<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego https://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usSun, 20 May 2018 18:01:54 -0700Sun, 20 May 2018 18:01:54 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[UCSD Researchers ID Gene That Could Prevent Brain Diseases]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 08:06:51 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-887335-001.jpg

Researchers in San Diego have identified a gene that may be able to stop the accumulation of protein deposits in the brain, a factor in developing brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It’s long been believed that protein deposits in the brain cause a series of events that lead to dementia.

However, there is no test to determine if someone has dementia or the leading type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease.

Ten years ago, UC San Diego Professor Susan Ackerman and her colleagues first showed how cells not sending proper genetic information to proteins can create abnormal collections of the proteins on the brain.

Now, Ackerman and researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have identified Ankrd16 as a gene that prevents protein from gathering.

In the May 16 release of the journal Nature, the research team describe Ankrd16 as “…a new layer of the machinery essential for preventing severe pathologies that arise from defects in proofreading.”

Proofreading is the process of cells correcting mutations.

According to the research, adding more Ankrd16 protects nerve cells from dying while removing the gene caused “widespread buildup of abnormal proteins and ultimately neuronal death.”

What is still a mystery – why the protein deposits occur.

Researchers hope this new discovery will lead to understanding the development of dementia.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Selig/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[It's Safe to Eat Romaine Lettuce Again, CDC Says]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 07:26:39 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/950400894-Romaine-Lettuce.jpg

Romaine lettuce grown near Yuma, Arizona, is believed to have sickened 172 people in 32 states, killing one person, but it's unlikely to do so any more, NBC News reported.

Any romaine lettuce that's now in stores is very likely not from the Yuma region, meaning it's unlikely to carry the E. coli bacteria linked to the outbreak, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

More cases may still be reported but the lettuce has a 21-day shelf life and the lettuce's harvest season in Arizona ended in mid-April.

"The most recent illnesses reported to CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples’ homes," according to the CDC update.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Opioid Crisis Makes More Organs Available: Researchers]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 05:36:35 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-724243309.jpg

America's opioid epidemic is making more organs available for lifesaving transplants, researchers reported Wednesday.

Close to 14 percent of people who donated an organ in 2016 — 1,029 donors — had died of a drug overdose, the team of experts reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. That compares to just 1 percent in 2000, or 59 donors.

And the transplants are safe. Organs donated by people who have died of drug overdoses are not dangerous because most traces of the drug are gone by the time the organ is removed, said Dr. Josef Stehlik of the University of Utah, who also signed the letter. The report added that there is "no significant difference in survival after transplantation."

"The drugs are metabolized and excreted from the donor body by the time the transplant would take place (in brain-dead donors body functions — such as kidney and liver function — continue during preparation for transplant)," Stehlik told NBC News by email.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra, File]]>
<![CDATA[More Kids, Especially Girls, Are Attempting Suicide: Study]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 08:01:21 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_teensuicide0515_1500x845.jpg

More kids are attempting suicide or thinking about it, according to a new study out Wednesday.

The rate of children's hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts or activity doubled from about 2008 to 2015, researcher Dr. Gregory Plemmons of Vanderbilt University told NBC News.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at data from 49 children's hospitals. It found that girls made up nearly two-thirds of cases.

What's behind the uptick isn't clear to the researchers — "I don't have any one magic answer that explains why we're seeing this," Plemmons said.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

<![CDATA[School Stress May Be Cause of Rising Teen Suicide Attempts: Study]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 08:00:41 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_teensuicide0515_1500x845.jpg

New research shows a growing number of young people are thinking about taking their own lives, and the study suggests school stress may play a role. Vanderbilt University researchers say the rates of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts have doubled since 2008, and the problem seems to spike in the fall.

<![CDATA[Mom's Seeming 'Pregnancy Brain' Turns Out to Be Melanoma]]> Mon, 14 May 2018 10:11:10 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/skin-cancer-death-today-main-1-180511_442778c524777a13304ae8eb78074cb1.focal-1000x500.jpg

When Danielle Dick was frustrated at being unable to find the right words, her obstetrician told her it was probably "pregnancy brain" brought on by the twins she was carrying.

But "Today" reported that, when one day she wasn't able to speak at all, an emergency MRI revealed three masses nestled in her brain, which turned out to be melanoma.

She died less than a year later at 32, having delivered the twins at 29 weeks to allow them time to develop and her to undergo more aggressive treatment. Now her husband is raising awareness about the severity of skin cancer.

"I hope that people realize the importance of going to the dermatologist regularly. That is what she wanted people to know as well," Tyler Dick said.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Tyler Dick]]>
<![CDATA[Wearing Workout Clothes in an MRI Machine Can Burn You, Hospitals Warn]]> Sat, 12 May 2018 12:49:29 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MRI_Guided_Radiation_4p_110617.jpg

For anyone getting an MRI, it's easy to put on some comfy workout clothes while you sit in a tiny space for minutes at a time as the machine scans you.  

But hospitals are now warning patients that some workout clothing can burn your skin in an MRI scanner. 

Workout brands will put metallic fibers in some exercise clothing like spandex yoga pants or stretchy material. This is to keep odor and bacteria away during work outs. 

But these fibers, which doctors warn are sometimes in undergarments like bras and boxer briefs as well, can heat up and burn you in an MRI machine. 

"The clothes and pants you're wearing could go up to over 150 degrees," said Dr. Eric Goodman, a radiologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego. "It's a lot of vendors and stores and not just yoga clothes. It's in a lot of things we didn't know about until recently." 

Lululemon Athletica has put up signs in some locations adding they care about the safety of their customers. 

On Friday, they sent NBC 7 this statement: 

“Health care professionals recommend people about to undergo an MRI remove their jewelry, watches, and any clothing that might contain forms of metals.

We have informed our guests that a selection of  lululemon’s products are created with Silverescent technology, a fabric that incorporates silver-bonded threads to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the garment. This technology has been utilized over the last number of years, and we provide information on which products contain Silverescent technology on our website, app and on the care label and hang tag when the product is sold.

Many companies that offer athletic clothing to their customers use similar types of materials, so we encourage people to check the labels of their clothing.  And, of course, out of an abundance of caution, if they have any question or concerns, we suggest wearing other clothing to a procedure such as an MRI."

Lululemon said it is important to talk to your technologist or doctor and let them know what kind of clothes you are wearing before you enter the machine. 

Some local hospitals, like the University of California at Los Angeles, are now handing out pamphlets to patients, warning them of the potential danger.

The pamphlet says, "Data has proven that during MRI Scanning, some clothing can heat up, resulting in serious skin burns." 

According to Ric McGill of the radiology department, UCLA Health requires all patients to change into gowns prior to their MRI scan.

"It's definitely a big concern to us in radiology," added Dr. Goodman. "We recommend people remove almost all of their clothing prior to the MRI. We have gowns and extra undergarments for people to wear." 

<![CDATA[Removing Doctors' Implicit Bias Could Save Black Mothers]]> Fri, 11 May 2018 07:40:56 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-694024327.jpg

Each year in the United States, about 700 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide. Some theorize the racial disparity in U.S. maternal mortality rates is at least partly caused by institutional racism in our society and health care system, conscious or unconscious.

For example, Alia McCants gave birth via cesarean section in 2014 and later hemorrhaged, NBC News reported. She recalled her obstetrician was dismissive of her desire to avoid a C-section. And most crucially, a doctor was short with her while explaining warning signs of hemorrhaging, leaving her not immediately able to recognize the danger she was in when the bleeding started.

One approach to combat this in hospitals and medical schools is training providers on implicit bias — the deeply ingrained stereotypes that everyone has.

Experts want to target discrimination and "microaggressions" health care workers may not realize they put out. Thirty-two percent of black women feel they’ve been discriminated against in physicians’ offices.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Burn Institute Spirit of Courage Awards]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 11:28:33 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Burn_Institute_Spirit_of_Courage_Awards.jpg

NBC 7 Catherine Garcia and Mark Mullen report on the ceremony in which awards were handed out to a dozen people who risked their own safety to help save others during fires across the county.

<![CDATA[Nasal Spray Addiction Is Real and a Risk]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 08:57:03 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_nasalspray0509_1500x845.jpg
Nasal sprays have been on the market for years and provide instant relief for millions of Americans who get nasal congestion from colds or allergies. But for some, that relief can turn into an addiction.


<![CDATA[Northwest, Southwest Most Challenging for Spring Allergies]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 03:59:49 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pollenGettyImages-168997935.jpg

The most challenging cities to live with spring allergies are mostly located in the northwest and southwest of the country, NBC News reported.

The finding comes in a recently study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which also says climate change is to blame for this year’s more intense pollen counts.

Among the study's rankings of the 18 most challenging cities to live with spring allergies are Louisville, Kentucky; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia. McAllen, Texas, is ranked as the most challenging city, while Youngstown, Ohio, is the least challenging. 

According to researchers, this year’s intensified allergy season may be the result of warmer, wetter winters.

Photo Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[What to Do When EpiPens Are in Short Supply]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 09:56:55 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16238410648858.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration added EpiPens, generic epipens and Adrenaclick autoinjectors to its list of drug shortages. This doesn't mean people cannot get EpiPens or generics, the FDA said, but they may have to look harder or turn to a different brand, such as Auvi-Q by Kaleo. 

To stay prepared during the shortage, don't wait for an emergency and check your autoinjector supply now, NBC News reported. After checking the injectors and their expiration dates, search for alternative brands.

Also, it's important to understand how to use a different brand from the one you're used to. Each brand functions a little differently and the methods for injecting may vary. The stress of an allergic reaction is not the best time to learn how to use a new injector.

There's a number for patients to call if they have trouble finding the injectors. "Patients who are experiencing difficulty accessing product should contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance in locating alternative pharmacies," the FDA said.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File]]>
<![CDATA[EpiPen Shortage Declared by FDA]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 09:01:21 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/epipen3.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration says there is a shortage of EpiPen auto injectors, which are used to treat severe allergic reactions.

<![CDATA[Teen Wakes From Coma as Parents Prepare to Donate His Organs]]> Tue, 08 May 2018 07:12:33 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tdy_news_melvin_miracle_boy_180508_1920x1080.jpg

Just when his parents signed papers allowing his organs to be donated to other children, 13-year-old Trenton McKinley began to stir from his coma, "Today" reported.

The Alabama boy was injured in a go-carting accident two months ago, rushed to a hospital with seven skull fractures.

"They told me I'd be a vegetable," Trenton told "Today" after he had regained consciousness hours before his family was prepared to take him off life support.

Now the teenager is able to talk and walk: "I don't really seem like a vegetable, do I?"

Photo Credit: "Today"
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<![CDATA[Calorie Disclosure Rule Goes Into Effect for US Restaurants]]> Mon, 07 May 2018 13:22:42 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds-menu1.jpg

After years of delays, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced a law requiring restaurants and other food outlets with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts.

In anticipation of the law, big firms like McDonald's and Starbucks have already introduced the calorie information on their menus and menu boards.

For example, a Big Mac Meal at McDonald's with regular fries and a full-sugar coke contains 1,120 calories, and that information is now posted clearly in the chain's restaurant locations.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women are likely to need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day, and men from 2,000 to 3,000.

The food labeling rule had an original compliance date of 2015, but that was extended three times to help the industry understand and prepare for the rules.

Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/AP]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Expands Kratom Recall Over Salmonella Fears ]]> Mon, 07 May 2018 08:57:54 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fda+logo.JPG

Badger Botanicals is recalling four different dietary supplements that may have been contaminated with salmonella, the Food and Drug Administration said on its website Friday.

The recall affects consumers who purchased Green Suma, Red Suma, Green Hulu 2 and Red Hulu 2 kratom dietary supplements in pouches of 250 grams through the Utah-based company’s website from Jan. 1 through April 12 of this year, the FDA said.

One possible illness has been reported in connection with the recall, according to the FDA. Salmonella symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping and fever, the agency noted.

The recall comes less than a month after the FDA announced that it was investigating a "multistate outbreak" of Salmonella linked to products that contain kratom — a plant native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papau New Guina, according to the agency's website. 

The agency hasn’t approved any uses for kratom, and has gotten "concerning reports about the safety of kratom, including deaths associated with its use," it said last month.

"The FDA advises consumers to avoid kratom in any form,” it said on its website. “In addition to the public health concerns raised by this outbreak, there is strong evidence that kratom affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine and appears to have properties that expose people who consume kratom to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence."

Anyone who bought the supplements included in the recall should stop using them. Unused supplements can be returned, the FDA said.

Consumers with questions can call Badger Botanicals at 1-385-325-0875.

<![CDATA[USF Professor Discovers Breakthrough in Detecting Autism]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 17:40:15 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/05022018USFStudy_2625948.JPG

A University of San Francisco professor has developed an algorithm that could change lives and lead to better outcomes for children living with autism.

Dr. William Bosl, a neuroscientist at USF, figured out you can see abnormal patterns in brain activity from an age-old source -- EEG sensors -- that capture wavelengths. The research also highlights how autism can be detected just a few months after birth.

"If this works, it's a window into the mind that could change our practice of psychiatry and neurology -- the world over," Bosl said.

The research was laid out in the prestigious Scientific Reports Journal and put together with two of Bosl's colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital.

Amy Fickenscher, who has two children with autism, said the new research will be helpful.

"If we had resources like this when my kids were younger, we could have started speech therapy or communication services even earlier," Fickenscher said.

Bosl said the goal now is to find funding and resources for a large clinical study.

"I hope it's giving them hope, but not false hope," Bosl said. "So, we have these nice research results. It only becomes helpful if we push it into clinical practice."

The research comes at a critical time as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a 15 percent increase in autism prevalance -- one in every 59 children -- since the last time it was studied five years ago.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Unusual Cases of Rare Eye Cancer Puzzle Doctors in 2 States]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 06:02:19 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2018-05-02+at+9.00.36+AM.png

A rare eye cancer has cropped up in dozens of people in two Southern states, mainly women in their 20s and 30s, NBC News reported.

Doctors are puzzled by the ocular melanoma diagnoses in a group of graduates from Auburn University in Alabama and people from Huntersville, North Carolina.

The cancer is rare, usually affecting just six in a million people.

Doctors are so far reluctant to call it a cancer cluster, as no common thread or cause has been found, but researchers are studying the groups to see if there's a link between them.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce Has Spread to 22 States]]> Fri, 27 Apr 2018 14:29:44 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-695558316.jpg

Don't eat the lettuce.

The E. coli outbreak linked to Romaine lettuce grown in Arizona continues to expand, with the case total climbing to 98 across 22 states and 46 people requiring hospitalization, 10 of them for a type of acute kidney failure, the Centers for Disease Control said Friday.

That's an increase of 14 cases in just the last two days -- and nearly a half-dozen more hospitalizations. Last week, the CDC expanded its warning and told people to avoid all kinds of romaine lettuce that may have been grown in Yuma, Arizona. It reiterated that plea in its advisory on Friday. 

Investigators still haven't been able to determine the original source of the outbreak, which has now affected people in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and a wide swath of the south and midwest. The most cases have been reported in Pennsylvania (18), followed by California (16) and Idaho (10). To date, New Jersey has seven cases, New York has two and Connecticut has two. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13 to April 20. Sick people range in age from 1 to 88, with a median age of 31. Most of the victims have been female. Ten of the 46 related hospitalizations were for hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be a fatal form of kidney failure. 

Ninety six percent of 67 people interviewed in connection with the investigation reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started, the CDC said. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. 

Photo Credit: Douglas Sacha/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study to Examine Cannabis' Effect on Severe Autism]]> Fri, 27 Apr 2018 07:04:40 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/UC-San-Diego-Generic-Facebook.jpg

San Diego researchers will use a $4.7 million gift to examine a cannabis plant extract as a treatment for severe autism.

The largest gift to date for medicinal cannabis research in the U.S. was awarded to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, the center announced Wednesday.

Researchers hope to discover whether medicinal cannabinoid therapies can alleviate symptoms in children with severe autism.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The product does not make a person or a child high.

Researchers believe CBD affects the central nervous system in a way that may be relevant to autism ranging from correcting brain or mood imbalances to modulating cognitive processes.

The clinical study will be led by Doris Trauner, MD, a professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Thirty children between 8 and 12 years old with a confirmed diagnosis of moderate to severe autism will be included in the trial set to begin around the end of 2018.

The grant was provided by Utah-based Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation.

For more information click here.

Amy Munera with the Autism Society of San Diego is pleased there is legitimate research going into the potential for using the drug to treat children living with autism.

"A lot of the early research looks promising but there's not enough of it," Munera said.

Igor Grant, M.D. works with UC San Diego and said he feels researchers owe it to the parents and the kids to see if there's a positive effect. 

"I have seen how challenging this is and how important it is that we find some additional ways to help these families," Grant said.

However, he cautions parents to wait for research to lead the way. 

"I'm optimistic but let's also be realistic," he said. 

"I mean, don't just jump on a trend." 

The CMCR at UC San Diego is also involved in other studies of medical cannabis including the potential for treating pain and bipolar disorder as well as the effects on driving.

Photo Credit: UC San Diego/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Lettuce-Linked E. Coli Outbreak Soars to 84 Cases in 19 States; 42 Hospitalized]]> Thu, 26 Apr 2018 03:41:52 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-695558316.jpg

The number of cases in the E. coli outbreak tied to Romaine lettuce grown in Arizona has boomed to 84 in 19 states, with 42 people requiring hospitalization, more than a half-dozen of them for a type of acute kidney failure, the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.

That's an increase of 31 people in 10 states just in the last week, when the CDC expanded its warning and told people to avoid all kinds of romaine lettuce that may have been grown in Yuma, Arizona. At first, the agency targeted chopped.

Investigators still haven't been able to determine the original source of the outbreak, which has now affected people in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and a wide swath of the south and midwest. The most cases have been reported in Pennsylvania (18), followed by California (13) and Idaho (10). To date, New Jersey has seven cases, New York has two and Connecticut has two. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13 to April 12. Sick people range in age from 1 to 88, with a median age of 31. Most of the victims have been female. Nine of the 42 related hospitalizations were for hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be a fatal form of kidney failure. 

Ninety six percent of 67 people interviewed in connection with the investigation reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. 

Photo Credit: Douglas Sacha/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Veteran Undergoes World's First Full Male Genital Transplant]]> Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:17:00 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/johns+hopkisn.jpg

A veteran who was injured in Afghanistan has received the world's first total penis and scrotum transplant, Johns Hopkins Hospital announced Monday. 

A team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons performed the 14-hour surgery last month. The penis, scrotum and part of an abdominal wall came from a deceased donor, the hospital said. 

The patient has recovered from the surgery and is expected to be released this week, officials say. The hospital did not disclose in which branch of the military the patient served.

"When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal… [with] a level of confidence as well. Confidence… like finally I’m okay now," said the patient, who asked not to be identified. 

The hospital said many soldiers injured in blasts from improvised explosive devices come home with debilitating hidden injuries — like the loss of their genitals. 

"We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man,” said W.P. Andrew Lee, M.D., professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A hospital spokeswoman says doctors are hopeful the patient will have near-normal function in six months. 

The scrotum transplant did not include the donor's testicles, meaning reproduction won't be possible. "We just felt there were too many unanswered ethical questions" with that extra step, said Hopkins' Dr. Damon Cooney. 

The team that performed the surgery also performed the country's first bilateral arm transplant, in a wounded warrior.

Four other successful penis transplants have been performed, two in South Africa, one in China and one in Boston. But those transplants involved only the penis, not extensive surrounding tissue.

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine]]>