CVS, Walgreens stop selling heartburn medicine Zantac due to safety concerns

Juanmonino/iStock(NEW YORK) — CVS Health Corp. has suspended sales of the popular heartburn drug Zantac, as well as its own generic, called ranitidine, following a Food and Drug Administration alert earlier this month that the medicine contained a possible carcinogen.

Ranitidine is a common stomach acid drug that’s available over the counter and by prescription to people of all ages.

“Zantac brand products and CVS brand ranitidine products have not been recalled, and the FDA is not recommending that patients stop taking ranitidine at this time,” the company said in a statement. Customers who previously purchased the heartburn medicine at CVS can return it to the stores for a refund.

Walgreens said Monday it too was “removing Zantac and ranitidine products from our shelves while the FDA continues its review of the products,” a spokesperson told ABC News.

Results from FDA lab tests showed some heartburn pills contained an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in small amounts. As a probable carcinogen, NDMA may be capable of increasing cancer risk when taken in high doses over a long period of time.

On Sept. 18, a division of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis said it was halting worldwide distribution of ranitidine.

Canada’s federal government has also asked companies to stop distributing ranitidine products while it completes an assessment of the drug to see if it is safe.

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This Mom’s genius snack hack turns kids into healthy eaters

Kateryna Medetbayeva/iStock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — You know those life hacks that are so simple, so genius that when you see them you can’t believe you didn’t think of them yourself?

Sarah Hornung’s snack hack is exactly that.

The Buffalo, N.Y., school administrator and woman behind The Eager Teacher online education platform, told Good Morning America that she is “shocked at how viral” her recent post about kids’ snack hacking went.

The post has been shared on Facebook 114,000 times. The hack? Sunday self-serve fresh food organized into dollar store containers.

Her method is simple. “Sunday self-serve is ready for the week. After grocery shopping I always wash and prep all of the food that is considered self-serve in our house. Self-serve for my kiddos means help yourself without asking and it’s always an okay snack (any time of day, bedtime snacks, etc.) It also helps me when I’m packing lunches and snacks, or as a side dish when dinner doesn’t include something they will definitely eat or if we have a busy/late night. There’s something about having things truly ready to grab that makes kids eat it. I could leave the baby carrots in a bag or leave the grapes on the stems but they wouldn’t eat it,” Hornung wrote in her post.

“P.S., for the fruits and veggies I do put covers on the containers so they don’t get gross,” she also wrote.

“I’ve posted myself prepping the self-serve snacks on my Instagram stories periodically and always got a ton of questions about it, lots of parents wanting to know how I used it and how it served my family. I decided to give it a permanent post so people had a place to come back to and see it,” she said.

She thinks the post is so popular because it touches upon a common struggle among parents.

“Everyone can relate to throwing out untouched produce at the end of the week and most parents find themselves in some kind of negotiation with kids over food on the regular,” she said.

Plus, anything that’s going to make lives easier is going to strike a chord.

“It’s not an expensive or complicated ‘hack,’ all you need is some old quart containers and your normal grocery haul,” she told GMA.

“I have seen a lot of pictures of fridges and pantries on Instagram and Pinterest that are picture-perfect and filled with expensive, specialty items. I think my post appealed to the masses because it looks like most people’s fridges — just organized into containers I bought at a dollar store. I think it’s something that regardless of how old your kids are, what they like to eat or how much money you make, it is a doable idea.”

Hornung said while the reaction to her post is primarily positive, there were some detractors. She wants to set the record straight.

“I think that the criticism comes from people not recognizing that what works for some won’t work for everyone, or people immediately assuming because my fridge went viral must mean my kids are perfect angels who only eat healthy foods,” she said. “That is simply not true.”

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Nine workout moves Tom Brady does to stay in all-star shape that you can do, too

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — It takes a lot to be Tom Brady.

From a strict diet that nixes nitrates to a workout plan that’s all about sustainability, ABC News’ Good Morning America wanted to find out just how the NFL star stays a pro at 42.

“The TB12 method is a little unique compared to your traditional training method. It’s all about sustainability,” said Matt Denning, one of the trainers at TB12. “That way, you can either play football at 42 years old or you can just go on a hike during the weekend.”

Brady developed the TB12 method with long-time fitness partner Alex Guerrero. Their program has made its way from the football stadium and into Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

The fitness facility is all about sustainability and gives everyone a taste of what it’s like to train like Brady.

“Tom and his long-time fitness partner Alex Guerrero developed this training program to highlight how functional we can do strength conditioning,” Denning explained. “He uses all resistance band training to achieve your peak performance.”

Demonstrating some of the signature moves Brady and Guerrero developed, Denning showed GMA just what it takes to get a body like Brady.

1. Squat to a row

How to do it: Clip a resistance band to chest height and hold both handles in your hands. Take a step back so there’s tension on the band. Then squat down with your arms extended, and then drive up through your glutes and pull the resistance band in. Repeat for 20 seconds.

What it does: “This generates ground protection while keeping your core engaged,” said Denning.

Pro tip: Pick up the pace and squeeze your butt at the top.

2. Single leg stability chest press

How to do it: Clip a resistance band to chest height. Standing on your right side, press the right arm and left leg out and come back in. Press in and out for 20 seconds or until your form starts to breakdown and repeat on the left side.

What it does: “This works your core and glutes,” Denning said.

Pro tip: Keep all your energy in your core.

3. Core rotation

How to do it: Keeping the resistance band at chest height, hold with both hands. Extend your arms over from right to left and extend your hips while you move. Continue for approximately 20 seconds and repeat the movement going left to right.

What it does: “Works on disassociation between the trunk and the hips so you’re nice and stable through your hips and lumbar spine, and generating force through abdominals,” said Denning.

Pro tip: Don’t let your hips move and rotate through the trunk.

4. Lat pull-down

How to do it: Keeping glutes engaged and your stomach tight, start with the resistance bands as high overhead as you can, and pull down both bands towards your pockets and then release back up.

What it does: “This works the back of your shoulders,” according to Denning.

Pro tip: If you pull and your core is not engaged, the resistance bands will pull you forward.

5. Split squat

How to do it: Start with the bands right up to your shoulders and stagger your stance, drop your back knee down to the ground and lift back up. Continue for 20 seconds and switch sides.

What it does: “Lateral exercise to work on the lower extremity strength,” said Denning.

Pro tip: Make sure your front knee doesn’t extend over your toes.

6. Resisted push-up

How to do it: Start with the band around your back and get into a high push-up position. Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and then go into a push-up. Keep going quickly for about 20 seconds.

What it does: “This works on core and hip stability but also works your pecs,” Denning said.

7. Resisted squat

How to do it: Step both feet inside of the band and pull the band up to your shoulders so you’re in a front squat position. Sit down and drive up for 20 seconds and rest.

What it does: “This is a glute-centric exercise,” said Denning.

Pro tip: Generate all the force from your glutes, making sure your hips come all the way forward.

For recovery

8. Pliability vibrating roll

Roll out your calf to make sure the muscle tissue is pliable, i.e., long and soft, which makes for effective muscles. The muscle should fully relax and then fully contract. Roll up to the back of the heel and up to the knee. Spend more time on tight spots.

9. Pliability vibrating sphere

Roll out your shoulder by standing against a wall and extending out your arm in front you, then turning it back toward the wall while the ball is placed behind your shoulder.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

6-year-old’s arrest raises questions about school discipline, behavioral disorders

maroke/iStock(NEW YORK) — Reports of two 6-year-olds being arrested at school in Florida — including one for throwing a temper tantrum — came as a shock to many recently.

Last week, we learned that the arresting school resource officer was fired, but why was a 6-year-old arrested in the first place?

Experts say that one of the issues is that many children have undiagnosed behavioral problems that are mistaken for misbehaving.

“Many children in schools with problem behaviors go underdiagnosed. Many are not just misbehaving, they may have an actual behavioral disorder,” Dr. Howard Taras, professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and medical consultant to several school districts, said in an interview with ABC News.

One of the children arrested has sleep apnea. According to her grandmother, the girl was acting out as a reaction to poor sleep. Sleep apnea is a known risk factor for behavioral problems, but there were no reports the girl had a behavioral disorder.

“Behavioral disturbances in children are very common,” said Dr. Victor Fornari, vice chair for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Northwell Health, in an interview with ABC News.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 children between age 2 and 8 in the U.S. have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

“Children with these disorders may be perceived as lazy or willfully oppositional rather than as having neurocognitive deficits,” said doctors Celiane Rey-Casserly, Laura McGuinn, Arthur Lavin in a clinical report for the American Academy of Pediatrics, published last Monday.

Kids with behavioral disorders are more likely to be disciplined.

“Any child with any kind of difficulty, whether it’s a learning difficulty or fine motor issue, they are more vulnerable as individuals,” says Fornari. “They could be bullied by peers or victimized by adults. We hope that recognizing them as vulnerable would lead to them being more protected, but often that is not the case.”

According to a U.S. Department of Education report, while students with disabilities make up only 12 percent of the enrolled population, they make up 28 percent of the students who are arrested at school or referred to law enforcement, according to data from the 2015-’16 school year.

Children with behavioral disorders can show a range of troubling behavior, including aggression, obstinance and running away. These behaviors are, understandably, challenging for teachers and school staff to address.

“If the child is consistently acting out during a particular subject, such as math” that can be a sign that further testing is required said Dr. Yi Hui Liu, section head of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.

Moreover, “children who were successful in the prior year but not in the current year could have a learning issue,” said Liu. She also asks, “Is there a family history of a learning disability? If so, this would increase concern for a learning disability.”

A greater proportion of children living below 100 percent of the federal poverty level have mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, these children often attend underserved schools, and “the lack of resources in underfunded schools causes disparities in helping children with developmental issues in those areas,” says Cecelia Rhodus, a developmental and behavioral health fellow at the University of California, San Diego.

“If a child is having a behavioral problem in school, we have to understand why. Where is the problem coming from? We can’t just react to the behavior,” said Liu.

Some specialists said a lack of proper training for school staff may have led to the improper arrest of a child in Orlando, Florida. The officer in that case broke departmental policy by not getting supervisor approval to arrest a child under 12, the Orlando police chief said.

“When a child is out of control, unless the staff member is trained to de-escalate, the staff member may also become agitated. Then you see what we saw in Orlando with an excessive and punitive response,” said Fornari.

So how should staff be trained?

A 2013 study asserted that “early childhood teachers do not receive sufficient training for handling children’s challenging behaviors.” Training and certification for school resource officers and other law enforcement officers who work in school varies by state.

“It would be fabulous if teachers and school staff have training on understanding and managing behavioral issues with kids on an individual and group level,” says Liu. “Certainly the group dynamics can make things more difficult in making sure all the kids are cared for.”

“The goal is to train school resource officers in safe ways to restrain a child without causing excessive harm, said Fornari. “In addition, we want to equip them with skills to verbally de-escalate a child. Kids respond to kindness and support.”

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‘They told me my brain was mush’: EEE virus survivor’s harrowing ordeal

iStock/frank600(ATLANTA) — Kaylee Hardenbrook is one of the fortunate ones. Five years ago, the 31-year-old mother of two went to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms. Doctors sent her home, and her symptoms worsened. Within days, Hardenbrook suffered a seizure and went into a coma.

When she awoke, doctors told her to make arrangements to say goodbye to her children. “They said my brain was mush, basically,” Hardenbrook said.

The culprit, it turned out, was a rare mosquito-transmitted virus called Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), which crops up every year in clusters along the Eastern Seaboard, Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions.

Hardenbrook, who is from Paw Paw, Michigan, which abuts one of the state’s many lakes, had never heard of EEE prior to being diagnosed with it.

“It wasn’t talked about in my area,” she said.

That’s starting to change. While EEE virus typically infects about seven people annually, there have been 28 cases recorded so far this year, including 10 cases in Massachusetts and eight in Michigan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine people have died.

Those numbers make 2019 the worst year for EEE in decades — the CDC didn’t start tracking the disease until the early 1960s — with a previous peak of 21 cases in 2005.

Marc Fischer, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s arboviral disease branch, stressed that it’s premature to say that the threat of EEE in the United States is growing.

EEE occurs cyclically in affected regions, with two to three years of intensive activity, followed by a prolonged period of subsiding infections.

“This is typical,” he said of the fluctuation in cases from year to year. “It is just a single high year. There’s no evidence that we’re seeing a longer-term trend.”

Compared to other mosquito-transmitted diseases, like West Nile disease, EEE is incredibly rare. As of late September, there were 543 cases of West Nile disease reported to the CDC in 2019.

That’s not to say EEE isn’t concerning. While uncommon, it’s among the most fatal mosquito-borne infections in the U.S. “It’s a serious disease,” Fischer said.

The virus infects many people, but according to the CDC only 5% of those bitten by infected mosquitoes develop any symptoms, which can include flu-like indicators (fever, chills, body aches) all the way up to severe neurological conditions from brain swelling (Encephalitis). Of the small subset of people who develop brain swelling there is a 30% risk of death. Among those who survive, many will continue experiencing neurological problems, such as seizures, intellectual impairment and personality disorders.

Hardenbrook was among that unfortunate 5%. She told ABC News she developed meningitis and was temporarily paralyzed. She had to relearn to walk and to use the bathroom. But today, other than minimal memory loss, she’s feeling much better.

“I want to let people know that there’s still hope,” she said about coming back from EEE against the odds. “I’m very lucky.”

Part of the fervor surrounding EEE could be the combination of high fatality rates and the severe and permanent health problems many survivors sustain. In comparison, West Nile mostly affects people who are older than 60, explained Scott Weaver, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“I think these factors have an emotional impact and cause greater fear,” Weaver said.

There is no preventative human vaccine against EEE Virus infection and no antiviral treatment once it’s acquired. Medical teams can only offer supportive care to help minimize the symptoms.
What’s causing this year’s record EEE cases

The reasons behind this year’s uptick are complex and still unknown.

EEE naturally occurs in birds living in freshwater swamps that support large mosquito populations. Insects feed on those animals, become infected and later transmit the virus to susceptible human hosts during subsequent blood meals.

Changes in bird and mosquito populations, weather factors like warmer, wetter conditions and human behavior, like spending time outdoors without mosquito protection, all play a role in infection levels. Increased surveillance and diagnosis can contribute to an uptick of confirmed EEE cases, too. If more people are aware of a disease threat in a given year, they’re more likely to get tested and diagnosed, Fischer explained.

This year’s spike in infections also prompted researchers to question whether the virus is evolving and becoming more dangerous.

Catherine Brown and her team at the Massachusetts Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences genetically analyzed two decades of EEE virus data. The researchers found that the virus evolved in Florida, which could lead to new and potentially stronger strains in the Northeast.

Edward Walker, a professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Entomology, attributes increased EEE cases to older mosquitoes. As mosquitoes age, the likelihood of acquiring an infection from a diseased animal and transmitting that infection to humans increases, because those mosquitoes have taken more blood meals throughout their lifespans.
Waiting for the first big frost

The good news for states like Michigan and Massachusetts, which have shouldered the brunt of this year’s EEE cases, is that the virus’s seasonal window for transmission is coming to a close.

“As we move into fall and temperatures cool down, we expect the number of human cases to decrease,” Fischer said.

Weaver noted that the first hard freeze, typically around mid-October in the Northeast, tends to kill off a good portion of the adult mosquito population.

Until then, health officials recommend removing any standing water around the home, wearing long sleeves, using mosquito repellent registered with the EPA (like Deet Picaridin and Oil of lemon eucalyptus) and limiting time spent outdoors after dusk.

Since EEE tends to affect specific areas, it’s more important for people in those states and regions to heed the recommendations than it is for those outside the traditional disease zone. In Michigan and in Connecticut, where two people have died of EEE this year, schools are adjusting outdoor sports schedules to avoid exposing players to mosquitoes at dusk.

Hardenbrook’s husband, who is an avid hunter, always takes mosquito protection precautions when he’s in the woods these days. But for the last couple of years, he hasn’t gone out on opening day at all.

“It’s been so warm,” Hardenbrook explained.

In addition to protecting against mosquito bites, Walker is in favor of mosquito control efforts, including aerial spraying in areas where EEE positive mosquitoes have been detected. Several affected areas across the Northeast have now increased the practice of spraying.
Experts are split on whether climate change is making things worse

While the virus is difficult to study because of its sporadic nature, Theodore Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and head of the Center for Vector Biology & Zoonotic Diseases, believes that climate change could be tied to increasing EEE occurrence.

He notes that climate ecological models project longer summers and milder winters, which can lead to overwintering, which is when a mosquito survives the winter, allowing the virus to survive, too.

“Until 2003, cases in the Northeast had been very sporadic,” Andreadis said. “Now, we have been seeing more recent outbreaks in regions where EEE has not been detected before. We do know that the virus persists for a couple of years and the strain fades out.”

Extreme weather such as heavy rainfall and damp conditions can create ideal breeding habitats supportive of larger mosquito populations. More mosquitoes mean additional chances for the insects to acquire EEE and transmit the disease more quickly.

Fischer, the CDC epidemiologist, said there was no way to link climate change to this year’s disease spike.

“I’d associate it more with weather patterns,” he said, noting that weather patterns can change over time. Long-term changes in those patterns could potentially be a concern, Fischer said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Optimism has a surprising benefit: Better heart health, study finds

kate_sept2004/iStock(NEW YORK) —  Looking on the bright side is more than a tool for taking life’s ups and downs in stride. An optimistic outlook is also good for your health, according to new research.

“Thought patterns and mindsets are the most intimate parts of our experience,” said Dr. Alan Rozanski, lead author of a meta-analysis on optimism that was published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open. “We have known for a few decades now that there’s a relationship between psychological factors and heart disease.”

The new meta-analysis, which examined 15 studies on optimism and health and utilized data from 229,391 individuals, found that a person’s tendency to think positively about the future was linked with a 35% lower risk for heart disease, and a lower risk of death.

But rote directives to “be more optimistic” seem unlikely to shift the worldviews of hardened pessimists.

Instead, Rozanski, who is also a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s in New York, thinks a better application of the new optimism research might be to offer pessimism treatment as part of cardiac rehab programs.

People who have recently had heart attacks are eager to live healthier lives and are already making lifestyle changes, like improving their diets and exercising more, explained Rozanski, who has experience working with heart attack patients in such programs.

And while pessimism treatment is a novel idea, Rozanski thinks mental health should be part of post-heart attack regimens in the future.

“Thinking of this as a medical issue is new,” he said.

More broadly, he thinks pessimism should raise concerns for doctors who might already be screening for more serious mental health conditions, like depression.

While depression itself carries numerous health burdens and complications, including weight gain, heart disease, substance use disorders and risk for suicide, according to the Mayo Clinic, Rozanski stressed that we have clear approaches for treating depression.

“Just like we can treat depression, we can treat [pessimism] at an earlier stage,” he said.

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