<![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 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:44:07 -0700 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:44:07 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[30 Cases of Flu Already Reported]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:16:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flugeneric.jpg

There have been 30 cases of influenza already in San Diego County health officials reported Monday.

At the 10th annual meeting of healthcare professionals dubbed the "Flu Summit," experts take a look at the past flu season and look at predictions for the upcoming one.

The fact that there have been dozens of influenza cases including two intensive care cases could be a predictor of what's to come. 

Deputy Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego Dr. Eric McDonald said the county has had two moderately severe flu seasons in a row.

Medical professionals expect the same types of viruses to be circulating this flu season.

McDonald advises San Diegans to get vaccinated, pay attention to their personal hygiene and stay home if they're sick.

Anyone over 6 months old can get vaccinated. More information about vaccinations is available here.

In addition to getting vaccinated, the HHSA says frequent, thorough hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer can prevent the flu from spreading.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Where to See The Race for Rady]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:27:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RadyMID0915_1200x675_329407555878.jpg The Race for Rady, a regatta for San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital will take place on San Diego Bay this weekend. VP of Development at Rady Children's Hospital Carol Damon-Scherer and San Diego Yacht Club Commodore Chuck Sinks talk about the event with NBC 7's Whitney Southwick. ]]> <![CDATA[Enterovirus Puts Bay Area Health Officials on Alert]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:03:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

A respiratory infection that has sent more than a thousand children pouring into emergency rooms across the country may soon be spreading to California.

The Enterovirus D68 is described by doctors as starting out like a common cold, but can quickly land children in the intensive care unit.

Bay Area health officials are looking at cases around the country, especially in Denver. Doctors there have reported 900 cases of Enterovirus in the last month.

"In the Bay Area we haven't had any cases of Enterovirus 68 identified yet," said Samantha Johnson, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital Oakland. "If we start to see children with similar symptoms such as severe respiratory comprised with what seems like a common cold, we will be sending samples for specialized testing."

Health officials said symptoms of the virus include extreme trouble breathing, severe cough, wheezing, fever and rash. Infants, children and teenagers are most vulnerable to catching the virus.

Doctors who are dealing with the outbreak said the have never seen anything like it, which is why Johnson said parents in the Bay Area should be on the lookout.

"It can shed in respiratory secretion and in stool," Johnson said. "So parents changing diapers should wash their hands at least 20 seconds."

<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Enterovirus]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 07:18:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/enterovirus+fear.jpg An outbreak of an uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, has made children in a dozen states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected. Andrew Siff has the story.]]> <![CDATA[Enteroviruses: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:10:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

An outbreak of an uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, has made children in a dozen states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected.

Here are 11 things to know about enterovirus 68 from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • Enteroviruses, among them enterovirus D68, cause about 10 to 15 million infections each year in the United States, most often in the summer and fall. Because Enterovirus 68 is uncommon, less is known about it than other of the more than 100 kinds of enteroviruses.
  • Infants, children and teenagers are more likely to become infected.
  • To protect yourself from enteroviruses, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, avoid sharing utensils with people who are sick and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys and door knobs.
  • It appears to be spread the same way other respiratory infections are spread, through saliva and mucus when someone sneezes or touches something. The new school year is likely helping the virus to be transmitted.
  • It can cause from mild to severe respiratory illness; the full spectrum of illness associated with it is not clear.
  • Symptoms can include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • Enterovirus D68 can also cause neurologic symptoms, including paralysis, but those not been linked to the current strain.
  • So far there have not been any fatalities.
  • There is no vaccine.
  • Asthma should be well controlled.
  • Enterovirus D68 was first identified in California in 1962 and since then clusters have appeared in Asia, Europe and the United States.

<![CDATA[New Drug Fights Melanoma]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 05:30:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/melanoma_448x336.jpg

The FDA approved a new drug Thursday that could change the way melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is treated.

The drug, Keytruda, was considered a breakthrough and approved after it was tested on more than 600 patients who had melanoma spread throughout their bodies.

"I was on oxygen. I was in a wheel chair. I couldn't walk. I didn't eat. I was thinking, I didn't have much longer to go," said melanoma patient Tom Stutz of Sherman Oaks, who was part of a clinical trial at UCLA.

According to the American Cancer Society, although melanoma only accounts for less than 2 percent of all skin cancer cases, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.

Melanoma cells protect themselves with a special protein called PD-1. This protein prevents the immune system from recognizing and killing the cancer cells.

The Keytruda drug is an antibody that targets the proteins. Without being guarded by the protein, the immune system has a greater chance of attacking the cancer cells.

"It's important because it's a new tool that is going to be very powerful in designing future regiments for melanoma," said Dr. John Glaspy of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The drug uses the body’s own immune system which means it likely has fewer side effects and more benefits than some regular chemotherapy.

"We have long believed that harnessing the power of our own immune systems would dramatically alter cancer treatment," said Judith Gasson of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Seventy-two percent of patients involved in the study responded to the drug and experienced tumor shrinkage. More than one-third of the patients had tumors that shrunk more than 30 percent and did not re-grow.

The treatment is given intravenously every three weeks. It is unclear how long patients have to stay on the medicine.

Stutz, who in June 2011 had melanoma that had spread to his lung, liver and other parts of his body, currently experiences no signs of the cancer.

"The bottom line is it saved my life. I would not have been here were it not for that drug," Stutz said.

Statistics show approximately 76,100 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014 and nearly 10,000 Americans will die from the disease this year.

<![CDATA[Rady Kids Get to See Stanley Cup Up Close]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:29:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rady-Stanley-Cup-0904_8.jpg

It’s a rare thing for a hockey player to get to hold the Stanley Cup and even rarer if you’ve never put on skates or carried a stick.

On Friday however, patients and staff at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego got the honor thanks to the NHL Champion Los Angeles Kings.

One after another, the children not only got to get close to the decades-old trophy but there were even a few touches and even a hug.

One 8-year-old who lined up to see the trophy said, "I don't even watch hockey." Even so, she stood near the legendary cup with her dad, a New York Islanders fan.

The experience was made possible by Jeff Solomon, Vice-President of Hockey Operations with the LA Kings.

Solomon's wife Kathy was a nurse at Rady Children's for many years in the pediatric intensive care.

His son Drew was a resident at the hospital when he had open-heart surgery 15 years ago.

So Solomon wanted to do something special and bring the impressive trophy to the children and staff at the hospital.

Hockey fans will remember the Kings won the NHL championship on June 13 in a double overtime victory against the New York Rangers.

<![CDATA[Therapist Accused of Sex With Ex-Patient]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:10:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Michael-Mantell-psychologis.jpg

Respected San Diego psychologist Michael Mantell is accused of having sex with a former patient, violating ethics laws, according to a complaint filed by the state Attorney General's office.

The 16-page complaint claims Mantell sent instant messages to the former patient on Oct. 30, 2010 advising her to “deny, deny, deny” and to destroy evidence of their relationship.

Mantell is a familiar face on local television news, often available for interviews on stories involving people accused of crimes for several stations including NBC 7. He has served as chief psychologist at Rady Children's Hospital and the San Diego Police Department and has worked as a faculty member at UC San Diego's Department of Psychiatry.

He faces several violations including sexual relations with a former patient; dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt acts; unauthorized communication of information received in professional confidence; gross negligence and violating ethical standards.

When contacted Friday to discuss the allegations, Mantell said, "In 40 years of practice this is the first complaint like this.”

He said the investigation has had no effect on his professional schedule and then added,“ I don’t want it said that I am refusing to answer questions. My attorney asked that I refer questions to him.”

Mantell is accused of having a sexual relationship with a woman who originally sought counseling in January 2010 with her then-fiance. Mantell treated the couple as individuals and as a couple to work out trust and infidelity issues, documents show.

Five months later, the couple broke up. However, the female patient continued treatment until she ended therapy on July 12.

Two weeks later, the claim alleges the married psychologist and the former patient began a sexual relationship that lasted four months.

The complaint alleges the pair had sex at Mantell's office and at the former patient's home. They also spoke on the phone or texted nearly every day.

When the woman's former fiance consulted another therapist about the alleged affair, that launched an investigation into a possible ethics violation.

In an instant message on or around Nov. 1, Mantell allegedly told the woman that he was risking his license and prison time because he violated a "two year rule." 

Mantell, who has held a license to practice in California since 1977, could lose that license if the Board of Psychology Department of Consumer Affairs finds he violated the Business and Professions Code by having sexual contact with a patient within two years of termination of therapy.

Mantell's attorney Joel Douglas described the relationship as a “loving, caring friendship” that carried on beyond treatment but was not inappropriate or unprofessional.

"When you are out there helping people and people come to you, you are vulnerable," said Douglas. "I think that this may prove to be found to be a case of no good deed goes unpunished."

The attorney said Mantell may plead guilty to not using the best judgment in all cases, but at an administrative hearing, they intend to prove the relationship did not violate the “accepted standard of treatment” expected of psychologists/therapists.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Kids' Sunglasses Recalled]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:36:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kids-glasses-recall2.jpg

A Rhode Island-based sunglasses company on Thursday issued a recall of more than 200,000 sunglasses due to an excessive amount of lead in the paint.

The glasses are made by FGX and feature designs from Disney movies, TV shows and some comic book characters.

CVS and Walgreens stores were among those that sold the sunglasses from December 2013 to March 2014 for between $7 and $13.

According to the company website, the recall includes: 

Style# Brand Colors

  • S00014SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red, blue
  • S00014SVSBLU -- Marvel Spider-Man Blue
  • S00014SVSRED -- Marvel Spider-Man Red
  • S00021LKC999 -- SK2 Sears /Kmart Private Label Blue
  • S00021SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red/black, silver/blue
  • S01551SDB999 -- Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Red/white, silver/black
  • S02964SJN440 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S02964SJN999 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S03683SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue, black, red
  • S04611SDC001 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S04611SDC080 -- Disney Cars Red/Silver
  • S04611SDC400 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow
  • S04611SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow, red/black, red/silver
  • S07786SMS500 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink
  • S07786SMS650 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Pink/blue
  • S07786SMS999 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink, pink/blue
  • S07840SDC999 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S07841SDC001 -- Disney Cars Black/silver
  • S07841SDC440 -- Disney Cars Blue/red
  • S07841SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/red, black/silver, black/red

Customers can contact FGX International toll-free at 877-277-0104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to arrange a replacement or refund.

Photo Credit: FGX]]>
<![CDATA[Water Service Disrupted to 4 San Diego Hospitals]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 07:01:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kearny+mesa+water+break+hi+rez.jpg

For hours, a main resource needed in medical care - water - was not available to several San Diego-area hospitals, cut off by a water main break.

An 18-inch cast iron water pipe burst and caused street flooding waist-deep in parts in the Birdland community, located between State Route 163 and Interstate 805.

At Rady Children's hospital, it happened during a critical moment.

"We did have one surgery that was underway at the time. We were able to finish that up using bottled water and other infection control measures," said Rady Children's Hospital spokesperson Ben Metcalf.

They were the lucky ones, nearly an hour and half later, water was back on.

But at three major Sharp Hospitals had low water pressure.

However, a hospital spokeswoman says it didn't disrupt service.

"Currently we are operating as normal. We are accepting patients thru our emergency rooms, both walk ins and ambulance arrivals,"said spokesperson Paula Berberick.

The hospitals say they have stockpiles of water in case of emergencies like these.

At Juvenile Hall, the building closest to the water main break, there was no water.

Portable toilets were brought in and there were talks of transferring the inmates.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News Chopper]]>
<![CDATA[FDA: Little Evidence to Support Testosterone Drugs]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/medical_generic.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration says there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs taken by millions of American men are beneficial, though the agency is also unconvinced by recent studies suggesting the hormone carries serious risks.

The agency posted its review online ahead of a public meeting later this month to discuss the benefits and risks of treatments that increase the male hormone. Regulators agreed to convene the Sept. 17 meeting after two federally funded studies found links between testosterone therapy and heart problems in men.

The scrutiny comes amid a marketing blitz for new pills, patches and formulations that has transformed testosterone into a multibillion-dollar market.

Advertisements for prescription gels like Fortesta and Androgel promise men relief from common signs of aging, including low libido, fatigue and weight gain.

<![CDATA[Trans-Fat Labels on Food Deceiving: Study]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:03:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/transfat.jpg

You may be eating more bad fat than you think. Researchers at the New York Health Department checked 4,340 top-selling packaged foods, and found 9 percent of them contained trans-fats. Of those, 84 percent proclaimed themselves as trans-fat free.

SJSU Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Science Marjorie Freedman says labels can be deceiving.

"The FDA allowed anything with up to 0.5 grams of trans fat to be labeled as zero grams,” she said.

Freedman says the ingredients will show if there’s trans-fat in the food even if the label does not. She says people should look for hydrogenated oils.

As a nutritionist, she’s more concerned about people sitting down and eating a half box of cookies even if they’re fat free.

"To me the problem is not the trans-fats that they're getting in those cookies, it's all of the calories,” Freedman said.

She applauds the industry for efforts to cut trans-fats out of foods.

"Ten years ago, thousands of foods contained it so the industry has really made great progress,” Freedman said.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kraft Recalls Some American Singles Cheese]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:57:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP091109173400.jpg

Kraft is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of four varieties of its regular American Singles cheese product.

The recalled products have a "Best if Used By" date of Feb. 20, 2015, and Feb. 21, 2015.

Kraft traced the recall back to one of the company's suppliers. Kraft Foods Group Inc., which is based in Northfield, Illinois, said the supplier did not store an ingredient used in the cheese product at the company's standards.

Kraft said it's unlikely but the product could spoil prematurely, and it could lead to food-borne illness. However, Kraft said no one has reported getting sick.

Kraft spokesman Russ Dyer said the company issued a nationwide recall, but he can't specifically cite a city or state that received the potentially problematic cheese.

"We can tell you that very little product was shipped, so there is a limited amount of product, if any, on shelf," Dyer said.

Kraft said you can return the cheese to the store you purchased it at for a refund. Customers can also call Kraft at 800-396-5512.

Below is a list of package codes associated with the recall.

  • 0 21000 60464 7
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 63360 9

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Virus Cases Reported in East County]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/West+Nile+Virus2.jpg

Health officials believe two East County patients have contracted West Nile virus after they were both bitten by mosquitoes near their homes.

A 73-year-old La Mesa man has been hospitalized with a confirmed case of the virus, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported Friday. He was admitted for an infection of the brain and its surrounding tissue – a problem resulting from West Nile.

A 44-year-old El Cajon woman received outpatient treatment for flu-like symptoms with a rash, and doctors say she probably had the disease as well.

The HHSA says four out of five people who contract the virus do not show symptoms, and 1 in 150 of those infected will have serious, potentially deadly neurological complications. The greatest risk is among people over 50 years old and those with weakened immune systems.

Less severe symptoms include headache, fever, swollen glands, nausea, skin rash and fatigue.

In July, a Santee man who showed no signs of the disease tested positive for it in a routine blood screening. His was the first confirmed, local case of West Nile since 2012.

Health officials recommend protecting yourself and your family using a three-step system: prevent, protect and report.

Prevent mosquito breeding by emptying any backyard item like pots, buckets or rain gutters that can hold stagnant water. Free mosquito fish can help control mosquito breeding in pools, ponds and fountains.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 when you’re spending time outside, and make sure all your screens are secure.

Finally, report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, as well as green swimming pools, to the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888. Dead birds could carry West Nile virus. At least three have tested positive for the disease in El Cajon.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![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]]>