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iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. AMISHA AHUJA

(NEW YORK) -- Last weekend, rapper Drake canceled his Miami concerts because he was suffering from a case of the flu, his representatives confirmed. It was a reminder that flu season, which took a big toll last year, is near again.

"We can see influenza all year round –- 12 months out of the year," Dr. Jennifer Ashton said on "Good Morning America." Flu season, when the highest number of illnesses emerge, generally tends to run from October to March in the U.S.

That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues its annual recommendations on the flu vaccine. The agency recommends that everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated for influenza every season, ideally by the end of October.

Even if that deadline passes, it's still helpful to get vaccinated, especially if influenza continues in the community late in the year. In the past, the virus has hung around as late as May.

After receiving a flu shot, it takes two weeks to develop the antibodies needed to protect against infection. This means it's best to get the vaccine before flu season begins to have full immune benefits.

Since the flu virus changes year to year, the vaccine changes, as well. So last year's flu shot doesn’t carry over to this season. These fluctuations make it hard to predict how bad the flu will be. This was evidenced last year, with one circulating strain of the flu, H3N2, poorly matched with the vaccine.

Although the vaccine can be imperfect, it is the best defense we have as we continue to make advancements in the field.

"There’s a new flu vaccine out now; it’s made based on predictions of what this year’s strains will be," Ashton said, "so you do need to get it this fall.”

With some pharmacies stocking and administering the vaccine in the summer months, questions have emerged about how early is too early to get a shot.

"There’s a little bit of controversy now in the medical literature," Ashton said. "If you get it too early, does our immune protection wane by the end of the flu season?”

Some studies have shown that the protective antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can decrease over time. But there are a number of variables in the human immune response; some that have to do with vaccine components, some that have to do with the health of the person getting vaccinated and some involving age.

Useful protection for the year has been shown in healthy adults in the 18 to 49 age range. Although there are concerns that adults age 65 and older are more likely to have waning protection over time, research shows antibodies are still present in high levels six months after the shot, and, more importantly, even these lower levels of antibodies help prevent the flu.

Influenza is a serious infection that kills many each year and older adults and young children are particularly vulnerable. This is why most health officials will agree that receiving a flu shot, even if its early, is much better than no flu shot at all.

Now that the end of September is here, it's definitely a good time to get vaccinated for flu season.

Amisha Ahuja is an internal medicine resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Two years ago Natasha Ednan-Laperouse suffered a fatal allergic reaction after eating a Pret a Manger sandwich that her family says did not list one critical ingredient: sesame.

Natasha, 15, was allergic to sesame.

This week, the West London Coroner's Court will hear from her family, British Airways and Pret a Manger.

There are two central questions: Was the allergen information listed correctly? And who is to blame for Natasha's death?

On July 17, 2016, Natasha ate an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette sandwich from Pret a Manger in London's Heathrow Airport while waiting for her flight to Nice, France, with her father, Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, and her best friend. According to a statement from her father, read in court Monday by the family's lawyer, Jeremy Hyam, she fell ill about 20 minutes later on her British Airways flight.

After Natasha broke out in hives "like a jellyfish sting" and complained of an itchy throat, her father administered the first EpiPen injection to her leg, according to the statement.

"Natasha said that she still couldn't breathe and desperately looked at me, she said 'Daddy, help me, I can't breathe,'" her father said.

When her symptoms failed to improve, her father said he administered a second EpiPen injection, also to her leg. Natasha fell unconscious on the flight and was pronounced dead in a hospital in Nice a few hours later.

According to EU regulations, sesame is one of 14 allergens that must be listed on food products made off premises.

But EU rules also say that each country has some leeway in how it communicates information for freshly made food, and UK regulations don't require freshly made, non-pre-packaged food to be individually labeled.

In a statement, Pret said the individual sandwich would not have been labeled with allergen or ingredient information. But the company said there are signs that tell consumers with allergies to speak to managers for additional information. The family's lawyer also questioned the Heathrow branch manager on Monday about the specific stickers that should have been in place around the shelves and cash registers.

On Tuesday, Jonathan Perkins, director for risk and compliance of Pret, testified in court.

"I don't accept that allergy signage was failing," he said, admitting that the company has made alterations to the way it provides information since Natasha's death.

Perkins clarified that the company is "not legally obliged to label each individual package."

A Pret spokesman said in an earlier statement: “We were deeply saddened to hear about Natasha’s tragic death, and our heartfelt thoughts are with her family and friends. We take food allergies and how allergen information is provided to our customers extremely seriously. We will continue to do all that we can to assist the coroner’s inquest.”

There have been nine cases of sesame-related complaints from Pret and four of those required hospital treatment, according to Hyam.

In a statement, Natasha's family described her as a popular, mature and fun-loving girl who enjoyed horseback riding and ice-skating.

"As a family of four, we had a very close relationship. Our home was quite noisy with laughter, joking and teasing. As a teenager Natasha was always open with us and would readily talk to us about any problems she may be experiencing and would ask us for our advice. She had a strong moral compass and often showed maturity beyond her years."

Her father also said Natasha had dealt with allergies for years and "put her trust in food labeling."

"I was stunned that a big food company like Pret could mislabel a sandwich and this could cause my daughter to die, he said.

Holly Shaw, a nurse adviser to Allergy UK, a non-profit that provides support, resources and advice to those living with allergies, emphasized that effective communication can save lives.

"Especially with young adults," Shaw told ABC News. "When they're at that risk-taking age, susceptible to peer pressure, it's so important that they feel empowered and confident to ask those questions and talk to their friends about it."

She went on, "The food provider, whether a grocery store or a cafe, needs to be able to provide accurate and consistent information. It's where those chains have broken down that there are problems."

The inquest is expected to last five days.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. NICKY MEHTANI

(NEW YORK) -- One in three Americans age 45 and over are lonely, which may harm their quality of life and also pose health risks, according to a new national survey.

The greatest apparent predictors of loneliness are the size of a person's social network and physical isolation, according to the survey of over 3,000 U.S. adults age 45 and older by the AARP Foundation, which used the UCLA Loneliness Scale that is utilized widely in scientific literature.

The survey also found that infrequent sex and inadequate sleep are associated with loneliness.

Among the most striking findings is that people who never speak to their neighbors are nearly twice as likely to be lonely than those who have talked to neighbors.

“As a society, it’s important that we recognize that social isolation and loneliness are widespread public health issues, particularly among older and low-income adults,” Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation, told ABC News.

“Social isolation and loneliness have been found to have health risks equivalent to those of obesity or smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day,” Ryerson continued. “Yet, very few individuals have ever talked to their physicians about these issues.”

Social isolation can be measured objectively through the number of people in a person’s social network and how frequently they’re in contact. Loneliness, however, is more subjective -- how a person perceives their experience, and whether they feel a lack of connectedness or sense of belonging. The survey asked questions about both.

The authors released the study to coincide with the upcoming National Good Neighbor Day on Friday, Sept. 28, which was first proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

“Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities," Carter said in his proclamation. "The same bonds cement our nation, and the nations of the world.”

The AARP survey reinforces results of a large study conducted by the health insurer Cigna earlier this year, which found that loneliness is at epidemic levels among American adults. While the Cigna study found that loneliness is most common among young adults, age 18 to 22, the new survey finds the same trend but that loneliness happens in all age groups.

In the AARP survey, forty-six percent of respondents aged 45 to 49 reported loneliness, compared to 37 percent who are in their 50s, 36 percent in their 60s, and 24 percent in their 70s.

The authors of the survey caution that they cannot draw conclusions on the causes of loneliness, but they identified several conditions that seem linked.

Infrequent sex and inadequate sleep are among the factors that appear to be associated with loneliness.

Among people who have sex at least once per week, 25 percent report being lonely compared to 37 percent of those who have sex once a month or less, and 43 percent for those who are sexually inactive. Similarly, among people who get five to eight hours of sleep a night, 34 percent are lonely, compared to 59 percent who get four hours of sleep or less.

Perhaps surprisingly, those who drink alcohol to any extent are slightly less likely to be lonely than those who do not, 33 percent versus 38 percent.

Income is also associated with loneliness, the survey found. Among people earning less than $25,000 a year, 50 percent are lonely, compared to 31 percent of those with income over $50,000 per year.

Among people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, 49 percent are lonely compared to 35 percent of those who do not identify as such.

Unsurprisingly, all forms of communication with friends and siblings are associated with decreased loneliness, but the mode of communication is important. Those who see friends in person at least once a month are less likely to be lonely than those who communicate by email, text or video.

But, the relationship between social media and loneliness is complex, according to the survey results.

Thirty-six percent of people who opt out of social media entirely said they are lonely, a similar rate to those who use social media somewhat regularly: 31 percent for those who use social media once a week or more, and 35 percent among those who use it once or twice a month. People who use social media infrequently, once or twice a year, have the highest prevalence of loneliness, 42 percent.

The AARP has suggestions on how individuals can ward off loneliness, including simply "looking out for each other,” as Ryerson put it.

Other suggestions include inviting a neighbor over for coffee or tea; checking in on elderly neighbors and offering to run errands for them; organizing a potluck for your block (or the whole neighborhood); asking a neighbor to join you for a walk; and volunteering with a meal-delivery service.

“Our goal is to raise awareness on these issues, to remind each of us that we ourselves could be at risk for loneliness, but certainly, by living in a community, we are also part of the solution,” Ryerson said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Sedgwick County Zoo(WICHITA, Kan.) -- Two Kansas doctors stepped in to help deliver a very special patient earlier this month -- Lily the Sumatran orangutan.

Both agreed it was a moment they'll be talking about for years to come.

Daisy, the Sedgwick County Zoo's 33-year-old orangutan, went into labor early in the morning on Sept. 7. But according to her veterinary team, there were complications that needed a different set of doctors.

"The zookeeper noticed there was a delay in her labor. Normally they deliver very quickly and that wasn't the case for Daisy," Laura Whisler, an OB-GYN based in Wichita, Kansas, said.

The veterinarians were at a loss and turned to the local hospital for help.

"One of the veterinarians at the zoo is one of my personal patients that I've taken care of," Whisler said. "She asked me if I'd be willing to help out."

Whisler and fellow OB-GYN, Dr. Janna Chirby, were told Daisy needed a cesarean section.

While the experienced pair of OB-GYNs have delivered thousands of babies at Via Christi Hospital, this was their first primate.

"I'm an OB-GYN for homo sapiens, humans. Not for animals," Chirby said.

The doctors quickly devised a game plan. A few minutes after surgery a healthy baby orangutan was born.

"It was very surreal and definitely one of the best days at my job I've ever had," Chirby said.

After a couple weeks in quarantine, baby Lily is now living happily with Daisy at the zoo.

"It's definitely one of those moments that will be part of our stories that we tell to our grandkids," Whisler said.

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Sarah Cannon Center for Blood Cancer(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- In a heartwarming reunion, a 9-year-old celebrating his cancer remission has met the man who saved him.

On Saturday, Johnny Sawyer Dyer, who goes by Sawyer, finally came face to face with his bone marrow donor Kevin Schwarrzel, 29.

"We were so thankful for him doing this for Sawyer," mom Misty Dyer of Corryton, Tennessee, told "Good Morning America" on Monday. "Sometimes thank you doesn't seem like enough to say to someone who has saved your son's life."

Sawyer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January of 2017, his family said, and spent four months at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville for treatments before undergoing a bone marrow transplant at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville.

"This wasn't fun," Sawyer said about cancer treatments in an interview at the Sarah Cannon Center for Blood Cancer, where he received radiation. "It would really feel good to meet the person who saved my life."

In 2011, Schwarrzel, a physician assistant from San Diego, California, signed up with the "Be the Match" registry. In 2017, he got the call to donate. Sawyer, who was 8 years old at the time, was the recipient.

The Dyers decided to release their information through the "Be the Match" registry so Schwarrzel was able to contact the family. They arranged for him to meet Sawyer.

The moment when Sawyer and Schwarrzel shared a long-awaited hug was captured on video.

"I'm still trying to wrestle with the gravity of it because I've seen some pictures and I know how sick these kids can get," Schwarrzel said in the video released to "GMA." "To try to come to terms with it -- my bone marrow, something that I was just born with, brought him out of that situation."

"He can go to school, now he doesn't have to wear a mask everywhere he goes -- it's crazy." he added. "It's such a small thing for me to do and it literally means life or death for another person that I've never even met."

In the video, Sawyer's mom tells him that Schwarrzel is about to walk into the room where they were being interviewed. As Schwarrzel entered, Sawyer ran to him and the two embraced.

"I feel like we're so connected, but we've never met," Schwarrzel said to the Dyers in the video.

Misty Dyer said it's been "amazing" to see her son's transformation since his transplant and chemo treatments.

"It was really hard when he lost his hair and was really sick," she explained to "GMA." "It's great to see him healthy, happy, being able to be around his friends and family again to being a normal kid."

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ABC News(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A couple tied the knot this month at the Memphis hospital where they met as children undergoing cancer treatment.

"It was a perfect moment where all of these things came together," Lindsey Alsup told ABC Memphis affiliate WATN-TV. "We were able to see how life had led us down this path."

Joel and Lindsey Alsup met at St. Jude's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in 1991, after Joel was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and Lindsey was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, WATN-TV reported.

"Here I am at 10 thinking, 'I’ve not made it to middle school, or high school, or college. And I have a life and a career and a family that I want to have.' And I felt like cancer was stealing that from me," she told WATN-TV.

Fifteen years later, they met again, this time as employees of the very hospital that introduced them as children. Joel Alsup now works as a video producer for the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) at St. Jude's. His wife serves as a liaison between ALSAC and the hospital, WATN-TV reported. Both found strength in each other, they said.

"Even though our active treatment is over, life as a survivor is different," Joel Alsup told WATN-TV. "But I had this person who knew exactly what my daily life was like, who knew what fears I might have during the day and understands that."

The couple married in the Danny Thomas Pavilion, also called the ALSAC Pavilion, on the grounds of the St. Jude's earlier this month.

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Ivana Firestone(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) --  A teacher battling breast cancer didn't know it, but she was in for a big surprise on the day she finished chemotherapy.

When Katherine James of Santa Barbara, California, arrived home from her final treatment last week, she was met by a mob of kids who offered her hugs and applause.

"My mother was driving and I remember saying, 'Mom, I think those are kids from my class standing outside of my house," said James, a fourth-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School in California. "Their little faces were really happy. I'm extremely grateful for all their love and support."

James, 50, has been at Mountain View for 23 years teaching third and fourth grade. But a few weeks before the 2017-2018 school year ended, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.

"You never want to hear those words and then a doctor is sitting in front of you saying them," James said. "It sends you on a path that you never imagined being on. You start fighting right away. You want it to go away."

James immediately had a double mastectomy and began chemo. On Sept. 11, she finished the last of four rounds.

Later that day, James arrived home to a slew of former and current students holding inspirational signs, flowers and balloons.

Mom Brigitte Welty, told "GMA" that James previously taught her son Ashton, who is now 16.

Welty decided to organize James' homecoming after speaking with her sister, who is also battling breast cancer. Welty learned that ringing bells traditionally signifies a patient has completed chemo, so she wanted to do that for James.

"She was just speechless," Welty said. "She came out with the biggest smile. She was really touched."

Ivana Firestone, mom of Brooks, 9, and Anja, 7, said her son had James as a teacher for both third and fourth grade.

"She's just so engaged and fun and present — you know that she loves her job," Firestone told "GMA." "We are here to support her in any way that she needs. We are hoping she gets back to school, but we want her to take as much time as she needs."

Jolee Tappeiner, a student of James' released a statement to "GMA": "When I first found out Mrs. James had cancer, I was sad and worried about her being able to fight it. But when I saw her at her house, I could see how strong she is and I know she will be coming back to school even stronger!"

James said she is feeling the love from her community and hopes to return to the classroom.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- To humans, wasps are not as popular or as well-liked as bees, according to a new study from the University College London that was published in the Ecological Entomology.

“Culturally, we are brought up to hate or fear wasps; this is likely to influence the likelihood of scientists choosing to study wasps, as opposed to bees,” Marie Curie, a research fellow at the University College London, told ABC News.

Wasps are universally disliked more than bees because of the general public's low interest in nature and a lack of knowledge of the benefits wasps bring to the planet’s health and function, according to the study.

Alessandro Cini, the study's author, said understanding what wasps could do for the planet is imperative.

“Less research on wasps means less general appreciation and knowledge about their role; less knowledge means less exposure to the public by the media,” Cini said.

For the study, there were 750 people from 46 countries who took part in a two-month survey via email and social media, according to the report.

Recipients were asked to rate bees and wasps from plus six to minus six. The majority of respondents ranked bees plus three or above, while wasps were rated minus three or below.

“The bothersome nature of social wasps fuels the perception that wasps are more dangerous than bees, although each elicits a similarly painful sting,” according to the study's authors.

Participants were also asked to find words that they associate with bees and wasps.

The most popular words that participants used to describe bees included, honey, flowers, pollen, and pollination, while the most popular words for wasps included sting, annoying, dangerous, and angry, according to the study.

“Our dislike of wasps is largely shaped by a small number of species of social wasps -- the yellowjackets and hornets -- which represent less than 1 percent of stinging wasps but are most likely to come into contact with humans,” according to the authors.

“There are 67 species of social wasps, but the vast majority of wasps -- in excess of 75,000 species -- are solitary,” the study's authors stated.

The researchers also looked into previous research efforts on bees and wasps in publications since 1980. Of the 908 papers they sampled, only 2.4 percent (22 papers) wasp publications were found, while 97.6 percent (886 papers) were bee publications.

Even more, they discovered out of 2,543 conference abstracts on bees or wasps from the last twenty years, only 81.3 percent were on bees.

“In conclusion, we need the media to help turn around our perceptions of wasps to be positivity and tolerance,” Cini said.

Wasps are nature’s pest-controllers, and they eat the insects and other arthropods that plague the garden plants and agricultural crops, according to Cini.

“A world without wasps would mean we need to use a lot more chemicals to control insect pest populations," Cini said. “We need to embrace species like wasps as natural bio-control agents.”

Wasps are very helpful to the environment in other ways, too, Cini noted.

“Wasps also pollinate, not as much as bees," Cini said, "but they are generalist pollinators and so may be good backup pollinators in degraded habitats where bees are not found."
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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released updated recommendations on Tuesday for how primary care doctors can help patients battle obesity.

After reviewing recent studies on the topic, USPSTF concluded in a statement, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that behavior-based weight loss interventions — techniques like goal-setting and counseling on diet and exercise — should be offered to all adults considered obese, or those who have a body mass index of 30 or more.

These interventions could potentially help people lose weight more successfully, ward off regaining the weight, and slow down or eliminate the progression of type 2 diabetes. What’s more, the interventions are likely safe for everyone.

With obesity prevalence in the United States hovering around 40 percent, doctors and patients alike are ready to welcome any strategies that might help. Of course, diet and exercise are helpful — even if they sound like simple solutions to a complicated disease — but these new guidelines add new solutions that can make a real difference.

In an editorial responding to USPSTF’s guidelines, Drs. Debra Haire-Joshu and Felicia Hill-Briggs note that obesity occurs more frequently among minorities and those in poverty. These people are far less likely to have health insurance, let alone the money to see a doctor. So it’s possible that doctors who implement these behavioral interventions may never see those who would benefit from them the most.

Doctors, according to some studies, may not be aware of how much social determinants like health care access factor into weight loss. Add to this the fact that medical offices are often too pressed for time to run behavioral programs, and some are skeptical that meaningful counseling sessions can take place.

Fortunately, there are other health care professionals who work inside and outside of medical offices who are able to help, including behavioral therapists and dietitians.

Of course, there are also medications; five are FDA-approved for the treatment of obesity. USPSTF found that, in general, medications improved weight loss when combined diet and exercise. However, as with any medication, these therapies have the potential to cause side effects — which is why patients should look into the risks and benefits when considering medical obesity management with their doctors.

For people with certain types of obesity, who have additional medical problems or who haven’t had success with other approaches, there is also bariatric surgery and, more recently, a growing availability of endoscopic interventions.

Yet, because it focused on outpatient care for the study, USPSTF did not look at surgical therapies when formulating its recommendations.

In another article published with the study, Dr. Susan Yanovski wrote, “Although primary care clinicians do not perform bariatric surgery, they have an important role in identifying patients who might potentially benefit, advising patients to consider surgery as an option, and providing referral to a trusted bariatric surgical specialist or program for evaluation.”

So, although the new guidelines support the idea that diet and exercise can still help with weight loss, it’s important to note that these interventions don’t fully address the full scope of the obesity problem — it’s a complicated disease process, where metabolism, emotion, lifestyle, genetics, and social context combine.

USPSTF’s recommendations will help doctors target behavior, but more avenues, ranging from new medical and surgical therapies to national policies, must be explored in order to completely address the obesity epidemic.

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Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago(CHICAGO) -- The 11-year-old girl in desperate need of a new heart who was surprised by Drake last month in a heartwarming viral video spoke out after her successful heart transplant surgery, saying: "I felt more alive."

"It’s so much better than my other heart," Sofia Sanchez, 11, said in an interview Wednesday with ABC News of her new heart, just weeks after her transplant surgery.

Sofia, who was diagnosed with heart disease cardiomyopathy, was admitted to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in June.

She recounted her first reaction after finding out she was getting a new heart: "I was like, 'Bye-bye cardiomyopathy heart.'”

She had open-heart surgery in July to connect a ventricular assist device, a mechanical pump that the hospital said served as a "bridge" to her eventual transplant.

Sofia filmed a video before her 11th birthday in August asking for two presents: a visit from "In My Feelings" singer Drake and a new heart.

Less than one week after Sofia’s “Kiki Challenge” dance video — featuring her still hooked to an IV — went viral, Drake visited her at the hospital.

Sofia told ABC News Wednesday that she and Drake "got along pretty well."

The international music star even gave her his personal cell phone number, which she "pinky-promised" she wouldn't give away to anyone else.

Nearly one week after meeting Drake, Sofia learned a donor heart was available. She underwent the nine-hour heart transplant on Aug. 27.

After waiting 48 days for a new heart and undergoing the successful transplant, Sofia was discharged from the hospital on Sept. 12.

She has spent the past week continuing to recover at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s.

While Sofia said she is enjoying playing sports and doing things she couldn't do with her old heart, she still urged others not to forget the many other children who may still be waiting for a life-saving organ donation.

"There’s a lot of kids that are waiting for a transplant," she said. "And it's important for everybody to be a donor."

Sofia's mom, Natalie Sanchez, said that after her daughter got the new heart, "Every day gets better and better."

"She has a second chance at life, and it's amazing," she said, adding they are incredibly "grateful" for the "donor and his family."

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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) -- They call it "rehability": the intersection of rehabilitation and ability. We call it "slaying."

No matter what you call it, prepared to get inspired by a video created by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They paired former patients and campers with Mary Free Bed staffers to show off their jaw-dropping moves. The whole production was choreographed by Marisa Hamamoto, a ballet and contemporary dancer for more than 20 years.

Called "Miracles in Motion," the video celebrates National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, Sept. 16-22. It's a cause close to Hamamoto, who discovered ballroom dancing while recovering from a rare spinal cord stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. In 2015, she founded Infinite Flow, an inclusive dance company, to use dance as a tool to empower people with disabilities.

"There are over one billion people in the world with a disability who have little access to dance. I think it's my destiny to do something about it," Hamamoto said.

Eric Westover broke all four of his limbs in a motorcycle accident. His right leg was amputated above the knee, his left leg below the knee. Eric, 39, completed inpatient and outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed and now mentors other patients.

"I was pretty nervous at first," Westover said, "I haven't really danced a lot before. I was unaware of what to expect. Marisa made it very easy and it was enjoyable. It was fun."

Dr. Sam Ho, medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at Mary Free Bed participated in the video -- and in ballroom dancing classes with his wife.

"You work hard enough, you will get to where you want to get to. So everyday we are interacting with patients, hopefully people will be inspired to try harder because every day is meaningful."

Thirteen-year-old Mackenzie Haag is a longtime camper at Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp. She was so invested in Miracles in Motion she missed her first day of eighth grade so she could attend rehearsals. Mackenzie, her father and brother have familial spastic paraplegia.

“People think because I’m in a wheelchair I am not able to do things an able body person can do,” Mackenzie said. “Anybody would get worn out doing this and we are doing it and we made it look amazing!”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New research published in the British Medical Journal today reminds us that it might be time to scrutinize our yogurt labels more closely.

Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins like B2 and B12. It also can contain live lactic-acid producing bacteria that falls under the category of “probiotic,” lauded for its potential to improve digestive and other health. But store-bought yogurt may also contain more sugar than anyone suspected.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds and the University of Surrey in 2016, looked at approximately 900 individual yogurt products available in five major UK supermarkets. Each of these yogurts were then sorted into eight different categories, and compared: children’s, dairy alternatives, dessert, drinks, flavored, fruit, natural/Greek, and organic.

The nutritional content of the yogurts varied widely, but one thing was clear: most of them had lots of sugar. The authors of the study calculated the median amount of sugar per 100 grams for each category of yogurt that they studied, and compared sugar averages. Dessert yogurts had the highest amounts of sugar, 16.4 grams, which isn’t too surprising. What is surprising is that yogurts marketed as organic had the next highest median amount of sugar, 13.1 grams. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams. For context, the daily recommended sugar content per day for children ages 4 to 6 is no more than 19 grams, and many of these yogurts contributed significantly to that maximum. Overall, fewer than one in ten of all the yogurts studied -- 9 percent -- qualified as low-sugar.

Natural/Greek yogurt was the only category appreciably different than the rest, with a lower median sugar content of 5 grams, as well as a higher median protein content.

It’s important to note that food labels in the UK report nutritional contents differently than in the U.S. Every component is based on a standard 100 gram portion rather than the classic U.S. “serving size,” which is determined by individual food manufacturers. Regardless, these levels of sugar are dramatic.

This information is significant when considering that obesity, even among children, is on the rise around the world. Dr. J. Bernadette Moore, nutrition scientist and lead author of the study, said that her concerns as a parent were the initial inspiration for the research. “I did not know that the yogurt I was giving my child had [so much] added sugar in it,” Moore said in a statement to ABC News.

Other studies have pointed out a tendency for people to believe products labeled “organic” are inherently healthier, which Moore fears is playing into consumer choices about yogurt that is actually high in sugar. But she is quick to point out that yogurt is not the worst option in the grocery store: “If you are a parent and you are choosing between a Coca-Cola, a chocolate biscuit [cookie]…or a sweetened yogurt, then by all means give your child the yogurt -- you’ll get some calcium, you’ll get some protein, and you may get some probiotic.”

Still, the amount of sugar in many commercially available yogurts is less than ideal. Moore advocates for more transparent food labeling, and changes from the yogurt industry itself.

Moore thinks that if individuals know more about sugar in yogurt, they can make different decisions for themselves and their families. When introducing foods to children, why not choose natural yogurt instead? People can also make their own yogurt at home, as some cultures have been doing for centuries.

Even when opting for natural or homemade yogurts, it’s important not to load it with toppings that can sabotage efforts to decrease your sugar intake. One study showed that given the choice, people inadvertently added an average of 13.6 grams of sugar to their yogurt with things like honey and jams.

So unless it’s using artificial sweeteners, if your yogurt tastes sweet, it’s probably because there’s sugar in it.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Like most expectant parents, Sydnee Michaels was overcome with emotions, questions and fears when she found out she was pregnant.

But one thing she wasn't worried about? Having proper child care once she returned to work.

The 30-year-old has been playing on the LPGA Tour since 2012 and became pregnant during the 2017 season. She gave birth to her daughter Isla in November and returned to the tour in March of this year. While many athletes might harbor concern about balancing impending motherhood with a demanding physical career, Michaels knew she had the built-in support of her association behind her.

"When I found out I was pregnant, I wasn't like, 'Oh my god, what am I going to do?' or 'Guess I have to stop playing now to raise a family,'" she recalls. "I was immediately able to say, 'I can make this work and try to do both the best that I can.' I've seen other moms on tour do it and excel, so I knew it wasn't a death sentence for my career.

"It takes a little more effort and dedication, and a lot more luggage, but it's more than possible," Michaels says. "Knowing that my child would be well taken care of every week while traveling with me was such a relief. I didn't have to ever worry about that aspect."

The LPGA has offered a free child-care program for all of its players and staff members since 1993. The association previously had occasional day care services, run by local volunteers offered at various tournaments, but due to the overwhelming popularity with the mothers on tour, they decided to make it a permanent fixture. Traveling from tournament to tournament across North America, two full-time employees and a slew of volunteers provide hugs, snuggles, field trips and educational activities.

The LPGA was the first sports league to offer such a program and remains one of the few to do so, despite the number of high-profile female athletes becoming parents while competing. Neither the WNBA nor the NWSL offer league-wide child care, in part because players are never all in the same place at one time, but some individual teams do provide day care.

The WTA, similar to the LPGA in many ways because of its traveling tournament structure, offers childcare at the four Grand Slam events, but not during the rest of its season -- unlike, ironically, the ATP, which offers it throughout the year.

Players like Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka have recently spoken out on the topic, but things have yet to change.

"It's really important to build these nurseries, because we have the resources for it," Azarenka told "Good Morning America." "Maybe there wasn't so much a need for them as there is now. I think the tendency will be to bring even more children on tour."

A confidential survey by espnW of 37 women who reached or returned to professional competition after having children was conducted. When asked about child care, only seven said they have league or team-provided care, and about 75 percent of those surveyed said they rely on more than one form of child care, including family, sitters or bringing their children along to practice or the gym.

The LPGA's program has been sponsored by Smucker's since its inception, and is managed by Bright Horizons Child Care. A truck treks from city to city, across state lines and occasionally country borders, between hotel conference rooms, schools, church basements, city halls -- anywhere with space, really -- and carries all the supplies and toys that make the program a familiar space for kids in a unfamiliar place. While the physical location changes weekly and the armed police officers outside the doors don't exactly make it look like a typical day care experience, it's home for the 19 children who are signed up for this season.

Two-time major champion Cristie Kerr, who has a 4-year-old son who frequently travels with her, calls it a "life saver."

"I wouldn't be able to do this without the day care," Kerr says. "And they not only give you the time to play, but also the time to practice and rehab, and anything else that we need. My son loves it. He has so many friends there and he asks to go to all the time, even when there isn't a tournament."

Director Bardine May has been with the program since 2003 and has worked with 90 children from 16 different countries over the years. She and an assistant director offer a slew of activities for the children, who range in age from six weeks to 12 years old, and even helped homeschool Karine Icher's 7-year-old daughter during the school year. (Most of the school-age children don't travel during the academic year and are in the program mostly during the summer months.) With tee times scheduled throughout the day, the child care program often opens its doors as early as 5 a.m. and can be open until 9 p.m. It makes for long days, with few days off during the peak of the North American portion of the schedule, but May insists it's all worth it.

"It's rewarding to pretty much raise these kids from birth to 6. Well, and beyond, because they keep coming back for summers -- even our teenagers come back and hang out with us," May says. "I love being able to play a part in allowing these moms to have their careers and their families and not having to choose between the two. And it's also allowing their children to have these wonderful experiences."

And the program has certainly yielded successful results on the course as well: Kerr has won five tournaments since becoming a parent, Catriona Matthew has won twice (including the British Open just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second child) and Juli Inkster, one of the most revered players in tour history, won 16 times -- including four major titles -- after giving birth to her second child in 1994.

According to May, she has had to call parents only twice for emergency medical situations in her 15 years on the job. She can remember only one incident where the police on site needed to be involved, and even that -- on which she declined to give details -- was resolved quickly and without incident, she said. However, the staff is cautious of overzealous fans -- hence the armed police officers standing outside the doors -- and doesn't share the weekly locations with the public.

But even the presence of officers is apparently normal to the children at this point. "Even though they're armed, our kids consider them like family, because year after year, we have the same ones working with us in each place," May says.
LPGA 'baby boom'

In her first years in the role, there were 27 children on any given day. The number has been dwindling since, and several players -- most notably Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa -- made the choice to retire before starting a family. However, with the LPGA currently experiencing a baby boom of sorts, the league is adding a third full-time staffer to the team.

Two-time major champions Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen are both currently expecting, and Gerina Piller and Brooke Pancake both recently gave birth and expect to return to the tour next season. Other players have hinted they are considering starting a family and are closely watching to see how the new moms do. May jokes she always knows who is hoping to have a child soon because they tend to start being extra friendly to her when they see her around.

Heather Daly-Donofrio, a former player and now the LPGA's chief communications and tour operations officer, had her daughter Hannah, now 12, during her golf career. She still attends the program occasionally during her summer vacation. Daly-Donofrio knows just how vital it can be.

"We're so happy about this current baby boom," she said. "I think we're going to have six or seven infants next year in the program, which is going to be a lot of fun, and I'm excited for the new moms too. ... We [at the LPGA] want to provide opportunities for our players to pursue their dreams through the game of golf, and if having a family is part of that pursuit, we want to ensure that we have programming in place to help them achieve that."

While the child care program is a cherished benefit during the tournaments in North America (including stops in the Bahamas and Hawaii), it's not offered during the rest of the overseas portion of the schedule. As the tour now includes more stops in Europe and Asia than ever before -- including 12 events during the 2018 season -- that has become an increasing problem for some players.

For Michaels, it has meant being forced to skip the overseas tournaments this season. With her husband in a full-time job, and unable to afford a traveling nanny, and unwilling to leave her young daughter at this point, Michaels is hopeful the program will soon include such tournaments. She has played in 12 of the 23 tournaments this season (through the IndyWomen in Tech Championship), and has made the cut three times. Because a player doesn't get paid unless they make the cut, this makes it all the more important they have the ability to play in as many events as possible.

"When I played, we only went out of the country four or five times, but now we go to 14 different countries," Daly-Donofrio says. "Especially given the number of new children, we'll certainly be talking with our new moms about what their needs are when they go overseas. It's something that is top of mind for us and something that we would hope to expand in the future."

Knowing what her peers in other sports have to deal with in terms of child care, or lack thereof, Michaels feels grateful for the LPGA's program, despite its limitations.

"I think finding that balance is the hardest part for any working mom, and coming to understand that the kids are fine when you're not there," she says. "It's tough, but obviously my motivation for my career didn't magically go away either when I became pregnant.

"I hope that we're an inspiration for women and mothers to keep pursuing their dreams. If you have the dedication and the drive to do something, then figure it out. Just do what you got to do to define yourself. I think that's the coolest part of having this program for me -- that we're able to be inspirational to somebody somewhere."

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(NEW YORK) -- More than 230,000 children under 15 months of age were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between 1990 and 2014 due to infant walker-related injuries, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

More than 6,500 of those were cases of skull fracture, according to the study, whose authors actively support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ ongoing call for a ban on the manufacture and sale of infant walkers.

Walkers designed to let children in the five to 15-month age range walk around in a frame that holds them upright have a decades-long history of controversy.

Baby walkers have prompted safety concerns compelling enough for Canada to have banned them in 2004 and for advocacy groups in the U.S. to have been petitioning for their ban since as far back as 1992.

Yet, infant walkers are still selling, and they remain a major cause of injury -- sometimes fatal injury -- among babies.

“There is no known advantage or benefit of using an infant walker,” said Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s senior author and the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in an interview with ABC News.

“Yet, as a pediatric emergency physician, I’ve seen hundreds of these injuries," he said. "And I am face-to-face with the parents… These are good parents, they aren’t neglectful. They simply missed seconds of time [during which] these walkers put their child in danger.”

In a walker, an infant can move at a pace of up to four feet per a second —- that’s far faster than a child that young usually moves, and a speed that “even the best parents in the world can’t move quickly enough to outpace,” Dr. Smith said.

Nearly three quarters of the injuries occurred after the walker and child fell down stairs. Other causes included falls out of the walker and injuries that occurred because the walker gave the child access to something they wouldn’t typically be able to reach, such as hot objects that cause burns.

The number of infant walker-related injuries did decrease dramatically during the study period -- from 20,650 in 1990 down to 2,001 in 2014.

“It is a rare event to see such a dramatic drop in injuries -- almost unheard of,” Dr. Smith acknowledged. This drop was attributed in part to the implementation of safety standards requiring changes to the design of the walkers in 1997.

New walkers were required to be wider than a standard doorway or have a built-in mechanism that would cause a walker to stop rolling if one or more wheels went over the edge of a step.

Then, in June 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a mandatory safety standard with even more stringent requirements for infant walker design. This study found that the number of walker-related injuries declined by 23 percent in the four years after the federal mandatory safety standard went into effect, compared to the four years prior.

While the product warning labels and educational campaigns have been effective, they do not address the root of the problem.

“The CPSC has taken a risk-reduction approach, which is different than the risk-elimination approach which Canada has taken,” Dr. Smith explained.

“In my opinion, that is not enough,” he said. “These are major injuries when they occur, and they are completely preventable.”

Dr. Nicky Mehtani is an internal medicine physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a part of the ABC News Medical Unit.

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WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) -- A mother is asking for her son's wheelchair to be returned in one piece after she said it was stolen from outside her Philadelphia home last weekend. Ryan Lewis, 8, has cerebral palsy and depends on the customized electric wheelchair to get around, his mother said.

"If Ryan’s chair still in one piece, I would like it to be returned to him," Meghan Johnson told ABC News. "I’m still hopeful that they return the chair."

Johnson, 40, has been a single parent to her son since the boy's father died of a stroke four years ago. On Saturday, she said she and Ryan returned home after grocery shopping, and Johnson briefly left the chair outside as she carried Ryan into the house.

"I was coming downstairs, I was looking out the window of my bedroom, and I noticed that Ryan's wheelchair wasn't there anymore," Johnson said. "I don't understand how a human person could steal something from an innocent little child. My child hasn't done anything to anybody."

"He has cerebral palsy. He was born with that. I don't understand how people can be so cruel to him," she added.

Because Johnson doesn't have a car, Ryan's electric, custom-fitted wheelchair is key to helping them move around. While she said their insurance will replace it, it will take months for them to build it. In the meantime, she was given a temporary chair by another mom. Her friends are also fundraising to help her afford to rent a motorized wheelchair.

"This generous woman dropped off her son's old wheelchair today so he can use that to go to school," Johnson said.

But why someone would steal Ryan's wheelchair in the first place is something she can't understand.

Rita Hertzog, 39, said she has been friends with Johnson for more than three decades.

"It's a terrible thing," Hertzog told ABC News. "He needs this chair and he relied on it."

"I can’t believe somebody stole a wheelchair from a child," Hertzog added.

Hertzog said Johnson has overcome a lot of adversity. Johnson said she had a brain aneurysm eight years ago when she gave birth to Ryan. Johnson needed a few years to recover, during which her partner and Ryan's father, Rick Lewis, quit his job to take care of them both. Four years later, Lewis died after suffering a stroke and Johnson and Ryan have been on their own ever since. Johnson is currently not working because of her condition and the demands of caring for her son.

"Her life has been filled with lots of different tragedies and events that have one after another happened," Hertzog said. "It’s just incredible not only because they all happened to her, but because she has overcome each one each time."

Through it all, mother and son have stuck together -- and been each other's source of strength.

"She needs her son as much as he needs her," Hertzog said.

Since the theft on Saturday, people in their community have stepped up to help Johnson and Ryan.

"It’s a testament to how love will always wins," Hertzog said.

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