<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:27:47 -0700 Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:27:47 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boston Marathon Dream Wedding]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:27:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/edt-KJWedding1.jpg If something good could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing, James Costello and Krista D'Agostino seem to have found it.

Photo Credit: Prudente Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Pack a Better Lunch]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:55:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/middayguest0825_1200x675_321859651621.jpg It's time to prep those lunch boxes. Dietician Katie Ferraro will join us with more on how to make lunch delicious and nutritious for your kids. ]]> <![CDATA[Marijuana Use Among Juvenile Hall Youth at High: Study]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:23:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana-pot-smoke-inhale.jpg

Marijuana use among youth booked into Juvenile Hall in San Diego County is at the highest rate seen in the past 14 years, according to a newly-released report from SANDAG.

The study, which included interviewing 136 youth at Juvenile Hall within 48 hours of their arrest and obtaining urine samples, found that more than half of the minors booked into the facility tested positive for pot – 53 percent, to be precise.

That figure is up 11 percent from 42 percent in 2000, SANDAG said.

According to the study, 90 percent of youth reported that they had tried marijuana. The average age of their first use of the drug was at 12 years old.

Two-thirds, or 62 percent, of those surveyed said pot was the first drug they had tried, up from 35 percent in 2009.

SANDAG said 88 percent of youth said it was “very easy” or “easy” to obtain marijuana. Meanwhile, only 16 percent of juvenile pot users said the use of the drug was “very bad” or “bad” for them, compared to 34 percent for alcohol and 58 percent for tobacco.

Of the youth who tested positive for marijuana, 58 percent said they had ridden in a car driven by someone under the influence, while 42 percent admitted they had gone to school drunk or high. The study said 41 percent said they had gotten into a physical fight while drunk or high.

SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Director Dr. Cynthia Burke said the results of the study indicate a rise in the popularity of marijuana among youth in the San Diego region.

"At the same time, there is a growing perception among young people that the drug does not pose significant risks," Burke added.

Last month, SANDAG released related research on the use of methamphetamine among youth booked in Juvenile Hall in San Diego County. That report found that 10 percent of youth booked into the local facility tested positive for meth in 2013. This was a significant increase after record lows of 4 percent in 2011 and 2012, though still far below the record high of 21 percent reported in 2005.

Photo Credit: David Sutherland]]>
<![CDATA[Sam's Club Caesar Salads Recalled]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:28:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sams_club1.jpg

A California firm is recalling chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam's Clubs nationwide for possible listeria contamination.

APPA Fine Foods is recalling more than 92,500 pounds of fully-cooked chicken Caesar salad kit products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The salad kits were shipped nationwide and sold at Sam's Clubs' in-store cafes according to the USDA.

The following products are subject to recall were in 11oz. clear plastic containers and 6.5-lb. boxes labeled, "APPA Fine Foods/Sam’s Club Daily Chef CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD KIT" with case codes 141851, 141922, 141951, 141991, 142021, 142201 or 142131 with use by dates of 8/14/14, 8/21/14, 8/27/14, 9/1/14, 9/3/14 or 9/17/14. The kits were produced on July 4, July 11, July 14, July 18, July 21, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, 2014.

The USDA's FSIS and the company said there have been no reports of illnesses, but anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. The invasive infection can spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

More: California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Salad Kits For Possible Listeria Contamination

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Pulls Yogurt Over Sugar]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:35:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+yogurt+allegations.JPG

Organic supermarket giant Whole Foods has removed a version of its store-brand yogurt from shelves after lawsuits were filed in local courts over the dairy product's sugar content.

A company spokesperson tells NBC10.com Friday that the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt is not being sold as they investigate how much sugar is in each serving.

Two class-action lawsuits were filed earlier this month on behalf of Pennsylvania and New Jersey shoppers.

The suits were brought forth after testing by Consumer Reports found yogurt samples to contain six times the sugar content that was displayed on the nutrition label. The label said 2 grams of sugar was in one container of the product, but the group's analysis found 11.4 grams per serving.

The lawsuit alleges the supermarket knew the label was wrong, but continued to sell the product.

Whole Foods has declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but the spokesperson previously said they were working to determine the discrepancy between their test results and what Consumer Reports found.

Attorneys for the lawsuits are seeking $100 per plaintiff and could represent some 35,000 people. Should they win, the supermarket chain could be forced to pay $3.5 million.

The company spokesperson said several other Greek yogurt options remain stocked for customers in the meantime.

<![CDATA[CA Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Salad Kits Sold at Sam's Clubs]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:58:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/465838521.jpg

A California firm is recalling chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam's Clubs nationwide for possible listeria contamination.

APPA Fine Foods is recalling more than 92,500 pounds of fully-cooked chicken Caesar salad kit products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The salad kits were shipped nationwide and sold at Sam's Clubs' in-store cafes according to the USDA.

The following products are subject to recall were in 11oz. clear plastic containers and 6.5-lb. boxes labeled, "APPA Fine Foods/Sam’s Club Daily Chef CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD KIT" with case codes 141851, 141922, 141951, 141991, 142021, 142201 or 142131 with use by dates of 8/14/14, 8/21/14, 8/27/14, 9/1/14, 9/3/14 or 9/17/14. The kits were produced on July 4, July 11, July 14, July 18, July 21, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, 2014.

The USDA's FSIS and the company said there have been no reports of illnesses, but anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. The invasive infection can spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

More: California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Salad Kits For Possible Listeria Contamination

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Sacramento Patient Tests Negative for Ebola]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:32:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

Health officials said Thursday a patient who was being tested for Ebola in Sacramento has tested negative for the virus.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in California.

"We are pleased with the negative outcome of the Ebola test and wish the patient a speedy recovery," Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health Director and state health officer, said in a statement. "The case in Sacramento County demonstrates that the system is working. This patient was quickly identified, appropriate infection control procedures were implemented, and public health authorities were notified."

State and federal officials earlier in the week said they will not divulge which West African country the patient traveled to or from in order to protect the individual's privacy.

Officials also said they will not be releasing the patient's identity, gender or whether the patient is an adult or minor.

On Tuesday, health officials announced that the patient who was admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center worked with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDPH home page's "Other Hot Topics" and the CDC's page on information and updates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eating Healthy Seafood Has Its Limits]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:13:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/tuna+can.jpg

We've all been advised to eat more seafood.  By most accounts, fish is a great choice.  It's a low-fat source of protein with promises of improving your heart and health. 

However, while some say seafood can help a baby's brain development in the womb, pregnant mothers need to be cautious.

According to Consumer Reports and other researchers, some seafood contains high levels of a form of mercury called methylmercury.

"Mercury can damage the brain and it can damage the nervous system, especially when that exposure occurs in the womb," said Dr. Michael Crupain with Consumer Reports.

New government guidelines encourage women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of fish per week.  They even suggest a minimum quota for young children. 

But Consumer Reports says pregnant women and children should avoid fish like tuna that are high in mercury.  Consumer Reports' food-safety experts say tuna accounts for 40 percent of our mercury exposure, most of that from canned tuna.

"To be safe, Consumer Reports recommends that pregnant women not eat any tuna at all," Crupain said. "Children and anyone who eats a lot of fish should really limit the amount of tuna they eat."

Other fish with high mercury levels are swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.

So what are alternatives for people who want more fish in their diet?  Consumer Reports recommends fish like wild Alaskan salmon, shrimp, sardines, tilapia, scallops, oysters and squid.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen]]>
<![CDATA[Viral Video Shows Heartbreaking Reality of ALS]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:42:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ALSchallenge.JPG

It starts off hilarious: A jocular guy in a bikini challenging Ellen DeGeneres and Miley Cyrus to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Then, it gets personal, real and heartbreaking.

Anthony Carbajal, a Murrieta native and owner of a Temecula wedding photography business, shares in a new YouTube video about a family history of ALS and how he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease earlier this year at age 26.

“I hate talking about it. That’s probably why no one talks it. Because it’s so challenging to watch,” Carbajal says in the video. “No one wants to talk about it. They don’t want it to ruin their day.”

His YouTube video has reached more than 4 million views in just three days and has been spotlighted by Time, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, among other media outlets.

The video is a challenge to naysayers of the ubiquitous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — those who express annoyance that the craze is filling up their Facebook newsfeeds.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers,” he says. “But now, for once, the ALS community has the main spotlight. And for once in my entire life, I’ve seen it in the forefront.”

“Eventually I won’t be able to walk, talk and breathe on my own,” he says. “And that’s the real truth of what ALS is.”

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge took over the Internet, the ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 to Thursday. That's compared to $2.1 million in the same time period last year.

You can watch the video here. (Warning: It contains some profanity.)

His YouTube video also drew the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who accepted his challenged and tweeted this morning:

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Almond, Peanut Butter Recalled]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:04:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/100308-peanut-butter-attack.jpg

A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.

The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters.

They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A total of 45 production lots are affected.

They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S.

The Lake Success, New York, company said it learned of the contamination risk after routine FDA testing.

The Food and Drug Administration said it did not know how many jars of nut butters were recalled. The company would not comment.

Typical symptoms of salmonella infection are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms generally develop within one to three days of exposure to the bacterium and may last for up to a week.  While anyone can become ill from exposure to salmonella, health officials say the risk of infection is particularly high for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

There have been several major salmonella outbreaks in recent years, including infected peanuts that sickened more than 700 people in 2008 and 2009 and Foster Farms chicken that is linked to a strain of salmonella that has made more than 500 people sick over the last year and a half.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this Associated Press report incorrectly identified some of the nut butters recalled.  The error has been corrected in the above report.  We regret the error.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mom: Nanny Saved My Drowning Child]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:24:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gabriel-Clark-Near-Drowning.jpg

A 1-year-old who nearly drowned in his Bonsall neighbor’s backyard pool Monday was saved by the quick-thinking and training of his nanny, his mother said.

Karen Clark insists her nanny's knowledge of CPR saved her son Gabriel.

The toddler was swimming in the neighbor’s pool Monday with his 4-year-old sister under the supervision of his nanny when the near-drowning happened.

“She just turned her back to help Mia jump off the side, and he was in a floaty thing where your feet are in the water and you’re kind of supported, and he tried to get out,” said Clark. “So he wasn’t totally out, but his head was submerged.”

Gabriel was blue and not breathing by the time the nanny performed CPR on him. She then called 911 and Clark who is also a nurse.

The toddler was already responsive by the time paramedics arrived at the home, and they airlifted him to Rady Children’s Hospital.

Clark believes her nanny’s CPR knowledge, something she insisted on before hiring her, saved her son’s life.

“I don’t blame her. I think she did a wonderful job with the situation,” said Clark. “Water safety is so incredibly scary.”

It's a decision the hospital staff is encouraging every parent to make.

Gabriel is the sixth near-drowning victim rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital in two days, hospital officials say.

The hospital reported five separate cases on Sunday alone. Every case had a common denominator.

“It’s a split second. It’s when you take your eye off your child for just a moment’s notice. They’re fast, they’re quick, they love the water and in they go,” said nurse Oseana Bratton.

Experts say pools tend to be the last place people look when they realize a child is missing.

Staff at Rady Children's Hospital said parents need to remember the pool should be the first place they look because when it comes to drowning, every second counts.

<![CDATA[Santa Clara Residents Test Positive for West Nile Virus]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:25:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/westnilevirus.jpg

Santa Clara County is reporting this year's first human cases of West Nile Virus.

Five residents in the county have been infected with the virus, according to Santa Clara health officials.

Two of them had the more severe neuroinvasive form of the disease, West Nile encephalitis. One had West Nile Fever and the other two had no symptoms.

Of the three people with symptoms. two were hospitalized and released, and one is currently hospitalized. All five residents live in areas which reported high West Nile Virus activity this year.

Unlike last year, when West Nile activity in birds and mosquitoes were concentrated in Milpitas and East San Jose, this year it is concentrated in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell and west and south San Jose.

"It is important to remember most people who get a mosquito bite will not become infected, will not develop symptoms and will not need to seek care," said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County. "But in some cases, West Nile can cause serious illness. To reduce the risk of West Nile, residents should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes."

Last year, there were only two human cases of West Nile virus in the county.

Health officials warn the risk of getting West Nile virus will be especially high over the next two months.

Information on West Nile Virus:

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of becoming seriously ill is low for most people. Less than 1 percent of people can develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. People over the age of 50 have a higher chance of becoming ill. In addition, people with diabetes or hypertension have a greater risk of complications and serious illness.

After someone is bitten, the incubation period is generally 2 to 6 days, but it can be as many as 14 days. Most people are infected between June and September, when it is warm outside and mosquitoes are most active. People can take steps to protect themselves from contracting West Nile Virus, including:

-- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon, eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
-- Dress in long sleeves and pants if you are outside from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
-- Be sure to install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. If you have air conditioning, use it.
-- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths.
-- Report any mosquito breeding sources to the Santa Clara County Vector Control District or (408) 918-4770.

For more information:
California Department of Public Health, CDC, Santa Clara County Vector Control District

Information courtesy of Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Embryo Scope is Breakthrough in Treating Infertility]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:59:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/243*120/Embryo_Scope_0814.JPG

Couples who are having trouble getting pregnant often turn to fertility specialists for help.

One option that is often recommended by doctors is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It’s a process where the egg is fertilized by the sperm outside the body to create embryos. The embryos are allowed to grow inside an incubator for several days until two or three of them are implanted in the womb.

The odds of success from IVF are often less than 40 percent. One reason for the low success rate is the challenge of selecting the embryos most likely to result in a pregnancy. But now a new device called the Embryo Scope is improving the odds by giving doctors a better look at the developing embryos in real time.

“The embryo scope allows us to take time lapse photography continuously of embryo development over six days,” said Dr. Mark Surrey, a fertility specialist at the Southern California Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills.

In the past,a specialist had to open the incubator and perform a spot check of the embryos as the developed. The doctor would look for clues about the ones that gave the couple the best chance of getting pregnant. There was a lot of uncertainty about what was happening to the cells while in incubator. Changes from hour to hour could impact success.

By being able to monitor the embryos in real-time inside the incubator, Surrey can study subtle changes in the cells and select the ones he wants to implant in his patients without causing stress to the developing cells.

“By watching the way in which the cells and the embryo divide, there’s a difference between the cell divisions in a normal embryo and an abnormal embryo,” he explains. “By doing that, we can select out the embryos that are most likely to cause a pregnancy.”

Surrey’s Los Angeles-based center is one of only 28 facilities currently using the Embryo Scope including Cleveland Clinic which has been a pioneer in using the new technology.

“We’ve seen a drastic increase in our pregnancy rates,” said Dr. Nina Desai, who runs one of Cleveland Clinic’s IVF laboratories. “I think this is going to revolutionize the way that we practice IVF.”

NBC4’s Dr. Bruce says: “Any couple who is having trouble getting pregnant should see a specialist. The man and the women should each be evaluated because 50 percent of fertility problems may be due to male issues. The good news is that many of these problems are treatable.” 

<![CDATA[New Procedure Helps Restore Vision in Kids ]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:57:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/eye+vision.PNG

Millions of children are born with a condition that affects their eyesight. Some cases are so severe, it’s difficult for the child to walk and impossible for them to learn.

Seven-year-old Grace Nasser suffered from nystagmus which resulted in an uncontrollable shaking of the eyes.

"She didn't look at us and her eyes rolled into the back of her head," Grace’s mother Athena Nassar said.

Grace said she sometimes had trouble reading and doing other things.

"If a child cannot keep their eyes still on a word, they're not going to be able to see that word clearly," ophthalmologist Robert Lingua said. 'So they learn to see the world in a blur."

In the past, doctors may have tried taking a muscle of the eye and reattaching it elsewhere. According to NBC4’s Dr. Bruce Hensel, however, that approach would not have solved Grace’s problem completely.

Dr. Lingua, who works at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute on the University of California, Irvine campus, tried a unique approach. Under Dr. Lingua’s care, Grace underwent a procedure that would change her life.

"What we did with Grace was to remove the forward portion of the primary muscles that dealt with shaking," Lingua said. "By removing them and not allowing them to reattach to the eye, we were able to quiet the eye."

According to Grace, the results were immediate.

"I had to go to the bathroom, I'm all like, ‘no I don't need anyone to carry me or my wheelchair,’ I just walked over," Grace said.

Her mother called the results "unbelievable."

"She's happy, she's healthy, she's in school, she's doing many things she could never do before," Lingua said.

Grace has gone from walking with a cane to now learning how to surf.

"We're just ecstatic. We feel so blessed and just so happy for her," Grace’s mother said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Whole Foods Lied About Sugar in Yogurt: Lawsuit]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:39:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whole_foods.JPG

Whole Foods Market knowingly sold its store brand yogurt containing a sugar content that was nearly six times the amount stated on the product's nutritional label, according to two class-action lawsuits filed this month.

The Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain advertised its Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt as having only 2 grams of sugar per serving. But a Consumer Reports analysis published in July revealed the food item had an average of 11.4 grams of sugar per serving.

"No yogurt on the market actually has only [two] grams of sugar per serving," court documents read. "The lowest sugar content of any Greek yogurt for sale is 5 grams per serving."

Even though the specialty supermarket was aware of Consumer Reports' findings, it failed to remove the mislabeled yogurt from store shelves and continued to sell the product in 12 locations in New Jersey and 10 others in Pennsylvania, the lawsuits allege.

Both class-action suits -- filed on behalf of Mark Bilder in New Jersey and Carmine Clemente and Samantha Kilgallen in Pennsylvania -- could represent as many as 35,000 plantiffs who purchased the mislabled product in the Garden State between Aug. 6, 2008 and present and in the Keystone State from Aug. 11, 2008 to present, according to estimates provided in the lawsuit.

The attorney is calling for a $100 penalty per plantiff -- totaling a possible $3.5 million.

A Whole Foods spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending litigation citing company policy. However, she said the supermarket is working to determine why its test results differed from those reported by Consumer Reports.

The suit also alleges Whole Foods officials were fully aware the labels underreported the greek yogurt's sugar content since nutrition labels on all of its store brand products -- sold under the motto "Health Starts Here" -- are evaluated for correctness.

"Whole Foods Market's website brags to consumers about how thoroughly [it] checks the accuracy of the labels of its store brands, telling consumers: 'Our Private Label registered dietician reviews each nutrition label for accuracy and completeness before the label is printed," court records show.

The inaccurate label gave Whole Foods, which specializes in natural and organic food, a competitive advantage and justified the higher prices the specialty market charges consumers, the suit alleges.

The yogurt in-question typically retails for $1.29.

"It was [the] defendant's conscious intent to induce consumers to purchase 'Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt' by falsely stating that the sugar content per serving was only [two] grams," court documents show

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MRSA Breaks Out Among Firefighter Trainees in New York]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:10:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/randalls+island+mrsa.jpg

A handful of the more than 300 FDNY probationary firefighters training on Randall's Island have contracted the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA, officials confirm.

A type of staph infection, MRSA can spread quickly in highly populated environments like schools, gyms and hospitals. At medical facilities, MRSA can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

The FDNY would not say exactly how many trainees were infected on Randall's Island, but says those infected are being treated and extra precaution is being taken for them to continue to train.

The department said in a statement, "We take this issue very seriously and we are acting aggressively to combat this problem by increasing our schedule of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment and educating our Instructors and Probies at the Fire Academy about how to prevent open wounds and the spread of MRSA."

Anyone can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing items such as towels or razors that have touched infected skin.

Dr. Stephen Morse of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University says while staph is very common and that many people carry it in their nasal passages, MRSA is less common and harder to treat.

The probationary firefighters "should be watchful if their condition changes or if they get worse," he said. "It can be very nasty."

The doctor said infected facilities should be cleaned thoroughly with typical household detergents or disinfectants in case of outbreaks.

<![CDATA[Georgia Firm Recalls 15K Pounds of Chicken Nuggets]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:40:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ApplegateRecall.jpg

A Georgia-based meat company is recalling over 15,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets after reports surfaced that consumers found small pieces of plastic in the meat.

Perdue Farms and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service said they have not received any reports of injury from the consumption of the 8 ounce box of "Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets" with the establishment number P2617.

The product was produced on Feb. 5, 2014 with a sell by date of Feb. 5, 2015, according to a press release from the FSIS.

Applegate withdrew the frozen chicken from markets on Aug. 8, 2014, but consumers may still have the product in their possession since it is a frozen item, the statement said.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Gerry Clarkson, Applegate Consumer Relations Specialist at (800) 587-5858.

Photo Credit: USDA.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Carlsbad HS Students Caught in Vaccine Controversy]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:54:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carlsbad-hs-broadcast-group.jpg

More than a dozen current and former Carlsbad High School students have found themselves in the middle of the long-running vaccination debate after they produced the film Invisible Threat.

The film debuted online August 1, more than a year after it was completed.

Students tell NBC 7 that’s largely due to the backlash they’ve faced, even during the production stage.

Brad Streicher worked on the film his junior year. The current USC student and NBC 7 intern said the idea came from the San Diego Rotary Club.

People there were impressed by two previous films they’d worked on and wanted the high school broadcast journalism class to do one on the immune system and immunizations.

“We ended up telling Rotary we'll do the film but only on our terms, which means we were going to approach the film from a journalistic standpoint,” said Streicher. “We wanted to make sure whatever story we were telling, it would be unbiased and we would attack it from both sides of the argument.”

The Rotary gave the students $60,000 for the project with that understanding, according to Streicher.

Months into the film’s production, students say they started to received e-mails and online comments harshly criticizing their work.

People called the project “pro-vaccine” and “propaganda.” At one point the teacher and director of the film, Douglas Green, proposed the students stop the project. The students refuse.

“No matter what kind of obstacles we were going to go through, we were going to tell the story that we were assigned to tell,” Streicher told NBC 7.
NBC 7 reached out to one of the people in San Diego with concerns about the film. Vaccine safety advocate Rebecca Estepp said she supports the students and their hard work, but is concerned about who may be influencing the project.

“Those kids had to have flown around the country and knowing it was screened on Capitol Hill with a huge advocacy push with a way to have people contact every member of Congress…it kind of makes you wonder who's really behind this? Because that's a huge effort one that I don’t think Carlsbad High School can take on,” Estepp said.

Estepp said she was also disappointed with how her side was portrayed. She said she, and many people who share her views, are not “anti-vaccinations,” but rather concerned with the safety of vaccines. She said she was particularly offended when the film compared those with her viewpoints with white supremacists and the Taliban.

“One doctor calls us evil. If you question anything about the vaccine schedule he puts you into the evil compartment. I don’t think that's fair,” she told NBC 7.

Streicher said he and the other students did everything possible to tell all sides of the debate.

“I do not regret the decision that we made. I am confident that we're doing the right thing,” he said.


Photo Credit: Carlsbad High School ]]>
<![CDATA[Expert: More Grandmas, Grandpas Using Meth]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Meth-Generic-KNSD.jpg

A San Diego County man’s death highlights what one former addict considers a growing problem - more grandparents using meth.

Diana Julian, program manager for an East County regional recovery center is seeing an uptick in older meth users.

“A lot of grandmas and grandpas are using meth and have been using for many, many years,” Julian said.

Julian has been clean for more than 14 years and runs the McAlister Institute in El Cajon.  She was not surprised to learn methamphetamine abuse was the cause of a Ramona man’s death.

Carl Salayer’s disappearance on June 16 triggered an all-out search and rescue effort. More than a week later, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies found Salayer’s body in a field full of thick brush.

The County Medical Examiner report listed the 67-year-old man’s official cause of death as acute methamphetamine intoxication. The autopsy report lists Parkinson’s Disease among other contributing conditions.

San Diego County officials said the meth found in Salayer’s system was not a byproduct of any other medication.

In 2012, county health records show the majority of deaths attributed to methamphetamine were among Baby Boomers. Sixty-nine people age 50 to 59 died from meth intoxication. Thirteen deaths were among those 60 or older.

In 2013, meth intoxication was listed as the cause of death for 80 people age 45 to 54, 48 people age 55 to 64 and four people 65 or older.

Julian said an older person may resort to meth use because of declining health and may lack the support system to kick the habit. 

“For people that are using and they're older, their support has become smaller and smaller throughout the years,” she said.

<![CDATA[School Lunches Around the World]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:54:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LunchPakistan2.jpg Photographers captured the lunch fare for students in several countries earlier this month, showing a range of foods, customs, and nutritional standards.

<![CDATA[Doc: I Was Taking 100 Pills a Day ]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:59:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Stephen-Loyd-Prop-46.jpg

Although we're still months away from the November election, there is controversy over one ballot measure – Proposition 46 or the Patient Safety Act.

Prop 46 would increase the cap on damages in malpractice lawsuits and allow for drug testing of doctors.

“My colleagues all knew something was wrong,” said Dr. Stephen Loyd. “At my worst I was taking 100 pills a day every day and I was working at my job.”

Loyd was practicing medicine in Tennessee and by 2004 his dependence on pain pills to relieve stress had grown to a daily problem.

“I had the possibility of hurting a lot of people,” Loyd said.

Loyd knows he put patients at risk, which is why he supports Prop 46.

Among other things, it would increase the state's cap on damages in malpractice lawsuits, require drug and alcohol testing of doctors, and report positives tests.

Consumer Watchdog released a report Thursday showing that in the past year, 511,000 medical professionals in the country abused or were dependent on drugs or alcohol. That's about 6.8 percent of the total number.

NBC 7 found at least six doctors in the county with drug and alcohol issues.

Former La Jolla sleep medicine expert Bradley Schnierow admitted to smoking meth with his girlfriend and is charged with helping her get dangerous, prescription narcotics.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges, but surrendered his license.

Supporters say if approved, Prop 46 will save lives while opponents argue it will increase your healthcare costs and drive doctors away.

Doctor and Speaker of the California Medical Association House of Delegates, Ted Mazer, said the measure is deceptive.

If passed, healthcare costs will increase and access to care will decrease he said.

“What we're opposed to is how the proposition is written,” Mazer said.

“Behind this proposition are attorneys looking to increase the awards given to non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits that also means they increase their take home,” he said.

While Mazer agrees there's a problem, he says this proposition isn't the answer.

As for Dr. Loyd, he has been a recovering drug addict for 10 years. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Go Inside San Diego Lab Working to Cure Ebola Virus]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 09:26:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/inside-Ebola-lab-san-diego.jpg

A La Jolla lab is on the front lines of the fight against the Ebola Virus.

The outbreak in West Africa has killed at least 961 people and prompted the World Health Organization to declare an international public health emergency.

On the other side of the world from ground zero, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla are looking at how the Ebola virus attaches to parts of the body and how it multiplies and replicates.

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire is part of the team spanning 25 labs across the globe that is making images of how the virus works.

Their work that has led to a medicine taken by two Americans infected with Ebola. The Sorrento Valley lab Mapp Bio used the images created at Scripps to come up with the experimental medicine called Z-Mapp.

Saphire works as director with the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, a global partnership with labs at Tulane University, Harvard and on the ground in Sierra Leone. She spoke to NBC 7 Thursday about the virus she’s worked on for 10 years.

Saphire says the cocktail of antibodies and proteins worked in mice and primates but wasn't supposed to be tested on humans until 2015.

"I know exactly what’s in it, how it works. I would take it myself in a heartbeat," she said.

While ZMapp provides hope, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the federal government is looking "very carefully" at experimental Ebola treatments. It's too early to tell whether they are helpful or even safe.

Even so, Mapp Bio is ramping up production, Saphire said, and they’re working with all the regulatory agencies involved.

“The logistics of making more are straightforward and solvable,” Saphire said.

The antibodies are made using tobacco leaves that are then put into a giant juicer. Scientists then strain the antibodies from the juice.

“That whole process would take about two or three months,” she said, adding that researchers need “time and the funds to do it and are expediting the process. You can believe it’s a priority.”

The antibodies in Z-Mapp were developed by Mapp Bio, the U.S. Army and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Mapp Bio has been operating for 11 years. In all, there are nine employees.

ZMapp is not FDA-approved. Its use was granted under the FDA's "compassionate use" clause, only given in extraordinary circumstances, and there are only a handful of doses of it available.

The two American aid workers who were flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and received doses of ZMapp – Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol – are said to be getting a little better every day after their treatment.

The current outbreak in West Africa is the largest and longest ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 percent and has so far killed at least 961 people.

The WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

<![CDATA[9 Questions You Should Ask About the Drug "Molly"]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 09:00:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_191826866.jpg

Just a week ago, two young men -- a 17-year-old and a college student -- died after attending a music festival in Columbia, Maryland. As friends and families grieved, authorities said the two may have overdosed on a drug called "Molly."

It's one of the most popular party drugs in circulation at the moment, but what is it? Is it a new danger or old news? There's a lot of misinformation out there, so we talked to an expert to find out what you need to know -- especially as the summer music festival season remains in full swing, and students prep to head back to campus.

1. What is Molly? Is it the same thing as ecstasy?

Molly is a slang term for MDMA, an illegal drug that is classified as both hallucinogen and a stimulant. It's generally accepted that the name Molly is derived from "molecule."

MDMA is a synthetic drug with the full title "3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine," but it's also commonly referred to as ecstasy. However, Molly may be a little different than ecstasy -- it depends on whom you ask.

Molly is usually a white powder inside a capsule, whereas ecstasy is usually a pill (tablet). Both drugs contain MDMA, but Molly is considered by some users to be "purer" than ecstasy because it is in powdered form.

2. So is Molly "purer" than ecstasy?

Confusion about the drug's purity is what makes MDMA especially dangerous, said Dr. Joni Rutter, the director of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research at The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"Even in its purest form, it can cause fatalities," she said. "It's still a drug and we don't know a lot about its effects."

The assumption that Molly is purer is controversial. Both drugs can be mixed with ("cut with") other substances, which can be extremely dangerous. Ecstasy can be harder to tamper with once it is in pill form -- but as a powder, Molly can be mixed with many other substances.

Some experts suggest that due to Molly's popularity, it is now also just as likely to be cut with other substances as ecstasy.

3. What does Molly do?

MDMA is a popular drug at parties because of the euphoric effects it has on the user. It has become an increasingly common concern for concert promoters, campus police and local officials in the last few years.

Dr. Rutter said that party-goers favor MDMA because it will make them feel "energetic and euphoric."

"It wreaks a bit of havoc on the brain," she said.

The effects can be different for different people, but MDMA works by increasing the activity of three neurotransmitters in the brain.

"Users have overall good feelings towards others," Rutter said. "The hormones that are released make people feel more social."

But with the good feelings come some nasty side effects. Rutter said users often report feeling anxious and confused. She also said that some people lose their grip on the passage of time. More information on the effects of MDMA is available from NIDA's website.

The drug is addictive, but different people will experience differing sensitivity to its effects.

4. Is Molly new?

No. Molly appeared as an alternate form of MDMA in the 1990s, but it gained popularity in the last decade.

It was considered an "it" drug about a year ago and The New York Times documented MDMA's popularity with adults in New York, as a supposedly "clean" drug.

5. Then why have I heard about Molly a lot lately?

MDMA has been linked to a spate of recent deaths that may have been caused by the drug.

Two people, ages 17 and 20, recently died in Maryland, after being taken from the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion in early August. Police said they thought both victims had used MDMA, but were awaiting toxicology tests. Twenty other people were also taken to hospital for apparent drug-related problems from the music festival.

These incidents followed several other deaths that may have been linked to MDMA abuse. A man reportedly overdosed on MDMA at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and police in Canada are currently investigating whether two deaths at the Veld music festival in Toronto were related to MDMA.

USA Today reported in January that Molly was increasing in popularity among young people. Some celebrities, including Miley Cyrus during her Bangerz tour, have been accused of glamorizing the use of Molly and other drugs in recent months.

There have also been studies this year that suggest MDMA may have some therapeutic uses, such as in the treatment of PTSD.

6. Who uses Molly?

MDMA is popular with many different kinds of people because of its energizing effects, but it is most often found at music festivals and parties.

Molly is especially popular on the EDM (electronic dance music) festival scene due to its reputation as a party drug. Concert organizers for the upcoming Electric Zoo festival in New York are even requiring attendees to watch a brief PSA about the dangers of Molly.

A recent study by the University of Michigan, funded by NIDA, also suggests that the use of MDMA may be on the rise among 10th through 12th graders.

7. How dangerous is Molly?

Molly can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is mixed with other drugs.

NIDA's Dr. Rutter said that the biggest risk to users will be hyperthermia, or extreme overheating, probably caused by blood vessels failing to dilate enough.

Rutter said that this was especially an issue in a club or festival environment, where users are exposed to high temperatures and enclosed environments.

One of the other big dangers with taking Molly is that some do it consider it a safer, purer form of ecstasy, which might not be true -- especially if it's been mixed with other substances, unknown to the user.

"Drug interactions are a big problem," Rutter said. "We're seeing drugs cut with lots of other things, even so-called 'bath salts'."

Another risk with MDMA is that due to the euphoric feelings and reduced anxiety that users might experience, they may make poor choices, such as practicing unsafe sex.

8. What are the long-term effects of Molly?

The effects of using Molly or ecstasy can last for days. The most common include anxiety and depression. But Rutter said there are more insidious effects that people should know about.

"One of the big problems is disrupted sleep," she said. "The long-term effect that this has on the brain can make it even harder to recover from the MDMA's effects. It might even prompt the cycle of drug addiction and cravings."

Rutter said that some other effects on users can be memory loss and a decline in serotonin transporters, which can lead to longer-term depression.

"Basically a little bit of fun now can lead to a lot of trouble down the line," she said.

9. What are the legal implications of using Molly?

MDMA is a schedule 1 illegal drug. Information about federal trafficking penalties is available from the DEA's website.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Clean Pools, Sweep Gutters to Prevent West Nile: Officials]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/west+nile+virus+pool+2.JPG

Hoping to prevent further West Nile virus infections, health officials in Orange County are urging residents to clean their pools and sweep their gutters to prevent standing water that attracts potential virus-carrying mosquitoes.

At a press conference on Thursday, Orange County health officials also urged residents to keep window and door screens in good condition, wear protective clothing outside and report dead birds.

"Even one mosquito bite may be all it takes to become infected with West Nile virus," said Robert Cummings, the director of scientific technical services for the Orange County Vector Control District.

Vector control officials said they have seen about a dozen dirty pools in southwest Santa Ana, an area where nearly every mosquito found by authorities has tested positive for West Nile.

People interested in converting unused pools into fish ponds can contact the Orange County Vector Control District. Fish prevent breeding by preying on the mosquitoes, officials said.

The push comes a day after the first two West Nile-related deaths were recorded this year in California.

It also comes as officials report an increase in infections that have been deadly.

The first human case of West Nile virus infection in Orange County was reported July 10.

Since then, 10 more people in the county have been infected, bringing the total to 11, about a third of human cases statewide. Last year, 12 people in Orange County were infected, a significant drop from 2012 when 48 human cases were reported.

West Nile virus has also been confirmed in birds and mosquitoes in Hacienda Heights, Sherman Oaks and Long Beach this year. Long Beach officials on Thursday confirmed the city's first human case.

State officials on Wednesday reported that two people, from Sacramento and Shasta Counties, have died from West Nile this year.

Orange County officials said they have reported more than 200 cases of infected mosquitoes and birds.

About 80 percent of mosquito samples and nearly 90 percent of dead bird samples in the county have tested positive for West Nile virus, Cumming said.

Officials said they're doing their part by cleaning gutters and dirty storm drains, where even a small amount of water can allow hundres of mosquito larvae to grow. 

Symptoms for West Nile include fever, headaches and body rashes. In severe cases the virus can lead to paralysis and death. Anyone with a fever lasting for several days should see a doctor, officials said.

Photo Credit: Vikki Vargas]]>
<![CDATA[Aethlon Addresses "Ebola Cure" Report ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:07:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP645337997349.jpg

San Diego-based Aethlon Medical Inc. today released a letter from its CEO and Chairman, Jim Joyce, addressing the CNN claim that the medical device maker offers a cure for Ebola.

In the letter Joyce explains the company’s therapeutic device, the Hemopurifier, and Aethlon’s plan for fighting infectious viruses.

“We created the Hemopurifier to provide a post-exposure treatment strategy to mitigate illness, suffering, and death resulting from exposure to viral pathogens.” Joyce said. “We do not represent that our Hemopurifier is a cure for Ebola. It is designed to augment the ability of the immune system to overcome infection to increase the benefit of drug therapy in disease conditions where an antiviral agent may be indicated.”

Joyce said Aethlon (OTCBb: AEMD) is preparing to launch the first FDA approved feasibility studies of Hemopurifier therapy in the United States.

Aethlon is a medical device company that addresses life-threatening diseases. The company is operating under two government contacts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a sepsis treatment. Sepsis, commonly known as blood poisoning, is a severe and often fatal infection of the blood that is a common result of wartime injury.

Aethlon is a publicly traded company that has a market capitalization of $34.7 million.

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer Patient's One Direction Wish]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 08:21:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6yo+cancer+patient.jpg

Six-year-old Madison Bergstrom of Stoughton, Massachusetts, is like any other girl her age, dancing and lip syncing to One Direction and dressing up like a princess.

But Madi has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia off and on since she was 19 months old.

"She’s been through a lot for her age and she still has about two years of treatment to go," said her mother, Shauna McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has been through a lot, too, as a single parent and primary caregiver fighting this battle right alongside her pint-sized hero.

"It’s hard, it’s scary but she is resilient, and inspiring and that’s what helps – she makes me strong," she said.

So when some friends bought Madi One Direction tickets for her and her mom to go see the band at Gillette Stadium this Saturday, they were thrilled.

In home video from earlier this year Shauna asked Madi, "How much do you love One Direction?"

"Like to the moon!" Madi said.

"And how much do you want to go to their concert?" Shauna asked.

"I’ll ride to there as fast as I can!" said Madi.

"You want to go so bad?" asked Shauna asked.

"Yes!" exclaimed Madi.

"We are totally going!" Shauna said.

But sadly, Madi ended up back in the ICU this week at Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and she won’t be able to go to the concert.

Madi’s focused on the positives, such as ice cream sundaes in her hospital bed. But her mom was bummed, and posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to buy the tickets, figuring she could use the money to do something special with Madi once she feels better.

That post has led to another page with thousands of "likes" asking "One Direction" to visit Madi in the hospital.

"To see that there’s so much good in so many people and that they care, Madison has an army of people behind her," Shauna said.

Shauna says while it would be awesome to see the sparkle in her daughter’s eye from meeting her favorite band, she has much bigger hopes and dreams for her little princess.

"I want to see her grow up to be normal and I’m sorry," said Shauna tearing up, "I just want to see her be -- the range of normal – there is no range and this is our normal, but I want her to grow healthy, I want her to grow happy."

Photo Credit: Shauna McLaughlin]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Closer to Ebola Vaccine]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 19:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NIH+Scientists+Ebola+Vaccine+080614.jpg

Doctors say just one plane ride can bring the Ebola virus to the United States. In Bethesda, Maryland, scientists are studying blood samples and measuring antibodies as they work on a vaccine.

"Someone can get infected in one of these West African countries, feel reasonably well, get on a plane, get off and then all of a sudden get sick here,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “That's feasible, and I don’t think anybody can deny that."

But the U.S. is much better equipped to prevent the spread of the virus, health officials say.

"Extraordinarily unlikely that it will be an outbreak at all because of the way we take care of people, how we have the capability of isolating them, how we understand what one needs to do to protect the health care providers and the kinds of health care facilities we have," Fauci said.

With no effective treatments available, one of the best ways to stop the spread of Ebola is prevention in the form of a vaccine.

National Institutes of Health scientists have been working for more than a decade on an Ebola vaccine. As the latest outbreak continues to grow, so does the pressure to create a vaccine to prevent a disease that can kill up to 90 percent of its victims.

It's a complicated process of finding the right combination of genes from the virus that's effective with few side effects, but they are closer than ever, Fauci said.

"Vaccine has been tried in monkey models, and it seems to be really quite promising," he said.

The vaccine is made with genetic material from the virus, meaning there's no live virus involved.

"You don’t inject the entire virus of Ebola because that would be dangerous, so what you do is you get a very small component of the virus, which is a protein that coats the outside of the virus," Fauci said.

Scientists hope to be testing the vaccine on humans as early as the end of September, Fauci said. If it proves to be safe and effective, they hope to make it available by 2015. The first group to get it would be health care workers.

"It's difficult to vaccinate an entire population because you don’t know who's going to be at risk because you don’t know where an outbreak is going to be,” Fauci said. “But when you have health care workers who are putting themselves in clear and present danger of getting infected, those are the ones you want to protect."

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Discusses New Ebola Drug]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:39:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Obama-Presser-Ebola.jpg

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t have enough data right now to consider fast-tracking a new, unapproved Ebola medicine created by a San Diego-based pharmaceutical company, he confirmed at a press conference Wednesday.

The president was asked about the Z-Mapp drug during his press conference to wrap up this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, specifically about whether he’s considering sending supplies of this drug to Ebola outbreak patients in West Africa.

“We gotta let the science guide us. Not all the info is in as to whether this drug is helpful,” said the president, adding that it’s “premature” to consider fast-tracking the approval of the drug.

“Let's get all the health workers we need on the ground, nip early outbreaks, and then during the course of this process, appropriate to see if additional drugs can improve survivability,” President Obama continued.

The president said it’s important to remember that “Ebola is controllable if there is a public health system in place.”

“Despite the pain and hardship, and despite the fact we have to take this seriously, it’s important to remind ourselves that this is not an airborne disease and can be contained,” he added. “We're focusing on the public health approach now because we know how to do that and will continue to seek info.”

Z-Mapp, developed at Mapp Biopharmaceutical in Sorrento Valley over the course of 10 years, was the drug given to the two Ebola victims from America.

The secret drug cocktail had not been tried on humans before, but has shown effective signs of improving symptoms in monkeys. The drug, developed from antibodies in mice fighting the Ebola virus, was credited with saving four monkeys infected with Ebola after it was given to them 24 hours after infection.

Three experimental samples of the drug at subzero temperatures were flown to Liberia last week to save the two Americans infected with Ebola, according to CNBC.

Dr. Kent Brantly was given a dose and by the next day was showing signs of improvement. After two doses, American patient Nancy Writebol’s condition also was improving.

Z-Mapp is not FDA-approved. Use of it was granted under the FDA's "compassionate use" clause only given in extraordinary circumstances. There are only a handful of doses available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Unchanged Pillows Prone to Germs]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 19:23:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pillow-generic.jpg How often do you change your pillow? Experts suggest changing it out every six months because a host of germs, including oil, dead skin cells and even critters can get trapped inside. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian's reports on Aug. 5, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Safety Study: Dangers of Texting and Walking ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:56:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP080729033573.jpg Researchers discovered teenagers are more at risk of getting hit by cars while distracted than any other demographic they have studied in the past.]]> <![CDATA[Mass. Doctor Going to Fight Ebola]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 19:22:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Nahid+Bhadelia.jpg

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is taking her knowledge about infectious disease to Sierra Leone, where she'll be in the trenches, treating people who are suffering from the deadly Ebola virus.

"My parents are scared, but they know that this is something that I've wanted to do since - as long as I can remember," she said.

Bhadelia is with Boston Medical Center and Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories. She'll be doing the same kind of work as Dr. Kent Brantly, who was infected with Ebola in Liberia and returned to the United States Saturday, walking on his own from the ambulance into Emory University.

"I was so glad, not only to see him walking, but the fact that he's here and he's going to get the advanced supportive care that I think he should be getting," said Bhadelia.

Infected American relief worker Nancy Writebol will be coming home Tuesday, as well. The cases are raising worries in the U.S. about a potential outbreak.

Hospitals like Massachusetts General say they are prepared. Still, Dr. Paul Biddinger says the chances of an Ebola outbreak here are small, given that it's spread only by contact.

"There is a chance that this could spread because of how globalization of air travel and how fast people move around the globe is changing, but any one person is at very, very low risk," said Biddinger.

That's not be the case for Bhadelia. She'll be working in a country where they've declared a state of emergency and troops have been called in to quarantine victims.

But the doctor is getting her shots and reviewing her safety protocols, convinced even more than ever that she needs go.

"We're going there to contain that epidemic, but we're also doing it because by containing it there, we're keeping folks on this side safe," Bhadelia said.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Outbreak Unlikely in California: Expert]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:11:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6PW_VO_EBOLA_MEETING_KNSD4HOQ_1200x675_313738307967.jpg

The Ebola virus has killed more than 700 people in Africa, but one San Diego doctor says an outbreak in California is very unlikely.

Dr. Nancy Crum-Cianflone, an infectious disease physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital, says the chances are so small because of how the disease is spread.

“It's not transmitted through the air, It's not transmitted simply by touching someone. You really have to have contact with someone's bodily fluids," Crum-Cianflone said.

This means you couldn’t catch this from someone sitting next to you on an airplane unless they are coughing and sneezing so much, you inhale or ingest their secretions.

“Just us sitting here talking, there's really no risk. That's the big difference between this and things that are much more contagious, like the influenza viruses, which you can pick them up just by breathing the air," she said.

As of Thursday, more than 1,200 were infected with the virus in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Dr. Crum-Cianflone says at this point, the biggest concern for health care workers is travel history.

“If someone has recently come back the last week or two from West Africa or has been in contact with someone who's been sick from West Africa and has a flu-like symptoms, I think we should think about Ebola and then do the appropriate testing," she said.

The Group to Eradicate Resistant Microorganisms – or GERM – Commission, a group of infectious disease doctors in San Diego County, met Wednesday night to discuss how to be proactive in the rare chance of an outbreak here.

<![CDATA[Xtreme Eating List Headlines Cheesecake Factory French Toast ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:48:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cheesecake+factory_722.jpg

Is it true that what tastes good for you isn’t good for you? Well, it may be in this case.

Cheesecake Factory’s maple-butter dripping Bruleed French Toast headlined this year’s Xtreme Eating list published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The 2,780-calorie-packed Sunday brunch dish comes with “extra thick slices of rustic french bread baked and grilled golden brown” then “topped with powdered sugar and served with maple-butter syrup with bacon or grilled ham.”

If the calories weren’t belly bulging bad enough, it also has 93 grams of saturated fat, 2,230 milligrams of sodium and 24 teaspoons of sugar.

The Washington-based center compares the dish to eating the equivalent of "14 slices of Aunt Jemima frozen Homestyle French Toast with 2 ½ (8 oz.) tubs of Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread."

Eating this sweet treat would mean consuming nearly one-and-a-half times the daily caloric intake as suggested by US Food and Drug Administration.

Red Robin’s gourmet burgers, BJ’s pizza creations, Famous Dave’s “The Big Slab,” are just a few of the other mouth watering entrees that made the list.

Since 2007, the Xtreme Eating Awards have been calling out the sad-fatty truth behind some of our favorite dishes.

<![CDATA[Officials: Look Before You Lock]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:39:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lt.-Julius-Faulkner.jpg Lt. Julius Faulkner with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department talks about the dangers of leaving children and animals in parked cars during the hot summer months. ]]> <![CDATA[Pasta Sauce Recalled for Botulism Risk ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:01:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/tlmd_b_salsa_pasta_n.jpg

A "paralytic illness" known to have deadly consequences has California health officials warning consumers to stay away from various VR Green Farms' jarred produce citing a possible botulism risk.

The consumer warning by the California Department of Public Health and voluntary recall by the San Clemente-based produce company came after two cases of suspected food-borne botulism infections possibly linked to the company’s pine nut basil pesto were reported, according to a statement released by the CDPH Wednesday.

Although rare, botulism has serious effects on the body and in some cases can result in death. The nerve toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria is odorless and tasteless making it hard to detect produce contamination, according to the CDPH. Initial symptoms following infection include: blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, and dry or sore throat.

VR Green Farms has voluntarily recalled its pine nut basil pesto, pickled farm mix, old world tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes in olive oil, Tuscan grilling sauce and pasta sauce. All of the products were sold under the VR Green Farms labels and packaged in mason-style glass jars with metal lids at stands in San Clemente and on the Internet.

In a joint effort, the CDPH, US Food and Drug Administration and the Ohio Department of Health are coordinating an investigation into the two suspected food-borne botulism infections.

Health officials are warning anyone with these products to discard them immediately by double bagging the jars in plastic bags and throwing them away in the trash -- they are not to be recycled. They also advise to wear gloves when handling the possibly contaminated products and to wash hands with soap and running water after handling.

The CDPH recommends anyone experiencing symptoms of botulism after ingesting any of the products listed to see a health care provider. As well, if anyone observes the products listed being sold they should report it to the CDPH at 800-495-3232.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Meth Use Up Among Youth in Juvenile Hall]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:29:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Meth-Generic-KNSD.jpg

The use of methamphetamine has increased among youth booked into juvenile hall in San Diego County, a newly-released report confirms.

According to new research by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division, 10 percent of youth booked into juvenile hall locally tested positive for meth in 2013.

This is a significant increase after record lows of 4 percent in 2011 and 2012, though still far below the record high of 21 percent reported in 2005.

The report says the findings coincide with recent reports showing meth abuse rising in the region. For instance, figures from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office show the number of unintentional deaths due to meth have risen in the past five consecutive years.

In San Diego, meth-related deaths jumped from 142 in 2012 to 190 in 2013.

The SANDAG research shows that out of 134 youth booked into juvenile hall, 13 tested positive for meth. Of that figure, 92 percent were male and 85 percent were Hispanic. SANDAG reports that 85 percent of those youth had been arrested previously and 54 percent had a reported history of running away.

The report shows that the average age of those who tested positive for meth was 14.6 years old.

Those who tested positive said they used the drug an average of 16.3 days out of the past 30 and 50 percent said the drug was “easy” or “very easy” to obtain.

The results were collected as part of a Substance Abuse Monitoring (SAM) program. SANDAG said it’s crucial that law enforcement continues to tackle the ongoing abuse of meth in San Diego County. For more info about meth use prevention and intervention, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[California Pharmacies Urged to Translate Drug Labels]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:55:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4PM_PKG_PRESCRIPTION_DR_KNSD2RPS_1200x675_61258819722.jpg

The push is on to make prescription translations mandatory in California.

According to the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, a lack of universal standards for labeling on dispensed prescription containers is a root cause for patients misunderstanding the drugs they are taking.

"If people can't read the prescription bottle, it's a really dangerous situation," said Dr. David Margolius, who works in internal medicine and has been outspoken when it comes to pushing for mandatory translations for prescriptions. "If a label doesn't make sense to the people who are taking the medication, they are already at a disadvantage."

Statistics show more than 700,000 emergency room visits across the county are caused by not taking drugs properly. In addition, hospitals are spending nearly $6 million a year on treating those patients.

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is pushing for legislation to conduct a survey on the controversial issue.

Jimmy Yuen, who owns Advance Medical Pharmacy in Walnut Creek, provides labels on his medications in both English and Spanish. He said it is not a problem for him because of the limited service he is providing for his Spanish-speaking customers.

But Yuen said making that service mandatory could become a problem.

"I think technology is not there yet to ensure a high level of accuracy," he said.

A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Thursday in Sacramento.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Limb-Lengthening Surgery Creates Controversy]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:10:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chandler+before+and+after+edited.jpg

Walking in Balboa Park, 20-year-old Chandler Crews, who stands just under 5 feet tall, hardly draws a second glance from passersby. And that has long been her wish.

That is far different than might have been the case just a few years ago, when the college student born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, was only 3 feet, 10 inches tall. It’s a time Crews associates with many challenges, among them physical ones.

“I was having hip problems, knee problems and back problems because of how bowed my legs were. I was going to have surgery down the road anyway so I decided to lengthen my legs and arms," she said.

This was accomplished with a series of three controversial bone-lengthening procedures using technology developed in Southern California. With such procedures, patients' bones in the arms and legs are surgically broken, then increasingly separated over a period of months; the body generates new bone to fill the gap, thus making the bones longer.

Chandler’s mom Cathe said the operation was crucial for Chandler, who was about to start school on a large university campus she wanted to navigate like a student of average height.

“I know she wanted to be treated differently and that she wanted to drive when she went to college. I had no idea how she was going to walk across a college campus with 14-inch legs,” her mother said.

Chandler documented her four-year journey and rigorous healing process as she became 13 inches taller with the procedures, which can cost up to $100,000. Insurance covered costs for Chandler, as is the case for many with dwarfism, because there are medical benefits associated with limb lengthening.

At Baltimore's Sinai Hospital, where Chandler was treated, doctors are quick to point out that while limb lengthening has cosmetic benefits, that is not the primary reason for the surgery.

But it is that cosmetic benefit, even if indirect, that has caused controversy and even anger in the community of little people. Critics say the procedure is often used as a vanity attempt to shed the appearance of dwarfism. A petition was started asking little people advocacy groups to denounce the procedure as painful and largely cosmetic.

Recently, at the Little People of America convention in San Diego, Rebecca Cokley and a friend wore T-shirts that read, “Short by birth, staying that way by choice." For Cokley, who has served as a national policy adviser on disabilities for the White House, it's a matter of pride.

"I would say to you that dwarfism is beautiful. Feel pride in who you are. Disability is part of life’s infinite diversity," she said.

Cokley also stresses that the Americans with Disability Act now mandates better access and accommodation for people with disabilities and that radical physical change isn’t necessary.

But Chandler Crews says she is happy with her decision and not out to proselytize. She has publicized her journey to growing more than a foot taller simply to let others with dwarfism know there are options.

"I was just tired of having my height define me," she said.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/ChandlerInBaltimore]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Desperately Seek Medical Marijuana]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:14:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/charlottes+web+child+with+seizures+dose.JPG

California has the oldest and most liberal compassionate care law among the 23 states plus Washington, D.C. that allow the use of medical marijuana. So why are the state's youngest -- and arguably most needy --patients not getting it?

"Charlotte's Web" is a marijuana strain that won't get you high, but parents say it has had a profound effect on the lives of many children who suffer severe seizures.

At 8-months-old, Oceanside infant Connor Dalby began seizing 50 to 75 times a day.

“There was no joy. There was no smile. There was no laugh,” Connor’s father Randy Dalby said.

Near Chula Vista, the Benavides family was struggling with their son Robby. Robby’s multiple "drop attack" type seizures came without warning at a similar daily rate.

“He loses all muscle tone and just falls, falls hard to the ground. He’s had stitches on his eye, even bit off his tongue,” Robby’s mother Allison Benavides said.

Both families say they tried every mainstream medicine drug treatment and every combination available. Nothing worked.

Somehow, Charlotte's Web Oil, made from a marijuana strain of the same name, has changed their lives.

“My son is seizure free. He is four months seizure free today,” Benavides said.

Dalby recorded Connor sitting up on his own for the first time just a few months ago.

“We're watching a miracle. We have almost lost him a couple times,” Dalby said.

The Dalbys and Benavides get Charlotte's Web through the California Chapter of the "Realm of Caring."

Chapter Director Ray Mirzabegian hosted the first fundraiser for the non-profit organization at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles just last month.

In the crowd were some guests you might not expect at a cannabis event. At one table were members of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. At an adjacent table were UCLA's top pediatric neurologists.

Assistant Clinical Professor Dr. Shaun Hussain with frank honesty in a somewhat defeated tone shared his frustration.

“I feel like a carpenter without a hammer. We don't have medications that are good enough,” Hussain said.

However, Charlotte's Web is hardly a universally accepted treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of marijuana to treat children. Chief Policymaker Dr. Sharon Levy says she gets a lot of hate mail for it, but that medical marijuana has not been FDA approved or even tested.

“Instead of that rigorous testing and the Federal Drug Administration, we're just approving it by state ballot initiative,” Levy said.

The cannabinoid or CBD holds the therapeutic benefits to these children. Charlotte's Web is a marijuana strain high in CBD and low in THC. THC is the psychoactive part of the plant that makes you high.

“That is the moneymaker in a dispensary, high THC strains, not what Charlotte's Web is,” Dalby said.

Only Realm of Caring is selling Charlotte's Web. The group charges patients what it costs to make it. Still, state law requires Mirzabegian’s organization to operate like a dispensary.

Local laws restrict the number of dispensaries in an area, so Mirzabegian can treat only 27 patients. He says the waiting list is 1,000 families.

“Every month, I have a parent or two calling me and saying, ‘Ray take my child off the waiting list. He didn't make it,” Mirzabegian said.

While California has no such legal limits, medical marijuana advocates say keeping more than six mature plants and a half pound of processed cannabis per patient could invite a police raid.

Marijuana remains on the federal government's controlled substance list. If you are in possession of more than 99 plants, the punishment is a five-year mandatory prison sentence.

“Who cares if you have 1,000 sick children dying? You have to grow 99 plants only is that logic. It doesn't make sense to me,” Mirzabegian said.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of medical marijuana, Dr. Levy says as a mother, she would not discourage parents from trying it if their children are suffering life-limiting illnesses.

<![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:38:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records, NBC News reported. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people, Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.

Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[App Aims to Save Cardiac Arrest Victims]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:50:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/pulsepoint+app.JPG

 A free CPR smartphone app aims to help San Diegans take a beat and save victims of sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the country.

City and county officials teamed up Monday to launch the PulsePoint app, which alerts anyone with CPR training when someone in their area needs help.

Despite their best efforts, first responders often cannot get to a victim in time to save their life.

Because cardiac arrest has a small survival rate of 8 percent and time is of the essence, the app is designed to send a volunteer to a victim before paramedics can reach him or her.

The American Medical Response says you can triple a patient’s survival rate by doing CPR before an ambulance arrives.

The regional PulsePoint app informs users when and where paramedics urgently need help, gives basic CPR training and shows where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is.

It also uses GPS to track and alert users of emergencies within a quarter mile.

“You’re gonna get the alert, you’re gonna respond, you’re gonna start those chest compressions, and then once the emergency responders get there, they’ll take over, and that’s going to increase survival,” said Mike Rise with the American Medical Response.

Residents can learn how to use the app and how to do compression-only CPR at the County Administration Center’s waterfront park until 3 p.m. or at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas until 4 p.m. Monday.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last December to adopt PulsePoint.

Other cities and counties across the country have activated the PulsePoint app, so if you’re on the road and you’ve signed up for the app, you may still get alerts when an emergency is within a quarter mile.

You can download the free app for your iPhone or Android phone. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is so deadly because it is a fast, complete loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. It is different from a heart attack, which happens when a portion of the heart's blood flow is blocked. 

However, heart attacks can sometimes trigger sudden cardiac arrest.