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

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

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

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

On Thursday morning, Williamson tweeted an apology.

— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) June 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

She captioned the photo with a powerful message:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

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

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

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

What is collagen?

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

What foods naturally contain collagen?

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

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

Is collagen in supplements regulated?

It is not, according to Ashton.

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

Is there an amount of collagen that is needed daily?

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

What is the most common form of collagen supplement?

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

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

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

Are there risks associated with taking collagen?

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

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

Does taking collagen as a supplement work?

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

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

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

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

What should consumers look for in collagen products?

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- James Holzhauer may not be on "Jeopardy!" anymore, but host Alex Trebek, who is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is still on his mind.

The 32-time "Jeopardy!" champ donated more than $1,000 to pancreatic cancer research in Trebek's name.

Holzhauer gave $1,109.14 (his daughter's birthday is Nov. 9, 2014) to a Chicago-area woman's fundraiser and wrote on the donation website, "For Alex Trebek and all the other survivors.”

"I sent him an email saying that it's been interesting to see paths cross in my life and I feel like it's time for our paths to cross," Ann Zediker, who lives in the same suburb as Holzhauer, told ABC station WLS in Chicago. "I told him that Trebek's diagnosis rocked the world, and my heart sank to hear about how pancreatic cancer hit another beautiful soul and family. I shared with him how I lost my father from pancreatic cancer."

Holzhauer won more than $2.4 million before his weeks-long reign on "Jeopardy!" ended June 3. During that episode, which was filmed shortly after Trebek learned of his diagnosis, the game show host thanked Holzhauer's daughter for a get well card that she made for him.

More recently, Trebek said that his treatment has been going well and that he is "near remission."

"It's kind of mind-boggling," Trebek told People. "The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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stevanovicigor/iStockBY: EDEN DAVID

(NEW YORK) -- Premature deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug overdose have reached an all-time high, and U.S. states are losing ground on key measures related to life expectancy, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare advocacy group.

The report offers a state “scorecard” based on 47 different metrics, including death rates, healthcare access, quality of care, obesity and smoking.

“What we found is that each of these causes is affecting states very differently,” David Radley, a senior scientist with the Commonwealth Fund and the lead author of the report, told ABC News.

Although the report has pinpointed regional differences, Radley said, “we don’t know exactly why in some parts of the country people are more susceptible” to one form of deadly behavior over another.

Deaths associated with alcohol abuse and suicide disproportionately affect Western states, while New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the Southeast states report more deaths from drug overdose, he said. Opioid abuse, as well as the rise of lethal synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, has fueled this crisis.

West Virginia has been hit the hardest, “as it had the highest rate of death from drug overdoses in 2017 and the steepest increase between 2005 and 2017, both in deaths from drug overdose and from alcohol abuse,” Susan Hayes, co-author of the report, said in an interview with ABC News.

In 2017, the average U.S. life expectancy fell about 0.1 from the previous year, to 78.6 years, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop was largely driven by a steady increase in deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

U.S. overdose deaths linked to opioids like fentanyl increased more than 45 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the CDC, and, between 1999 and 2017, there were more than 702,000 deaths from drug overdoses, 10% of which occurred in 2017.

Separately, suicide rates have increased by about 2 percent per year between 2006 and 2017, according to the CDC’s data.

Meanwhile, the progress of many states in expanding health care coverage and access, following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, has stalled and in some states access has even worsened. As Radley explained, having health insurance “creates a channel” through which people can gain access to care, and “reduces the financial burden to get care when you need it.”

States ranked lowest on the Scorecard also reported the highest rates of uninsured people.

According to the report, a major cause in the decreased expansion of health insurance coverage and access is cost, especially in the context of slow income growth. Rising private health plan costs and high deductibles are linked to fewer people with insurance coverage.

These healthcare costs are also affecting those who do have insurance, “particularly for people who have health insurance through their employers,” noted Radley. As outlined in the report, families are paying more but getting less.

“The bottom line is that health insurance is the foundation for many of the services that are needed to combat the crisis, including access to the opioid reversal medication, naloxone, substance use disorder treatment, and mental health services,” says Hayes. Radley adds, “Health care access is the foundation for a high performing health care system.”

The report concludes that states must assume responsibility and partner with federal authorities in order to implement effective long-term solutions.

Eden David is a rising senior at Columbia University majoring in neuroscience, matriculating into medical school in 2020 and working for ABC News' Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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adrian825/iStock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A new drug may delay the onset of insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes in those who are at high risk for the autoimmune disease, according to the results of a trial published in New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is the first time we have showed that immune therapy can delay progression to Type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Kevan Herold, a professor of Immunobiology and Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, and lead researcher for the trial, said in a statement.

The drug trial was conducted on people ages 8 to 49 at high risk for Type 1 diabetes. Over the course of 14 days, one group was given a placebo, and the other group was given teplizumab, both were administered through an IV. Both groups were then monitored over the course of five years to see if they developed Type 1 diabetes.

The trial found that the percentage of patients who did not contract Type 1 diabetes was about twice as high (57 percent) in the drug therapy group than the placebo group (28 percent) during five years of monitoring.

Among the 32 people randomly assigned to the placebo group, half the participants developed insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes within two years. By comparison, it took about four years for half of the group treated with teplizumab to develop Type 1 diabetes.

“Teplizumab is an antibody that stops specific white blood cells that are responsible for the destruction for the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas,” Dr. Francisco Leon, chief scientific officer of Provention Bio, the company that makes the drug, told ABC News.

People who were eligible for the study did not already have insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes, but they did have laboratory evidence of at least two of the antibodies that are linked to Type 1 diabetes, and showed abnormal sugar levels in the blood which are often precursors to Type 1 diabetes.

The two most common side effects of teplizumab were a mild skin rash that went away by the end of the study and a temporary low level of a type of white blood cell called lymphocyte that also returned to normal, according to the authors.

Although teplizumab showed promise in preventing Type 1 diabetes, the trial had mostly Caucasian participants, and further studies would likely include larger and more ethnically diverse patients.

While Herold is optimistic about the drug’s future, he cautions that delaying Type 1 diabetes is the not the same as preventing it.

“This study doesn’t answer the question if [teplizumab] prevents Type 1 diabetes entirely. We don’t know if the people who don’t have Type 1 diabetes yet will develop it later or never,” he said.

Dr. Cory Wirt, a pediatrician from Rochester, New York, and her daughter Claire Wirt, 13, both received drug therapy during the teplizumab trial. Neither knew if they were receiving the drug or placebo.

Cory Wirt said it was a hard decision to place her daughter into the trial after doctors told her Claire was at high risk for diabetes, but she knew it was important.

“Having a science background, I knew we needed to do this to move science forward,” Cory Wirt told ABC News.

Claire now knows that she was one of the people in the study who was given the medication. She currently does not have Type 1 diabetes.

“The results look promising for the high risk group and [I] look forward to the next phase of the study,” said Dr. Caroline Messer, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the trial.

About 1.25 million American have Type 1 diabetes, and an estimated 40,000 will be diagnosed every day, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Scientist do not know exactly what causes Type 1 diabetes, but family members of someone with Type 1 diabetes are 15 times more likely to develop the disease.

What is Type 1 diabetes and what causes it?

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic disease in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Insulin is a hormone required to move glucose, a key energy source, from the blood stream into the cells where it can be used.

Though the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, scientists believe the immune system, which usually protects the body from harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroys the cells the produce insulin, called islet cells, that live in the pancreas. Genetics and viral conditions may also contribute to Type 1 diabetes.

What are the current treatments for Type 1 diabetes?

Once diagnosed, Type 1 diabetics need life-long insulin supplement and blood sugar monitoring. People who have Type 1 diabetes must also keep track of how many carbohydrates, fats and proteins they eat.

There is currently no approved cure.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Courtesy The Xydias Family(ATLANTA) -- McKenna Shea Xydias, the toddler who captured national attention after she was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer, is now cancer-free.

Known to family and friends as "Kenni," the 2-year-old had four rounds of chemotherapy since being diagnosed on Feb. 15 with ovarian yolk sac tumor.

Parents Mike and Meagan Xydias said they received the news of their daughter's clear bill of health on June 12 from Dr. Katie Sutton, a pediatric oncologist for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

"Dr. Sutton came in -- she just got straight to it and said, 'Scans were clear. There's nothing there,'" Meagan Xydias told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We sat and cried and held each other for a minute."

Sutton told GMA she and her staff are hopeful Kenni will thrive from here on out.

"She's a rock star," Sutton said. "She had no serious or unexpected side effects aside from requiring occasional blood transfusions."

The side effects of chemo proved challenging for Kenni, but the tot was still her spunky little self, her parents said.

"She put smiles on the faces of everyone in the hospital," Meagan Xydias said.

Ovarian yolk sac tumor is a rare, malignant tumor of cells that line the yolk sac of the embryo, according to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The cause is unknown, and it's most often found in children before the age of two.

This childhood form of ovarian cancer is rare and accounts for less than 5 percent of all ovarian cancer cases, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Treatment depends on the stage and location of the tumor, Cincinnati Children's said on its website. If the tumor is in the ovaries, patients will undergo chemotherapy and surgery.

"The immediate reaction was, 'How could this happen?'" Mike Xydias, a dad of three from Senoia, Georgia, told GMA in February. "I knew of this being [more common] in women. I didn't realize that it could happen to such a young kid."

In January, the Xydias' received a call from Kenni's daycare to pick her up because she was running a fever.

On another occasion, Feb. 7, the daycare told the Xydias' that Kenni's belly was bloated and she appeared to be uncomfortable. Again, her parents brought her home.

"We took her to the doctor -- at that point they thought it was gas so they told us to give her gas drops and let them know if she got any more fevers," Mike Xydias said, adding that Kenni was sent home yet again, a week later with a temperature of 102.

"The whole [next] day she was fine, no temperature," he added. "But she had difficulty using the bathroom. Meagan made an appointment for her Feb. 14 in the afternoon. That day, daycare called. She had a fever of 103."

Mom Meagan Xydias brought Kenni to the pediatrician, where they performed an X-Ray.

"They said her bowels looked full and it looked like a big gas bubble," Mike Xydias said, adding that his wife brought Kenni to the hospital shortly thereafter.

Doctors performed an ultrasound that determined there was a mass located around Kenni's ovaries. Later, a CT and MRI determined there were several cancerous tumors -- one 14 centimeters on her right ovary, another near her liver and others scattered throughout her abdomen, according to her father.

Days later, Kenni had surgery to remove her right ovary as well as five inches of her small intestine. Kenni's cancer at the time was stage three malignant.

Kenni began chemotherapy, and loved ones rallied around the family with fundraising events hosted by neighborhood friends as well their family in New York. The funds raised helped cover Kenni's medical bills and supported her parents as they took leaves from their teaching jobs.

"The support has been absolutely amazing. It really helped lift our spirits," said Mike Xydias. "[Kenni] was shy and reserved before all this. With all the poking and prodding and meeting new people, she's really come out of her shell."

Now that Kenni is cancer-free, Mike and Meagan Xydias are sharing their advice with other parents.

"There's the medical aspect of 'trust your gut when it comes to your or your child's health' and there's the life aspect of, 'enjoy every minute,'" Meagan Xydias said.

Mike Xydias said it's crucial to accept support when it's offered to your family.

"People are genuinely good and they want to help," he said. "[We want to] pay it forward to everyone who helped us."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Rawpixel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Tragedy and happiness appear to be incompatible and mutually exclusive -- on the surface, at least. But in reality, tragedy can actually break you open, allowing you to grow and live more meaningfully. By wholeheartedly embracing grief and learning to move beyond it, you may actually rediscover a greater sense of purpose and live happier than you did before.

On this week’s episode of the podcast “Life After Suicide,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton and her guests Vic Strecher and Dan Harris talk about finding a purpose in order to not only overcome trauma but also discover a more fulfilled life after a loss.

When Strecher lost his daughter, Julia, to a rare heart disease, he felt as though his world had ended. He gradually came to realize that in order to move past loss, the only thing that needed to end was his previous worldview. He called this “being broken open...getting real.”

Strecher, the author of the book Life on Purpose, explained the ways in which he reframed his trauma as a sort of reality check. Losing his daughter pushed him to see beyond his ego, he said, referring to it as his “psychological immune system.”

Julia’s death forced him to reflect on what mattered most to him, he said. Calling the process “transcendence,” he said it allowed him to start building a sense of purpose and to reclaim his own happiness.

Strecher said that he hopes to use his own experiences to teach others that happiness does not negate the pain of loss or the memory of a loved one. Happiness, he said, is a “side effect of having a purpose.”

Harris, co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline, said that he learned to “surf the waves of life” rather than drown in them after his experience with depression and self-medicating, which led to a nationally televised panic attack. He said that since then, he’s discovered what’s truly important to him and reframed his worldview.

Harris said that even though his public breakdown had been embarrassing at the time, it led to “unimaginable gifts.” He chronicles his journey in his book, 10% Happier. Harris learned that he was the enemy of his own self, he said, and that the wall he’d built because of that prevented him from truly experiencing happiness. He said that he learned to tame the distressed voices in his head through meditation, and realized that happiness “does not mean you can control the universe; it just means that you’re going to deal with whatever happens better.”

Strecher remembered going through this very “dark valley” and thinking life “will never be normal again.” Although loss and tragedy are highly individual and personal experiences, certain sentiments are shared by all people who are overcoming a loss, he said.

Trauma is dizzying and painful. It feels unfair and incites a spectrum of emotions you may have never known you could feel. But recentering and regaining balance and livelihood after loss is possible. As Season 1 of “Life After Suicide” comes to a close, we hope to have empowered listeners to find their own sense of resilience in order to combat loss and tragedy, no matter how severe.

We are grateful for our listeners' feedback -- those who shared their losses and traumas as well as their successes with us and told us that they finally felt heard.

You are never alone.

We hope you continue this journey with us in the second season of "Life After Suicide," as we further explore how to reclaim life after loss.

If you need to talk to someone, trained counselors are available for free, 24 hours a day, at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Ladislav Kubeš/iStockBY: VANESSA CUTLER

(NEW YORK) -- In a groundbreaking study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Virginia Tech, Yale and Harvard may have found a reason why some people who get Lyme disease still have the crippling symptoms years after treatment with no sign of the disease still in their blood stream.

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) occurs in about 10% of people with Lyme disease following standard treatment with antibiotics, and is associated with symptoms like muscle aches, fatigue and neurological symptoms that appear to defy explanation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The medical community has been divided on whether or not Lyme disease symptoms can show up well after treatment ends. The diagnosis is controversial as there is often no detectable infection coexisting with the symptoms.

Dr. Brandon Jutras, an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech and lead author of the study said that "it might be time to look for other sources that could be contributing to the symptoms.”

“For patients who have documented cases of Lyme disease, it's reasonable to consider why they are having these kinds of unrelenting responses," he said.

The in this recent study, research suggests that inflammation from a specific particle shed by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria -- the bacteria that causes Lyme disease -- may provide an explanation for these cases.

Jutras and his team took samples of joint fluid from a group of patients who had previously been treated with antibiotics for a confirmed Lyme infection and then had persistent Lyme arthritis -- tightening of the joints -- which is one of the most common ways the long term symptoms shows up.

Researchers found that these people had a specific kind of inflammation from a certain particle shed by Borrelia, though none of them had any evidence of active infection in the blood or in the joint. To confirm their suspicions, they looked for the same kind of inflammation in people who had other kinds of arthritis, but were unable to detect it. They also injected the same particle into mice, which caused immediate arthritis within 96 hours.

“We think that the body’s response to the particle is going to be important for understanding post Lyme abnormalities” says Dr. Jutras.

For patients with PTLDS, additional IV antibiotic treatment after standard care has shown no additional benefit and may actually cause more harm than good, leading to unwanted side effects. There is no cure for PTLD, leading many to seek out alternative treatments that are not validated by the FDA, according to the Center for Disease Control.

But Dr. Jutras hopes that these findings will help people with PTLD.

“We are trying to figure out how to intervene to prevent the inflammation, to eradicate the particle causing the inflammation, and to find better screening tools,” he said.

Similarly, Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the study, agrees that these are promising findings.

“We will need more trials, but these results offer a clear target for drug development as well as promise for this debilitating and chronic disease,” he said.

Lyme disease is spread by ticks, and has a high prevalence in the northeast and in specific areas in the Midwest, according to the CDC.

Vanessa Cutler, MD is a resident physician in Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center working with the ABC News Medical Unit.

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Meg Casano(FAIRFIELD, Conn.) -- A young girl with a big idea has crushed a goal and will help hundreds of sick kids in the process.

Ella Casano, a 12-year-old from Fairfield, Conn., is the brains behind a genius idea: the Medi Teddy, a stuffed animal pouch that covers and conceals an IV bag. The back of the pouch is mesh, allowing for a doctor or nurse to see through and check on the fluid or medication a child is receiving. From the front, the child sees a friendly face and not the bag of medication, blood product or IV fluid being infused.

Casano originally hoped to raise $5,000 through a GoFundMe page, which would have allowed her to produce 500 Medi Teddys, the minimum number required by the manufacturer to do the job. In just over a week, Ella's page has raised more than $20,000.

Her mom, Meg Casano, told GMA, "We knew she had a great idea, but we never expected this level of response.

Ella is "excited" about the response to her invention, her mom said. "She's working very hard."

So is her mom.

"It's really been heartwarming to hear such supportive emails from all over the world," she said. "And it's motivating me, personally, to work as hard as I can to make this successful for Ella."

And now, she said, it turns out kids aren't the only ones who are excited about having a Medi Teddy.

"We want to continue to give Medi Teddys away to as many children as we can while also meeting the global demand that we've seen for Medi Teddy for children, adults, and even for pets." Casano said.

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Vidant Medical Center(NEW YORK) -- Paige Winter, 17, was rushed to the hospital after she was attacked by a shark in Atlantic Beach, N.C., on June 2. Her left leg was amputated at her thigh, and she lost two fingers.

Doctors who treated the teen at Vidant Medical Center describe how they assessed her injuries and why her positive outlook is so important to her recovery.

Love and Tourniquets: Dr. Eric Toschlog

On a picturesque afternoon at a pristine beach on the crystal coast of North Carolina, the life of a 17-year-old young woman was irrevocably changed. Paige Winter, standing with her siblings in waist-deep water, was attacked by a shark. The devastating injury to her left leg, which included severing of the major artery and vein supplying the leg, would likely take her life. But in the ensuing minutes, Paige received the heroism of love and a simple tourniquet.

Her father witnessed the attack, watching his daughter disappear beneath the surface in a swirl of bloody water. He dove into the water, found her, took her into his arms and lifted her out of the water. Still attached to her left leg was what he described as a "very big" shark. He proceeded to pummel the shark with his fists until it let go and then struggled to the beach with Paige in his arms, telling her that he loved her, bearing witness to the damage to her leg but unaware of the shark following close behind. On the beach, a bystander applied a tourniquet to her left thigh.

She was transported by Vidant EastCare air ambulance, during which a medical team assured proper tourniquet placement and began transfusing blood and plasma. Upon arrival to Vidant Medical Center, she was in hemorrhagic shock, yet alert, conversant and courageous. The trauma team activated the massive transfusion protocol and surveyed the damage.

I have seen dozens of mangled extremities in my career, but this injury, suffered by a 17-year-old simply having a beach day with her family, was heartbreaking. It never gets easier. The decision to amputate is never easy, but tragically there was no decision to be made. She underwent massive blood product resuscitation and amputation of her left leg at mid-thigh.

Simultaneously, our plastic surgeons began work on her hands. In subsequent days, Paige underwent multiple additional surgeries on her hands and has done extraordinarily well. She will be discharged to rehabilitation within the next week.

The worldwide death toll from shark attacks has been on the decline for decades. Reported fatalities secondary to unprovoked attacks now average six per year. There were only four unprovoked shark attack fatalities in 2018. This fact is most assuredly a testament to the evolution of trauma systems and care.

Paige's life was saved by the embedded education of a trauma system, Dr. Lenworth Jacobs and a loving father. A major recent advance in trauma care is the practice of "damage control" resuscitation. This practice hinges on the concept that exsanguinating hemorrhage requires immediate transfusion of blood products, to include not only red cells but also products that restore clotting, including plasma and platelets.

In addition, it is a new day in hemorrhage control in the United States. In response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the "Stop the Bleed" campaign was launched.

Under the leadership of a trauma surgeon, Dr. Lenworth Jacobs Jr., and the American College of Surgeons, a massive educational campaign has been undertaken. The focus of "Stop the Bleed" is to train non-medical personnel to stop life-threatening hemorrhage. Integral to the training is early application of tourniquets. Our trauma center has trained over a thousand citizens in our trauma system, distributing hundreds of tourniquets.

I relish listening to Paige's father speak of the "chain of life," because this chain of life is the trauma system. Paige is with us today because of an aeromedical system that includes immediate access to blood, an EastCare crew enacting damage control resuscitation and the dedicated providers at a Level I Trauma Center. I am very proud of our system, but the trauma system did absolutely nothing heroic, it simply performed as it is designed.

Paige Winter is an extraordinary young woman. I hear recurring words to describe her: courageous, forgiving and resilient. Caring for such a special person under tragic circumstances takes an incredibly emotional toll on nurses and doctors. But that toll has been lessened significantly by Paige's character. She has lifted and inspired those around her. She is an environmentalist and loves the ocean. In painful irony, she is a vocal advocate for preservation of the organism that nearly ended her life.

The real heroes in this story are a loving father and mother, a volunteer on a beach and a truly amazing young woman. Paige was saved by a simple piece of any trauma system, a tourniquet. But in reality, she was saved by something vastly more powerful. Love prompts extraordinary action. In the blood and duress of trauma surgery, I am witness to this every day.

Paige is alive as a result of one of the strongest forces that I have encountered in 20 years as a trauma surgeon, surpassing any medical technology. She was saved by love, the love of a father for his daughter.

Dr. Eric Toschlog, chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Vidant Medical Center; professor of Surgery, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

Mind over Body: Dr. Richard Zeri

We often hear the saying, "What does not kill you makes you stronger." The truth goes beyond that statement.

Every adverse event in each of our lives has the potential to make us stronger or beat us down. We all deal with adversity differently, some with a positive attitude, some with a more dim outlook. The difference between lingering after injury and recovering to lead a fruitful, productive life is a positive outlook. Any medical practitioner can attest to the fact that those patients who maintain a positive attitude and are proactive in their recovery do best and recover more rapidly.

Paige is without doubt in this category.

It is not uncommon for children and younger patients in general to cope better with injury. I treated a young girl about eight years ago for a severe leg injury after having been bitten by a shark. "Little Lucy" was amazingly upbeat as well in her approach to getting better, despite being 6 years old at the time.

Paige is 17 years old and as such, I expected a typical teenager's response, including angst and some despair. Not so. She has, from day one, maintained an amazingly positive attitude. In the two weeks that I have cared for her since her injury, I have not heard a negative word come from her lips. I have not heard her complain once, seen her frown or shown anger, fear or sadness.

Just looking at her is uplifting; from her light blue hair, which she colored just days before her injury, to the tie-dye t-shirts she wears and the slightly restrained and ever present smile on her face, you can't help but wonder, "Where does all this strength and positive vibe come from?"

She has suffered devastating injuries that would emotionally drain any one of us. She has lost her left leg above her knee; she has suffered functionally life-changing injuries to both her hands, has lost two of the fingers on her left hand and most of the soft tissue of her hand in addition to trauma to the bones, arteries, tendons and nerves on both hands. Reconstruction of her hands has required three operations, two of which required complex microsurgical reconstruction.

Counterintuitively, the loss of her leg is the least of her injuries long-term. Not to minimize any of her injuries, however, with our knowledge of modern prosthetics and rehabilitation, much of which we have gained from our experience in treating our wounded soldiers in the conflicts of the last few decades, she will be fitted and be walking again in a matter of weeks. Recovery from her hand injuries will take much longer, including months and months of therapy and hard work, and possibly more operations depending on the outcome. And the psychological toll will be immeasurable.

A long road to recovery lies ahead of Paige. Her loving family and her dad, who, with the instinctive reaction of a first responder, wrapped his hand around her thigh to save her life as she was bleeding in the first few minutes after her injury, will play a huge role in her recovery, helping her emotionally through the psychological impact of the event.

However, Paige herself, I know, will play the biggest role. Her gregarious attitude, her love for all life on earth, her smile in the face of adversity, her ability to joke about everything having to do with sharks, will propel her through the next few months and onto the next wonderful chapters in her life.

I find it befitting and smile myself at the fact that her favorite character is indeed Iron Man; one who after adversity rose up, recovered, rebuilt and worked to make the world a better place. Where does Paige get all this strength and positive vibe? I would like to think that we all have it within us, but Paige manages to corral it, bring it to the surface and let her mind take over in a unique, wonderfully uplifting manner.

Dr. Richard Zeri, chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Vidant Medical Center; associate professor and chief, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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vadimguzhva/iStock(NEW YORK) -- When most couples tie the knot, they expect to buck the statistics of getting divorced.

But sometimes -- nearly half the time, according to some data -- couples who enter into wedded bliss end up separating.

The reasons for untying the knot are plentiful, from a lack of commitment, to complacency, to bad communication, to long-term incompatibility.

But some of the best relationship advice may come from those who have been down the aisle before.

Natalia Juarez, a breakup/divorce coach and dating strategist, is the owner and founder of Lovistics and helps men and women recover from breakups and get back into the modern dating world. She's seen a lot in her position, and here, she navigates advice for couples on how to prevent their relationships from ending in divorce -- and, if they do, how they can live "amicably divorced."

Below are her tips of what you and your partner should discuss before even thinking of saying "I do" -- and some to consider if your relationship does end in divorce:

1. Don't ignore the yellow or the red

Infatuation may cause us to overlook a partner's questionable behaviors. But Juarez warns not to become blind to warnings that divorced couples says were obvious signs of trouble.

First, recognize relationship "yellow" flags, which she says can potentially be fixed. These could include a lack of arguments, a partner speaking negatively or posting negative commentary about an ex on social media, or your parents not liking your significant other. Given time and talking things out, these areas can be worked through.

But red flags, she warns, are toxic behaviors that could continuously threaten the relationship, such as playing "the blame game," anger and commitment issues.

"Absolutely address red flags -- even yellow flags -- because you deserve to have a healthy, fulfilling relationship," she says. "Early prevention is the key to having and maintaining a healthy relationship. If it's not going to work now, it's most likely not going to work later."

2. Talk about the hard things life will throw at you

Your life when you get married could look very different a few years into the future.

For example, you could change jobs. You may decide you want children -- and your in-laws become a part of your child care. And your money situation could drastically change.

Discussing these subjects with your partner ahead of committing will help you discover if you're on the same page. And, Juarez says, it can help prepare you for these and other future challenges and train you and your partner to come up with win-win solutions whenever you face a disagreement.

"Couples need to commit to communicating in an effective way about anything and everything," she says. "If you think you're not a good communicator, guess what? A lot of people aren't. That's no excuse. However, the great news is that effective communication is a life-long skill that can be developed and it's like a muscle -- the more you use it, the stronger you get."

3. Seek couples counseling early and often

Juarez says couples should rethink the idea that counseling is a last resort for relationships before ultimately ending things with a divorce.

"The fact is that the majority of couples don't tend to seek help until they're in hot water," she says. "And in many cases, it can be very difficult to course correct once things are too far gone."

She says that all relationships, especially intimate ones, require essentials such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence and communication skills. Utilizing counseling as a space for learning those can help keep relationships strong and allow both parties to put in the work to keep theirs healthy.

4. Marry someone you could imagine being "amicably divorced" from

Could "amicably divorced" be the new conscious uncoupling?

While it may sound like an out-of-the-box idea, Juarez says being honest about divorce statistics could be an early litmus test for your relationship.

"In addition to the character of the person you are marrying, the circumstances of a potential divorce matter," she says. "For example, if you divorce someone to be with the person you've been having an affair with, you might see a very different side of your ex-spouse come out."

Make sure you trust and respect the person you're marrying, she adds.

"The ‘[marry your] best friend' aspect makes sense to me because friendship is based on trust, respect and compassion," Juarez says.

"Despite what a lot of people think, I believe it is absolutely possible to have an amicable divorce. That said, it's neither simple nor easy," she continues. "It can take a lot of time, as well as a lot of emotional work to get to a good place. However, if both parties are committed to having an amicable outcome, it is possible."

5. Recognize relationships are complex … and that they can change

Juarez notes an unlikely source as a potential road-map for your romantic relationship.
"I highly encourage people to treat their primary relationships the way they treat their careers," she says. "In the same way that we are encouraged to always be professionally developing, we should also be investing in our relationships skill set. Whether it's a book, a coach or therapist, there are a number of ways to skill-up in our relationships."

Juarez also advises answering the question of whether you and your significant other operate as true partners or adversaries in your relationship.

"In addition to having a strong mutual love, they need to trust and respect one another, be wholeheartedly committed to the relationship, effectively and frequently communicate, and they need to be realistic about whether or not they are compatible," she adds. "This includes their personalities, life goals, sexually, etc. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's what it takes to make a relationship not only last but be fulfilling."

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LittleCityLifestylePhotography/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Dog owners convinced that their pup could convey a range of expressions through their eyes now have scientific evidence to back it up.

Researchers have discovered a key factor that separates wolves from dogs, involving two specialized facial muscles that evolved after they were domesticated by humans, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

Domestication "transformed" the anatomy of dogs' facial muscles so they could communicate with humans, according to the study. Dogs are able to raise the inner eyebrow intensely, while wolves are not, and behavioral data shows that dogs can also produce eyebrow movement significantly more often and with higher intensity than wolves can.

This movement resembles an expression humans produce when sad, "so its production in dogs may trigger a nurturing response," the study, which looked at both behavioral and anatomical data, states. Scientists hypothesize that the expressive eyebrows in dogs are the result of selection based on the preferences of humans.

The study found that facial muscles in domestic dogs and gray wolves are relatively uniform other than around the eye.

Humans domesticated dogs more than 33,000 years ago, and as a result, they are able to read and use human communication in ways that other animals cannot, researchers said. Dogs are more skillful in using human communicative cues, like pointing gestures or the direction of a gaze, than even chimpanzees, which are human's closest living relative.

Eye contact between humans and dogs are crucial for social interaction between the species, the study states, adding that dogs establish eye contact with humans when they cannot solve a problem on their own. Eye contact also helps dogs determine whether communication is relevant and directed at them, as dogs tend to ignore human pointing gestures when the human's eyes are not visible.

Dogs also seem to be motivated to establish eye contact with humans at an early age, which could be an indicator of the level of attachment between humans and dogs.

"Thus, mutual gaze between dogs and humans seems to be a hallmark of the unique relationship between both species during human cultural evolution," the study states.

The mutual gaze seems to trigger an increase in oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in social bonding, in both species as well, according to the study.

This tendency likely evolved when early domesticated dogs expressed characteristics that elicited a caregiving response from humans, the study said.

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