<![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, 22 Jul 2014 08:58:47 -0700 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:58:47 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fruit Sold at Trader Joe's, Costco Recalled]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:06:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-peaches-recall.jpg

If you love stone fruits, there's a new recall you should know about.

Wawona Packing Company, based in California's Central Valley, is recalling white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and plum varieties.

The whole fruits were all packed between June 1 and July 12, and shipped to Trader Joe’s and Costco stores.

The concern is the fruit could be contaminated with listeria. The bacteria can cause dangerous, flu-like symptoms. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible.

More information – including a list of the specific products recalled – is available on the FDA website.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Santee Man Infected With West Nile Virus]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:57:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0714mosquito.jpg

 Health officials are testing local mosquitoes and warning residents to avoid them after a Santee man becomes the first to test positive for West Nile virus in San Diego County since 2012.

The 43-year-old patient had no symptoms, but a routine blood screening from donated blood detected the virus in his system, according to county Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials.

The man told officials he did not recall being bitten by a mosquito recently, but he said he had been camping outside the state the week before his blood was drawn.

“Even though it’s most likely this individual acquired West Nile outside the county, we know the virus is here in San Diego County,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten in a release.

Last week, a dead crow in the city of San Diego also tested positive for West Nile.

As a precaution, the county’s Department of Environmental Health Vector Control Program began inspecting possible mosquito breeding location near the man’s house. Workers have also set up mosquito monitoring traps in areas around Santee.

While West Nile is a potentially deadly disease, county health officials say 80 percent of people who are infected show no symptoms.

One in five will feel mild signs like a headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, swollen glands or skin rash. Less than 1 percent develops serious neurological complications that can be deadly, and the risk for complications rises for those with weak immune systems and people over age 50.

Last year, 15 people died from West Nile virus-related causes in California, but of the 11 cases reported so far this season, no one has died, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Officials say a typical West Nile season lasts from June to October and peaks in August and September.

To prevent catching the virus yourself, health officials recommend preventing mosquito breeding around your home by dumping out any backyard items like buckets and garbage cans that can hold water.

Protect yourself from bites by staying inside when mosquitoes are most active – between dusk and dawn – and use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of eucalyptus.

Finally, reports dead birds and green swimming pools to the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888.

<![CDATA[What to Do 1 Month Before Getting Pregnant: Expert]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:14:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/39weekpregnancy.jpg NBC 7's Whitney Southwick talks with Sean Daneshmand, M.D. of Miracle Babies about what women should know before they try and conceive.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Local Students Warned of Possible TB Exposure]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:13:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tuberculosis-dfw-generic-01.jpg

Students of a San Diego-area middle school may have been exposed to tuberculosis months ago, county health officials announced Monday.

Free tuberculosis screening will be held Wednesday for students of La Mesa Middle School on Park Avenue.

A person at the school recently started treatment for tuberculosis and may have exposed students from April 23 to June 13, county health officials said. No information was given as to the person's role at the school.

Symptoms of TB range from a cough that won’t go away and a fever to night sweats. There is medication that can treat the disease.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports that it is working with the school to alert people who may have been exposed.

So far this year, there have been 84 cases of TB reported in the county. That’s far below the number of 206 reported the previous year.

For more information on this potential exposure, call the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District at (619) 668-5700 or the County TB Control Program at (619) 692-8621.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Whooping Cough Cases Nearing 900]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:57:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6AM_VO_TZ10_WHOOPING_CO_KNSD4A6H_1200x675_293163587863.jpg

 San Diego County has seen more than double the number of pertussis cases this year compared to last, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

Nine new instances of whooping cough, which may have left others exposed, brings the county’s total to 895.

Just 120 cases were reported by this time last year, and for the whole of 2013, 431 cases were confirmed.

“The county and state are experiencing an epidemic of pertussis,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., a county public health officer.

She said infants are at the greatest risk for severe illness or death from the disease. 

According to the HHSA, the new cases were reported at the following locations, and all but two patients were up-to-date on their immunizations:

  • A 7-year-old at Mason Elementary School
  • An 8-year-old at Dailard Elementary School
  • A 9-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Indian Hills Camp in Jamul
  • A 10-year-old at Normal Heights Elementary School
  • An 11-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Lincoln Acres School
  • A 14-year-old at Hillsdale Middle School
  • A 15-year-old at San Ysidro High School
  • A 16-year-old at Altus Charter School of San Diego and El Cajon Learning Center
  • A person at Boys and Girls Clubs of Oceanside

Pertussis begins with a cough and runny nose that progresses after one or two weeks to rapid coughing fits with the characteristic whooping sound.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children get the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine at 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old, 15 to 18 months old and 4 to 6 years old.

Students entering seventh grade are required to show proof they got the Tdap booster shot, and experts say all pregnant women should get the booster in their third trimester.

<![CDATA[Teen Receives Specialized Cancer Care in San Diego]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 08:35:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Natalie-Wright-0718.jpg

A Utah teenager who has battled a brain tumor for the past 15 years has become San Diego's first pediatric patient to receive a specialized cancer therapy.

Natalie Wright, 17, underwent her final round of proton therapy cancer treatment at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center on Summers Ridge Road Friday morning.

The treatment was first made available to adult patients in San Diego back in February but Wright recently became the first child to receive the therapy.

Wright was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of two and has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy. Specialists said this new treatment, however, reached parts of the tumor that previous ones could not.

Wright’s father said her treatment began on June 6. Over the past month, the teen has had 30 treatments – one each morning – lasting about a half-hour each.

On Friday, before returning home to Utah, the teen took a moment to thank the hospital staff.

“I just think that being away from home for six weeks was a long time, and you guys were all so nice. It just made me feel so good, to have that comfort, and to have that love and support,” she said. “I’m just so grateful.”

Wright said she’s felt good throughout the proton therapy process, and her father said that is a huge relief.

“She’s felt good the whole time. That’s the great thing about proton therapy – she really doesn’t feel the effects so that’s a lot different than neurosurgery,” he told NBC 7.

Before leaving, Wright unveiled a piece of superhero artwork that she drew herself, which will stay at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center.

The artwork features a quote from iconic “Superman” actor Christopher Reeve that Wright found on the internet: “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

Wright is one of less than 900 pediatric patients in the U.S. to receive the proton therapy care this year. The Scripps Proton Therapy Center is the newest of just 15 of its kind nationwide.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Edibles Future in San Diego Unclear ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:41:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marijuana-generic-medical-l.jpg

Ocean Beach resident Larry Sweet is living with stage-4 liver cancer and has been managing his pain with a combination of smoking and eating medical marijuana.

He’s relieved a ban on edibles and hash oil did not make it through San Diego’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee Wednesday.

However he’s still concerned the idea will come up again.

“Quite frankly cannabis saved my life. I wouldn't have made it through the year without it,” Lee said.

Councilmember and committee chair, Mari Emerald, initially proposed the ban. She said it was a public safety issue.

“We have a void when it comes to regulation,” Emerald said. “Until they do, I want to make sure consumers in this community is protected.”

Emerald went on to express her concerns for particularly vulnerable patients taking edibles.

“These people are more susceptible to harm, food poisoning than the general population. They're going to get sicker. They're more at risk,” she said.

In November, an ordinance on medical marijuana dealing with permits and business taxes will go before the San Diego City Council.

NBC7 heard Marti Emerald could address the issue again then, that is if the state does not do something about regulation.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Military Cigarette Benefits Under Fire]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:05:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cig_in_hand.jpg

Cigarettes and the U.S. military have a long history, but a possible change in benefits has the habit under fire, with the relationship between big tobacco and our fighting forces possibly coming to an end.

The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has approved a $549 billion defense spending bill that would eliminate the 25 percent discount on cigarettes for the armed services.

The bill is creating a heated debate.

Local representative Duncan Hunter, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining U.S. Congress disagrees with the move, telling NBC 7, in part:

"Service men and women do a lot in defense of this country and they ask little in return. If they want to buy cigarettes or chewing tobacco, both legal products, that's a decision they make individually."

Debra Klohe, a mother-in-law of a Marine feels the same.

“They put their life at risk and they should have any kind of discount that they have, they shouldn't have their rights and their discounts taken away from them,” said Klohe.

One U.S. senator estimates the illnesses and health care costs from smoking at about $1.6 billion a year.

Greg Gamble, a retired member of the Navy who lost family members to lung disease, agrees with the subcommittee’s call.

“I don't smoke personally never have never will and I disregard anything in regards to smoking,” said Gamble. “But in the Navy they definitely have to have their two things: cigarettes and coffee.

The U.S. military’s ties to tobacco date back to World War I, according to Debra Kelley with the American Lung Association,

“Every solider got a free pack of cigarettes with their K-rations. The use of tobacco has really been embedded in the military,” said Kelley.

Due to mounting health concerns, Kelley said the American Lung Association has been urging the military to eliminate the cigarette discount for years.

“When you look at the ultimate effect of selling low-cost tobacco products to our troops it's basically death and a discount,” she added.

The defense bill still has to pass through a number of hurdles. It’s also worth noting that the tobacco lobby gives significant funding to lawmakers.

If the bill does pass, it would go into effect Oct. 1.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marijuana Edibles, Hash Oil Ban Considered]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:32:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana+generic.jpg

A San Diego City Council committee is considering banning edible marijuana products like cookies and brownies as well as the by-products of the plant such as hash oil.

City Councilmember Marti Emerald wants to ban edibles and hashish oils from being sold out of medical marijuana dispensaries.

She told NBC 7 she’s concerned about the safety of hash oil and food products such as brownies and lollipops.

Until there is government oversight, Emerald said, the products should be pulled off dispensary shelves.

“I think we need to have a safety net for consumers,” Emerald said. “Especially the sick, vulnerable patients who go to these stores, who look for something to relieve symptoms.”

“Here we have a growing industry that is making a considerable profit off food products and various by products of marijuana, and no government entity is watching,” she added.

Emerald is concerned that marijuana brownies and cookies could cause salmonella poisoning, just for starters. She also worries that not enough is known about what is in the hash oil.

However, medical marijuana advocates argue that the edibles and hash oil are the very alternatives used by the sickest of patients who can't or don’t want to smoke it.

Medicinal marijuana advocate Cynara Velazquez believes an outright ban is not the answer.

“In the meantime who suffers?” Velazquez asked. “People with MS, children whose epilepsy is being controlled by this. I don’t think banning is the right thing to do for something that cannot cause death by overdose.”

Advocates said they are offering a version of regulations that local leaders can consider adopting until the state issues its own regulations. The issue was discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

“Who is going to be hurt by this ban are the patients who don't smoke, who are really sick and don't use it as a recreational drug,” said one speaker at the meeting.

Meanwhile, another speaker agreed with Emerald, saying we would all be shocked if we saw how filthy some of the “pot shops” are

The ban did not make it out of committee, but an ordinance on medical marijuana dealing with permits and business taxes will go before the full San Diego City Council in November.

A spokesperson for Emerald said she could bring up the ban again at that time, if the state of California does not do something to address the lack of regulations before then.

<![CDATA[Fitness Fail: 25 Percent of Americans Do Not Exercise]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:24:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/184441381.jpg

Californians are slightly more active than the average American -- one in four of whom do not participate in any voluntary exercise, according to new report by the Centers for Disease Control.

The 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity looked at how states support exercise in local communities.

A survey of every state and the District of Columbia found that 25.4 percent of American adults engaged in no voluntary exercise. For young people the number is 15.2 percent.

The percentage of Americans that met this more rigorous benchmark was 20.6 percent.

According to the report, Californians were a bit more active than the average American with only 19.1 percent of adults not engaging in voluntary exercise. Californian adults that met the government recommendations were 23.7 percent.

Numbers on youth exercise rates for the state were unavailable.

Physical activity guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Health recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic physical activity and two or more times a week of muscle-strengthening activities.

The report is designed to help local governments create safe places for kids and adults to participate in physical activities, enhance activities in school and child care environments and develop policies in urban planning that allow people to walk or bike to work.

This is especially important for the quarter of adults in the U.S. who reported no physical activity at all. Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana and Alabama rounded out the top five most sedentary states in the country.

California does better than the national average of the percentage of youth that have access to parks and community centers and the state also has a policy on time spent on physical activity in PE class.

However, there is no state-provided policy guarantee for recess at school, unlike 30 other states.

Data for the report was taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey with seven questions about exercise. For exercise behaviors in young people, data was taken from a classroom survey with questions about physical activities and education.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Local Camp Helps Kids With Autism]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:15:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Camp-I-Can-SD.jpg

If camp is a summer rite of passage for kids, there is one camp in San Diego making sure it includes all kids.

For the thirteenth year, Camp I Can is going on at the Toby Wells YMCA. More than 100 kids per summer go through the one-week-long camps at two different sites in San Diego County.

Every one of those kids has something in common: they are all on the autism spectrum.

Susie Horton’s son, Troy, has been going to the camp for six summers. She says it’s a place where the kids don’t have to feel different.

“It’s kind of a sixth sense that they have,” she said. “They all kind of know that they’re similar and they can feel comfortable to be themselves.”

The advantage of the camp is all the staff members are specially trained to work with kids who have special needs. The camp also keeps a high ratio of staff to camper to make sure the kids get enough attention.

However, that’s also the disadvantage.

Keeping the camps smaller means there’s limited space. Amy Munera with the Autism Society of San Diego said there’s a wait list every year and kids can only go for one week, rather than the entire summer.

“We don’t have that availability with the funding we have in line,” she explained. “So, we’re constantly trying to raise more money.”

The Autism Society helps subsidize the camp to make it more affordable for families. Munera said parents only pay about $250 per week, which is far less than a typical summer day camp.

Munera said she does not know of any other programs like this.

In the meantime, the number of kids diagnosed with autism in the U.S. continues to grow.

According to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 68 kids is now somewhere on the spectrum for Autism. Those 2010 numbers are more than double the number of one in every 150 kids back in the year 2000.

Munera said it’s still not clear if there are more cases, or better diagnoses.

“Whatever is causing it, we want to make sure we have programs and things available to these children and to their families,” she said.

Horton said her son was on the wait list this year and she worried he would not get in. She said her son looks forward to Camp I Can all year.

“He comes home with a huge smile,” she said. “He feels like this is his family.”

For more information on how you can help Camp I Can, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[New Bed Designed to Help Premature Babies]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 07:49:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/premature-birth-lifestart-b.jpg

A premature baby was resuscitated in San Diego last week using a new, specialized bed designed just for preemies.

Averi Snyder was born four weeks early and not breathing. Her umbilical cord was tied in a knot.

Mom Kim Snyder said the doctor didn't immediately alert her to the dangers but dad Shane Snyder said he saw the whole thing.

Seconds after she was delivered, Averi was placed into a special bed so that the team of doctors at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital could pump oxygen into her lungs while she was still attached to her mother's umbilical cord.

Within the first minute, Averi began to “pink up."

“[I was] mesmerized by what was going on and how everything took place and how fast they had her breathing,” Shane said. “It was pretty amazing.”

Kim was able to see Averi and kiss her before the staff took the newborn to the NICU.

The Snyders are one of the first families in the U.S. to use the new LifeStart resuscitation bed.

It's designed to delay umbilical cord clamping for the sickest or most premature babies, allowing them to receive blood and other fluids from mom.

It's a modern twist to an old concept that Snyder wishes was around when she delivered her first child.

“It's amazing and it’s lucky,” she said. “Our first child could've really benefitted from it. I hope that other parents get to experience it."

Sharp Mary Birch Hospital rolled out the equipment just last week becoming the first American hospital to put them in use.

Neonatologist Anup Katheria, M.D. said the beds are part of a research study focusing on pre-term births, or those babies delivered before 40 weeks.

The idea is that if doctors can start giving a distressed baby some oxygen at birth, they can take advantage of the first minute of life outside the womb and improve the infant’s outcome.

“Once the baby begins breathing in that first minute, the blood can naturally flow into the lungs allowing more stabilization to occur,” he said.

Umbilical cord blood is full of stem cells, oxygen carrying blood cells and white blood cells that help fight infections.

The fluids also help improve the baby's heart functions and reduce the child’s need for oxygen and blood transfusions.

The beds are placed beside the mother during delivery.

Each bed has a heated pad that mimics skin-to-skin warmth and allows the infant to be warmed from above and below.

So far, 10 babies have been treated using the four beds currently in use at the hospital.

As for Averi, she was still in the hospital Monday and progressing every day.

Her parents hope to take her home from the hospital on Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Friends Share Certain Genes: Study]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:10:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/friends_picture_generic.jpg

A new study suggests people share more than just common interests with their friends -- they may also share genes.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego surveyed nearly 2,000 people in a study and found best friends have the most genetic similarities.

"There's a lot of explanations on why we would tend to associate with other people who are similar," said Matthew Jackson, a professor of economics at Stanford University. "This sort of adds a whole other layer to it. A deeper layer than one we had anticipated."

Jackson also said one of the most interesting parts of the study is the claim friends have a similar sense of smell, which is something that can bring them together.

"So somehow evolutionary pressures must push us to sense these things and to be able to recognize them even though we don't necessarily consciously see that," Jackson said.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Procedure May Help With Obesity Disease]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 21:54:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

Some men and women have trouble losing weight no matter how much they diet and exercise. In some cases, it may be a fat-storage disease called lipidema.

Seventeen million women suffer from lipidema, a disease that causes disproportionate fat accumulation in the legs, abdomen and arms.

"Diet and exercise doesn't help," said Jasna Tursic, who was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago.

Another woman who with lipidema, Lisa Maria Jones, said she has struggled with her weight.

"I started dieting," she recalled. "I went on this ridiculously low-calorie diet and I was not successful." 

Both local women were treated recently for the problem with a new procedure that combines multiple techniques.

“This is not easy, typical liposuction surgery,” said Dr. David Amron, a cosmetic surgeon based in Beverly Hills at Spalding Drive Plastic Surgery, who performed both surgeries. “These are very difficult areas to do. Many (are) areas that surgeons typically will avoid unless they have a lot of experience.”

Amron does the procedure in four steps.

First, he injects numbing medicine to the affected areas. Then, he uses an ultrasound and a laser to loosen and remove some of the fat tissue. That is followed by what Amron calls "debulking" - liposuction to remove the heaviest fat.

He then does a laser procedure for additional skin tightening. The entire process takes two-and-a-half hours.

Jasna said she saw immediate changes.

“It wasn’t painful. Recovery was very quick and results were great,” she said. "I feel amazing. (It) changed my life in so many ways."

Dr Bruce says: “Since obesity is a medical problem, this treatment may sometimes be covered by insurance. Any woman or man who is having trouble losing weight should visit a specialist to see if this is a problem."

<![CDATA[Breakthrough May Revive Reading Vision]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 19:57:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/eyelens3.JPG

Reading vision can worsen with age, but a breakthrough two-step lens procedure could potentially cure the often inevitable vision problem.

The lens is part of an FDA study taking place in Southern California with Dr. Kerry Assil leading the study in his Beverly Hills office.

While nearsightedness or farsightedness can be cured by Lasik surgery, presbyopia requires a change in the eye’s lens.

NBC4 spoke to the first woman to get the procedure, who cannot be named because she is part of the FDA study.

"Within a few hours, I was already starting to be able to see without glasses," she said.

The entire procedure was done in two steps.

In the first step, Assil uses a laser to create a tunnel in the cornea to serve as a pocket for the lens. In the second step, he inserts the lens and places it on top of the cornea.

"At times it was a little bit painful," the woman said. "But it was a very short surgery."

"To date of all the procedures that I’ve performed to try and compensate for presbyopia," Assil said. "This has been the one treatment that seems to work the best."

The procedure is still experimental and is still being studied, but it may lead the way in reading vision restoration.

<![CDATA[Congressman to FDA: Lift Ban on Gay Blood Donors]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:41:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-07-2014-generic-blood-drive-blood-donation-stock.jpg

A Bay Area congressman is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to lift the ban preventing gay and bisexual men from donating blood.

Mike Honda (D-San Jose) started an online petition to try to get the FDA to overturn the ban. He says the ban is outdated, discriminatory and based on decades-old fears that have been discounted by science.

“The FDA should end the ban and revise its policy and focus on behavior and individual risk, and not on sexual orientation,” Honda said Monday.

After holding a news conference Monday afternoon, Honda was joined by other leaders - including Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and County Supervisor Dave Cortese - for a blood drive outside the county administration building on Hedding Street.

Honda's online petition has more than 51,000 signatures so far.

The South Bay congressman is not the first Bay Area politician to take a stance against the law. In August 2013, then-mayor of Campbell Evan Low hosted a blood drive and tried to roll up his sleeves and donate. Low was turned away because he is gay.

Low said it was discrimination and called on the FDA to repeal the ban.

“I could host the blood drive but I could not donate blood myself,” Low said.

Gay and bisexual men have been turned away from blood donation centers since 1977.

Now, every pint of blood is tested for HIV/AIDS.

“There’s a lot of bias and fear associated with the issue,” Honda said. “In 2014, we need to apply science and data to this issue.”

Even with medical advances, the FDA stands by the policy, saying on its website that men who have had sex with men have an increased risk for HIV:

"FDA's deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor's sexual orientation."

The American Red Cross and the America Medical Association support the proposal that would allow gay men to donate. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia allow gay men to donate.


Then-Campbell Mayor Evan Low attempts to donate blood in this file image from 2013.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Deputies First in State to Carry OD Antidote]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 10:19:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/l_apnaloxone-narcan-opioidantidotex1200.jpg

Come Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will become the first law enforcement agency in California to carry an antidote that could save the lives of drug overdose victims.

According to the department, starting on July 7 deputies from the Santee Sheriff’s Station will carry Naloxone, a generic form of the drug known as Narcan, a nasal spray that can be given to victims of an opiate overdose.

Deputies will carry the overdose antidote whenever they respond to 911 calls.

The sheriff’s department said deputies patrolling the East County communities of Santee, Lakeside and unincorporated El Cajon will text Naloxone for six months to determine the effectiveness of implementing the program throughout the department’s jurisdiction in San Diego County.

Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, donated $4,500 to purchase the antidote for the six-month trial period.

The pilot program will be administered under the director of County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director, Dr. Bruce Haynes, who helped develop the protocol, procedures and training necessary for the deputies to safely administer the antidote, sheriff's officials said.

Under the program, deputies – who are the first to respond to a scene – will be allowed to administer Naloxone to overdose victims prior to the arrival of EMS units when every second is critical.

The antidote comes in a small kit with an applicator to create a nasal spray. A squirt in each nostril, like a flu vaccine, puts the medication in the bloodstream. It quickly interrupts the opiate response, which restores the addict’s ability to breathe and increases the heart rate.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore believes the antidote could make a huge difference and released the following statement about the trial:

“Our goal is to save lives. Overdoses from opiate-based prescription and illicit drugs, like Oxycodone and heroin, have taken the lives of children and adults alike in San Diego County. Sheriff's Deputies will be trained to administer Naloxone when they are the first responders on the scene of an overdose. Once the immediate danger passes, there can be a path to recovery which will hopefully break the cycle of drug addiction. "

As part of the program, when Naloxone is used in the field deputies will also give victims and their families a brochure with information on how to recognize signs of an overdose, as well as treatment options.

In addition, the McAlister Institute has partnered with the sheriff’s department to provide drug prevention and addiction treatment services during the Naloxone pilot program.

As always, anyone struggling with substance abuse or trying to help a loved one coping with addiction can call the McAlister Institute at (619) 442‐0277 or (619) 987‐6393. Counselors are available 24 hours a day on the County's Crisis Hotline at (888) 724‐7240.

In March, NBC 7 reported that this antidote would soon become available to San Diego deputies.

Since more than 300 San Diegans are expected to die from heroin or prescription opiate overdoses this year alone, the local sheriff’s department has been at the forefront of a national effort to reduce those deaths.

A number of East Coast police departments have implemented the use of Narcan, but the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will be the biggest agency in the nation to approve the drug.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Long Lines at Pot Farmers Market]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 03:56:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/mm+farmers+market+noon.jpg

A large number of people were spending their Fourth of July in line to a unique kind of farmers market in Boyle Heights. The featured product: medical marijuana.

The lines were outside the door to the 20 to 30 medical marijuana growers inside the Boyle Heights California Heritage Market on Friday. Some people reported waiting up to an hour-and-a-half to get in.

Paizely Bradbury, the executive director of the farmers market, said she has been monitoring the line all morning long.

"I've been walking up and down the line. It's insane,” Bradbury said. “You are dealing with the growers themselves and you are going to get pretty much 70 percent off than a dispensary."

A grower, identifying himself only as Keith, said the response to the market has been tremendous so far on the first of a three-day event.

“So far this is crazy because nobody has seen the likes of this,” he said. “Neither farmers or people buying."

Membership and access to the market is free only to medical marijuana license holders, and organizers said ID’s were being checked before anyone entered.

Organizers said there is a possibility that the farmers market will be a weekly fixture if all goes well with the opening.


<![CDATA[Most People Fail to Wash Hands When Cooking Chicken: Study]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:31:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/raw-chicken.jpg

Instead of washing their hands, most people prefer to wash their chicken.

And that's not right -- or safe. Unless you want salmonella poisoning or other unsavory ailments.

Mistakes, miscues and other errors while handling poultry are very common, according to a study conducted by UC Davis researchers.

Almost two-thirds of people observed by researchers did not wash their hands prior to handling poultry, according to the Sacramento Bee -- and 38 percent didn't wash their hands after handling raw poultry.

Instead, about half of people observed washed the chicken, the newspaper reported.

Other crimes committed by chicken-cookers, according to Christine Bruhn, a food-safety expert at the university:

  • 40 percent did not cook the chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • 90 percent did not wash their hands properly.

The summertime is peak season for food-borne illnesses, as many outdoor grillers fail to follow proper procedures, according to Karen Ross, secretary of the state Department of Food and Agriculture.




Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Novel Pacemaker Could Make MRI a Safe Option]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:30:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

MRI scans save lives by detecting diseases and identifying injuries, but for millions of people with pacemakers these important tests have been off limits.

The magnet and radio frequency from the MRI damages conventional pacemakers, making it potentially dangerous for patients and sometimes impossible for doctors to read results.

That is why Dr. Raymond Schaerf of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank is participating in a clinical study to test a new MRI-friendly pacemaker called the Accent, offering the device as an option to his patients. It is the first pacemaker in the U.S. that can scan any part of the body.

“There are various parts of the body that are very dependent upon on a good MRI to tell us what to do,” Schaerf said. “What we find is that of all people that get pacemakers or defibrillators, within 3 to 5 years, 70 percent of them can benefit with getting an MRI done.”

That could make it easier for doctors to diagnose and treat an illness or injury in their patients.

The Accent works alongside a wireless device used by the doctor. Before the patient gets an MRI, the device notifies the doctor if the pacemaker is safe to go through the scan. The doctor can also use the device to turn the pacemaker off temporarily, if necessary, or keep it on during the procedure.

The Accent is still in the first phase of testing, but Schaerf expects it to be widely available in the coming years.  

<![CDATA["Super-Toxic" Rat Poison Sale Banned in California]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:56:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/rats3.jpg

There’s a change coming to California stores that may help protect wildlife.

State authorities have banned the sale of a toxic rat poison after deeming it a significant danger to animals.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation imposed the ban Monday, restricting second generation anticoagulant rodenticides – commonly referred to as “super-toxic” rat poisons – from being sold to California consumers.

The products were sold under names such as d-CON Mouse Prufe II, d-CON Bait Pellets and Just One Bite, the agency said.

“They had to be removed from store shelves – only people who are trained and certified to handle them will be allowed to use them in California,” said DPR spokesperson Charlotte Fadipe.

Fadipe said that the now-banned rodenticide contained the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum or difethialone, which DPR classified as “restrictive materials.”

“If a rat comes along and eats these poisons on a Monday, it will still be running around on a Tuesday or Wednesday – during that time if a barn owl or a coyote eats the rat, the poison ends up in their bodies,” Fadipe said. “That’s why it’s so dangerous.”

Sometimes even pets may eat the rodents, Fadipe said.

A study conducted by DPR and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife from 1995 to 2010 found residues of the poison in 75 percent of the dead animals studied.

Animals adversely affected by the poison include barn owls, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons and the endangered San Joaquin kit fox.

“There’s a whole range of methods to tackle pests, including non-chemical ones, like getting a cat or an owl, or using other products that are not a threat to wildlife,” Fadipe said.

Reckitt Benckiser, one of the 17 manufacturers of the poison, initially tried to delay the consumer ban, taking DPR to court.

But a Superior Court judge agreed with the ban and the company has agreed to phase out production nationally by next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[LA Pot Dispensary Farmers Market]]> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 19:09:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/medical+marijuana+stock+cannabis.jpg

For some Los Angeles residents, the 4th of July weekend will be a chance to stock up on marijuana.

Patients eligible to use medical marijuana will be able to buy the drug directly from growers at a pot-centric farmers market. The California Heritage Market, which will feature 50 vendors, is open to any card-carrying medical marijuana patient in California.

“It will provide patients access to growers face to face,” said executive director Paizley Bradbury.

The market will be held in an enclosed outdoor area at West Coast Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Boyle Heights. Bradbury said organizers will check ID to verify that shoppers can buy marijuana before allowing them to enter.

The vendors have also been screened to ensure the market doesn’t “just let anybody come off the street.”

“A lot of people have been contacting me and saying, how are you doing this?” Bradbury said. “This is the legal way. This is what the laws are allowing us to do.”

Bradbury said the West Coast Collective decided to host the market out of frustration that the medical marijuana industry, especially in Los Angeles, has strayed from its original purpose of providing medicine to patients.

“Dispensary owners purchase medicine from growers and have created this market where their patients have no idea where their medicine is coming from,” she said.

She added that the city needs to do more to regulate growers and dispensaries, which she said often raise prices and give false information to patients. The farmers market, she said, will bring medical marijuana “back to its roots.”

A website for the event says the market "virtually guarantees that fresh medicine will be abundant and affordable."affordable.

The market, which also features food and games, will be held on July 4, 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Coast Collective. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Pertussis Cases Nearly Double 2013's Total]]> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:47:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vaccine2.jpg

 The 2014 number of pertussis cases has nearly doubled last year’s total in San Diego County, according to new data from the county Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

Health officials warn seven new whooping cough cases popped up last week in places where the public may have been exposed, bringing the 2014 total up to 759 confirmed cases.

Last year, HHSA workers confirmed just 431 cases. If the whooping cough epidemic continues to grow, it could break 2010’s record high of 1,179 cases in the county.

San Diego's trends are tracking closely with those seen statewide. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that 1,100 new cases have been seen across the state in the last two weeks.

That means 4,558 people reported whooping cough symptoms this year alone, compared to last year’s 2,532 total cases. One more infant has also died, bringing the total infant deaths to three.

CDPH officials announced last week that the pertussis cases have officially reached epidemic proportions.

The seven most recent patients in San Diego County may have exposed others at the following locations:

  • A 7-year-old and 10-year-old at Riverview Elementary School in the Lakeside Union School District
  • A 7-year-old at Rios Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District
  • A 10-year-old at Innovation Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District
  • A 13-year-old at Our Lady’s School in San Diego
  • A person at Charley Brown Children’s Center in La Mesa
  • A person at Fisher Children’s Center at Camp Pendleton

All patients were all up-to-date for their age on pertussis immunizations, HHSA officials say.

“Parents should remain vigilant for signs of whooping cough to help prevent the spread of this disease,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Everyone should be up-to-date on their vaccinations and booster shot.

In a typical case, pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, and then the patient develops rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with the distinctive “whooping” sound.

Antibiotics can make the symptoms less severe and prevent the spread of the disease.

<![CDATA[Study: Rote Memorization Can Lead to False Memories]]> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:55:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/brain_scan_722x406_2214458385.jpg

Most people who have crammed for a test know about rote memorization, also known as hammering the same information into your brain until it stays there.

Common sense says that going over the same thing again and again would make it easier to remember, but a new study from UC Irvine suggests rote memorization also comes at a price.

Researchers Zachariah Reagh and Michael Yassa published a study in the journal "Learning & Memory" which found that while repetition can enhance the factual content of memories, it also has the added effect of reducing the amount of detail stored in those memories.

Basically, this means that while repeated interaction with the same material highlights some ideas, it does so at the cost of specifics.

In the study, participants looked at images a different numbers of times and were tested on their memories of the image afterwards.

What the research showed is while repetition strengthened memorization of main ideas, participants who viewed the images multiple times were more easily fooled by “imposter” pictures.

The study implies that repetition shakes loose details in memory, giving credence to Competitive Trace Theory, another idea discussed by the pair of researchers.

At its simplest level, Competitive Trace Theory says that the more times a memory is recalled, the more it competes with other bits of similar memories, possibly leading to false memories being formed.

The researchers compared it to a brain version of the children’s telephone game.

Previous findings on memory supported the idea that repetitive recollection lessens the ability to remember things accurately.

Research done at Northwestern University suggests that when a person remembers something, they aren’t actual recalling the actual memory, but instead the last time they brought it to mind.

Yassa, a professor of neurobiology at UC Irvine, concludes in the study that while his findings do not discredit the entire practice of repetitive learning, it should be combined with other memory techniques for a learning experience that really sticks.

<![CDATA[Whooping Cough Cases on Rise in San Diego]]> Sat, 21 Jun 2014 03:57:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/103344335.jpg

The number of pertussis cases continued to climb this week in San Diego County, and in California, whooping cough has been declared an epidemic.

Seven new cases have been reported this week, raising the overall number for this year to 667, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. 

By comparison, last year only saw a total of 431 cases all year.

Statewide, the trends are similar. Nearly 3,500 cases have been reported to the California Department of Public Health.

Health officials say the last whooping cough peak was in 2010, and they believe another peak is underway.

The main priority for health officials is preventing serious disease and death in infants. As for vaccination, young children need five doses of DTaP by kindergarten and a Tdap booster is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester.

For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.

All of the new pertussis cases reported at the following locations were up-to-date for their age on immunizations, except for the cases noted:  

  • An 11-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Wangenheim Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • An 11-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Meridian Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District.
  • A 12-year-old at Pershing Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • A 14-year-old at Twin Peaks Middle School in the Poway Unified School District.
  •  A 16-year-old at Charter School of San Diego.
  • A 16-year-old at Santana High School in the Grossmont Union High School District.
  • An individual at Tierra Bonita Elementary School in the Poway Unified School District.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Region Ranks #1 as Worst Place for Skin: Study]]> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 07:42:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/155366999.jpg

A “wrinkle ranking” study has identified a Southern California region as the nation’s worst place for your skin.

The Inland Empire – specifically, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario – was ranked number one due to "constant sun and high unemployment rates," according to the study.

The Wrinkle Ranking Study, sponsored by RoC Skincare and Sperling’s Best Places, takes into account how lifestyle, environment, commute time and stress levels influence skin’s risk of damage.

Riverside residents are exposed to above average amounts of sunlight, pollution and dry weather, spend a higher than average amount of time commuting and of the 50 cities in the study, had the second-highest unemployment rate at 11 percent.

The Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale ranked 16th due to the study’s highest levels of particulate pollution, a longer than average commute time, high stress and a high unemployment. Unlike the Inland Empire, however, residents in the LA region “showed a commitment to a healthy diet,” as residents consume 13 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables than average. Los Angeles residents are also 27 percent less likely to smoke, according to the study.

The Top 20 U.S. Cities Where Residents are Most at Risk for Skin Damage

  1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  2. New York, NY
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
  5. Baltimore-Towson, MD
  6. Denver-Aurora, CO
  7. Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL
  8. Newark, NJ-PA
  9. St. Louis, MO-IL
  10. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
  11. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  12. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN
  13. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  14. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL
  15. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
  16. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
  17. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
  18. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
  19. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  20. Warren, MI


Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Whooping Cough Epidemic in Calif.]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:42:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whooping+cough+vaccine.jpg

The number of whooping cough cases in California has officially reached epidemic proportions, the California Department of Public Health reported.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, has experienced a resurgence this year with more than 3,400 new cases reported between Jan. 1 and June 10, according a statement released by the department.

The department said whooping cough is cyclical, peaking every three to five years. The last big spike in cases was in 2010.

Los Angeles County has experienced about 350 new cases so far this year with Long Beach being hit especially hard. The city has seen more than 90 new infections, making up nearly 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Pertussis is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. Symptoms of the disease vary by age group.

Adults can find themselves beset with respiratory problems that can last for weeks, while infants who are too young to be vaccinated are in danger of serious illness or death. The common name for the disease comes from the “whooping” sound children can make when experiencing the violent coughing attacks associated with the disease.

Infants may not have typical pertussis symptoms and may have no apparent cough. Parents describe episodes in which the infant’s face turns red or purple.

The organization said two-thirds of pertussis hospitalizations have been in children aged 4 months or younger. Two infant deaths have been reported.

“Preventing severe disease and death in infants is our highest priority,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the department, in the statement. “We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated. We also urge parents to vaccinate infants as soon as possible.”

The Tdap vaccine, which also guards against tetanus and diphtheria, can be administered to pregnant women to protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated.

In addition, the department said infants should be vaccinated as soon as possible, which can be as early as 6 weeks of age.

Older children and adults are also recommended to be vaccinated especially if they are regularly around newborn babies.

While Chapman said vaccination does not offer lifetime immunity, he stressed that it was still the best defense against the potentially fatal disease.

Photo Credit: NBCNewYork]]>
<![CDATA[Whooping Cough Cases Continue to Surge]]> Sat, 14 Jun 2014 03:56:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whooping-cough-rowan.jpg

Whooping cough cases continue to surge in San Diego County with 621 cases confirmed so far this year – nearly eight times as many cases as this same time last year.

Pertussis cases have been skyrocketing all year and this week, 19 more cases have been reported where the public may have been exposed, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services.

The local numbers are part of greater nationwide trend.

As of June 10, there have been 3,458 cases of pertussis reported to California Department of Public Health this year, more than were reported in all of 2013. More than 800 new cases have been reported in the past two weeks.

Health officials said the frequency of pertussis cases ebbs and flows every three to five years, with the last peak in California in 2010.

The main priority for health officials is preventing serious disease and death in infants. As for vaccination, young children need five doses of DTaP by kindergarten and a Tdap booster is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester.

Here’s the week’s new pertussis cases as provided by the San Diego County Health and Human Services. All of them had been up-to-date on their immunizations expect for three noted:

  •  An individual at KinderCare in San Marcos
  •  A 6-year-old, a 9-year-old and a 10-year-old at Marshall Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • An 8-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Lake Elementary School in the Vista Unified School District.
  • An 8-year-old at Sunset Hills Elementary School in the Poway Unified School District.
  • A 15-year-old at Carlsbad High School in the Carlsbad Unified School District.
  • An 11- year-old at Twin Oaks Elementary School in the San Marcos Unified School District.
  • An 11-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Marston Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • A 12-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Encinitas Country Day School in Encinitas.
  • A 13-year-old at Meadowbrook Middle School in the Poway Unified School District.
  • A 13-year-old at Carmel Valley Middle School in the San Dieguito Union High School District.
  • A 13-year-old at Carlton Oaks School in the Santee School District.
  • A 13-year-old and a 14-year-old at Lewis Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • A 14-year-old at La Jolla High School in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • A 14-year-old at Magnolia Science Academy in the San Diego Unified School District.
  • A 16-year-old at Mount Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District.
  • A 17-year-old at Junipero Serra High School in the San Diego Unified School District.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[O-Negative Blood Donors Needed]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:08:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/blood+donation.jpg

The San Diego Blood Bank is looking for O-negative donors to give blood amid a serious shortage, blood bank officials said.

According to blood bank spokesperson Jackie Vella, O-negative donors are urgently needed to give blood at San Diego Blood Bank donor centers and bloodmobiles.

The current shortage is being caused by a combination of factors, including a patient suffering from severe trauma and low donor turnout over the last few weeks.

“This is a very risky situation since O-negative is the universal donor, the only type safely given to any trauma patient when there is not time to identify their blood type,” Vella said.

To donate blood, visit the San Diego Blood Bank website or call (800) 469-7322.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine Explained]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:48:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/edtAP1011180117961.jpg After a long day, a glass of wine may help ease some tension. But did you know it could also help your health? One glass of red wine could actually improve your memory.

<![CDATA[New Technology Could Painlessly Reduce Scarring]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 06:18:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

Doctors are using a new technology to minimize the visibility of scars after surgical procedures by simply applying an advanced bandage-type adhesive to the wound.

Embrace Advanced Scar Therapy works by relieving the skin tension created during the natural healing process of scars, leaving a less visible mark on the skin.

“Scars like to open and spread. This keeps it together. By keeping it from spreading, it’s going to heal in a nice thin straight line scar,” said Dr. Payman Daneilepour, a plastic surgeon who has used the bandage on his patients.

Caitlin Aiello developed a scar from an emergency C-section.

“I really hated it,” Aiello said of the scarring. “It was really ugly and sort of purple and raised.”

Mark Morgan had the same problem after having a tummy tuck.

“When it healed, the scar was very wide,” Morgan said.

Both used a variety of creams and pills to shrink their scars, but said nothing worked until they used this technology.

“I’m so happy,” Aiello said.  “I really thought it was something I’d have to live with forever, and now I know I don’t.”

Morgan seconded her review.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I can’t believe the difference.”

Doctors say the bandage can be used right after surgery or within year after the scar has formed.

“They can be good for any type of scar, whether it’s arm lifts or even developing,” Dr. John Layke, another plastic surgeon who has used the bandage, said. “The company’s developing dressings that could even be for the common cut along the face.”

Dr. Bruce said this is not the only choice for scar revision.

“It may be the least painful and least risky when compared to other options. If undergoing surgery, remember to ask about creams to use before and after to reduce the risk of scarring." 

<![CDATA[Medical Pot Bill Inspired by Girl]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 17:57:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP204780883216.jpg

On good days when her epileptic seizures aren't severe, RayAnn Moseley laughs, sings, dances, swims and practices with the children's choir at her church. She easily brings smiles to the people around her.

On bad days, the 11-year-old wakes up in bloody sheets or lies down on the school floor and says nothing all day. When her seizures become particularly intense, she is rushed to the hospital.

The images of those extremes collected in a collage helped persuade Florida lawmakers to support a bill that will soon allow parents to treat their epileptic children with marijuana that has a low amount of THC, the chemical that causes intoxication. What seemed improbable a few months ago is now about to become a law with the help of a severely epileptic girl whose story melted hearts.

"When we first started this, people were like, 'Are you crazy? It's never going to pass,'" said RayAnn's father, Peyton Moseley, who along with his wife, Holley, met with dozens of lawmakers showing them the photos of RayAnn. "They could see the difference when she's having good days as opposed to when she's having bad days. It helped to really put a face on it."

Even Gov. Rick Scott, who has firmly opposed medical marijuana, welcomed RayAnn into his office, hugged her and assured her parents he would sign the bill.

Once Scott signs the bill, which passed the Legislature overwhelmingly on the last day of this year's legislative session, strains of marijuana with low amounts of THC and high amounts of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures, will be legal in Florida for certain medical conditions.

Still, a handful of House members raised concerns, including a lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug's use and the possibility that the bill will open the door for wider spread use of marijuana.

"This could be the rifle shot that starts a massive avalanche," Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said after the vote. "When I look at that I simply can't pull the trigger."

The journey to passage began late last year when the Moseleys traveled from the Pensacola area to Colorado and talked to parents of epileptic children whose seizures have been reduced or eliminated after treating them with oil from a marijuana strain known as "Charlotte's Web," named for the epileptic girl it originally helped in 2012. They also talked to the Stanley brothers, marijuana growers who developed the strain, which is legal in Colorado.

That's when they decided to seek the treatment's legalization in Florida, teaming up with two lobbyists and a publicist who donated their time. Simultaneously, conservative Panhandle Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was being pressured by a Democratic colleague to support the idea of legalizing Charlotte's Web. He was skeptical, but willing to listen. He set up a phone call with the Stanley brothers, who told him about the Moseleys.

"I was not on fire for the issue until I got to meet the Moseleys," Gaetz said. "Sharing the Moseleys' story lit a fire in me that I couldn't find a way to put out until passing this bill."

Part of that story is how RayAnn came into the Moseleys' lives. RayAnn's birth mother was a prostitute and drug user. She often didn't get the medication doctors prescribed to treat the seizures that have tormented her since birth. The state took custody of RayAnn when she was 2, but it's not easy finding foster parents for a child with cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy. They placed her at a hospital where Holly Moseley, a pediatric nurse, saw her in a crib covered with netting.

"We just connected. You just can't help but fall in love with those blue eyes," Moseley said. "You could just see inside of her that need for love."

Three days later, Moseley was off but couldn't help thinking about RayAnn stuck in a crib that looked like a cage. Christmas was approaching and she got permission to have RayAnn join her family for the holidays.

"She laughed the whole night - there was just a big smile on her face," Moseley said. Right after Christmas, the Moseleys hired a lawyer and started a three-year fight to adopt RayAnn, whose birth mother resisted giving her up. The same month Moseley gave birth to her first of two biological children, RayAnn became the couple's adoptive daughter.

"On the good days, it's fabulous," said her teacher, Angela Pettus. "She is just so much fun, she is such a joy. She keeps us laughing, she keeps us entertained."

But on the bad days she can be angry and frustrated either by the side effects of her medications or when her seizures increase in intensity.

"She will go through spurts of extreme growth where she's getting things, things are starting to click. She's doing great, she's reading, she's comprehending, she's doing math," Pettus said. "Then she'll go through a period of seizures and she'll lose a lot of it and we're back to square one again. It's hard to watch that in a child."

"There's just a lot of intelligence in there, that if they could get her seizures under control and they could get her leveled out, her doors could be wide open," Pettus said.

RayAnn's cerebral palsy affects her ability to speak and, while her parents understand her, most people have a difficult time communicating with her. The Moseleys hope that could change with help from Charlotte's Web.

"In the state of Colorado we do know that 85 percent of children who are using non-euphoric marijuana to control seizures and spasms have seen a 50 to 100 percent reduction in those seizures," Gaetz said.

"I imagine that there's this whole other inner being in RayAnn that hasn't come out yet that wants to come out, that just hasn't physically been able to come out. I just look really look forward to meeting her for the first time pharmaceutical free," Peyton Moseley said. "I don't think God has brought us this far for it not to work."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins to Go Home]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 03:56:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ezell+Twins+06.JPG

The formerly-conjoined Ezell twins are sharing an exciting milestone -- they'll soon be headed home for good.

Mom Jenni Ezell said Emmett and Owen are going home on Wednesday.

The babies were once conjoined breast bone to belly button, but a Dallas doctor was able to surgically separate them at Medical City Children's Hospital last August.

The boys are currently at Our Children's House at Baylor for rehab, but mom said the twins are strong and even breathing on their own.

The twins left Medical City in April for the inpatient rehabilitation center.

Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[2 Locals Diagnosed With Tattoo Infections]]> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:23:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tattooing+generic.jpg

Two San Diego residents who recently got tattoos were diagnosed with infections caused by a family of bacteria called nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) – the first cases of this kind detected in San Diego, according to county health officials.

The County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) said both San Diegans required medical care due to their infections.

NTM has been found in contaminated tattoo ink and in the water used to dilute ink to create gray areas of a tattoo. Contamination can also happen when the tattoo needle is rinsed between colors.

Health officials said infection can occur because the area being tattooed creates an "open surface on the skin through which bacteria can easily enter the body."

NTM infections can cause itchy, red bumps that can progress to abscesses a few days or weeks after getting a tattoo. Health officials said the infections may require the use of multiple antibiotics for up to six months and can cause permanent scarring even after treatment.

According to health officials, clusters of these types of NTM infection cases have been reported throughout the U.S., but never in San Diego until now.

Though in most cases getting a tattoo is safe, county public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., said people should “be aware of the potential for these types of infections before getting a tattoo.”

Although both the State of California and the County of San Diego have regulations governing tattoo shops to ensure safe practices are in place, health officials said consumers should still be aware of potential health risks, and know what to look for in a tattoo shop.

This includes making sure the tattoo artist is registered and the shop has a permit from the County Department of Environmental Health (DEH). Also, consumers should ask any and all questions about hygiene and the tattooing process prior to the ink work and request inks and colors specifically made for tattooing.

After getting a tattoo, consumers should monitor the inked area for signs of an infection, including redness, heat, swelling or pus around the tattoo.

If any of these signs of an infection develop, one should promptly seek medical care and call the tattoo artist. In addition, health officials said consumers should report a tattoo-related infection to the DEH Epidemiology Liaison at (858) 505-6814 or Epidemiology.FHD@sdcounty.ca.gov.

As for these two cases in San Diego, the DEH and HHSA are working together with state and federal health officials to further investigate the causes of the infections.

County health officials did not release the name of the tattoo shops where these customers contracted the infection.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Baby Latest to Die in Nap Nanny]]> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 01:54:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/edt-AP31966872310.jpg

An 8-month-old baby girl in New Jersey is the latest child to die in the recalled infant recliner known as the Nap Nanny. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Hopatcong baby was secured into the chair by a belt but was found hanging over its side, trapped between the chair and a crib bumper.

The agency is warning parents, again, not to use the chairs. Several children have died in them, the CPSC says.

The Nap Nanny was designed to mimic the curves of a baby car seat, elevating an infant slightly to help reduce reflux, gas, stuffiness or other problems.

The commission says the chairs are not being sold in stores any longer but are still a popular product at yard sales, online auctions or as hand-me-down gifts.

"The products are hazardous and it is illegal to sell or resell them," CPSC says.

The agency did not say when the New Jersey girl died.

Photo Credit: AP]]>