Concussion test designated by FDA as breakthrough device, could help minimize long-term effects

Scukrov/iStockBY: DR. HEIDI CHOE

(NEW YORK) — Concussions are common head injuries that can happen from something as simple as a fall. But they can often be missed by medical health professionals, especially if the symptoms are mild or delayed.

A quicker, more precise method for diagnosing concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) may be on the way. The Food and Drug Administration has designated a portable test for diagnosing and potentially even predicting outcomes in mTBI patients for its Breakthrough Devices Program, which fast-tracks the development, testing and approval of new devices that have the potential to change medical care for life-threatening or debilitating conditions.

The device, made by the company BRAINBox Solutions, is a blood test to determine if they’ve had a concussion and will be compared with both computerized imaging of a patient’s brain function and clinical diagnosis tools to test its accuracy.

“We don’t have any tools right now that are really good or accurate [for diagnosing TBI],” Dr. Damon Kuehl, an emergency medicine physician and associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, told ABC News.

“The real goal is [for this to be] an accurate and quick test that can be accessed by trained professionals right at the moment of injury or later on,” said Kuehl, who will be working on a trial of the new test. “Not only will it give us a diagnosis but also a predictive ability, a little bit of a crystal ball for concussions.”

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Mild TBIs, also known as concussions, are the most common kind of TBI, and they can happen to anyone — even though they are often spoken about in relation to contact sports like football or hockey.

“Young people, old people, soldiers [and] athletes in certain sports are very susceptible to brain injuries,” said Dr. Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC where the test will be studied. He added that “a brain injury is something any one of us may experience at any time.”

The test would allow for better outcomes because it would accurately determine early on whether a patient has experienced an mTBI, Friedlander told ABC News.

“If you don’t have an [mTBI], you wouldn’t need to be subjected to treatment,” Friedlander said. “If you do have it, your physician can plan rehabilitation for you to minimize these effects.”

Friedlander said the trial will test people in hospital emergency rooms as well as athletes from Virginia Tech who have potential mild brain injuries. It will then compare their results with people coming into the same emergency rooms and from the same teams without symptoms.

Symptoms from concussions frequently go away quickly between a week and 10 days, however, some people’s symptoms may take longer to go away — possibly even lasting the rest of their lives. Symptoms of a concussion include difficulty thinking or remembering, headaches and dizziness, irritability or sadness and difficulty sleeping. Because of this, it can be misleading to think that a concussion is only a minor injury, the researchers say.

“The idea that a traumatic brain injury could be mild is misleading because these injuries have multiple downstream effects on a person’s behavior and day-to-day functioning, especially if the diagnosis isn’t made,” Dr. Stephen LaConte, lead researcher and associate professor at Fralin, told the Virginia Tech Daily.

Concussions that are left untreated or not treated well enough can leave patients “floundering with persistent symptoms and impairments, not knowing the reason for them,” said Dr. Kirk Lercher, medical director of brain injury medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Lercher, who will not be involved in the trial, believes the new test has “a lot of potential to be a game-changer in how we diagnose [mild TBIs],” but said there needs to be more research first.

TBIs are a serious public health concern in the U.S., resulting in death and disability for thousands of people each year. In 2014, there were nearly three million TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S., including over 837,000 cases in children alone.

Dr. Heidi Choe is a physician from the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

2020 candidate Marianne Williamson addresses comments on vaccines on “The View”

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson appeared on The View Thursday and sought to clarify her position on childhood vaccinations saying that while she supports the concept of vaccines she doesn’t support the idea of anyone on either side of the debate mandating what people should do.

“I understand the issue of public safety must come first. But I also understand that we must have a balance between public safety and the issues of individual freedom,” she told the show’s hosts and said that she doesn’t trust the “propaganda on either side.”

Williamson has been critical of vaccinations for years, attributing the rise of vaccination mandates to powerful pharmaceutical companies. On Wednesday night, the candidate reportedly called the concept of mandatory vaccinations “draconian” and “Orwellian” at a Manchester, New Hampshire event.

“To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate,” Williamson said at the event, according to a tweet by an NBC News reporter. “The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.”

On Thursday morning, Williamson tweeted an apology.

Williamson’s appearance on the show was aimed at promoting her atypical 2020 bid and vow to bring a “moral and spiritual awakening” to the U.S.

“I challenge the idea that the people who got us in this ditch are the only ones who can get us out of it,” she said on The View on Thursday.

Williamson secured her spot at the next week’s first series of Democratic debates and is set to share a stage with front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

As a celebrity best-selling author with no prior experience in public office, Williamson often speaks frankly about her lack of political experience and has said that her work as a spiritual leader makes her qualified to speak on behalf of everyday citizens. She has also suggested that long-time political leaders, including many of her 2020 contenders are part of the “political establishment” that has contributed to the economic struggle of middle class and disenfranchised Americans.

As a candidate who puts the ideology of love and peace at the center of her campaign, she has been critical of Democrats for being “arrogant and condescending to people of faith,” which she says only deepens the disconnection between public officials and their constituents.

Her spirituality is also at the center of her political policies, including her stance on reparations for African American slave descendants, a call she’s been pushing since 1997.

Ahead of the House Judiciary subcommittee historic hearing on reparations, Williamson told ABC News’ ‘Start Here’ podcast that the policy is a necessary way for the country to atone for past actions.

“You can’t have a future unless you clean up the past,” Williamson said on The View. “America can atone and make amends and put the horror behind us.”

The spiritual author-turned-presidential candidate has proposed dispersing between $200 and $500 billion to eligible recipients over the course of 20 years and forming a “reparations council” to determine how that money would be spent, adding that there may be stipulations limiting the allocation of funds to the sole purpose of “economic and education renewal.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Missouri’s only abortion clinic, a Planned Parenthood, faces looming deadline

jetcityimage/iStock(ST. LOUIS) — The ongoing legal battle over the last abortion clinic in Missouri is reaching a looming deadline this week.

A state circuit court judge ordered a temporary injunction earlier this month that allowed for the clinic in St. Louis to remain open, but that order came with a deadline for action by the state health department.

In May, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services initially refused to renew the license for the Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, which is the last abortion provider in the state. If the clinic closes, it will be come the first state without a legal abortion clinic.

At the time, health officials said they were refusing to renew the license until health department officials interviewed clinic doctors about what Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said were “a series of deficiencies.”

The clinic received a temporary restraining order to remain open on May 31, and then on June 10, a circuit court judge ordered that the health department had until June 21 to make a decision about renewing the clinic’s license.

Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, the director of state media campaigns for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told ABC News Thursday that the health department’s decision could come anytime between now and the end of the day on Friday, June 21, but even if they decide not to renew the clinic’s license, that won’t mean it will immediately close.

Lee-Gilmore said that the preliminary injunction stays in place until the judge and the court makes a final ruling on what happens with the injunction.

A hearing is slated for Friday morning, though it is not guaranteed that a decision will be reached at that time, she said.

One of the points of conflict between health department administrators and clinic doctors was the implementation of a pelvic exam, which the state required but doctors felt was unnecessary and potentially triggering.

While the clinic’s doctors said previously that they reluctantly performed those exams in keeping with the law, on Wednesday one of the clinic’s doctors announced they will no longer be performing the exams.

“Patients have confirmed for us what we already knew — that the additional medically unnecessary forced pelvic exam newly interpreted by the state is deeply traumatizing and inhumane. Let’s be clear — we have always complied with the regulation, but we as doctors reject this new interpretation because it defies patient-centered care,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an OBGYN who works at the clinic, said in a statement released Wednesday.

“We believe continuing to force an additional invasive and uncomfortable vaginal exam on patients at least 3 days before her abortion procedure, when it is not medically indicated, and when she will have the identical exam on the day of the abortion procedure, is not patient-centered; it is disrespectful and dehumanizing. This is contrary to our mission,” she said in the statement.

“We are disappointed the State has pitted our medical principle to do no harm against what little abortion access is left in this state. We should not be forced to compromise our medical ethics in exchange for good patient care,” she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cosmetic products injure thousands of kids every year: Study

serezniy/iStock(NEW YORK) — It’s no surprise that small children are accident prone. After all, by age 2, many of them are already trying to imitate the behaviors of adults, such as when getting ready to go out. Sometimes it can be cute and funny, like when a child pours baby powder or lotion all over themselves. But other times, without parental supervision, it can lead to accidents.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics sheds light on the most common injuries related to cosmetic products sustained by children under 5 years old. Between 2002 and 2016, there were approximately 65,000 children treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to nail care, hair care, skin care and fragrance products, the study found.

Nearly 99 percent of the injuries occurred in the home, the study found. Most often, it was children under 2 who appeared in the emergency room with injuries, with 86.2 percent of their injuries ultimately being diagnosed as a poisoning. Boys were also more likely than girls to get injured by cosmetic products.

The most common diagnoses overall were poisoning from ingesting the products and chemical burns from the products making contact with the skin. The products included nail polish removers, perfumes and colognes, chemical hair straighteners and skin care products such as lotions.

While the findings offer only a snapshot of the total number of children and teens who are admitted into emergency rooms because of poisoning — more than 300 each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the findings are especially noteworthy for such a young age group. Children begin exploring the world with their mouths at 6 months old, and as they age, some might not grow out of it. Children younger than 2 were injured at twice the rate of those who were ages 2 to 4, the study found.

Rebecca McAdams, co-author of the study and a senior research associate at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told ABC News that there were likely many other children who didn’t receive care at an emergency room after getting injured. She said that parents might have called a poison control center, but were not encouraged to go to the hospital. Other children, she said, might have received treatment from their pediatrician.

McAdams said that her “hope is that parents can follow cosmetic safety tips.”

The CDC recommends that adults store cosmetics — plus medicine and other toxic substances, like cleaning supplies — in their original packaging in areas of the home where children cannot easily access them. If that area can be locked, then that’s even better.

Parents and guardians can also save the number for the Nationwide Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222. The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mom has the body positive message we all need this summer

Shani Wilson(NEW YORK) — It’s summer, which can mean for some people just trying to make it through bathing suit season.

One mom in Oklahoma is choosing to thrive instead of just survive summer, staying positive to help both herself and her kids.

Shani Wilson, 31, a mother of three, shared a photo of herself in a bathing suit alongside her daughter, Eden, also in a bathing suit.

She captioned the photo with a powerful message:

“I could cover up my thighs, but shes watching.
I could suck in for the picture, but shes watching.
I could grab my legs and complain about my cellulite, but shes watching.
I could make a comment about how I dont like my arms, but shes watching.
I could make disappointed faces as I stare at my body in the mirror, but shes watching.
I could just forget the suit, put on a tshirt and shorts to swim in, but shes watching.
I could be ashamed of my body because it’s not perfect, but shes watching.
I love who I am, I love my heart, and I choose not to say bad things about my body, because…… shes watching!
I’ve always taught her true beauty comes from within. So, go swimming mommas. Put on a suit and have fun with those babies. Show them how strong and confident WE can be, even if our bodies aren’t perfect!”

Wilson originally posted the photo of herself and Eden, now 8, last summer on Facebook. It was shared again recently on Instagram, where it already has more than 100,000 likes.

“It makes me proud that I’m trying to make a difference and I feel like I have made a difference,” Wilson told ABC News’ Good Morning America about the response to her post. “It makes me feel good to know that I’m helping people be more confident and be aware of what they say.”

Wilson recalls that she first heard negative comments about her own body from family members at age 7. She made a shift in how she talks to her own kids about their bodies after an experience with her then-4-year-old son.

“He put on one of those big puffy jackets and he said, ‘Momma I look fat,’ and he didn’t want to wear it,” Wilson said. “I knew that he heard that from me.”

Wilson said the moment immediately changed her parenting approach, from what she does, like not wearing a bathing suit cover-up, to what she says, especially to Eden, her only daughter.

“I always want her to know that beauty comes from the inside and not the outside,” Wilson said. “I do tell her she’s beautiful but I always tell her that her heart is beautiful and that she’s brave and smart.”

Eden, according to her mom, is a confident, sweet and outgoing young girl who is happy to put on her bathing suit, whether to swim or just play outside.

“She’s not worried about what she looks like,” Wilson said. “She lives in the moment and that’s what I want.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What to know about collagen and if you really need to take it

Luis Echeverri Urrea/iStock(NEW YORK) —  Collagen is having a moment.

The protein responsible for helping keep skin wrinkle-free and protect joints and bones is now found in supplement form in everything from powders and capsules to foods including oatmeal, peanut butter and bars.

Human bodies create collagen on their own, but the production of the protein does slow down as we age, hence the interest in consuming more collagen.

“I think people are really interested in it on the inside because it really keeps our joints young, moving properly and well-cushioned, without pain,” said ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. “Then when you look on the outside, collagen kind of acts as the structural support of our skin, so it reverses sagging and wrinkling.”

“You can see why it’s kind of being considered the ‘fountain of youth,'” she said.

To find out exactly what collagen is and whether you need more collagen in your life, Good Morning America turned to Ashton, a practicing OBGYN with a master of science in nutrition, and Kelly LeVeque, a nutritionist, author and health coach to stars including Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba.

What is collagen?

“Collagen is a chain of amino acids that’s a rich source of glycine, hydroxyproline and proline,” said LeVeque. “These amino acids support tissue repair, joints, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, nails and gut health.”

What foods naturally contain collagen?

While collagen has been added to foods like peanut butter, it is found naturally in other protein sources like meats, according to LeVeque.

“Collagen comes from animals, it’s rich in their skin, organ tissues, ligaments, and tendons,” she said, noting that the interest in collagen supplements has grown because eating collagen-rich tissue, like organs, isn’t appetizing for a lot of people.

Is collagen in supplements regulated?

It is not, according to Ashton.

“Because it is a dietary supplement it is not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), but if you go into your organic food store or vitamin shop, you will see all sorts of collagen powders,” she said. “Usually they are marketed for beauty purposes, so for healthier appearing skin, nails, hair.”

Is there an amount of collagen that is needed daily?

No, according to Ashton, who explained there is no minimum amount of supplemental collagen that people are medically advised to take daily.

What is the most common form of collagen supplement?

While collagen can be found in broths, capsules and more, powder is the most common form, according to both Ashton and LeVeque.

In powder form, collagen is tasteless, so it can be added to anything. It typically contains around 70 calories and 20 grams of protein per serving.

“Collagen protein powder is my favorite, and it’s primarily derived from the collagen protein found in cows and fish,” said LeVeque. “In cows, it comes from ligaments, tendons and other body parts. In fish, it comes from bones and skin.”

Are there risks associated with taking collagen?

Ashton describes the world of collagen supplements as “uncharted territory,” but one without a lot of risks.

“You have to consider the risks involved, which is not only spending money, wasting money, but possibly having some kind of interaction with some other ingredient that may be in the collagen that you may be taking, but in general collagen is incredibly safe, so it’s generally difficult to get into trouble with taking it,” she said. “You should always discuss any supplements that you take with your health care provider and understand that because they are largely unregulated there is absolutely no way of knowing if what you’re paying for is actually in there, if it’s pure, how much of it is in there.”

Does taking collagen as a supplement work?

The “jury is out” on whether collagen can be utilized in the body when taken orally, according to Ashton.

“There has been some camps of experts who say that when you ingest collagen orally, it’s broken down and degraded by our stomach acid and therefore not absorbed, but of course there are people who say the opposite,” she said. “The jury is out on that. It hasn’t been rigorously studied and it is very difficult to do so.”

Ashton said she experimented with adding collagen to her coffee and her morning shakes and experienced anecdotal success.

“I understand that there’s no way of knowing what’s in that powder and, by the way, there could even potentially be contaminants in there that may even be harmful,” she said, noting she took the risk for the experiment. “For a couple of months I actually mixed it in my coffee and I did think that my hair started growing really quickly.”

What should consumers look for in collagen products?

“Keep it simple,” advises LeVeque. “Collagen should always be the first ingredient, and at most, you would still only want a few ingredients, potentially a flavor like vanilla or chocolate and a plant-based sweetener like monk fruit or stevia.”

“You don’t want any added, refined, or processed sugars,” she added. “If you see peptides on the package, it means that the chain of collagen has been broken down into smaller more bio-available molecules, which benefits us.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 6/19/19

Sports News Scoreboard roundup -- 6/19/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Wednesday’s sports events:


Cincinnati 3, Houston 2
Pittsburgh 8, Detroit 7
Chi Cubs 7, Chi White Sox 3


NY Yankees 12, Tampa Bay 1
Oakland 8, Baltimore 3
Seattle 8, Kansas City 2
LA Angels 11, Toronto 6
Cleveland 10, Texas 4
Boston 9, Minnesota 4

Washington 6, Philadelphia 2
San Diego 8, Milwaukee 7
Washington 2, Philadelphia 0
Atlanta 7, NY Mets 2
St. Louis 2, Miami 1, 11 Innings
Colorado 6, Arizona 4
LA Dodgers 9, San Francisco 2

Atlanta 88, Indiana 78
Chicago 91, NY Liberty 83

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 20 Jun 2019

72 Philadelphia police officers ‘removed from the street’ over social media posts

rustythedog/iStock(PHILADELPHIA) — Several dozen Philadelphia police officers were placed on administrative duty in the wake of an investigation into claims of racial bias levied by a civil rights watchdog, officials said Wednesday.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said 72 officers were “removed from the street” after the Plain View Project, a database that collects public Facebook posts and comments from current and former police officers, claimed it had uncovered more than 300 racist, sexist and/or biased social media posts by the city’s police officers.

“Internal affairs has already begun to investigate each of these officers identified,” Ross said Wednesday. “The law department has contracted with the law firm Ballard Spahr to review each post to determine if the speech is constitutionally protected.”

Researchers with the Plain View Project said they examined more than 3,100 posts and comments on Facebook that were allegedly authored by current and retired officers of the Philadelphia Police Department.

The analysis revealed that at least 328 active-duty officers allegedly posted troubling content, including posts that celebrated acts of violence against Muslims, immigrants and black people accused of committing crimes. Some posts captured long, hate-filled exchanges that appeared to involve multiple officers, according to the database.

The organization, founded by Philadelphia-based lawyer Emily Baker-White, said it analyzed the Facebook accounts of thousands of police officers across eight U.S. cities, including New York, Pennsylvania, Dallas, St. Louis and Phoenix.

“We found a very high and concerning number of posts that appear to endorse, celebrate or glorify violence and vigilantism,” Baker-White told ABC News in an interview earlier this month. “We included posts that we thought could affect public trust and policing.”

Local news outlets, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, attributed some of the posts to high-ranking members of the department, including a police inspector, six captains and eight lieutenants.

ABC News could not independently verify the posts in question, but the project said it went through a vigorous process to authenticate the profiles. Some users reported specific police departments as their employers, while others posted pictures of themselves in uniform, according to its website.

The department said it was working to independently verify that officers referenced in the project actually made the comments. Ross, who said most of the comments were made while officers were off-duty, had previously called the comments “deeply disturbing and upsetting.”

“But to be clear, those officers that we have identified that appear to have engaged in explicit bias against any protected class of individual or who advocated any form of violence, will be immediately removed from street duty during the course of these investigations,” Ross said in a statement earlier this month. “When a police officer’s expression of his or her opinions erodes the police department’s ability to do its job and maintain the public’s trust, the department is permitted to act, including disciplining officers when the circumstances allow for it.”

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement calling the decision “premature” and “irresponsible.”

“It’s premature and irresponsible for the Commissioner to tell the public that police officers will be fired without a complete investigation into officers’ social media use,” said FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby. “Our officers are entitled to due process just like any other citizen.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 20 Jun 2019