Texas company issues recall after Viagra-like ingredient discovered in its coffee

Jul 20, 2017 23

A company based in Texas has recalled a coffee product after a substance found in a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction was found in the product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed.

Bestherbs Coffee LLC has recalled all of its “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Herbs Coffee” after the FDA said it found traces of desmethyl carbodenafil in the product. The substance is similar to sildenafil, an ingredient found in Viagra, a commonly prescribed medication men take to treat erectile dysfunction disorder.

STEPDAUGHTER OF TEXAS DOCTOR CHARGED IN OVERDOSES FOUND DEAD

The substance might “interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels,” the FDA said in a statement. Men who have diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease or high blood pressure have most likely been prescribed nitrates.

MOM SHARES HARROWING ADDICTION PHOTOS

The administration warned people who have a milk or dairy allergy to avoid the product as well because it does contain milk that was not incorporated on the coffee product’s label.

The product was sold online in the United States. Bestherbs said it would refund customers who purchased the coffee.

Two women try to outrun cancer together, 5,000 miles apart

Jul 20, 2017 23

Ask any runner why they run and you’ll rarely get the same answer. Whether it’s the community it gives, the outlet it provides, or the simple joy of lacing up and getting out, we all have our reasons.

But for two New Zealand natives, it’s a bit more complicated. Their answer? Cancer.

Caroline Steer, 47, and Vanessa Oshima, 47, became friends while growing up in Matamata, New Zealand, a small farming town.

“Caroline and I had been friends because we all went to the same junior high,” Oshima said. “We were just in the same circle and same classes all the time, and we just got along very well.

They remained close until going to different universities. Steer stayed in New Zealand, while Oshima relocated to Tokyo, where she married her husband, Yasu.

TODDLER’S BRAIN DAMAGE REVERSED AFTER NEAR-FATAL DROWNING

“Then someday, kind of out of the blue, a friend of ours passed away from cancer and a small Facebook group of our class was built to get everybody up to speed with what happened,” Oshima said. “It was 2012, about 25 years since we all had really heard from each other.”

At the same time, Steer was dealing with some major news of her own. She had been in the shower one day and noticed a lump in her breast.

“It was everything we didn’t want it to be,” Steer said. “It was pretty early on in my treatment when I reached out to Vanessa and told her.”

More on this…

Oshima remembers getting that first Facebook message from Steer. “She said, ‘Saw you run today. It was really fantastic, and that kind of got me thinking that maybe I should get going again.’ She explained she couldn’t because she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was like ‘Holy s–t.’”

When Oshima, who had been a long-time runner, realized how inspired her daily runs made Steer feel, she made a commitment to run everyday. Using the Streak Running International Incorporation guidelines as inspiration, the two agreed on two rules for Oshima’s streak: she had to run a 5K, and she had to run outdoors.

FAMILY RACING TO RAISE FUNDS FOR DAUGHTER FACING INCURABLE GENETIC DISEASE

“Running had to be outdoors, because cancer patients have good days, and really s—-y days, and when it’s a really s—-y day, you still have to go and still have to fight it,” Oshima said. “Regardless of how the weather is, or how I’m feeling, I was just going to have to get up and go do it, because Caroline had to get up and go do it too.”

Over 5,000 miles apart, and still the two women were connected by Oshima’s devotion to running while Steer bravely battled cancer, communicating through the phone and social media. While Oshima was hitting goals like Day 100, then 200, then 500, Steer was hitting some of her own milestones as she underwent chemotherapy for ten months. She couldn’t run, but that did not keep her from trying to get out and get active as much as she could.

“I think I’d just had the first chemo and that hit me like a ton of bricks, so setting small goals became my focus ” Steer said. “It was exciting for me because she would go and do a full run everyday, and I would give myself a small task each day,” Steer said. “I started off with just making myself walk 3K. For me, that was a big achievement.”

“I appreciated what Vanessa did so much, and it was such an awesome distraction,” Steer said. “It allowed me to be able to refocus myself during my treatment and recovery, and help me push my body more.”

The more days Oshima logged, the more attention she drew from those around her. She posted daily photos of her runs with #outruncancer on Facebook and her Instagram @Vanessa_outruncancer. As more and more people caught onto what she was doing, she inspired many runners to start their own steaks.

“I was running to support Caroline, and they were running to support me,” Oshima said.

She continued running, raising $16,000 for the Run for the Cure foundation. The two even met up in Japan when Oshima hit Day 1,000 of her streak to celebrate the milestone.

But then the unthinkable happened. Around day 1,600 Oshima received a diagnosis of her own.

PASTOR ASKS FOR PRAYERS AS WIFE, PREMATURE NEWBORN BATTLE FOR LIVES

“I was completely floored when my doctor told me I had breast cancer,’” Oshima said. “She didn’t even sugar coat it, she just was like ‘This doesn’t look so good.’”

Oshima then called Steer, who had been in remission for about four years but had not been running. It was 11:30 at night when Steer picked up the phone in New Zealand and heard the news, and immediately after, she laced up her running shoes, and went for her first run in the dark.

“I always told her I would do the same for her in a heartbeat when she was running for me,” Steer said. “So I started my own streak.”

As Oshima prepared for surgery, the two continued running daily, 5,000 miles apart, together. Oshima even got up at 4:30 a.m. the day of her mastectomy in late March, ran around the hospital and was back in bed by 5 a.m. She hadn’t planned on being able to continue the streak as she recovered, especially her first day after surgery, but her doctor saw how good she was feeling the morning after, and let her do laps around the hospital wing so she wouldn’t break her streak.

“It’s 8:30 at night, and I went out, put on my app so I could track a mile, and ran 45 laps in front of the elevator bay,” Oshima said. “And I cried, I really cried. I don’t know if I cried cause I was tired, or I was happy, or I was sad, but I cried.”

Three months later, the pair are both still streaking. The day of our interview, Oshima was coming from her three-month check up appointment, where the doctor told her everything looked good.

MOM SHARES HARROWING ADDICTION PHOTOS 

“It’s really great and positive to hear that,” Oshima said.

As Steer comes close to completing 150 straight days of her running streak, she is also coming on five years of being cancer free. September 11 will mark five years since her diagnosis, and also mark the five full years, about 1,852 days, that Oshima has consistently run.

“Vanessa has taught us so much about the power of friendship,” Steer said.  “And what we can achieve if we let ourselves!”

Oshima hopes that more people realize how running can help, in more ways than one.

“I want to try to open up a little bit of the conversation about how (cancer) is a mental struggle, not just a physical struggle, and how running helped me and the community of runners helped me,” Oshima said. “I think it’s a really, really powerful thing.”

This article first appeared on Runner’s World.

Family racing to raise funds for daughter facing incurable genetic disease

Jul 20, 2017 24

A family is in a race against time to save their 6-year-old daughter from a fatal genetic disease that currently has no cure. Mila Makovec, who was diagnosed with Batten disease in December 2016, has already lost her sight and struggles to walk and talk.

“There is no other way to put it – my 6-year-old daughter, Mila, is dying,” Julia Vitarello, Mila’s mother, wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page. “I lie by her side every night when she sleeps and my heart bleeds. My face burns from the tears.”

PASTOR ASKS FOR PRAYERS AS WIFE, PREMATURE NEWBORN BATTLE FOR LIVES

“Mila could be your child,” she continued. “She splashed in the pool, begged for chocolate ice cream, and sang her favorite songs. She rode bikes. She skied. But at 4 years old, she started to fall over, to bump into things. She pulled books in close, got stuck on words. She was finally diagnosed with Batten Disease, a rare genetic condition that robs normal children of everything. They end up bedridden, on a feeding tube, with seizures, and cognitively impaired. There is no cure.”

Vitarello, her husband, Alek, and Mila’s 3-year-old brother, Azlan, have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for a gene therapy trial that seems promising for Mila and others diagnosed with Batten. They’re initial fundraising push secured Mila’s spot in a scheduled trial, but they now need $1 million more by September for her to continue as scheduled.

TODDLER’S BRAIN DAMAGE REVERSED AFTER NEAR-FATAL DROWNING

They’re also unsure if Alzan, who posted a touching “thank you” video to supporters, will be diagnosed with Batten, as there is a 25 percent of siblings inheriting the disease as well.

“It seems impossible to go through this with my daughter,” Vitarello previously told Longmont Times-Call. “It eats me alive, it just rips everything out of my heart and soul to look at Mila and know what her destiny is – I can’t even thing about Alzan. If I do, I think, ‘How is it possible that I can have any more pain that what I have right now?’”

Pastor asks for prayers as wife, premature newborn battle for lives

Jul 20, 2017 22

A Texas pastor is asking for prayers for his wife who fell critically ill after giving birth to their premature daughter. Daniel Villarreal, who has been keeping supporters updated in a series of Facebook posts, said his wife, Jannelle, had difficulties while recovering from an emergency C-section performed on July 10.

The couple’s daughter, Eden Raine, was born premature at 31 weeks gestation, and placed in the hospital’s NICU. However, Janelle was transferred to Methodist Specialist and Transplant Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with HELLP Syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia.

TODDLER’S BRAIN DAMAGE REVERSED AFTER NEAR-FATAL DROWNING

On July 13, Villarreal asked his followers for prayers after doctors closely monitored Janelle’s liver and kidneys.

“Our doctor just stated, ‘I don’t know if you believe in prayer, but if you do, there’s never been a time to be more focused on praying for two things, your liver and your kidneys,’” he wrote in the post, which was shared 277 times. “Jannelle is fighting for her life. There are two things we want to pray: 1.) For spontaneous liver rupture not to happen 2.) The damage that has happened to kidneys reverses and kidneys return to normal.”

Follow up posts revealed that Eden’s birth came after the couple’s son was born stillborn at 21 weeks last year. Villarreal, who also has a 12-year-old daughter with Jannelle, revealed that doctors tabled the liver transplant for Jannelle after hers began functioning again.

A July 17 request for a “Prayer from every nation” from Villarreal asked supporters to pray for Jannelle’s immune system and internal organs.

MOM SHARES HARROWING ADDICTION PHOTOS

“7/18 2PM UPDATE: We are seeing progress…we will have victory… ‘I will NOT die but live, and WILL proclaim what the LORD has done’ (Psalm 118:17) #ThereWillBeMiracles #PrayerFromEveryNation,” Villarreal posted alongside a photo of him holding his wife’s hand.

The latest update said Villarreal had started spoon-feeding Jannelle as she continued to recover.

“Her kidneys still need to awaken. Her blood still needs to be in order. Her lungs are still weak. We are seeing GREAT progress but last night was long and was a struggle,” he wrote. “We pray for total healing and no long term effects. We need miracles.” 

Minnesota boy battles same E. coli strain that killed sister

Jul 20, 2017 15

A Minnesota boy is fighting for his life after he contracted a strain of E. coli — the same one that killed his younger sister earlier this week. 

Kade, 5, and Kallen Maresh, 3, of Wright County, were sickened by an infection called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) on July 9, Star Tribune reported. The siblings battled symptoms including non-stop bloody stool and vomiting, eventually leading them into acute kidney failure. 

Last week, Kallen, who would have turned 4 years old next month, passed away when the Shiga toxin from the bacteria attacked the toddler’s kidneys and neurological system. 

TODDLER ON LIFE SUPPORT AFTER CONTRACTING E. COLI INFECTION

“Her brain and heart were being damaged,” her parents Joseph and Tyffani Maresh wrote on their donation site, CaringBridge. “Our sweet sweet little girl lost the battle.”

“We got to hold her free of tubes and snuggle and kiss her. She is the most amazing little girl in the world. Our hearts are aching with the deepest sadness,” they wrote in the post. 

The parents said their son “is still fighting” despite the toxins reaching his neurological system. 

“He has had a blood transfusion [and] is on kidney dialysis and may need platelets,” the post read. “He has a long road to recovery and we hope and pray the toxins stay away from his brain and heart and other organ systems.”

GIRL WHO DIED AFTER CONTRACTING E. COLI WAS CLEANING DIRTY YARD, FAMILY SAYS

It’s unclear how the Minnesota siblings contracted the strain of E. coli that led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication caused by the bacterial infection, the Star Tribune reported. The family visited a local petting zoo recently before they became ill, but officials cautioned that the children could have been infected from various sources. The animals at the display were taken away as an “abundance of precaution.” 

State health officials are investigating the source of the Shiga toxin-producing bacteria, according to Star Tribune. 

Most types of E. coli are generally harmless, but several strains create serious food-borne infections that lead to HUS, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Toddler's brain damage reversed after near-fatal drowning

Jul 20, 2017 15

A year after a 2-year-old girl nearly drowned in her family’s pool, doctors were able to significantly reverse the brain damage she suffered through a series of oxygen treatments. Eden Carlson, of Fayetteville, Ark., was found by her mother in February 2016, the Daily News reported.

It took two hours to revive Carlson, who also suffered cardiac arrest. The lack of oxygen caused severe brain damage that left her unable to speak, walk or respond to verbal cues, the Daily News reported. But in a case report published by Medical Gas Research, doctors detailed how they used a series of oxygen-based therapies, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy and normobaric therapy, to startle Carlson’s brain into regrowing brain tissue.

MOM SHARES HARROWING ADDICTION PHOTOS

“The starling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration,” Paul Harch, a hyperbaric specialist at LSU Health New Orleans, said in the case report.

Carlson received her first oxygen therapy 55 days after the accident, which included normobaric level oxygen treatments for 45 minutes sessions, two times per day. According to the case report, which was detailed by the Daily News, the therapy helped her regain movement in her arms and legs, as well as make improvements in speech and eating ability.

POPCORN LUNG: ARE PEOPLE WHO VAPE AT RISK?

After just 10 sessions, Carlson had returned to “near normal,” according to the Daily News. An MRI scan more than five months post-accident showed the cortical and white matter atrophy in Carlson’s brain had almost completely reversed, with mild residual brain injury.

“In the absence of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, short duration, repetitive normobaric oxygen therapy may be an option until hyperbaric oxygen therapy is available,” Harch said, according to the Daily News.  

The family has been chronicling Carlson’s recovery on the “Eden’s Miracles” Facebook page, as well as through a series of videos uploaded to YouTube. 

Popcorn lung: Are people who vape at risk?

Jul 20, 2017 18

According to the American Lung Association, the use of electronic devices to inhale vaporized nicotine-containing liquids is a serious public health concern.

Often referred to as vaping, the use of e-cigarettes increased 900 percent among high school students between 2011 and 2016, and their popularity continues to rise. And instead of serving as a “safe” alternative to traditional cigarettes, vaping seems to be a gateway to other tobacco products for some young people. In addition to concerns about vaping leading to smoking, the American Lung Association considers the vapors from e-cigarettes themselves unsafe.

RISK OF HAIR EXTENSIONS

In 2015, a particularly alarming challenge was made to the safety of e-cigarettes by a team of researchers at Harvard. While examining the contents of refill liquids, sometimes called e-juice or e-liquid, they found that 75 percent of the flavored refills they tested contained a chemical called diacetyl, an artificial flavor with a buttery taste. In 2000, this chemical made the news as the probable cause of a rare lung disease diagnosed in eight microwave popcorn factory workers.

The disease was bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung. It’s associated with chronic rejection of lung and bone marrow transplants, viral infection, connective tissue diseases, and exposure to toxic chemicals including chlorine, ammonia, mustard gas, and ozone. There are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease, but it’s irreversible. Because of the condition’s rarity, a concentration of eight cases in one factory pointed researchers to environmental factors, and they eventually linked the disease to diacetyl, which was found in unusually high concentrations within the factory.

The Harvard press release drawing attention to diacetyl in e-juice caused alarm among vapers and quickly became ammunition for vaping opponents who now had a life-threatening, rare lung disease on their side. But the Harvard press release left out key information. Most significantly, diacetyl exposure from cigarette smoking is significantly higher than exposure from vaping, perhaps as much as 750 times higher. This doesn’t make vaping safe, but it supports the argument that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. The Harvard press release also failed to mention that there’s no established link between popcorn lung and vaping.

DO YOU REALLY NEED VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS? 

So can you get popcorn lung from vaping? There’s not enough scientific evidence to answer that with absolute certainty. What we do know is that cigarette smoking, with its significantly higher risk of diacetyl exposure, hasn’t yet been positively associated with popcorn lung. In fact, the only known case of popcorn lung from diacetyl exposure outside of microwave popcorn factories affected a Colorado man who ate two bags a day of diacetyl-containing microwave popcorn containing over a period of ten years.

Is it possible that smoking or vaping heavily for years could contribute to the development of popcorn lung? It’s possible, but as of 2017, there’s not enough scientific evidence to support that claim.

(You may be asking yourself now if you should stop eating microwave popcorn. As long as you consume it in moderation, there’s no reason to think it will cause you respiratory problems. And since the investigation in 2000, many microwave popcorn manufacturers have removed diacetyl from their products to protect their workers and consumers.)

MOM SHARES HARROWING ADDICTION PHOTOS

What the Harvard press release got right is that there needs to be more research evaluating the safety of the chemicals used in vaping. Since vaping is a recent trend, I expect that we’ll learn more about vaping’s long-term health effects in the next decade as researchers have the opportunity to follow vapers over longer periods of time.

If you’re considering trying to use e-cigarette products as an aid to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about the health risks of vaping compared to cigarette smoking. Your doctor may encourage you to try to switch to e-cigarettes if other methods of quitting haven’t been helpful for you. If you don’t smoke, vaping only introduces new health risks, even if it probably won’t give you popcorn lung.

This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny’s work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.

Mom shares harrowing addiction photos

Jul 20, 2017 25

A mother’s bid to help others struggling with addiction has gone viral, after she shared harrowing before and after photos on her Facebook page urging others to seek help. Melissa Lee Matos, of West Virginia, wrote in an accompanying post that she had never intended to share the photos, but felt moved to because of friends who she felt needed to see it.

“It goes beyond what my words can accomplish,” Matos wrote in the July 14 post. “This is by far, the most raw thing I have shared with the world. Please read. Please share.”

Matos revealed that she has been in recovery for nearly a year and a half, but the period of her life before then was riddled with nights of overdoses and spending every cent she had on drugs to get high.

FENTANYL OVERDOSE KILLS 10-YEAR-OLD BOY, AUTHORITIES CONFIRM

“This is what I looked like, daily, for years,” she wrote, alongside photos of her with a scabbed face. “This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on. This is what my family and friends saw, on the rare occasions I left the house. I was SICK. I was DYING. I was so far gone I thought I could NEVER recover. I was so lost I couldn’t imagine a life without using. I just wanted to die. I didn’t realize I was hardly alive.”

While the post does not reveal what moved her to seek help for her addiction, her Facebook page lists freelance writer and social advocate at RecoverMe as her occupation. Near the end of her post, which has been shared almost 50,000 times, Matos lists her number and email address for others who need help.

“If you are currently in active addiction, this is my plea to you. Look at these pictures. Images of a dead girl. A needle junkie with a habit so fierce she spent days and nights in a self-induced coma on her bathroom floor,” Matos wrote. “A girl who would spend every cent on dope and forget she had kids to feed and take care of. A girl who lost every single thing she ever had. A girl who was so sick she thought she would never ever find a way out, until she did.”

More than 14,500 people commented on her photos, with many thanking her for her courage to speak out on addiction and her struggles with it. In a follow up post, Matos expressed gratitude for the amount of people who have reached out and thanked her for sharing the photos.

NAOMI WATTS OPENS UP ABOUT DAD’S HEROIN OVERDOSE, SEEING NEW PHOTO OF HIM YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH

“I did this in the hopes of even getting one person to reach out, and the fact that hundreds of you have trusted me and my story enough to message me fills me with more hope and love than I can explain,” she wrote. “Thank you for letting me share my story. I love you all. We can do this together! Never lose hope!!”

The overdose death rate in West Virginia outpaces other states in the country, with a Feb. 13 analysis revealing at least 818 people in the state died of drug overdoses in 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate was about 41.5 cases per 100,000 in 2015. The next highest states were New Hampshire and Kentucky. Overall, opioids killed more than 33,000 people in the United States in 2015. 

McCain brain tumor: What is glioblastoma?

Jul 20, 2017 13

Glioblastoma multiforme — the type of tumor that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R–Ariz., has been diagnosed with — is an aggressive form of brain cancer that is rare and typically occurs in adults.

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, there are about 12,390 new cases a year in the U.S.

McCain had undergone surgery last week to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said the clot was an indicator that the tumor started to grow.

Patients with this aggressive form of cancer face a grim survival rate. About 4 percent of patients over age 55 live for five years.

McCain’s doctors managed to remove all of the tumor that was visible on the brain scans, but surgery is hardly ever enough. Glioblastomas plant microscopic roots that go deeper into the brain tissue, making the tumors aggressive and hard to target.

Standard treatment following surgery includes a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, which can take weeks to months. Even among those who respond well to initial treatment, the cancer can come back, often within 12 to 24 months.

McCain is a long-term survivor of melanoma but doctors classified this new cancer as a “primary tumor,” meaning it’s not related to his former malignancies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

McCain brain tumor: What is glioblastoma?

Jul 20, 2017 13

Glioblastoma multiforme — the type of tumor that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R–Ariz., has been diagnosed with — is an aggressive form of brain cancer that is rare and typically occurs in adults.

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, there are about 12,390 new cases a year in the U.S.

McCain had undergone surgery last week to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said the clot was an indicator that the tumor started to grow.

Patients with this aggressive form of cancer face a grim survival rate. About 4 percent of patients over age 55 live for five years.

McCain’s doctors managed to remove all of the tumor that was visible on the brain scans, but surgery is hardly ever enough. Glioblastomas plant microscopic roots that go deeper into the brain tissue, making the tumors aggressive and hard to target.

Standard treatment following surgery includes a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, which can take weeks to months. Even among those who respond well to initial treatment, the cancer can come back, often within 12 to 24 months.

McCain is a long-term survivor of melanoma but doctors classified this new cancer as a “primary tumor,” meaning it’s not related to his former malignancies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report