil: Study ]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:45:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

A new study shows the Zika virus was circulating in Haiti in 2014, long before it became obvious that it was spreading in Brazil, NBC News reported. 

The team checked out three mysterious infections in Haiti caused by the Zika virus. Their study raises questions about when and how Zika arrived in the Americas.

"We know that the virus was present in Haiti in December of 2014," said Dr. Glenn Morris, a professor of medicine and the director of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute. "And, based on molecular studies, it may have been present in Haiti even before that date." 

Earlier this year, international experts used a "genetic clock" to show the Zika virus has changed. And it very closely matches a strain that circulated in French Polynesia in 2013. What's not clear is why it's now being seen to cause disease. Tests show it has mutated, but it's not yet clear if the mutations somehow make it more virulent.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[US Health Care Costs All Over the Map: Study]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:23:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-health-1200-01.jpg

Health care prices vary in different parts of the U.S., according to a new study that digs into the pattern of costs around the country, NBC News reported.

The report from the Health Care Cost Institute finds prices for the same procedures vary even within the same state. 

Some differences make sense: Prices in Alaska are high because medical costs there are 2.6 times the national average. But other differences are hard to explain — a knee surgery in New Jersey costs $24,000, while the same procedure in Oregon can cost $43,000.

Unlike others, this report looked at the price people paid with private health insurance. Most Americans — more than 60 percent — are covered by private health insurance, usually through their employer, while 32 percent have government health insurance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Where to Drop Off Unwanted Prescriptions]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:40:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/prescription-drugs-generic.jpg

Unwanted or expired prescription medications can be disposed of safely Saturday, according to San Diego County health officials.

San Diego County sheriff's deputies are hosting a "Prescription Drug Take Back Day" on April 30, 2016.

The event is designed to curb prescription drug theft and abuse.

Deputies will be at dozens of locations across the county from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. accepting the donations with no questions asked.

    • Alpine Sheriff’s Station, 2751 Alpine Boulevard
    • Encinitas - Scripps Encinitas Hospital, 354 Santa Fe Drive
    • Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, 388 East Alvarado Street
    • Imperial Beach Sheriff’s Substation, 845 Imperial Beach Boulevard
    • Lakeside Walgreens Parking Lot, 9728 Winter Gardens Boulevard
    • Valley Center Elementary School, 28751 Cole Grade Road
    • Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Substation, 3240 Main Street
    • Poway Sheriff’s Station, 13100 Bowron Road
    • Ramona Albertsons Parking Lot, 1459 Main Street
    • San Marcos Kaiser Permanente, 400 Craven Road
    • Santee Walgreens Parking Lot, 10512 Mission Gorge Road
    • Vista Walgreens Parking Lot, 310 Sycamore Avenue

       If you are unable to drop off your unwanted prescriptions Saturday, you can do it during business hours any Monday through Friday at a sheriff's station or substation.

      For a list of drop-off locations, go to this website.

      Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
      <![CDATA[More Kids Harmed by Ingesting Laundry Pods: Study]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 05:30:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-453144893.jpg

      Despite warnings about the dangers laundry detergent pods pose to children, calls to poison control centers continue to rise, NBC's "Today" show reported, citing a new study published Monday.

      The study in Pediatrics shows a 20 percent increase in reports of children younger than 6 putting the brightly colored packets into their mouths, with serious and sometimes even fatal consequences.

      Researchers analyzed data from 62,254 calls made in 2013 and 2014 to U.S. poison control centers. Calls increased for all types of detergent exposure, but the greatest jump was in the number of incidents involving highly concentrated laundry pods, followed by dishwasher detergent packets.

      Study coauthor Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and his colleagues strongly recommend that parents not use laundry detergent packets if there are young children at home.

      Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
      <![CDATA[Medical Marijuana Users Protest CBD-Only Laws ]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 02:41:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MedicalMarijuana-AP_613601499642.jpg

      Many people who would benefit from the legalization of medical marijuana are beginning to rise up to protest the new laws, NBC News reports. 

      They say “CBD-only” laws allow residents with specified conditions to legally use products derived from marijuana that contain cannabidiol (CBD), with low traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces marijuana's "high." 

      The law allows patients to orally ingest an oil derived from marijuana or hemp. But for patients who require whole-plant medical marijuana say they’re being forced to commit criminal acts to get relief for themselves or their loved ones. 

      Seventeen Midwestern and Southern states started passing the laws two years ago. But some say they only help a small group of patients, and that the laws force residents to commit criminal acts to get relief for themselves or their loved ones.

      "We're not lawbreakers and this shouldn't even be an issue," said Jennifer Conforti of Fayetteville, Georgia, who gives her 5-year-old autistic daughter, Abby, marijuana-derived oil with higher-than-allowed levels of THC to control dangerous biting episodes. "It should be a medicine that doctors go to when they need it."

      Photo Credit: AP]]>
      <![CDATA[Warning Signs Your Child Is Being 'Groomed']]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 14:46:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sex+offender+school.jpg

      Adults who work to build a friendship or emotional bond with a child in order to exploit them or sexually abuse them are doing what’s called “grooming.”

      In San Diego, three adults with jobs that involved interacting with high school students, were arrested within days of each other. Each man is accused of sex crimes involving minors. Each has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

      A 48-year-old former Navy Junior ROTC instructor who served as a substitute is accused of having a relationship with a female high school student.

      An assistant football coach, 27, is accused of committing lewd acts with a 13-year-old freshman female on school property, according to the criminal complaint. 

      In the third case, a 20-year-old tutor is accused of sex crimes with a minor. 

      Experts say that, most often, inappropriate relationships between adults and children begin slowly with actions that do not physically harm the victim.

      Perpetrators will often use touches that feel good to the child so they will be less likely to tell.

      The process, known as "grooming," is done in person or online by 89 percent of sex offenders, according to a training guide developed by the University of San Diego.

      Former FBI agent Kenneth Lanning worked with the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) to identify signs of grooming.

      He’s identified five steps taken by most perpetrators:

      • The predator identifies a possible victim. Lanning said easy targets are children from broken homes or those who have a troubled family life.
      • The perpetrator then collects information about the child, often appearing sympathetic or charming when the child has a need to discuss a problem.
      • It’s important that the predator fill a need not only for the child but also for the family or parent.
      • The perpetrator then works to lower inhibitions, often offering gifts or money to see how well the child can keep secrets.
      • By the time the predator initiates abuse, the child may fear losing the relationship if he/she objects to the abuse
      Grooming doesn't always happen in person. It can be going on through video games or mobile devices. 

      Convicted offenders tell researchers they groom targets using social media because it helps them identify common interests or hobbies they can exaggerate to find a connection with a child.

      Most children will accept a friend request from someone they don't know. FBI officials say simply accepting that friend request gives a sex offender insight into a child's life.

      Here are some of the warning signs you or your child may know someone who is actively grooming:

    • Someone who continually tries to arrange alone time with one child, often using many different reasons or excuses for this behavior.
    • Someone who insists on being physical with a child (excessive hugging, touching, kissing, wrestling, horseplay or other accidental touching games)
    • Someone who prefers to spend most of his or her free time with children and seems to have
    • No interest in relationships with individuals their own age
    • Someone who continually invites children to spend time alone at their home, enticing them with the latest video/computer games, toys, gadgets, etc. - especially an adult who does not have children of their own
    • Someone who seems "just too good to be true."
    • Read more about the warning signs here. 

      Parents can help prevent access by educating themselves on the signs of grooming and keeping an open dialogue with their child. 

      Instead of talking about “good touches” and “bad touches,” model healthy physical and emotional boundaries and talk about what's private and what's not. 

      The NCAC website lists a number of things parents should watch for when it comes to a someone grooming their child for sexual abuse.

      Read more about grooming prevention here

      <![CDATA[Irregular Periods May Raise Ovarian Cancer Risk: Study]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:59:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ovarian+Cancer1.jpg

      Women who had irregular periods in their 20s were more likely to develop ovarian cancer decades later, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

      Researchers reported in the International Journal of Cancer that women who had irregular periods at age 26 had double the risk of ovarian cancer by age 70 and triple the risk by age 77.

      But researchers point out that it doesn't mean that every woman who has irregular periods is doomed to develop ovarian cancer. Of the 15,000 who participated in the study, over the next 50 years, only 116 developed ovarian cancer.

      What the findings can do is offer new avenues for research into what causes ovarian cancer, a highly deadly form of cancer because most women don't even know they have it until it's spread.

      Photo Credit: Ohio State University / MediaSource]]>
      <![CDATA[Local Lab to Test Zika Virus Samples ]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:19:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/zika-GettyImages-507416934.jpg

      When someone in San Diego shows symptoms that may be considered the Zika virus, there will be a local lab available to process the test. 

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cleared the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) to test clinical specimens for Zika virus Monday, April 4.

      The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) is one of the six laboratories in California, three of which are located in Southern California, that are authorized at this time to use the new test to detect for Zika virus.

      The center can test for zika along with other tropical viruses that have similar early symptoms to zika, like dengue and chikungunya viruses. 

      The Trioplex Real-time RT-PCR Assay (Trioplex rRT-PCR), a new test developed by the CDC, is not available in local hospitals and clinics. 

      However, if the patient’s sample resembles symptoms of Zika, they will still send samples to assigned Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratories designated by the CDC. 

      Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
      <![CDATA[Doc Learns Fate for Fake Prescriptions]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 08:57:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/courtroom+generic+722.jpg

      A San Diego dermatologist has been sentenced for writing fraudulent prescriptions. 

      Dermatologist Dr. Matthew Cole got time served and one year of federal supervised release for writing prescriptions of oxycodone, Xanax, and Ambien for friends and his wife.

      A plea agreement listed 39 separate prescriptions, amounting to more than 1800 tablets.

      Cole and his wife, Shireen Cole, both 37, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to acquire controlled substances by fraud, deception and subterfuge.

      In total, prosecutors said the Coles acquired 1,820 tablets of drugs, 1,280 of which were oxycodone and the others were Ambien and Xanax.

      The defendant, who faced a maximum penalty of four years in prison, enrolled in a drug treatment program.

      Cole had offices in San Diego and National City at the time of his guilty plea. 

      <![CDATA[Researchers Use 3D Printer to Make Heart]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 07:59:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_heartvalve0419_1920x1080.jpg Researchers use a 3D printer to make an exact model of a patient's heart prior to a complicated surgery. KARE's Janel Klein reports.]]> <![CDATA[Doctors Hail 'Revolutionary' Stroke Treatment]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:26:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_strokes0419_1920x1080.jpg A new study finds more than 90 percent of patients who are able to undergo stent retrieval within two and a half hours of an acute ischemic stroke have minimal to no lasting disability.]]> <![CDATA[Theranos CEO 'Devastated' About Blood Test Issues]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:55:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_241410476392.jpg

      Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of blood-testing company Theranos, said she was "devastated" after an inspection found "critical violations" at her California lab, raising questions about an accuracy of the tests. 

      The Silicon Valley company, valued at $9 billion, partners with Walgreens to provide quick, in-store blood tests at a fraction of regular prices. In November, a federal inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the company failed to hire and train qualified staff to work the testing machines, and let unlicensed workers review test results. 

      "I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster," Holmes said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Monday.

      Holmes said the lab stopped testing and that she is rebuilding the "entire laboratory from scratch," but a letter from regulators in March called her fixes insufficient and threatened to shut down the lab and ban Holmes from the business of blood testing for at least two years.

      Holmes said she has hired a new lab director and an expert medical board to prevent any future violations. She is awaiting response from CMS.

      Photo Credit: AP
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      <![CDATA[No Antivenin Available for Painful Spider Bites]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 19:13:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Black+Widow+Found+in+Grapes+Cropped.jpg

      A La Jolla woman learned the hard way that there’s little relief if you are bitten by a black widow spider in San Diego County.

      Diane Berol was watering roses outside her home on March 25 when a spider slipped inside her gardening glove and bit her twice between her fingers.

      It was such a strong prickling sensation that even two weeks later, with one of her fingers still swollen, Berol said she could still feel the pain.

      “The pain was so intense,” Berol said. “By the time I reached this tree, I had to stop watering it because I couldn’t. I thought I might die right here.”

      A trip to Scripps La Jolla’s emergency room confirmed it was a black widow spider bite. Her husband, John, started researching remedies.

      It turned out there wasn’t any – at least here in San Diego County.

      “There is antivenin available that works really well. It would have taken care of the problem in 15 and (it would have been) done and over with, but it wasn’t available,” John Berol said.

      While these type of spider bites are not life threatening, they can cause extreme pain. And Berol said pain medication did little to ease the discomfort.

      Scripps La Jolla confirmed the antivenin made by pharmaceutical giant Merck isn’t available.

      So what’s the deal? Black widows aren’t aggressive and bites are uncommon, so the Berols think having a ready supply of the antivenin isn’t a priority.

      “I endured what felt like somebody put a hot razor blade in a flame and decided to slice it up through my hand,” she said.

      Fortunately, medical experts say not everyone has this extreme of a reaction to the bites.

      <![CDATA[Zika Virus Mutation May Explain Spread, Birth Defects: Study]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:39:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

      Researchers hope genetic mutations they found in the Zika virus may explain why it seems to be causing birth defects, according to NBC News. 

      The current virus strain comes from one that circulated in Asia, the team at University of California, Los Angeles, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College said, proving earlier findings the strain isn’t the same as the one first seen in Africa. 

      "By tracing its genetic mutations, we aimed to understand how the virus is transmitted from person to person and how it causes different types of disease," one of the researchers said. 

      The researchers said they believe the mutations could help the virus replicate more easily and invade new tissues in the body and even the immune system.

      Photo Credit: AP]]>
      <![CDATA[Parents Concerned About Powdered Alcohol]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Palcohol-generic-0422.jpg

      Alcohol in a powdered form could be hitting store shelves across the country but some parents and states are fighting to ban it.

      Nearly 100 parents and public health advocates met Friday to keep powdered alcohol from being sold in San Diego.

      "Palcohol is not some super concentrated version of alcohol it's simply one shot of alcohol in powdered form," Mark Phillips, the creator of Palcohol says in an online demonstration.

      Phillips argues Palcohol is safer than liquid alcohol and offers a number of benefits Including medical, culinary and commercial uses.

      However, it's that powdered form that's concerning to parents and public safety advocates.

      They say powdered alcohol can be snorted, mixed, vaped and consumed in a number of dangerous ways.

      Opponents argue it is easily concealed, difficult to enforce or keep away from children.

      Danielle Martinez, who has an 8-year-old boy, is concerned that powdered alcohol is not easily recognizable as harmful.

      "I think it’s really frightening," she said. "If a child were to find that and ingest that, it could be very harmful to them."

      The substance is currently banned in 31 states. There is a push to ban powdered alcohol moving through the California Assembly.

      Meanwhile Phillips said he hopes to have the product available in stores later this year.

      <![CDATA[Heat May Have Led to Hot Springs Deaths]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 12:40:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/PHOTO148888271169957918858ap.jpg

      Sheriff's deputies in Nevada are investigating whether two people whose bodies were found in a hot spring died because the water was too hot. 

      Humboldt County Sheriff's Capt. Kevin Malone told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the bodies were found at Bog Hot Springs on Sunday, near the Oregon border. 

      Nevada is home to hundreds of hot springs, which range in temperature from warm to scalding. 

      Malone says a friend discovered their bodies after searching for them. 

      Deputies are still investigating the cause of death but don't suspect foul play.

      Photo Credit: Kim Nguyen]]>
      <![CDATA[Counterfeit Tablets With 'Ultra-Deadly' Drug Seized]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 21:38:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fentanyl+Tablets+DEA+0422+2016.PNG

      A man trying to smuggle more than a thousands tablets of the 'ultra-deadly' fentanyl in his underwear -- disguised as oxycodone -- was stopped at the U.S.-Mexico in what authorities believe is the first time border authorities have intercepted the purposely mislabeled drug, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced Thursday. 

      Sergio Linyuntang Mendoza Bohon, 19, of Tijuana, Mexico, was arraigned on one charge of unlawfully importing a controlled substance Thursday. 

      Court documents revealed Bohon tried to smuggled 1,183 tablets of fentanyl labeled as oxycodone and 5.4 grams of powdered fentanyl. Officials said they believe it is the first time they have caught counterfeit oxycodone tablets containing the "ultra deadly" fentanyl as they were being smuggled. 

      “Unsuspecting individuals who illegally purchase oxycodone could potentially die from the ingestion of what turns out to be fentanyl tablets,” said Duffy in a statement. “We are very concerned that these counterfeit pills could bring serious harm to users. Even minuscule amounts of fentanyl can have devastating consequences for those who abuse it or literally even touch it.”

      Duffy said the smuggler's recent attempt to bring the hundreds of counterfeit pills into the U.S. raises serious concerns about the rise of the drug, which has lead to dozens of overdoses across California and at least 11 deaths, according to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services. 

      "So if I'm sitting in my garage and I have my bag of fentanyl that I bought on the internet, there's probably not a lot of real measurement going on to, how will I know you would overdose on this amount of fentanyl, versus the person next to you," said DEA Agent Amy Roderick. "And I don't think they really care."

      On Feb. 10, a Customers and Border Patrol (CBP) officer was interacting with Bohon at the pedestrian crossing when the officer spotted an unnatural looking bulge, Duffy said. At a secondary inspection, officers found the tablets hidden in his underwear. 

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents responded. 

      In a statement to officers, Bohon wrongly stated the tablets were oxycodone and said he was trying to smuggle them into the U.S. However, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration Laboratory confirmed the pills were made of fentanyl. 

      In Sacramento, at least 11 people have died and dozens have overdosed as a result of consuming counterfeit prescription painkiller Narco tablets, which instead contained fentanyl.

      "It's also easier to smuggle," said Roderick. "You don't need as much to get high. We're talking grains of this stuff as opposed to a gram of heroin, where you can use grains of this." 

      Fentanyl is 20 to 50 times more potent than heroin. In some parts of the U.S., fentanyl is replacing heroin, or those making the drug are mixing it in with heroin. 

      DEA investigations have found many Mexican drug cartels, including Sinaloa, have bought the drug from China.

      "When it comes up through Mexico, it does come through San Diego," said Roderick. "We know it's not all destined for San Diego, that we don't have a huge market for it here, but again, they are mixing it into heroin and fraudulent prescription pills and so there are a lot of different ways to mask or make heroin strong, or to try and make more money." 

      Bohon will appear in court next on May 2 before U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff for a motion hearing.

      NBC 7's Liz Bryant contributed to this report. 

      Photo Credit: DEA]]>
      <![CDATA[Parasites May Help Stomach & Bowel Diseases]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/160414-worm-story-mdl_c8f63d898d16fe763f375098bad69621.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

      Researchers believe they’ve figured out that worm-like parasites may help stomach and bowel diseases, NBC News reports.

      "Our findings are among the first to link parasites and bacteria to the origin of inflammatory bowel diseases, supporting the hygiene hypothesis," said P'ng Loke, of New York University's Langone medical center, who helped lead the research.

      Taking too many antibiotics can cause the germs living in the intestines to die back, and be replaced by bad actors. 

      But the research showed people in less developed areas and who are loaded with germs and worms are far less likely to have allergies, asthma and unpleasant bowel diseases such as Crohn's.

      Photo Credit: NYU Langone Medical Center]]>
      <![CDATA[CDC Sees Same-Sex Zika Transmission]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 20:28:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509588626.jpg

      A Dallas man who contracted Zika in Venezuela transferred it to a male sexual partner after returning home in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Thursday.

      The case was identified by a local health care provider earlier this year and investigated by Dallas County Health and Human Services before being referred to the CDC.

      "At this time, there had been one prior case report of sexual transmission of Zika virus. The present case report indicates Zika virus can be transmitted through anal sex, as well as vaginal sex," the CDC said in a statement Thursday.

      Two days after the man returned to Dallas from a one-week trip abroad, he began to show symptoms consistent with Zika infection — subjective fever, pruritic rash on his upper body and face, and conjunctivitis lasting three days, the CDC said.

      During the investigation into the infection, officials learned the man had unprotected anal sex one day before and one day after the onset of symptoms. Seven days after first showing symptoms, the man's partner began to show symptoms of Zika infection as well.

      "On Day 7, patient B developed a subjective fever, myalgia, headache, lethargy, and malaise; a few days later, he developed a slightly pruritic rash on his torso and arms, small joint arthritis of his hands and feet, and conjunctivitis," the CDC said.

      After a week, all of the symptoms had subsided.

      The man who traveled to Venezuela said multiple people living in the area he visited were experiencing symptoms of Zika infections. The man's monogamous partner in Dallas had never traveled to Venezuela and has not traveled to any area with known cases of Zika.

      Dallas County health officials sent specimen samples to the CDC for analysis, and it later confirmed the man who traveled to Venezuela had contracted both Zika and dengue, while his partner had only contracted Zika.

      The department's director called the developments a game changer.

      "Surveillance is going to be on two fronts - one in terms of individuals who travel...and get a mosquito bite and those who travel and engage in sexual activity," said Dallas County health director Zach Thompson.

      Thompson said confirmation that Zika can be sexually transmitted should put pressure on federal lawmakers to approve emergency funding for accine research.

      "We need a vaccine," Thompson said. "The funding that's being held up in congress is going to hold up whether or not you can do the research. Right now, unless congress kind of moves on giving President Obama what he asks for, there may be some delay in seeing Zika funding."

      Further information about the patients is not yet known and is not expected to be released, citing privacy concerns.

      Zika virus infection has been linked to increased risk for Guillain-Barré syndrome and adverse fetal outcomes, including congenital microcephaly.

      Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
      <![CDATA[Avoiding Unnecessary C-Sections ]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 06:44:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+pregnant+generic.jpeg

      Consumer Reports’ latest study finds that the number of cesarean deliveries remains very high in the U.S., despite the desire of many women to have a nonsurgical birth.

      Women who have C-sections can find that it takes longer to recover and that it’s more likely that any children that follow will also be delivered by C-section.

      Consumer Reports looked into why so many women with low-risk first pregnancies end up having C-sections. Its Health Rating Center analyzed hospital data from across the country and found that the likelihood of having a C-section often comes down to the hospital where a woman delivers.

      The report includes a section titled, Having a Baby in California, where Consumer Reports rates hospitals on C-sections, infections, breastfeeding and more.

      The C-section rate considered reasonable from the Department of Health and Human Resources is under 24 percent for women with low-risk first pregnancies, but many hospitals exceed that. 

      Even among hospitals in the same area, Consumer Reports found that rates vary widely.

      For example, in Riverside, California, the Riverside Community Hospital had a C-section rate of 35 percent. Seven miles away, the Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center was able to keep its rate to 22 percent.

      The highest of all was at the Hialeah Hospital near Miami, where 68 percent of women with low-risk first pregnancies had a C-section.

      You can check on Consumer Reports ratings for your hospital. Of course, there are situations when having a C-section is the safest delivery option. But for women anticipating a low-risk delivery, Consumer Reports believes that they should be encouraged to give birth without having surgery.

      In San Diego, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns delivered the most babies in California in 2014 and had a C-section rate of nearly 34 percent among low-risk births. Sharp is using data from the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative to make changes to lower its rate below 23.9 percent within five years.

      <![CDATA[De Niro Defends Support for Anti-Vaccine Film]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:28:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Robert+De+Niro+on+Today+.png

      Actor Robert De Niro defended Wednesday the controversial anti-vaccine documentary "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe" that he pulled from this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

      Speaking on NBC's "Today" show he noted that he is not anti-vaccine, "but I want safe vaccines."

      "I think the movie is something that people should see," the Oscar winner said. "There's a lot of things that are not said. I, as a parent of a child who has autism, am concerned. And I want to know the truth."

      "Vaxxed" was originally set to screen Sunday, April 24 at the 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival, but was pulled after other filmmakers threatened to leave the festival. 

      Scientists have repeatedly debunked many of the assertions De Niro makes in the interview. Decades of study have also shown no link at all to vaccines and autism, leaving scientists increasingly impatient with the refusal to accept their findings, NBC News reported. 

      Photo Credit: "Today"
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      <![CDATA[Teens With Sleep Issues Take Dangerous Risks: CDC]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 18:26:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CDCLogo-AP_134942423520.jpg

      High school students who get too little sleep — or too much — are also more likely to drive drunk or take other risks.

      That's the finding of a government survey of more than 50,000 high school students.

      Researchers said they don't know if sleep issues cause teens to take dangerous risks, or whether both are a reflection of depression or other problems.

      Students who get only five or six hours a night were twice as likely to say they'd driven while drinking in the previous month, compared to kids who regularly got a full night's sleep. That was also true of kids who got 10 or more hours per night, compared to regular sleepers, researchers found.

      The CDC released the study Thursday. 

      Photo Credit: PR NEWSWIRE]]>
      <![CDATA[Local Doc Joins Olympic Panel to Advise on Infectious Diseases]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 20:51:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/N6P+ZIKA+VIRUS+SYMPOSIUM+PKG+-+00003926.jpg

       A San Diego doctor has been selected to join a U.S. Olympic Advisory Group on infectious diseases to help communicate, in part, the latest information on the Zika virus ahead of the athletes' trip to Brazil. 

      Dr. Randy Taplitz, the clinical director of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Diego, will assist the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in finding and creating best practices for the assessment and management of infectious disease. 

      In particular, the group will take a look at how athletes and staff traveling to the Olympic and Paralympic games will be impacted by the issues. 

      "I think that every athlete needs to make their own personal decision about what they want to do I think that again. you know. it's the job of the USOC to make sure that they have all the updated information and guidance that they feel that they need to make that decision," said Taplitz.

      A small group of athletes have said they would consider skipping the summer games in Rio de Janeiro if they feel their health is at risk, including the women's soccer goalkeeper, Hope Solo. 

      Taplitz says 80 percent of the people infected won't know they have been infected and 20 perfect may get slight symptoms, like a fever or muscle aches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for those traveling to countries with the disease.

      "What they suggest is that a woman coming back from a Zika endemic area would likely be recommended to wait at least eight weeks before getting pregnant or should considerate it," said Taplitz.

      For men, the wait period is six months, because doctors don't know exactly how long the virus can last in their reproductive organs, she said. Find more information about travel advisories here.

      Taplitz says for the most part, the athletes are ready for Rio, despite the virus. 

      "From what we're hearing most of the athletes are planning to go there planning to compete they're very excited about it," she said.

      The group will be chaired by Dr. Carrie L. Byington, MD, from the University of Utah Health Care. Byington will be joined by Dr. Randy Taplitz, MD, from the University of California, San Diego, and Capt. Martin S. Cetron, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
      <![CDATA[Pinwheels Pay Tribute to Child Abuse Survivors]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 10:47:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Palomar-Health-Pinwheels.jpg

      A colorful tribute lined the lawn at Palomar Health Downtown Campus in Escondido Tuesday: more than 330 pinwheels each symbolizing a child abuse survivor.

      To mark April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the multi-colored pinwheels were placed on the lawn of Palomar Health Downtown Campus at 555 E. Valley Parkway.

      Each pinwheel stands for a child treated over the past year by the facility’s Child Abuse Program at Palomar Health's Forensic Health Services Program.

      According to a spokesperson, Palomar Health is involved in both the prevention and investigation of child abuse cases in San Diego County.

      In connection with law enforcement agencies in the North County, the Forensic Health Services program is involved interviewing survivors of child abuse. Children are medically assessed through the program, and Palomar Health helps to assist Child Protective Services and investigations in determining the nature and extent of a child’s abuse.

      Free parent workshops, developmental and behavioral check-ups and treatment services for young children and their families are provided by the Healthy Development Services program (HDS).

      Palomar Health’s Child Abuse program saw its first young victim in 1985. Today, the program supports several hundred children each year in north San Diego County.

      The Palomar Health website says the program is one of 54 such programs in California, and one of only two in San Diego County.

      For more about services and support offered by Palomar Health, visit this website. To make a donation to the Child Abuse Program, click here.

      Photo Credit: Palomar Health]]>
      <![CDATA[Emerald Cashews Recalled Over Glass Shards]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 11:55:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Emerald_Recall.jpg

      Emerald cashews are being recalled nationwide over concerns some packages could contain glass pieces, U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

      Snyder's-Lance, Inc., makers of Emerald brand nuts, is issuing a voluntary recall of a limited number of Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Roasted and Salted Cashew Halves & Pieces product.

      The product is being recalled because of the possible presence of small pieces of glass that could potentially cause harm, according to the FDA. No injuries have been reported.

      The affected products include:

      • Product: Emerald 100 Calorie Packs Roasted & Salted Cashew Halves & Pieces
      • Retail Carton UPC Code: 0 10300 33324 1
      • Retail Carton "Best Before" Dates: 12 DEC 16, 13 DEC 16, 18 DEC 16, 21 DEC 16
      • Inner Package UPC Code: 0 10300 33399 9
      • Inner Package Production Codes: 15346D346S, 15347D346S, 15352D346S, 15355D346S

      The company issued a statement addressing the recall: "The quality and safety of our products are the top priority for our company. We apologize to our retail customers and consumers and sincerely regret an inconvenience created by this recall. We are working and cooperating fully with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on this voluntary recall." 

      Customers are urged to contact consumer affairs for a full refund at 503-364-0399 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, or online.

      Photo Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Snyder-Lance Inc.
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      <![CDATA[Balboa Park to Turn Blue]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 12:28:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Balboa+Park+Goes+Blue+April+2.jpg

      San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park is typically lush green but on Saturday, it the landmark will be blue.

      In support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), the museums and buildings along El Prado in Balboa Park will glow blue that night – the color that symbolizes support for the millions of families affected by autism, both locally and across the globe.

      Building by building, spot by spot, Balboa Park will go blue. At 7 p.m., the iconic Bea Evenson Fountain on the east end of The Prado, between the Natural History Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, will light up.

      As part of WAAD, Balboa Park will join thousands of other landmarks around the world in shining a light on autism, including the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House and the International Space Station.

      In addition to building local awareness of autism and supporting San Diego families impacted by autism, the lighting of Balboa Park will also shed light on the park’s new autism accessibility programs.

      April is Autism Awareness Month. Worldwide, 70 million people are affected by autism. In San Diego, there are more than 10,000 residents with autism. Every 11 minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism, according to the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR). One in 68 Americans has autism.

      Through WAAD and the month of April, NFAR, Balboa Park, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Autism Society of San Diego, the Autism Tree Project Foundation and Autism Speaks San Diego will join together to raise awareness for autism as a growing health concern, and educate locals on the various autism programs and resources available in San Diego.

      To help support NFAR’s ongoing efforts to fund local autism services – including providing equipment for children with autism to nearly 600 San Diego classrooms – donate to the organization online here.

      The observance of WAAD on April 2 was officially adopted by the United Nations in 2007.

      Each year since, the “Light It Up Blue” campaign kicks off Autism Awareness Month by shining blue lights in honor of families impacted by autism at thousands of landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the world. Supporters can also wear blue.

      Photo Credit: Balboa Park]]>
      <![CDATA[Baby Deadline Test Lets Women Beat Biological Clocks]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:54:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PregnancyTest-GettyImages-566438193%281%29.jpg

      A test that has been a staple in fertility clinics is now being used to help women predict their fertility, NBC News reported.

      The test, now being called the “baby deadline test,” is a simple blood analysis that measures the amount of Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in a woman’s bloodstream. The hormone is released by follicles in the ovaries, indicating the possible number of eggs a woman has left. A higher result means more eggs, while a lower result means fewer eggs.

      Women are born with a finite amount of eggs, starting out with roughly one to two million in their ovaries. At puberty, the number drops down to about 300,000 — and by age 30, that number drops by 90 percent.

      "There are some young, healthy women who are living their lives in shape and taking very good care of themselves who might not know that their reserve strength of their ovaries is lower than it should be." said Dr. Joshua Hurwitz with Reproductive Medical Associates of Connecticut. "It's a question of having the knowledge and awareness of keeping your options open."

      Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
      <![CDATA['Kitchenistas' Documentary Spotlights Healthy Latin Cooking]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 15:09:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Kitchenistas-Pollock-3.jpg

      A documentary screened this week at UC San Diego put a spotlight on local, Latin-inspired cooking and how traditional recipes can be turned into healthier dishes and, ultimately, into healthier habits.

      UC San Diego hosted a screening Tuesday evening of “The Kitchenistas of National City.” The 20-minute documentary was followed by a discussion on how to use healthier Latin recipes to create healthier eating habits in a community plagued with health issues.

      The documentary focuses on National City, a community approximately seven miles south of downtown San Diego, whose obesity and diabetes rates are among the highest in the state – and the highest in San Diego County.

      It follows the story of the “Kitchenistas” – Maria Aurora Torres and her granddaughter, 8-year-old Daisy – local residents who graduated from a program at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in National City called “Cooking for Salud!” that teaches healthy cooking and eating habits.

      When Torres was in her 40s, she was diagnosed diabetic and later developed a high potential for kidney failure. She soon learned that the way she was cooking her traditional Mexican dishes was detrimental to her health and the health of her family.

      In the film, she explains that diabetes has become an unwanted tradition, with many of her family members developing the disease at around the age 40.

      “I want people to learn that they don’t have to be diabetic. I want to start with me and my family,” Torres says in the documentary.

      Torres joined "Cooking for Salud!" to learn new, healthy ways to make her favorite meals.

      Graduates of the program are affectionately known as “Kitchenistas,” a term also meant to signify the idea of being a professional within one’s own kitchen.

      According to Blanca Meléndrez, Executive Director of the UCSD Center for Community Health, 60 percent of adults in San Diego County are overweight, and 15 percent of the population is considered food-insecure – not knowing from where their next meal might come, or whether it will be nutritious.

      “The Kitchenistas” emphasizes health challenges such as an overabundance of fast food restaurants in National City, and how the area is considered a “food desert,” which means that fruits and vegetables are not easily accessible within one to 10 miles of where most people live.

      It’s also a largely Latino community and one of the poorest areas in San Diego County, as City data shows that 22 percent of its residents earn income below the poverty level compared with 10.1 percent of the general population of San Diego County.

      The film’s producer and director, Mary Ann Beyster, said she decided to pursue this story when she saw the Kitchenistas speak about the Cooking for Salud! program at the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.

      At the seven- week program, local chefs donate their time to support healthier lifestyles by teaching nutritional recipes, organic gardening and cooking advice to a class of 15 students.

      “I saw Maria present and found it really inspirational. I knew that this could start a dialogue,” said Beyster, speaking at the film screening. “It dawned on me later that the mothers are really social entrepreneurs.”

      Beyster describes mothers as key family members who can be empowered to stop cycles of poor nutrition and break unhealthy habits.

      The screening was followed by a lively discussion led by a panel of speakers who talked about the deeper themes in the movie. This included commentary from panelists Patty Corona, Beyster, Meléndrez, Healy Vidgerson and Dr. Martha Soledad Vela Acosta.

      As another Kitchenista herself, Corona noted that people want to make changes, but they often do not have access to the tools or resources to alter their lifestyle.

      “In two or three minutes when these women tell you all the illnesses in their families, you have to cry,” said Corona at the panel.

      After describing the lack of access people have to nutrition education and how the program helps develop healthier practices, she later said, “What makes the program stronger is how the women who take it become leaders in the community.”

      Meléndrez said the problems in National City are exacerbated by having cities designed for cars rather than physical activity, along with 50 percent of restaurants only offering fast food meals.

      Dr. Vela Acosta finished off the panel by emphasizing the importance of taking a holistic approach to positive health practices.

      “If you’re going to build a house, are you going to use cardboard? No, so how are we going to build our bodies?” she said.

      Acosta talked about how the most important factor in eating habits often boils down to time, and whether or not people prioritize planning ahead for their meals.

      “Maybe I don’t have enough time, but I can use a slow cooker and come home to a healthy meal at the end of the day,” said Acosta.

      She also reminded everyone not to only prioritize physical health but to appreciate their mental state as well.

      After the screening and panel, guests were treated to Kitchenista-inspired food.

      This included cauliflower cerviche, baked mini chile rellenos and Baja California chicken quesadillas filled with veggies, herbs and jack cheese. Refreshments included coffee drinks and a sugar-free, icy fruit punch mixed with fresh lemon slices. Some of the dishes included healthy recipe handouts, as well as a Latin cookbook called “El Sabor De Mi Cocina.”

      Photo Credit: Cassia Pollock
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      <![CDATA[Zika Virus Causes Brain Damage to Fetus: Study]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 14:20:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

      The Zika virus can cause brain damage to a fetus, despite normal ultrasound results early in pregnancy, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

      There were no telltale signs of birth defects when researchers conducted an ultrasound of a Zika-infected pregnant mother at 13, 16 and 17 weeks. But later ultrasounds revealed other brain abnormalities.

      "While this is a single case, it poses troubling questions that could inform future research," said the study's co-senior author, Dr. Adre du Plessis, director of the Fetal Medicine Institute and chief of the Fetal and Transitional Medicine Division at Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C.

      The study also revealed that Zika can cause invisible damage to a fetus that could show up later, and that it made its way into developing muscle, liver, lung and the spleen.  

      Photo Credit: AP]]>
      <![CDATA[9-Year-Old Dies of Influenza; 2nd Pediatric Death in County]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 13:22:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flu+generic+germs+generic.jpg

      A 9-year-old has died from influenza B, marking the second pediatric death resulting from the flu in San Diego County this season, County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials said.

      The boy, who had underlying medical conditions, died March 26, bringing the total of reported influenza-related deaths to 56. Last week, a 16-year-old teen with underlying medical conditions died as a result of the flu, HHSA officials said Wednesday. 

      “A child dying from influenza is tragic,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Our sympathy and condolences go out to the family for their loss.”

      Five other flu deaths were reported in the week ending March 26.

      That figure is significantly less than the 91 flu deaths reported at this same time last year, the HHSA says. The ages of those who have died from the illness this season range from 9 to 98 years old. The HHSA says seven of those people had no known underlying medical conditions. 

      Officials previously said they believe that flu season peaked in mid-March. 

      Last week, the HHSA says the number of lab-confirmed flu cases throughout the county tallied 281 – down from the 395 reported last week. To date this season, there have been 5,599 lab-confirmed cases in the county, compared to 6,612 last season.

      The HHSA says six percent of all emergency department visits last week in San Diego were patients experiencing influenza-like illness.

      Wooten says people should still get vaccinated and take other precautions to avoid getting sick, including frequent and thorough hand-washing and staying away from anyone who is ill.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year.

      The CDC says vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of developing complications from the flu, including people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people age 65 and older or people who live or care for others who are at higher risk.

      The flu vaccine is available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Those without health insurance can get the vaccine at a public health center. Call 211 or visit the 211 San Diego website for more information.

      Photo Credit: CDC]]>
      <![CDATA[FDA Panel Votes in Favor of Experimental Drug]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 08:19:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/drug+test+generic.jpg

      The Food and Drug Administration's panel of advisers voted 12-2 Tuesday in favor of an experimental drug from ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, saying its benefits outweigh the risks.

      The panel’s vote is considered a recommendation for approval and is nonbinding, though the FDA often follows the advice of its panelists. ACADIA stock was up almost 24 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement.

      “We are very encouraged by the Committee’s positive vote (Tuesday) and look forward to working with the FDA as it completes its review of Nuplazid,” said Steve Davis, ACADIA’s president and chief executive officer. “If approved by the FDA, Nuplazid would be the first drug indicated to treat psychosis associated with Parkinson’s disease.”

      Earlier Tuesday, Nasdaq halted trading of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals’ stock as speculation regarding the regulatory review of clinical data spiked unusually high trading activity on Monday.

      The San Diego drugmaker's stock was up nearly 20 percent on exceptionally high volume when trading was halted. The apparent catalyst behind the move was a positive note in the Food and Drug Administration’s briefing documents for ACADIA’s experimental Parkinson’s disease psychosis drug called Nuplazid, which was scheduled to be reviewed by a panel of outside experts Tuesday.

      The spike underscores investor confidence despite a mixed-bag internal review of the medication released last week.

      The company focuses on central nervous system (CNS) disorders and has a collaboration deal with Allergan focused on potential pain medications. Nuplazid is being tested on a variety of CNS diseases in clinical trials, including psychosis associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

      This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
      <![CDATA[New Zika Guidelines for Couples Before Pregnancy]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 16:17:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PregnancyTest-GettyImages-566438193%281%29.jpg

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning couples who have been exposed to the Zika virus they may need to wait up to six months before trying to conceive, NBC News reported.

      According to the new guidelines, women with Zika should wait at least two months before trying to become pregnant. For men, the guidelines recommend no sex or condom use for at least six months. The waiting period for men is longer because it can take up to two months to detect the virus in semen.

      Previous guidelines have focused on protecting women who were already pregnant.

      Zika is a mosquito-borne virus and has been linked to serious birth defects. The virus is spreading in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is expected to rise this summer.  

      Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>