High Blood Pressure Nearly Kills Mom After Normal Pregnancy

(CHERRY HILL, N.J.) — Sarah Hughes had a great pregnancy and a normal delivery with her second child, Hayley, in October 2010, but five days after the birth, she developed strange symptoms that nearly took her life.

“I was nursing her all the time and waking up in the night feeling almost like an elephant stomped on my chest,” said Hughes, now 38 and assistant to the chairman of the Penn Vet School in Philadelphia. “I couldn’t fully catch my breath and I felt kind of dizzy.”

The Cherry Hill, N.J., mother of two thought she was just tired from the C-section or not sleeping. “I had a dull headache, but I was also a migraine sufferer. I wondered if I was being crazy,” she said.

She credits her husband with making her call the doctor, who told her to go immediately to the emergency room. Six hours later, Hughes was diagnosed with post-partum preeclampsia, a life-threatening rise in blood pressure than can cause seizures, stroke and even organ shutdown and death.

“Rob stayed by my side for three days straight, never moved, never left and just sat there because he knew how scared I was and I needed him to just be there,” said Hughes. “I know he was scared but he really was my rock.”

Today, Sarah Hughes is a volunteer for the Preeclampsia Foundation, working to raise awareness of this somewhat rare, but life-threatening condition. She writes about her ordeal on her blog, Finnegan and the Hughes, saying she was “shocked” the medical community does not routinely inform new mothers of the symptoms before they’re discharged from the hospital.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension, also called preeclampsia or toxemia, is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, swelling due to fluid retention, and protein in the urine. The condition affects approximately 1 in 12 women, according to the foundation.

Of those, only 5.7 percent will develop post-partum preeclampsia, a rare form of the disease. About 76,000 women die of the condition each year worldwide.

“When preeclampsia persists or gets worse after delivery, it contradicts the myth everyone has in their mind that the cure is delivery and everyone gets instantly better,” said Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, which sponsors Preeclampsia Awareness Month in May.

“It’s a progressive disorder and there is no stopping once it starts,” she said. “If you are not treating and arresting it, it gets worse and worse.”

Typically, the high blood pressure resolves after the birth, but post-partum preeclampsia (pre-seizure), though rarer, can develop any time up to six weeks after delivery.

Symptoms can include weigh gain, abdominal pain, severe headaches, a change in reflexes, spots before your eyes, reduced output of urine or no urine, blood in the urine, dizziness, or excessive vomiting and nausea.

“It’s pretty common,” Dr. Fadi Khoury, a maternal fetal specialist at the Cleveland Clinic told ABC News. “We don’t know the reason or the mechanism why it occurs, but we think it has something to do with the placenta.”

“First-time moms are at higher risk and women over 35 or those who come in with high blood pressure or renal disease,” he added.

If blood pressure is high enough, doctors treat it with magnesium sulfate to stem seizures. Blood pressure medications can also be administered.

Khoury noted that even though obstetricians are aware of the disease, they can “miss” the symptoms of postpartum onset when new mothers who have had vaginal deliveries are released after only one or two days. When women stay longer for a C-section, he said, “it might benefit to have moms’ blood pressure taken.”

A task force at the Preeclampsia Foundation has successfully urged states such as California to require hospitals to provide new mothers with verbal and written information about post-partum symptoms before they are discharged.

“Everybody focuses on the baby after delivery and assumes the mom is OK,” said Tsigas. “If she has not had a baby before, all the symptoms are brand-new, and she assumes it’s part of childbirth. … They can be ignored.”

By the time Hughes got to the hospital emergency room, it took six hours before she was transferred to an obstetrics floor, where doctors recognized the symptom as post-partum preeclampsia. Her blood pressure was 220/110 and her skin had a “dusky” look to it, according to Hughes.

“I could have had a seizure or a stroke,” she said. “When I eventually got to the delivery unit, they shut the lights totally dark and started me on magnesium sulfate so I would not seize, and put me on oxygen.”

Her oxygen levels had dropped to below 85; normal levels are 95 to 100 percent, with anything under 90 considered low.

Tsigas said when women end up in the ER, medical teams are “not used to taking care of obstetrical issues where they are more tuned in,” she said.

Because preeclampsia can run in families, the foundation has created a registry and will soon be collecting genetic data to understand better the disease.

Today, Sarah Hughes and her two children, aged 3 and 5, are healthy, but she has decided not to have more children. “I worry it might happen again,” she said.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Are Airplane Seats a Ticket to Infection?

(AUBURN, Ala.) — The sneezing passenger in seat 5B. The coughing, hacking child seated between you and the aisle.

Catching something during a flight in one of these situations is something that many of us have worried about. But a new study suggests that there are other ways to catch nasty bugs from planes.

The study found that certain types of bacteria can survive for up to a week on the inside surfaces of aircraft cabins — including your armrest, your plastic tray table, the metal toilet button, the window shade and your seat pocket.

To determine this, researchers at Auburn University took samples of all of these materials and contaminated them with two disease-causing germs — the superbug MRSA, which causes nasty wound and soft-tissue infections, and E.Coli O157:H7, which can lead to diarrhea and other more dangerous illnesses.

MRSA, the researchers found, survived a week on the seat-back pocket, while E.Coli survived four days on the armrest.

“Many air travelers are concerned about the risks of catching a disease from other passengers given the long time spent in crowded air cabins,” study author Kiril Vaglenov said in a statement. He added that the study is “our first step in investigating this potential problem.”

Others have found nasty bacteria on board.

“We have detected MRSA on aircrafts — usually the tray that comes down in front of you,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at Arizona University, who was not involved with the study. “I tested trays on four flights and found it on at least one tray on each flight.

“We also detected influenza virus and norovirus once each on these flights. The restrooms on planes also get fairly contaminated with E. coli. … Fifty people per toilet on a plane is a lot of use during a long flight,” he added.

Currently, the World Health Organization recommends that airlines merely tidy up during transit stops. However, every 24 hours a more intensive cleaning should take place, the organization recommends.

Aircraft crew are “probably trying to do the best they can,” said Dr. Christopher Ohl, professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest University, who was also not involved with the study. “Public places are going to have bacteria from other people. If research shows certain fabrics are easier to clean than others, that is what they should use.”

“Cleanliness is important, but they can’t sterilize their cabins,” Ohl added.

But what can airlines do? Vaglenov said his study’s findings should prompt them to explore new ways to clean and disinfect these surfaces more effectively — perhaps even incorporating fabrics with antimicrobial properties into the interiors of aircraft.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Camera Maker GoPro Files for IPO

(SAN MATEO, Calif.) — Camera maker GoPro announced plans Monday to file its initial public offering, detailing the company’s finances and goal to raise up to $100 million in its estimated offering size. 

The San Mateo-based company is best-known for its small video devices worn by athletes and the unique, first-hand perspective the angles provide. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows GoPro collected nearly $1 billion in revenue and sold more than 3.8 million high-definition cameras in 2013.

The document showcases future plans to introduce new devices and efforts to expand internationally, as well as create a, “seamless content management and sharing system.”

The company is set to list on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol GPRO.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Guacamole Burger, Breakfast Quesarito Coming to Chain Near You?

(NEW YORK) — Fast food chains sneakily test new foods in random markets all the time — and it used to be almost impossible to hear about it outside that area.

Now, though, in the social media era, serious food fans can find out about potential new menu items way before they hit the mainstream.

McDonald’s quietly started offering guacamole at two restaurants in South Carolina and one in North Carolina. The guacamole burger is a beef burger topped with creamy guacamole made with Hass avocados, pico de gallo, white cheddar cheese and lettuce on a toasted artisan roll. Customers can also get the same toppings on a grilled or crispy chicken sandwich.

Taco Bell, which recently made big waves with the introduction of its breakfast menu, is already trying out a possible addition to its morning meal. The quasi-Mexican chain is transforming its popular Quesarito (a quesadilla-burrito mash-up) into an AM version with eggs and either bacon, sausage or steak.

There’s no word yet on whether the chains plan to roll out the dishes to more markets.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Wedding Guests to Get Private Tour of Versailles

(NEW YORK) — Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding guests will have a treat waiting for them when they arrive in France. 

According to People.com, the couple and officials at the Louis XIV estate at Versailles issued a statement saying, “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have decided to let their guests discover the Château of Versailles during a private surprise tour on Friday, May 23rd, the eve of their wedding.”

It continues, “In making this choice, they are contributing to a better understanding and maintaining the exceptional heritage of the castle of Versailles, which is classed a World Heritage site UNESCO.”

Kim and Kanye toured Versailles privately in January, but back then palace officials squashed rumors that the nuptials would be held there.

In other Kim and Kanye news, E! Online reports the couple went shopping in Paris Monday and a source noted “they were giggling like a pair of love-struck teenagers.”

Still, the exact location of the nuptials remains a mystery.  The Italian newspaper La Nazione reported last week that the couple was going to get married in Florence, Italy.  Stay tuned.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Sandra Bullock’s Advice to High School Graduates: ‘Do Not Pick Your Nose in Public’

(NEW ORLEANS) — Sandra Bullock paid a surprise visit to the commencement celebration of the Warren Easton Charter High School Class of 2014 at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena on Monday morning.  The 200 graduates had no idea the 49-year-old actress was there until she was introduced, reports People.com.

Bullock told the students, “You know at Warren Easton, you are loved and appreciated and supported for what you have to offer.”

The actress said she didn’t remember anything from her graduation because she “was so worried about the future.” She told the kids, “Stop worrying so much. I don’t remember any of the moments in my life where I worried. Raise the bar higher. Nothing is a failure it’s just not supposed to work out.”

Bullock also offered the following advice: “Eat something green every day. Do not pick your nose in public. How about we just go get a tissue? When someone who cares about you hugs you, hug them back. If someone doesn’t want to play with you, it’s okay. Not everybody is going to love us.”

Easton is the oldest public high school in Louisiana, and Bullock adopted her 4-year-old son, Louis, there. She owns a home in the Garden District of New Orleans.

The Oscar-winner adopted the school after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and she has personally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help rebuild the campus and open a health clinic at the school, among other things.

Bullock concluded her remarks by telling the graduates, “You’re not going to remember the what-ifs or the whys or who wronged you. It’s the joy that stays with you, and I want to thank you guys for the amazing joy that Warren Easton brings me every day. You make me walk out into the world with pride and I want you to go find it and I want you to go save the world while you’re at it, and I thank you so much. Congratulations, class of 2014. You make me so proud.”

Posted On 20 May 2014

Macklemore Issues Apology for Controversial Costume

(NEW YORK) — When Macklemore performed with Ryan Lewis at Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum on Friday night, he wore a fake nose, a wig, and a faux beard. Apparently it led to accusations on the Internet that he was perpetuating Jewish stereotypes, but he didn’t see it that way.

Early Monday, Macklemore tweeted, “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody,” but Monday evening, he issued a lengthy statement, apologizing for the costume.

“Family, friends and fans alike who know me well, know that I’m absolutely not the person described in certain headlines today. There is no worse feeling than being misunderstood, especially when people are hurt or offended.

On Friday night we had a surprise show at the EMP Museum in Seattle.  Earlier in the day I thought it would be fun to dress up in a disguise and go incognito to the event, so that I could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance.  I picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left over wig from our recent trip to Japan.

As it turns out the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn’t fit most of them).  So I ended up with a big witch nose.  I went with a black beard, because that’s the furthest color from my natural hair.  Disguise was the intention.  I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any ‘type’ of person.  Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln. If anything I thought I looked like Humpty Hump with a bowl cut.

We showed up to the event, I hit the stage in the outfit, rocked two songs, took pictures and went home.  We had a great time and it was fun to be a surprise guest in a costume.  I’ve always loved dressing up and have been doing so my entire career. The character I dressed up as on Friday had no intended cultural identity or background.  I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one.  A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind.

My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume and nothing more. Thus, it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic.[Sic] I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was not absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. I’m saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity.

I will let my body of work and the causes for which I’ve supported speak for themselves. I hope that anyone who may question my intent take a few moments to discover the human and artist that I strive to be. I respect all cultures and all people.  I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and…happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.

I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended. I hope this better explains the situation and my point of view.”

He signed the statement, “With love, Ben.”  The rapper’s birth name is Ben Haggerty.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were surprise performers Friday night at the museum, which has a new exhibit dedicated to music videos. The exhibit includes a special section devoted to the duo, who hail from Seattle.

Posted On 20 May 2014

Rangers out to a 2-0 lead

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The Rangers are grabbing control in the Eastern Conference Final after a 3-1 win over the Canadiens in Game Two from Bell Centre last night.  Ryan McDonagh had a goal and assist as New York grabbed a 2-0 lead in the series.  The Rangers host Game Three Thursday at MSG. 

 The Rangers won’t have to face Carey Price the rest of this series.  The Canadiens goaltender has been ruled out for the remainder of the Eastern Conference Final.  The Rangers‘ Chris Kreider crashed into Price feet-first in the second period of Saturday’s Game One win

PSEG polls could be toxic

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A new report from a consulting group says transmission poles installed by PSEG Long Island may be tainting soil in East Hampton.
Rebecca Singer heads an organization formed to fight the installation of the PSEG LI power poles. She says testing performed by Dermody, a Center Moriches environmental consulting company, has confirmed the presence of pentachlorophenol, a toxic wood preservative that’s also known as penta. The group says the chemical has been leaching into the ground from the poles and is possibly threatening the ground water.
Elevated levels of penta were found around three poles in the Town of East Hampton.

Bruno cleared…Now he wants you to pay…

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 Now that he’s cleared of corruption charges, former state Senator Joe Bruno wants taxpayers to pay his legal bills. 

“The New York Post” reports the 85-year-old Republican says he intends to try to recover up to four-million dollars in legal expenses.  The former State Senate Majority Leader was acquitted Friday of federal bribery-related charges.  He tells the “Post” he’s entitled to the action, after “nine years of the feds” turning his life “upside down.”  Bruno retired from the Senate in 2008. 

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his first conviction, a few years back, on theft of honest services.