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Double amputee beats breast cancer diagnosis

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Even before her stage two breast cancer diagnosis in 2020, Yvonne Llanes knew her strength -- and her community. Llanes, who was first introduced to "World News Tonight" in 2017, had lost both of her legs nearly 16 years ago in a freak accident. For a decade, Llanes was confined to a wheelchair. But, in 2017, she had made a promise to herself -- and her late father -- to walk again. "I was just depressed. I was sad. I was mad at the world and I wanted my life back. I wanted my legs back," Llanes told "World News Tonight" in 2017. Llanes found a community at the Hanger Clinic's Bilateral-Above-Knee Amputee Bootcamp. With the support   ... Read More

Independent FDA panel votes to authorize booster shots for Johnson & Johnson vaccine

JHVEPhoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A day after voting in support of Moderna booster shots for certain at-risk Americans, an independent Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday voted to move forward with Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine boosters. The panel’s decision on J&J was broader then it was for Moderna and Pfizer as it applies to all J&J recipients 18 and older. The timing is also different: It can be administered two months after the initial shot. For the two mRNA vaccines, the panel agreed they should be authorized for a narrower group: seniors and everyone 18 or older if they have underlying conditions or could be exposed to the virus at work. They also agreed on a timeline of six   ... Read More

All three COVID-19 vaccines still produce strong immune response eight months later, new study finds

carmengabriela/iStock(NEW YORK) -- All three currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines still showed signs of a strong immune response eight months later without a booster, according to a study published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study analyzed specific markers of immunity found in the blood of people vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Echoing evidence from the real world, researchers found cellular signatures suggesting that all three vaccines produce strong and long-lasting protection from severe illness. But the analysis also hinted at differences in the way the vaccines produce antibodies -- with Pfizer and Moderna antibodies spiking and then fading quickly, while Johnson & Johnson antibodies started at a lower level but remained more   ... Read More

Fungal disease on the rise in West possibly tied to changing climate patterns: Experts

David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Over the last several years, cases of valley fever, a disease common to the arid West, have been steadily creeping up. Between 2014 and 2018, valley fever cases tripled in California alone, and the state reached a record high of 9,004 new cases in 2019. Now, experts believe the disease may spread to other parts of the country, and it may be due to climate change. "I have talked to some people that the cases are over the usual numbers," Dr. George Thompson, a professor of medicine at UC Davis, said. "We're probably up 30% [in my practice]." Valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is caused by the coccidioides fungus and can manifest as a primarily respiratory   ... Read More

Miscarriage and stillbirth: Everything you need to know but were too nervous to ask

kieferpix/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Miscarriage -- the loss of a pregnancy -- is a common occurrence that affects countless women but remains a taboo topic for many. Statistics differ, but according to the Mayo Clinic, for women who know they're pregnant, about 10 to 20% will experience a first trimester loss. That number is likely considerably higher, as many women miscarry before they realize that they're expecting. Additionally, one recent study indicated that 43% of women who had at least one successful birth reported having had one or more first trimester losses. Stillbirth, the demise of a pregnancy after 20 weeks, affects about one in 160 pregnancies each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and   ... Read More

Gabby Petito’s cause of death a lesser-known sign of intimate partner violence, experts say

FBI(NEW YORK) -- When a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday that Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old travel blogger whose remains were recovered in September in a national park, died by strangulation, experts who study intimate partner violence said they saw a recognizable thread. "Strangulation is not talked about as much, but it is a major risk factor for intimate partner homicide," Kellie Lynch, an associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told Good Morning America. "And we often see it occur alongside more severe abuse." "When you're talking about strangulation, that is very typically the cause of death in domestic violence cases," Dan Abrams, ABC News chief legal analyst, said in an interview Wednesday on GMA. "It is angry.   ... Read More

Independent FDA panel votes to authorize Moderna booster for seniors and high-risk Americans

Teka77/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- An independent Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday voted unanimously to authorize Moderna Covid-19 vaccine boosters for Americans 65 and older, anyone 18 and older with underlying conditions and those frequently exposed to the virus. The recommendation is in line with what the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized for Pfizer booster shots last month. The Moderna booster will only be a half dose, as opposed to the full dose for Pfizer, but was found to return antibody protection to the initial levels after the first two shots. Dr. Jacqueline Miller, who presented Moderna's data Thursday, said the company chose the half dose because it was just as effective but would "increase the   ... Read More

FDA recommends restaurants, food manufacturers cut back on use of salt

iStock/alvarez(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released sweeping new guidance for the food industry to voluntarily reduce sodium in processed, packaged and prepared foods in an attempt to reduce Americans' consumption. "The FDA is issuing a final guidance, 'Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods,' which provides voluntary short-term sodium reduction targets for food manufacturers, chain restaurants and foodservice operators for 163 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods," the agency announced. Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock lauded the new sodium reduction guidance in a press conference Wednesday morning. She said it is a "critical step" in improving Americans' nutrition, reducing the burden   ... Read More

People turn to glucose monitors to track their body’s reaction to foods: What to know

Click_and_Photo/iStock(NEW YORK) -- People with diabetes rely on blood glucose devices to monitor their blood sugar levels, but now people who do not have diabetes are tapping into the technology. People without diabetes are using the devices, via apps, to learn more about how their lifestyle habits, like diet and exercise, may be affecting their blood sugar levels too. One product designed for people without diabetes, Levels, features two sensors worn on the skin for 14 days each. The product, currently in beta testing, links to an app that displays the user's blood sugar level at all times so they can see how their body reacts to eating a bagel, for example, a food high in carbohydrates, versus a high-protein   ... Read More

Am I eligible for a COVID-19 booster?

PinkOmelet/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- If it's been six months or more since your second COVID-19 vaccine shot, you may be wondering whether you qualify for a booster. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed an independent panel's recommendation that older adults, along with those as young as 18 who have an underlying medical condition, receive a Pfizer booster shot. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also added a recommendation for a third dose for those in high-risk jobs or settings, such as nursing and teaching. Immunocompromised Americans, like those undergoing cancer treatment, have been able to get a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines since mid-August. But there has been a lot of public debate and there are   ... Read More

Study: Infants of COVID-positive mothers have high rates of health complications

iStock/narvikk(NEW YORK) -- Infants born to mothers with COVID-19 are significantly more likely to experience health problems, such as difficulty breathing, compared to infants born to mothers without COVID-19, according to a new study published Monday. The study, published in the Journal Of Maternal-Fetal And Neonatal Medicine, adds a new layer onto the growing body of research showing the potential complications COVID-19 can cause for both pregnant people and babies. As COVID-19 continues to affect more expectant people in the United States, especially those who are unvaccinated, here are seven questions answered about pregnancy and the coronavirus. 1. Are pregnant people at higher risk? Yes, pregnant people are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. Since the onset of the   ... Read More

California to require free period products in public schools, colleges

Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Beginning next school year, California public schools and colleges will be required to offer free menstrual products in restrooms under a new bill signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The bill, called the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, applies to public schools serving students in grades six to 12, community colleges and the California State University System, according to the bill's sponsor, Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia. "Our biology doesn't always send an advanced warning when we're about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we're doing and deal with a period," she said in a statement. "Often periods arrive at inconvenient times. They can surprise us   ... Read More

A tale of two counties: Texas communities illustrate deep divide in COVID-19 vaccination efforts

zoranm/iStock(PRESIDIO COUNTY, Texas) -- Americans remain deeply polarized over the renewed push to get the country vaccinated. Nowhere is such a divide more evident than in Texas, where the vaccination rates tend to vary drastically from county to county. Presidio County -- a remote area of southwest Texas, home to approximately 7,800 people -- while rural, boasts the state's highest vaccination rate, with nearly every one of its eligible residents fully vaccinated. In the county, cell service is often spotty, and the closest medical center is hours away from most homes, but residents who chose to get vaccinated said they saw it as a matter of life or death. Rosendo Scott, a Vietnam veteran, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,   ... Read More

ICU nurse helps fill nursery of newborn whose mom died of COVID-19 shortly after giving birth

Ashlee Schwartz(FORT SMITH, Ark.) -- Emily Robison was just 22 years old when she died last month due to complications from COVID-19, leaving behind a newborn daughter whom she never met. Robison, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was nearly seven months pregnant when she was hospitalized for COVID-19 in mid-August, according to her husband, Eric Robison. She was put on a ventilator and then began to decline so quickly that doctors had to perform an emergency C-section about two months before her due date. The Robison's daughter, their first child, whom they named Carmen, was born on Aug. 25. Less than one month after giving birth, on Sept. 20, Emily Robison, who was not vaccinated against COVID-19, died. "She was on   ... Read More

Fauci gives Halloween safety guidance, says ‘go out there and enjoy’

Rawpixel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Children can safely celebrate Halloween this year even as the coronavirus pandemic upends the holiday for the second straight year, according to the nation's top infectious disease expert. White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Sunday that kids can "go out there and enjoy Halloween," an approach he attributed to the fact that more and more people are now vaccinated against COVID-19 and that most Halloween activities, including trick-or-treating, are held outdoors. “It’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated,” he said, urging unvaccinated adults and teens to get shots before Halloween. “But go out there and enjoy Halloween.” “This is a time that children love,” Fauci added. “It’s   ... Read More

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