Bernie Sanders had stent surgery. Here’s how the procedure works

iStock(NEW YORK) — Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had emergency heart surgery after experiencing chest pain on the campaign trail Tuesday, his campaign said Wednesday.

Sanders, who is 78, had two heart stents put in after doctors discovered a blockage in his artery.

“Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits,” senior campaign advisor Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.”

Heart stents hold the artery open and allow blood to flow through a previously blocked area. While an artery blockage might seem like code for a heart attack, that’s not necessarily the case, health experts say.

While a full blockage can sometimes lead to a heart attack, in less severe cases, a blockage can manifest as chest pain or shortness of breath. Instead, an artery blockage is generally another term for coronary heart disease, which usually develops over decades, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

Since heart disease risk increases with age, Sanders “is in the right age bracket,” said Dr. Jennifer Haythe, a cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who is not connected to Sanders’ care.

“The prognosis with prompt re-vascularization is excellent, as long as there is no long-term damage to the heart,” Haythe explained. “We would expect him to be fine.”

“This is a commonly done procedure,” echoed Dr. Mustafa Ahmed, associate professor in cardiovascular disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ahmed, who is not involved in Sanders’ care, noted that patients are typically directed to take a blood thinning medication for the rest of their lives, following a stent insertion.

Although Sanders’ age has been a talking point following his hospitalization, “generally speaking, age doesn’t really affect the recovery a lot,” said Dr. Craig A. Thompson, director of interventional cardiology and cardiac catheterization at NYU Langone Health.

“An otherwise healthy 78-year-old can recover as fast or more quickly than a man or woman in their 60s, who has other illnesses,” explained Thompson, who has performed many stent insertions and is unconnected to Sanders’ care. Most patients without major issues, such as a full-blown heart attack, go home within 24 hours, according to Thompson.

“I would expect that he’s back at it,” Thompson said of Sanders.

In 2016, Sanders’ long-time physician released a doctor’s note on his medical history, noting that the senator weighed 179 pounds at his most recent physical and was in “very good health.”

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Trump signs $1.8 billion Autism CARES Act

Donald Trump/Twitter(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) into law Monday, which allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

“The problem of ‘aging out’ of services is a real hurdle every parent or caretaker of a child with autism inevitably faces,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

“All children grow up and become adults, and children with autism then lose their education services. But autism is a lifetime neurological disorder, and adults with autism continue to need their services,” he added.

The funding, which backs autism research and autism-related support programs, will also prioritize grants for rural and underserved areas.

Approximately 1 in every 59 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The developmental disability, which is characterized by social, communication and behavioral problems, is four times more prevalent in males than in females.

New Jersey has a higher-than-average autism rate, with 1 in 34 children diagnosed with the disorder. While the reason for that high rate isn’t known, one explanation could be the state’s robust screening and diagnostic services.

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Support from fathers can mitigate heart disease risks in LGBT youth: Study

kali9/iStock(NEW YORK) — The discrimination experienced by sexual minorities can increase the chance of a heart attack, but support from their father may be an antidote, according to new research from New York University.

“Father support mitigates the negative effects of discrimination on inflammation, but only for low to moderate levels,” Dr. Stephanie Cook, senior author of the study and assistant professor of biostatics and social behavioral sciences at New York University College of Global Public Health, told ABC News.

“We neglect the role of fathers and we need to increase interventions as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth are more likely to be rejected by their fathers. Public policy needs to focus on how we can increase support,” she continued.

Researchers examined C-reactive proteins, or CRP, which increase when something starts to become inflamed in the body. This biomarker can be measured in the blood and may potentially predict future cardiovascular risk. Researchers looked at CRP in relation to perceived discrimination with both maternal and paternal support.

The study took high schoolers in grades 7 to 12 who were subsequently followed into young adulthood. They were interviewed about their sexual orientation, and those who were sexual minorities were asked about any discrimination they’d felt, and the social support they got from their father and mother.

“Mothers’ support does not mitigate the negative effects of discrimination on inflammation. For fathers’ support, there is an association between perceived discrimination and inflammation for both sexual minority and heterosexual youth,” according to Cook. “We spend so much time on maternal support, but we lose track of the father support. We are seeing biological outcomes that we need to think more critically about.”

In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Kristen Eckstrand, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Western Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said, “There is a link between experience of discrimination and chronic inflammatory markers. Whether or not it’s legal to discriminate against people of sexual minorities should be called into question.”

“There are critical figures in people’s lives that may be able to buffer against that risk,” Eckstrand continued. “Parental acceptance is well known among LGBTQ youth, the role of the father figure itself is protective.”

However, she cautioned, “If we had a range with not very supportive to very supportive, then we may have seen a link with mothers. It’s hard to tell because all of this is taken at one time point. My guess is that we would find something similar with the mother.”

It’s not clear what factors played into the participants’ answers, said Eckstrand, who was not involved in the study.

“Is the child being discriminated as a result of other people, or is the result being driven by the fact that the discrimination was by the father?” Eckstrand said.

Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, associate professor of pediatrics at UAB/Children’s Hospital of Alabama, called family acceptance “the most critical mediator to long term medical and physical health for sexual minority and gender diverse youth.”

Ladinsky, who was not involved in the study, added, “When a youth feels isolated and shamed at home, the proteins released in fight or flight response does alter the longer-term decision-making that underlies overall adult health. Kids who have multiple adverse childhood events are more likely to have substance dependence, obesity and mental health outcomes. One in four youths are kicked out of the house when they come out.”

“From a public health perspective, primary prevention programs that reduce stigma are key,” she said. “Increasing visibility in positive ways, and strategically using internet and social media to depict sexual minorities as simply people — not as a choice and not a sin — [are crucial].”

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Doctors say ‘intimacy anorexia’ may be leading cause behind sexless marriages

PeopleImages/iStock(NEW YORK) — It’s the million dollar question that many wonder about but never ask: How much sex is normal in a relationship?

It may sound like a topic of discussion in one of Carrie Bradshaw’s columns on Sex and the City, but the phrase “sexless marriage” is more normal than what many might think.

For Heather and Nathaniel Hawkins, it’s something that they struggled with as a couple for nearly 20 years.

“Every two to three months was about as much as we were sexually intimate,” said Nathaniel.

“Sexless marriages are in the millions. It’s an epidemic. There are many people sleeping alone, married and alone,” said Dr. Doug Weiss, credited with coining the term “intimacy anorexia” and founder and executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs.

In 2015, the phrase “sexless marriage” was reportedly one of the most Googled phrases about sex and marriage. According to The New York Times, 21,000 people searched the term every month.

Weiss, who has seen couples in sexless marriages like Heather and Nathaniel, confirmed that not physically connecting through sex can go on for weeks, months or even decades.

“I’ve had couples for 20 years sleeping in the same bed and not having sex,” Weiss told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

Heather Hawkins said, “It was painful especially because when I would talk to my friends about it, they didn’t understand; they were complaining about how much their husbands wanted sex, so that made me feel like maybe something’s wrong with me.”

Now, Weiss and other doctors have found something new for a lack of physical intimacy in a marriage. They’re calling it “intimacy anorexia,” a disorder where one person in a relationship actively withholds emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy from their spouse or partner.

“Sexless marriages happen for several reasons. Number one, it’s intimacy anorexia, where it’s actively withholding,” said Dr. Weiss, who was the first to coin the term after seeing a distinct lack of intimacy within clients’ relationships during counseling sessions.

“It could be a result of depression, hormones, it could be even a personality disorder,” he said, “but intimacy anorexia is probably the leading cause where the person is actually, intensely, holding intimacy and sexuality.”
 
At Heart to Heart, Weiss and his team of counselors work to help couples and individuals who lack intimacy in their relationships, which they believe by nature is an essential part of creating close relationships.

“I was absolutely the one pulling back both sexually and emotionally and even relationally I was just pulling back,” said Nathaniel.

The Hawkinses were on the brink of separation after Nathaniel turned to emotional and physical affairs to fulfill his own but were able to move forward in a positive way when Heather found Dr. Weiss’ practice online and learned about intimacy anorexia.

“I definitely felt for the first time seen and heard,” she said. “There are so many women [and] partners in this position and they’re not seen and they’re not heard — they aren’t validated.”

With the help of Heart to Heart’s intensive program, materials created by Dr. Weiss and a phone therapy group, the couple says they are now closer than ever and working on their journey as a couple.

Heather said, “This year compared to last year is like a different life because he’s healing and he’s changing and I’m healing.”

“We are ‘glued’ to one another spiritually, emotionally and physically. I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” said Nathaniel.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Watch as a 4-year-old boy fighting cancer gets his first hearing aids

Melissa Bowman(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — A 4-year-old cancer patient who lost his hearing during treatment is “overjoyed” to receive his first pair of hearing aids, and you can watch his reaction in a new video.

“As soon as they put [the hearing aids] in and turned them on, he was like a whole new child,” his mother, Melissa Bowman, told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

The video captured the moment that Xander Bowman, who has stage 4 neuroblastoma, was able to hear after losing his ability because of an “intense” chemotherapy drug called Cisplatin. This side effect is common in children like Xander with high-risk neuroblastoma, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

After his “superhero ears” were turned on, Xander grinned at the camera and danced around the doctor’s office at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

“Before he got them, he was constantly asking me to repeat myself. He would get very frustrated that he couldn’t hear what I was saying,” Bowman said.

She worried if Xander would like his hearing aids because he’s “sensitive” about his ears. But after seeing his giddy and giggly reaction, she knew that his “whole new set of ears” made him happy. And they still do.

“I was overjoyed. It made me feel so good that he felt that good,” Bowman said.

Even Xander’s doctors have been touched by the sweet moment caught on camera by Bowman’s boyfriend, Alex Pennebaker, and posted on the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network’s Facebook page.

“Even after doing this for 20 years, it brought tears to my eyes … just to see his reaction was really amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it,” Dr. Jennifer Domm said.

Domm works as a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at the TriStar Centennial Women and Children’s Hospital in Nashville. She called Xander “remarkable” and said that even though his kind of cancer is “very very difficult” to treat, Xander brings joy to her and the other members of the medical staff.

“You would never honestly even know that he’s sick, which is part of the amazing thing about Xander,” Domm said.

But for Xander and his loved ones, things haven’t always been this happy.

The last nine months have brought bout after bout of bad news for the family. He was first diagnosed with cancer at age 3 in January after experiencing “severe” back pain.

Xander started chemotherapy immediately to battle the cancer that had already spread throughout his body. He has a large tumor growing out of his upper back bone as well bone marrow disease and bone lesions in his legs, his pelvis, his spine and his skull.

His diagnosis requires long stints of intense treatment, which has been “difficult” for Xander, his mother and his 3-year-old-sister Olivia, who often has to be left with relatives during hospital stays.

And so far, treatment has not worked.

“I didn’t think it would ever happen to us,” Bowman said.

Bowman opened up to GMA and shared that in addition to the shock of her son’s sudden diagnosis, she has struggled with anxiety and panic attacks.

“There would be mornings where I would wake up, and the first thing I thought about was losing my son. I couldn’t live like that anymore, so I got help,” Bowman said.

She also told GMA that she now seeks counseling and takes medication, which has helped alleviate her fears and depression. She said that she’s doing “a lot better now.”

“I try not to look at the future. I try to just focus on the day that we’re in and enjoy everything we do together and enjoy his smile,” Bowman said.

Like Bowman, Domm said she remains “cautiously optimistic” for the future, and she expressed some confidence in new treatments for Xander.

“I’m always hopeful, and I think we’ve identified some potential new options,” Domm said.

She offered advice to parents who hear stories like this and fear their children might suddenly develop cancer, and she cited Bowman’s actions as a prime example of what to do.

“If a parent thinks that something is not right, just keep asking for answers,” Domm said.

Bowman offered her own advice to parents and families currently facing similar situations with sick or suffering loved ones.

“Just know that it gets better. That it gets easier,” Bowman.

As for Xander at the moment, Bowman said he’s having a blast and acting like any other 4-year-old. He and his family are on a trip to Disney World for Xander’s Make-A-Wish.

“He’s got so much personality. He just remains happy through all of this. He draws people to him … he’s a good little boy,” Bowman said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Husband reminds his wife there’s ‘no trophy’ in parenting in viral post

Simon Dannhauer/iStock(NEW YORK) — There’s no trophy in parenting.

That might seem like an obvious statement but if there really is no trophy, why do moms do so many things they may not even feel strongly about?

When Ashley Gibson was giving birth to her third child, she “wasn’t dead set” on having an non-medicated birth.

“My mom had done it and my friends had done it,” the Yuma, Arizona, mom told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “It seemed like something you should be able to say you did.”

But as the pain progressed and Gibson debated whether an epidural was the right decision, her husband Brandon said four simple words.

“There’s no trophy Ashley.”

In a now-viral post that’s been shared on Facebook more than 60,000 times, Gibson writes about how this simple phrase is applicable to so many of the parts of parenthood done because of societal pressures.

It reads, in part: “As moms in today’s world it can feel like we’re all competing for a trophy that doesn’t exist. I literally thought in that delivery room that I would somehow be ‘less than’ as mother for tapping out and asking for the drugs. Like there would be a gold medal or AT LEAST a gold sticker on my medical chart for having a natural birth. And I felt like I was letting some invisible committee down when we bought formula to help him pass the amniotic fluid he had swallowed.”

Gibson told GMA she’s surprised by how many times her post has been shared.

“If I could have chosen a photo of myself to go viral it wouldn’t be one of my four days postpartum,” she laughed. “But it’s been great to hear that the post helped some moms heal in a way or just that it was something they needed to hear.”

Gibson’s continued to think of her husband’s words as she enjoys the journey of parenting her third boy.

“It’s been so much fun,” she said. “I’ve been able to relax into it.”

Her advice to new moms: “You really have to trust your gut. People have all sorts of advice, but no one knows your specific situation.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Always too cold? Too hot? There’s an app — and a gadget — for that

RyanKing999/iStock(NEW YORK) — For people who always run either too hot or too cold — or sometimes both in a given day — there’s a new gadget on your wrist that can lend a hand.

Developed by MIT scientists, the Embr Wave bracelet looks like a typical smart watch, but it actually serves as a little thermostat for your body. The discreet gadget uses precise thermal wave pulses on your wrist to either cool you off or warm you up, making you feel five degrees more comfortable in minutes.

In the same way that holding a cup of coffee can “warm you up,” or sticking your feet in the pool on a hot day can cool you off, the Embr doesn’t change your core temperature, but it changes the perceived temperature of your surroundings.

Pressing the “plus” side of a slider sends warming signals to your wrist, while the “minus” has the opposite effect.

Using pulses of either warm or cool temperatures at your wrist, the Embr essentially “hacks” your body into making it feel more comfortable. The device can be customized for the user, turning on at scheduled times, or for a particular duration and temperature.

So if your one of the countless people with no control over the thermostat in your office, the $299 Embr could prove to be a game changer — and it’s certainly more discreet than throwing on that ugly sweater hanging over your chair, or grabbing a magazine to fan yourself.

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