Traveling soon? Look out for bed bugs

Apr 21, 2017 16

Every traveler loves a comfy night’s sleep, whether you’re vacationing in your dream city or finding repose on a business trip. While you’re settling in for a nice sleep, however, one pest may be just waking up. That pest is a bed bug, and they pose a steep challenge to travelers.

Bed bugs are parasites that love feeding on humans. They can travel a long way in the evening if they have motivation, but most people find bed bugs within a few feet of a bed.


Because these pests feast on humans, they love inhabiting spaces where they will find a steady supply. That fact makes hotels, and common transportation for travelers, a prime post for the parasites to camp out. If the pests climb into your luggage, they could turn into a serious problem at home too.

Bed Bugs on the Rise

Developing countries have always dealt with bed bug problems. In recent years, however, the pesky creatures have been rising in population within developed countries as well.

To compound the problem, scientists have also found that the bugs may be developing a resistance to insecticides. One study published in The Journal of Economic Entomology decided to test this theory.

Researchers used two common chemicals previously known to kill bed bugs, chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin, and they tested ten different populations. In addition, they used one population known for its susceptibility to these chemicals as a control group.

As they conducted the study, researchers noticed that the test populations took longer than the control group to die after exposure to either of the chemicals. Researchers also needed a higher concentration of the chemicals to kill these populations.


The researchers concluded that you should use more than one method to get rid of an infestation quickly. You should also check for pests regularly in order to deal with any problems early on.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs like to tuck themselves in the crevices of a bed during the day and make their appearances at night. To avoid bringing bed bugs home after traveling, you should check for them carefully as soon as you enter a hotel room.

Missy Henriksen from the National Pest Management Association recommends keeping your luggage in the bathroom until you’re done inspecting. Even after a thorough inspection, keep your luggage off the floor by using the luggage rack.

When checking for bed bugs, turn on a flashlight and use scrap paper to pick up any suspicious spots. Look around the headboard of the bed, under the mattress, and in any corners or crevices around the bed. If you see any blood stains or dark brown spots, you might be dealing with a bed bug problem.

Don’t stop with the bed, though: check any furniture around it. In fact, you should expand your search to any soft furniture in the room. If you do find signs of bed bugs, opt for a room far away from the infested one or check into a different hotel.

While you might be tempted to skip this inspection and start relaxing right away, you should make time for it. Bed bugs prove to be a difficult problem to eliminate.


Health Risks

So far, bed bugs are not considered a major health risk to humans. While they may carry diseases, the pests have not shown to transmit them.

On the other hand, bed bugs do still pose some health problems. When they bite, they often cause an itchy rash that could become infected if not properly cared for.

You may also experience anxiety and insomnia because of fear of another bite during sleep. You might withdraw socially as you deal with this problem, or others might keep a distance until the bed bugs are eliminated. Either way, bed bugs can cause psychological disruptions that affect your sleep habits, emotions, and work performance.

During traveling, you often just want to relax at your destination, unwinding in your hotel room. You can, but be sure to check for bed bugs first. If you find a problem, you’ll be glad that you inspected and kept the pests from traveling all the way to your home.

This article first appeared on

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 for more.

Teen battling cancer shaves head 'before chemo gets a chance to'

Apr 21, 2017 29

A 17-year-old Georgia teen battling cancer for a second time decided to take a stand against the disease by shaving her head before chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out.

McKenzi Middlebrooks, who was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 14, learned around Christmas that not only had her cancer returned after two years in remission, but that she would also be battling neuroblastoma this time as well, ABC News reported.   

“I had a perspective where cancer and chemo kind of control your life,” Middlebrooks, who will undergo five chemotherapy treatments every 21 days, told ABC News. “I wanted to take control and basically say chemo and cancer can’t decide when I lose my hair. I want to. At least that was one thing I could have control over.”


On April 15, Middlebrooks posted a video of her father shaving her head on her Twitter page. The clip, in which she silently cries as her locks fall, has received more than 73,450 likes and nearly 27,000 retweets. On the McKenzis Fight Facebook page, it has racked up more than 1 million views.

Accompanying her video on Facebook Middlebrooks further explained her decision.

“So yesterday I shaved off my hair and as you can tell I was so emotional,” she wrote. “And a lot of people wonder and ask, ‘why don’t you just wait till it falls out?!’ And my answer is I always shave my head before chemo gets a chance to. I don’t want cancer having so much control that I can’t even decide when I lose my hair. So yesterday I went ahead and shaved it all off.”


Many of the commenters who responded to the McKenzis Fight Facebook post shared their own experiences with chemotherapy and some posted pictures.

“Her video is not only giving somebody else the courage to take control of their situation, but it’s bringing awareness to child cancer, and especially that children can get ovarian cancer,” her mother, Janice Middlebrooks, told ABC News.

A post on the page Friday informed supporters that Middlebrooks had started her fifth round of chemotherapy and would get the next 14 days off. 

Woman whose overdose video went viral says clip helped save her life

Apr 21, 2017 33

A woman whose overdose went viral last month said the negative publicity she received from it has actually given her a second chance at life. Katrina Henry, who described herself as a “good kid” before getting hooked on Percocet and other drugs, said without the video, she probably wouldn’t have taken the incident seriously.

“I don’t drink,” Henry, of Wisconsin, told WITI. “I like to paint. I like to draw. I work out. I was a cheerleader throughout high school. I had an internship. I did research with my professor, and always had at least two jobs. I have considered myself a very successful person.”


But on March 21, Henry was in the depths of addiction and crashed her vehicle into a parked car. She told WITI that she had snorted what she believed to be cocaine but was laced with fentanyl. Video of the crash’s aftermath which quickly went viral shows her with her head bent back and mouth agape before she was brought back to life with a dose of Narcan.

Henry told the news outlet that she doesn’t remember much from the day, but that she was taken to the hospital and handcuffed to the bed.

“They took me to the hospital, handcuffed me to the bed,” Henry told WITI. “I died. I overdosed and died.”

While the video provoked harsh reactions from social media users, Henry said without she likely wouldn’t have realized that she needed treatment. She told WITI she is also thankful to have hit a car, otherwise she likely would have died from the overdose.


“As ashamed that I am that I hit that woman’s car, I’m also glad. No one would have found me. I would have died there,” she told WITI.

Since the incident Henry has entered treatment and has been clean for three weeks, WITI reported.

“I was so embarrassed,” she told the news outlet. “I always told myself that i would never end up like that. Talking makes you feel so much better. It makes you feel like you’re not alone. I felt so alone, that I was the only one dealing with this problem, and that no one would understand. I don’t feel hopeless and worthless anymore, and I know I was brought back for a reason, and I’m going to live up to my full potential.” 

Group of friends help rescue 5-year-old boy with autism who got lost in woods

Apr 21, 2017 32

A Massachusetts police department thanked a group of teens who helped a 5-year-old boy with autism find his way to safety after he was separated from his mother while hiking in the woods.  

“Chief Burks and the Hudson Police Department would like to thank a group of young men who located a five year old boy who was lost in the woods of Danforth Lot today,” the Hudson Massachusetts Police Department wrote on Facebook on April 19. “The group was out playing in the woods when they came across the child, knowing a child this young shouldn’t be in the woods alone, they ask if he was lost or needed help.”

The department had already called in police dogs and requested the aid of a helicopter for their search on Wednesday. The unidentified boy was dazed and soaked after falling in water when the boys found him.


“When the child confirmed he was indeed lost the group took it upon themselves to stop enjoying their day and assist the lost child,” the post read. “As the Hudson Police received the call of a child with autism lost in the woods and were arriving on the scene, these young men were walking child out to safety. Thanks to these find young men for noticing something wasn’t right and then stepping up to help. GREAT JOB! #greatkids.”

The post, which was accompanied by a photo of the day’s heroes, has been liked more than 2,700 times since being shared. One of the commenters identified herself as the young boy’s mom and thanked the boys again.

“That was my son,” Emily Arsenault posted. “Thank you guys so much, I can’t express the relief I felt hearing someone helped him out.”

In response to Arsenault’s comment, another Facebook user identified herself as one of the rescuer’s moms and reached out.

“Glad your son is fae my son was one of the kids that helped,” Denise M Petterson Stephenson wrote, along with a smiley face. 

Daily dose of diet soda tied to triple risk of deadly stroke

Apr 21, 2017 18

If you’re partial to a can of Pepsi Max at lunch, or enjoy a splash of Coke Zero with your favorite rum — you might want to put that drink back on ice.

According to a new study, just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, with researchers also finding the beverages have a “worrying association” with dementia.

The team of researchers from Boston’s University School of Medicine, said people who consume a can of artificially-sweetened soft drink a day were at three times the risk of suffering the most common form of stroke compared to non-drinkers.

The US study also indicated that diet soft drink fans were 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. But after accounting for all lifestyle factors, the researchers found the link to dementia was statistically insignificant, however, the impact on stroke risk remained.


The study, which looked at ten years’ worth of data from more than 4,300 people, indicates that people need to look beyond the word ‘diet’ when making drink choices.

“Drinking at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia compared to those who drank artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week,” the research read, which was published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.

“After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), calorific intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.”

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease,” the co-authors added.



Diet drinks contain next-to-no calories, because they use artificial sweeteners that are hundreds, sometimes thousands of times sweeter than sugar.

There is public concern about some sweeteners, with scientists across the world arguing that low-calorie substitutes may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“A lot of people assume they must be healthy choices because they are not sugared beverages, but the critical thing for people to understand is we don’t have the evidence,” Prof Susan Swithers, from the US’s Purdue University told the BBC.

Typically, the different types of sweeteners used in diet drinks range from Aspartame, Saccharine and Stevia.

Aspartame is the sweetener most used in diet drinks, and is also the most controversial.

At 200 times sweeter than sugar, it is used right across the world as a sugar substitute, including cereal, chewing gum and lollies.

“Diet drinks, despite having zero sugar and hardly any calories, actually taste far sweeter than regular soft-drinks,” nutritionist Kristen Beck told

“The problem is that the human brain aren’t set up to be able to deal with the intensely-sweet, zero-calorie version of sweetness that artificial sweeteners provide.”


Humans are set up to crave and seek out sweet foods, and when they eat something sweet,

the brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more.

“Artificial sweeteners provide an intensely sweet taste without any calories which can actually cause you to crave more sweet foods and drinks,” Ms Beck said.

“In turn, the sweetness drive you to eat more kilojoules from sweet foods and drinks than you normally would.

“While sugar signals a positive feeling of reward, artificial sweeteners may not be an

effective way to manage a craving for sweets.

“Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain,” Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox said.

According to Prof. Swithers, ingesting sweeteners also obstructs the way the body deals with real sugar when it’s consumed again.

“We think the diet sodas may be bad because they make it hard to deal with the sugar you are consuming,” she said.

“When the animals get real sugar they’re not as good at processing it, their hormonal responses get blunted, their blood sugar levels go up and it leads to weight gain.”

This article first appeared on

Florida couple welcomes naturally conceived quadruplets

Apr 21, 2017 19

An Englewood couple went to their first pregnancy appointment expecting one baby – but they learned they were having four.

Amanda and Kyle Corcoran were pretty surprised, but completely excited. Now they’re about to begin their new lives as a family of six.

The babies – three boys and a girl – are natural fraternal quadruplets.


Amanda is an only child. Kyle has a younger brother. Neither’s family has a history of multiple births. The odds of Amanda having multiples were 1 in 70,000.

“We always joked when we did have kinds we would want one. We’d spoil him,” Amanda teased. “We have four ‘only’ children that we will spoil a whole bunch.”

They knew months ago that they were expecting, but when they heard a total of four heartbeats, their expectations went out the window.

“It was one of those things where we went in for our first sonogram and they just kept counting heartbeats,” Amanda said.


And on March 28 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the babies were born by C-section.

“It was the most incredible experience. When all four of them are crying at once, that was a surreal moment,” she said.

Harrison, Preston, Jackson and Lila now remain in the NICU unit, and their parents couldn’t love them more.

“We are still freaking out a little bit, but very ready and mentally prepared for them to come home,” Kyle said.

Doctors and the Corcorans hope they’ll be ready to go home by the end of May.

“There’s going to be a lot of laughs, a lot of tears from both them and from us I’m sure. We feel really blessed that we get to raise these four beautiful babies and it’s going to be an exciting journey – and a journey that is going to change every year, every month, every minute,” Amanda said.

The family says they have a support group ready to help them care for all four babies.

Theirs marks the second set of natural quadruplets to be born at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

This article first appeared on Fox 13 News.

Deaf dad, toddler hear each other for first time

Apr 21, 2017 27

Randy Adams and his son, 16-month-old Max, have the same hair, the same eyes and the same hearing impairment.

When the 35-year old Canton construction worker met his wife Michelle at a party four years ago, he typed out messages on his Phone to introduce himself.  

The son of two deaf parents, Randy had been born profoundly deaf.

Randy and Michelle didn’t realize their son would be born with the same genetic inner ear defect as his dad.


“I was very upset at first, and I know it sounds weird because I’m fine with Randy being deaf,” says Michelle Adams. “But, it just made me really sad because I thought of all the things he wouldn’t experience.”

When double hearing aids didn’t help, Michelle began researching a cochlear implant for Max, which caught Randy off guard.

“He got very upset,” she remembers. “He said he likes him the way he is, he doesn’t want to change him. And why don’t  I like him the way he is?”

Michelle says it took time to agree on what to do, if anything.

“It really took a lot of time,” she says.  “He did his research as well. And we’d talk about it all the time.”

With Randy’s reluctant blessing, Max underwent cochlear implant surgery in October of 2016 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The change, Michelle Adams says, was striking.   

“And before that he’d not been responsive at all,” she says. “It was just like he was bored all the time. He was a different baby when he could hear.”

Randy noticed it, too.


“He saw how happy Max would get,” Michelle Adams says. “He literally would start laughing and giggling and just getting so excited whenever we’d put it on him and say, ‘Hi Max!’ And he’d just start going crazy.”

The change in the now 16-month-old was so profound, that on March 1, Randy underwent the very same surgery. Nearly a month later, the couple went back to Emory University Midtown Hospital, to have Randy’s cochlear implant activated.  

Through a sign language interpreter, doctor of audiology Jenna Frasso, explains the process.

“I’m going to put the magnet on and it’s going to test the implant.” Frasso tells Randy.

She plays a series of beats, asking Randy if he can feel a vibration or sound. He nods, but says it’s like “a tense feeling” on the side of his head.

Then, for the first time, Randy hears Michelle’s voice, and she begins to weep.

It’s a powerful moment. Max, sleepy because his is missing his afternoon nap, is quiet.  

Randy will have to wait to hear his son speak.


Both father and son will continue to work with an audiologist, who will fine tune the implant. The learning curve for Randy, hearing for the first time in 35 years, may be steep.

“In the beginning, it’s almost like you’re hearing a different language. It’s a different way for the brain to hear,” says Frasso.

Frasso says it takes at least 6 months, maybe a year, for Randy to receive the full benefit of his cochlear implant.

Two weeks later back home in Canton,  Randy, signing, with Michelle interpreting for him, says “It’s going good.”  

Randy feels like a door is opening, for him and for Max.

“I want to hear many things,” he signs. “Learn different languages, talk more with people.”

And Randy Adams can’t wait for a follow-up story in a year, to show how far he and Max have come, together.

This article first appeared on Fox 5 Atlanta

Woman who delivered while in a coma wakes up, meets 3-month-old baby

Apr 21, 2017 21

An Argentinian police officer whose baby was delivered while she was in a coma woke up and held her three-month-old baby for the first time.

Her family is calling it a miracle.

Amelia Bannan was nearly six months pregnant when on Nov. 1 she was in a car accident in which she suffered a skull fracture that resulted in a blood clot in her brain.

She was hospitalized in a coma and baby Santino was delivered on Christmas Eve. At 34 weeks gestation, the baby weighed 4.16 pounds and was in good health, family said.

Relatives visited her every day at the hospital in Posadas, talking to her and giving her time with Santino.

Bannan’s brother, Cesar, described to NTN24 the unforgettable day his sister suddenly came to.

“That day we heard there in the silence, while we were giving Santino the bottle, we heard a low voice, we heard ‘yes’, ‘yes’,” he recalled.

“To corroborate if she was listening to me, I told her, ‘Amelia, if you understand me, stick out your tongue.’ And she stuck out her tongue.”


“It was a total revolution. Norma lay on Amelia’s body, embraced her, and wept tears of joy,” Bannan said. “It revolutionized our hearts.”

Amelia is improving quickly, according to the physiotherapist who supervises his rehabilitation, Roberto Gisin.

“At first she only said ‘yes’ and ‘no’, now she is managing to answer questions and understand commands,” he told El Pais.


Dr. Gisin said Amelia can already turn around by herself, move all four limbs and he believes that if there are no setbacks she’ll be walking in a few months.

“She keeps surprising us,” neurosurgeon Marcelo Ferreira says. “We hope that at some point, we will be able to see her walking holding her son’s hand.”

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Elderly man in Cuba treats arthritis pain with scorpion venom – swears by it

Apr 21, 2017 15

At age 71, Cuban peasant Pepe Casañas fends off the typical aches and pains of his age in a unique, and effective, way. His secret: letting himself be stung every now and then by a scorpion, the venom of which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Although anyone who has been stung by a scorpion says that it hurts a good deal, for Pepe it’s “just a minor sting,” which he endures at least once a month using one of the three or four scorpions that he keeps close at hand in his house.

“The sting doesn’t hurt me a bit. And if they’re using it as a treatment for cancer in Cuba, it has to be good,” said Pepe, who sometimes keeps a scorpion in his hat in case he starts to feel a pain he needs to treat.


“About eight years ago, I started with this scorpion stuff. My bones were beginning to hurt me, arthritis, and it helped me to feel comfortable,” Pepe told EFE at his home in the town of Los Palacios in Cuba’s far western province of Pinar del Rio.

“I couldn’t brush my teeth, or comb my hair. I got a scorpion, squeezed it, and it stung me twice, and look: My arm’s doing fine.”

Pepe, who comes from a family of beekeepers, began using insect bites – starting with bee stings – as a remedy against pain. He even says his brother cured himself of a disability thanks to bee stings.


Although Pepe’s strategy might seem strange as a way to combat the aches and pains that come along at his age, it is a fact that scorpion venom is used in Cuba as the main ingredient in Vidatox, a homeopathic medication that is prescribed mainly to alleviate pain and other symptoms associated with cancer.

In 2006, Cuba started clinical trials to test the efficacy of scorpion venom in cancer treatment and researchers quickly noted that patients’ quality of life was substantially improved.


In 2011, the Cuban pharmaceutical firm Labiofam began manufacturing Vidatox.

“A very important use of Vidatox, which we want to promote, is that of an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, for use against cancer, given that any osteoarthritic process such as rheumatism can be treated with this medication,” Dr. Fabio Linares, who heads the Vidatox project, told EFE.

According to Linares, “it makes sense” that Pepe feels better after a scorpion sting, since in addition to its analgesic effect, the venom stimulates the body’s natural curative mechanisms and immune system.

In a laboratory in the city of Cienfuegos, where the Vidatox project is under way, Linares’ team is raising some 7,000 “blue scorpions” (Rhopalurus junceus, a species endemic to Cuba) and is taking 10 or 12 venom extractions from each of them every year before releasing them back into the environment.

Some 17,000 bottles of Vidatox are produced and sold over the counter every year in Cuba and in 15 other countries around the world.

In Cuba alone, an estimated 65,000 people have used the remedy to alleviate cancer pain.

Jury sides with Petco in death of boy from rat-bite fever

Apr 20, 2017 24

A San Diego jury has sided with Petco in a lawsuit brought by the family of a 10-year-old boy who died after contracting an illness from bacteria from a rat purchased from the retailer.

KNSD-TV and KFMB-TV report that the jury found Thursday that Petco was not negligent or liable in the death of Aidan Pankey on June 12, 2013, after he was rushed to a hospital with severe stomach pains.

The San Diego County medical examiner’s office ruled the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, known as rat-bite fever, after exposure to an infected rat.

The jury found that Petco did enough to warn the boy’s family of the possible risks and dangers of owning a pet rat, and therefore was not negligent in the boy’s death.