<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 23 May 2015 22:46:30 -0500 Sat, 23 May 2015 22:46:30 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fate of Deportee Unclear After Kidney Donation]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 17:38:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Longoria-Lara.jpg

A 27-year-old man given a temporary reprieve from deportation so he can donate a kidney to his ailing sister could still be sent back to Mexico once the procedure is completed.

Argenis Longoria was released from the McHenry County Jail on Thursday afternoon and reunited with his 21-year-old sister, Jazmin Longoria-Lara, who has had to undergo dialysis for several hours, three times a week.

"I think it was real nice of them to consider it in letting me out to do this deed for my sister. I really appreciate it," Longoria said. "I didn't expect it. I really was, like, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Longoria was set to be deported after pleading guilty to a burglary but Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided to allow him to remain in the United States for the potentially life-saving procedure. 

Attorney Matthew Katz would not comment specifically on the criminal case or the deportation proceedings but said these types of humanitarian releases typically last for six months.

"Way too often laws are very minimally forgiven for individuals in this circumstance, and thankfully we've seen that the government did show some heart and did show some compassion," he said. 

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez both lobbied ICE to delay Longoria's deportation. Those representing Longoria made it clear they'll continue their fight to permanently keep him in the United States.

"He has paid his restitution to this society. He deserves a second chance," said Julie Contreras with the League of United Latin American Citizens.

No date has been set for the kidney transplant but the two siblings were scheduled to meet with doctors at Loyola University Medical Center on Friday. 

"It's unexplainable. It's amazing the way that I feel," Longoria-Lara said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Alzheimer's Simulator Helps Caretakers Understand the Disease]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 15:02:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/178541982_Dementia-ALzheimers-Generic.jpg

Alzheimer's can be difficult to understand for those who do not suffer from the disease.

A senior living center in Kentucky is trying to help caretakers of those diagnosed with the condition better understand it with a tour, according to NBC affiliate WAVE.

The "virtual dementia tour" clouds a person's vision and hearing with goggles and background noise. It also impairs functions like use of your fingers to simulate arthritis.

For the simulation, people are told to wear gloves with some of the fingers taped together to simulate arthritis. They also told to wear headphones with headphones that provide noises that make it difficult to hear to simulate impaired hearing.

They are then asked to complete simple tasks in a dark room, like run a belt through the loops of a pair of pants. As seen in the video above, it is challenging for people who would otherwise find the task easy.

Brenda Loy, of Louisville, began crying after the experience, telling WAVE that it helped her understand the disease’s toll on her husband, James. The couple has been married for 53 years.

"(The simulation) opened my eyes in a good way for me to see, but in a bad way to know my husband deals with that every day and there's not a thing you can do about it,” Brenda Loy said. "You just have to let it run its course."

Watch the simulation in the video above.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RM]]>
<![CDATA[Deportation Halted So Man Can Donate Kidney]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 08:16:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jazmin-Argenis-Longoria.jpg

A 21-year-old Chicago woman suffering from kidney failure learned Wednesday morning a judge had halted deportation proceedings against her brother in order to give him time to donate a potentially life-saving organ.

"I've seen so many people pass away that started at the same time I started dialysis, and they're gone," Jazmin Longoria-Lara told NBC Chicago. 

Her brother, 27-year-old Argenis Longoria, was set to be deported to Mexico after pleading guilty to a burglary. Instead, he was granted a six-month reprieve so he can undergo the necessary testing and preparation for the kidney transplant.

"This is a blessing,” said Emma Lozano, the family’s pastor. "It’s a miracle, Jazmin has a new look on life. She’s going to be able to live."

Argenis Longoria remained in the McHenry County Jail on Wednesday evening but was scheduled to be released sometime Thursday morning. The family reunion was planned for Thursday afternoon at Lincoln United Methodist Church and will include a press conference where they'll discuss what's next and express their gratitude. 

Longoria-Lara’s mother donated an organ to her daughter after a childhood disease resulted in kidney failure, but that kidney failed four years ago. Since then, she’s had to undergo dialysis for several hours, three times a week.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez both petitioned the judge to delay Longoria's deportation.

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<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch With 5 Workout Tips]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 16:39:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg

Five years after launching her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama released a short video on Twitter with five workout tips.

In the video, Michelle starts with jumping rope and ends with hitting a punching bag and staying hydrated. 

FLOTUS’ video was posted in response to the president’s own five tips for the #GimmeFive Twitter campaign that is part of Let’s Move. President Barack Obama’s tips all include him wearing a suit, such as taking the stairs and having walking meetings instead of sit-down ones.

No offense to the president, but his wife's tips are a bit more fierce.

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<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Packs a Punch]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 15:48:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaPunching.jpg First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a video of herself working out on Tuesday to help promote her #GimmeFive fitness campaign. In the thirty second clip, Obama jumps rope, kick-boxes and bench presses 35-pound dumbbells.]]> <![CDATA[Failed MediPot Bidder Drops Lawsuit Against State]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 16:31:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/91997111.jpg

The losing bidder for an Illinois medical marijuana license dropped its lawsuit against the state Monday, one month after the company’s CEO died unexpectedly at his suburban home.

Andrew James, whose company, PMRX lost out on a bid for a cultivation license in the Kankakee area, had sued the Illinois Department of Agriculture, accusing them of failing to follow their own licensing guidelines when scoring applications. The license in that area, District 21, had been awarded to the state’s biggest winner, Cresco Labs.

The 51-year-old James was found dead in his Kenilworth home April 9. Results of an autopsy were inconclusive.

Both sides in the dispute on Monday agreed to settle the case.

"After extensive factual investigation, and in light of the recent tragic passing of PM Rx, LLC's CEO Andrew James, PM Rx has agreed to dismiss all claims against both Cresco Labs, LLC and the State of Illinois with respect to the State's decision to award Cresco Labs the State Police District 21 cultivation center permit pursuant to the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act,” the two sides said in a statement.

"Accordingly, PM Rx and Cresco Labs anticipate that the District 21 permit will promptly be issued by the Department of Agriculture to Cresco as announced by the Department on February 2, 2015."
 

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<![CDATA[Doctors Warn Against "Jenner Lip Challenge"]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 13:43:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MD02M05112015-720p_1200x675_443316291912.jpg You may have heard of the "Kylie Jenner Challenge." The videos are all over social media, with teens sucking on glasses trying to mimic the reality star's famous pout. But doctors say this quest for pouty lips is a dangerous trend with potentially permanent consequences.]]> <![CDATA[Suburban Student Has Meningitis: Officials]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 08:03:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/meningitis_P2.jpg

A northwest suburban high school student has tested positive for bacterial meningitis, school officials announced.

The McHenry County Health Department told Community High School District 155 schools that a Cary-Grove High School student had a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis.

The health department was working to contact individuals who have recently been in close contact with the student and recommended, as a precautionary measure, that those people see their primary physicians for treatment.

“We are in communication and working closely with the health department,” District 155 posted on its website.

About 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis were reported each year from 2003-2007, with 500 of them resulting in death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Meningitis is usually severe and can cause serious complications such as brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities, the CDC says, but the bacteria is not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or the flu.

Bacterial meningitis can be spread to people who have had close or lengthy contact with a person who has contracted the disease, health officials said. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new requirement that all high school students entering the 6th and 12th grades be required to show proof of recent menigococcal conjugate vaccinations. 

“Keeping up to date with recommended immunizations is the best defense against meningococcal disease. In order to continue seeing declining rates of infection, we must maintain and improve existing prevention efforts,” Director Nirav Shah said in a statement. “Between 2005-2011, there were around 1000 cases nationally. We can and will do better by tightening reporting requirements around vaccines for school-aged adolescents.”
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How a Photo Helped a Mom Find Cancer]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 19:12:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Avery-Fitzgerald.jpg

A Rockford, Illinois, mother's cellphone turned out to be a life-saving device when it helped her confirm what she'd feared: her son had cancer. 

Julie Fitzgerald began noticing an usual twinkle in the back of her 2-year-old son's eye a couple of months ago. A search online turned up a story about a woman who found cancer in relatives after she saw a white eye instead of the normal red eye in family photos.

"I took a picture, and I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach. I took the picture, and "boom," his whole pupil was just white, and that's when I knew," Julie told NBC station WREX.

A doctor's visit after that photo confirmed that little Avery Fitzgerald had retinoblastoma, which the Mayo Clinic indicates is the most common form of cancer affecting the eye in children. In Avery's case, 75 percent of his left eye had tumors and had to be removed.

Doctors said the cancer could have spread to the boy's brain and blood had the family delayed.

The boy will eventually get a prosthetic eye, and the family is awaiting the results of testing to see if he has a genetic marker that could indicate the risk for more cancer.

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<![CDATA[Doctors Roll Out Group Appointments]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 14:38:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012280402_1200x675_440896579768.jpg How would you feel about seeing your doctor with a dozen other patients, facing the same health conditions as you? That's what some hospitals and doctor's offices are doing. NBC's Erika Edwards reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Lake County Officials Warn of Spike in Deer Ticks]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 19:21:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/KNSD_Fighting_Lyme_Disease_012209_89_mezzn_448x336.jpg Deer ticks may carry lyme disease. NBC Chicago's Anthony Ponce reports.]]> <![CDATA[What Can You do to Prevent Skin Cancer?]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 10:07:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/NC_sunsafety0504001.jpg Summer is coming! To get ready for more time in the sun, dermatologists offer advice on skin cancer prevention.]]> <![CDATA[Do You Need Carbs for Energy?]]> Sat, 02 May 2015 18:24:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/carbs+getty.jpg

You may have heard of “essential fatty acids” and “essential amino acids” before. These are fats and proteins that are essential to the functions in our bodies, and they must be consumed through food because they are not produced by our bodies.

Something you've probably never heard of is "essential carbohydrates." This is because we don't actually need carbohydrates to exist.

There are three macronutrients found in our food -- fats, proteins and carbohydrates. As it turns out, carbohydrates are the only macronutrient we, as humans, do not need to consume to live. Some of you may scoff at this, but this is just the science, so don’t shoot the messenger.

Your liver is actually capable of creating its own sugar through process known as gluconeogenesis. For you non-Latin speakers, this process literally translates to gluco (sugar), neo (new) and genesis (creation), or "new sugar creation."

From an evolutionary perspective, this is a handy little trick. If you wanted carbs 10,000 years ago, you couldn’t walk over to the corner store and pick up a box of doughnuts. You had to be lucky enough to find some naturally occurring sugar in the form of fruit, so our bodies learned to produce energy from fat and protein. This process, known as ketosis, is the reason that people who adopt a “low carb diet” are able to live normal, fit and happy lives.

So does this mean we should not eat carbs? Absolutely not. It simply means we need to change the conversation from “Do we need carbs?” to “When do we need carbs?”

We need to use our carbs as a tool to replenish our muscles after a hard workout and our souls after a hard week. Each of us has a different level of carbohydrate tolerance so you need to find the appropriate carbohydrate mix for you.

Dusten Recommends:
Try to limit your starch carbohydrate intake to 1-2 fist size portions of starchy carbohydrates in your post workout meal and allow yourself to have one “cheat meal” per week and see how it impacts your waist line.

Dusten Nelson is a Chicago-based strength coach, nutritional expert and practitioner of Chinese medicine. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and check out his website. You can email Nelson at info@DustenNelson.com.

Nelson is currently training Chicago filmmaker Kenneth Yoder to compete in a 100-day bodybuilding challenge. See the original story here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[MDA Pulls Plug on Annual Telethon]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 14:48:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/Jerry+Lewis+MDA+Telethon+.jpg

The Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, a Labor Day television tradition for decades, is ending.

MDA said Friday that "the new realities of television viewing and philanthropic giving" make it the right time to end the annual event, memorably hosted for most of its life by Jerry Lewis.

Celebrities including Frank Sinatra, John Lennon and Michael Jackson to Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez have performed on the telethon, first hosted by Lewis and Dean Martin in 1956. It moved to Labor Day in 1966.

The telethon ran 21 and a half hours in 2010, Lewis' last year as host, and had dwindled to a two-hour show the last two years. 

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<![CDATA[Girl Battling Cancer Has Block Named in Her Honor]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 21:11:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Emily-Beazley-street-2.JPG

A block in Chicago's Mt. Greenwood neighborhood on Friday became Honorary Emily Beazley Avenue in honor of a 12-year-old cancer fighter who lives just steps away. 

Beazley was just eight years old when she was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She was in remission for a while, but then the cancer came back. And earlier this week the family made the painful decision to stop chemotherapy after doctors said it was no long helping. 

"She puts her hand on my face and says, 'Don't worry about me, mom. I will be just fine,'" her mother, Nadia Beazley, recalled. "She's a positive little girl."

That positivity has inspired an entire neighborhood, which is now covered in purple and lime green. The purple is Emily's favorite color. The green signifies her fight against lymphoma. The colored ribbons line streets and fences. Signs of support are in living room windows. And if there's a business with a marquee, there's a good chance it says, "Light it up for Emily."

"It's just amazing the amoung of people supporting me," Emily said Friday.

Among those offering support is Gov. Bruce Rauner, who on April 9 made her Governor for a Day

While South Homan Avenue between West 107th and 108th streets now bears her name, Beazley said she's got one big wish she'd still like to see realized: a meeting with singer Taylor Swift.

"We would be here all day if I told you why I liked her," the girl said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Ice Cream Shop Closes, Recalls Products]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:28:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/jeni%27s+ice+cream+sign.jpg

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has closed their North Side Chicago shop and recalled all of their products after a listeria contamination was found, the company announced Thursday.

The recall includes all products bearing the “Jeni’s” brand name including ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches for all flavors and containers across all shops and retailers nationwide. Jeni’s scoop shops nationwide have also been closed.

The contamination of listeria monocytogene was discovered in a sample randomly collected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

“We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100 percent confident every item we sell is safe,” Jeni’s CEO John Lowe said in a statement. “We have called in experts to help us find the root cause.”

Lowe said they plan to working with the company’s suppliers to determine if the bacteria was introduced by one of the ingredients used in their production.

“We will not reopen the kitchen until we can ensure the safety of our customers,” he added.

The company asks those who have purchased any of their products to dispose of them or return them for a full refund. For more information, visit jenis.com/recall.



Photo Credit: NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Cream Company Recalls All Treats, Closes Shops ]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:21:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ice-cream-stock-79772399.jpg

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is recalling treats and freezing sales across the country due to a possible listeria contamination. 

The Ohio-based company announced the voluntary recall on its website on Thursday, saying it is "ceasing all sales and closing all scoop shops until all products are ensured to be 100% safe." The recall covers all products bearing the "Jeni's" brand, including  ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches. 

The company said in a statement that it decided to issue a recall after a random sample test by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture came back positive for the bacteria, which can cause illness and even death in individuals with compromised immune systems. Jeni's said it is not aware of any sicknesses connected to its products to date. 

"Our top priority is guaranteeing the safety of all consumers by taking every possible precaution," John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, said in a statement. "We have decided to recall everything currently on retailer shelves, and we are closing our scoop shops until we are 100% confident every item we sell is safe." 

Jeni's urges cutomers to throw out or return any products affected by the recall. More information is available at jennis.com/recall. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Pushes for Legalization of Marijuana Extract]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/176*120/980499621.jpg

A Chicago-area mother is among those pushing for a change in federal law that would decriminalize a key ingredient in cannabis.

Lisa Weiss is a member of the organization "Coalition for Access Now" which wants to legalize cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD. The chemical has shown promise in studies to help treat people who live with epilepsy.

CBD is legal in Illinois, but like medical marijuana, patients can't get it just yet. Even when they can, there will still be limitations because it isn't legal under federal law. And that poses a problem for Weiss and her 9-year-old daughter, Sophie, who has roughly 200 seizures each day. 

"I could go and get the CBD that I so desperately need for her, but then if I want to go travel to Disney for a vacation or to Indiana or any other state, as soon as I cross state lines I'm a drug trafficker," Weiss explained.

Illinois Rep. Bob Dold is among 18 members of Congress who support changing federal law. 

"CBD oil has the potential to relieve the pain of suffering families and save thousands of lives," Dold said. "No family should be forced to suffer the loss of a child when life-saving relief has already been found. This bill will ensure that not even one more kid suffers because the government is blocking access to this life-changing seizure prevention.”

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<![CDATA[Whole Foods Market Recalls Macadamia Nuts]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:39:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/537738815%281%29.jpg

Whole Foods Market is recalling packaged raw macadamia nuts due to possible Salmonella contamination.

The product, recalled after routine FDA testing detected the presence of the bacteria, is labeled as “Whole Foods Market Raw Macadamia Nuts” and packaged in 11 oz. plastic tubs. The recalled product, which has a best-by date of Feb. 4, 2016 and UPC code is 7695862059-1, was sold in stores in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

The company said the bacteria causes serious and sometimes fatal infections in especially young children and the elderly, including others who have weak immune systems. Some symptoms healthy persons may experience are fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, the company said in a press release.

The Center for Disease Control estimated that there are one million Salmonella related illnesses in the United States every year, with 19,000 are hospitalizations and 380 deaths.

While no illnesses have been reported, officials are urging those who have purchased the nuts discard the container. They can also bring in their receipt for a full refund.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[#100DaysOfKenneth Bodybuilding Challenge]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 17:01:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kenneth+and+Dusten+-+before.jpg

A Chicago man on the cusp of his 40th birthday has taken on an extreme physical challenge with the goal of making a complete transformation.

Kenneth Yoder is a 39-year-old freelance filmmaker who wants to make a change in his life. Yoder admits he is -- or was -- out of shape. That's why he decided to challenge himself to become a competitive bodybuilder in just four months.

He also made the decision for health reasons. "I felt like I was on the verge of tipping into poor health," Yoder said.

The end goal is for Yoder is to compete in the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Inc. bodybuilding competition July 18 at the Harris Theater in Chicago.

Yoder also thought the local bodybuilding scene might make for an interesting documentary. Instead of profiling someone else, however, the filmmaker decided to turn the camera on himself after looking in the mirror.

"I was rocking a pretty solid 'S' curve. That's belly, you know what I mean?" Yoder said.

Yoder's trainer, Dusten Nelson, is a friend of his who also happens to train bodybuilders for competition and is the president of the Core Store. Under Nelson's grueling diet and workout plans, Yoder has already made strides in his 100-day transformation, which began almost a month ago.

Nelson has pushed Yoder to muscle failure a painful number of times in their workouts, but that's why they are seeing quick results. In fact, Nelson pointed out that Yoder is already showing abs.

"We're trying to push to failure," Nelson said. "And we're trying to push the edge of what he's capable of every time, because that's where the progress is made." 

The work doesn't end when Yoder leaves the gym, however.

He must also adhere to a strict protein-packed diet. He eats six meals a day, spaced out every three hours. Between all those meals, he consumes nearly three pounds of meat each day. Despite the significant amount of food he eats, Yoder continues to build muscle and drop weight.

In 28 days, Yoder's body fat dropped from 21.4 percent to 17.6 percent. At this pace, he will be under 8 percent the day of the competition, but he's careful not to look that far ahead. He still has a long way to go.

One thing he does allow himself to think about is getting his body waxed and spray-tanned before the big day.

"That is the comedy portion of our project," Yoder said, laughing. "Ready or not, I'm stepping on stage!"

Keep up with Yoder's journey on NBC Chicago's Stride blog, which will feature regular updates and posts about healthy exercise and diet. If you want to share Yoder's story on social media, use the hashtag #100DaysOfKenneth.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Company Issues Pine Nut Recall]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:43:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/228*120/pinenuts.jpg

A Chicago-based company has issued a pine nut recall due to potential Salmonella contamination.

Superior Nut & Candy Co. and Hannaford recalled 4-ounce packages of pine nuts.

The pine nut packages are sold in store produce departments with a clearly packaged front and tan-colored label on the back. The back label lists "Pine Nuts" as the only ingredient and has the UPC number 72543920016 with a "best by" date of Nov. 17, 2015.

So far, Superior Nut & Candy has not received any illness complaints related to the recalled products, officials said.

As a result of the recall, these items have been removed from the shelves at Hannaford stores. Customers who have purchased this item are urged not to eat it and to return the item to a Hannaford store for a full refund.

Customers with questions can contact Superior Nut & Candy customer relations at 730-254-7900 Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hannaford, based in Scarborough, Maine, has more than 180 stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Superior Nut & Candy is based in Chicago. 

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<![CDATA[Study Ranks Healthiest Counties in Illinois]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:45:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/2015+Health+Outcomes+-+Illinois.jpg

Is the county you live in shortening your life span? A new study suggests that the Illinois county you live in could have an affect on your health.

The 2015 County Health Rankings compares the health of residents in every county across the nation and evaluates measures that affect the future health of communities, including education, environmental hazards, health behaviors, employment and more. The study, which ultimately determines a county’s residents’ length of life and quality of life, aims to help identify and garner support for local health improvement initiatives.

In Illinois, the healthiest counties include Woodford, Kendall, DuPage, Clinton and Kane. The least healthiest include Franklin, Pulaski, Mason, Pope and Massac counties.

Cook County ranked at no. 64 on the list, an improvement from last year when the county sat at no. 75 out of 102.

In Cook County, an average of 6,794 people die before the age of 75, according to the study. The average in Illinois is 6,349. In addition, at least 17 percent of Cook County residents have poor or fair health. In comparison, premature deaths in DuPage County average 4,195 while 12 percent of residents live in poor or fair health.

The healthiest counties in the nation averaged 10 percent of residents living in poor or fair health with 5,200 premature deaths, according to the data.  

The study showed that people living in the least healthy counties were twice as likely to die prematurely than those in the nation's healthiest counties. 

See the full list here.



Photo Credit: County Health Rankings & Roadmaps]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Tick-Borne Virus in Conn.]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:03:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-tick-01.jpg

A rare but potentially deadly virus has made its way to Connecticut and could soon be transferred from ticks to humans, according to state officials. Human cases of the virus have been reported in other states in the northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, said researchers identified ticks carrying the Powassan virus as part of a study published in 2012.

According to Andreadis, 2 to 3 percent of ticks surveyed in North Branford and Bridgeport tested positive for the virus. By comparison, some 30-40 percent of ticks in Connecticut carry Lyme disease.

Although there are no known cases of the virus in Connecticut, Andreadis said he expects the state could be seeing human cases soon.

"It’s an emerging tick-borne disease that we’re going to be looking at more closely. Right now, we know it’s in the state," he explained. "We don’t know how widespread it is but we’re going to be doing more work to find out, and with reported cases in surrounding states, it’s quite likely we’re getting some human exposure here in Connecticut."

Although the Powassan virus is "relatively rare," it "has the potential to cause very serious disease" and can produce encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, Andreadis said.

The virus was first identified in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, when a child contracted the disease and died, according to Andreadis.

Andreadis said the CEAS is expanding its survey to determine the prevalence of the virus in Connecticut.

Residents should be diligent about checking for ticks when hiking or camping the woods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends using tick repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants when spending time in wooded or bushy areas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blue Bell Expands Recall]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 06:33:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blue+Bell+Ice+Cream+facility.jpg

Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall to include banana pudding-flavored ice cream made at the company's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, facility after the product tested positive for listeria monocytogenes on Tuesday.

The company asked retailers on Monday to remove all products produced at the Oklahoma facility between Feb. 12 and March 27.

Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for the letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S” and “T” following the "code date" printed on the bottom of the product package, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blue Bell is also recalling seven other products made at the Oklahoma plant, including individually-wrapped Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Almond Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices and No Sugar Added Mooo Bars.

On Friday, the company said it was temporarily closing the Oklahoma facility, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates.

In March, the illnesses prompted the Brenham, Texas-based creamery to issue the first recall in its 108-year history. The company and health officials said a 3-ounce cup of ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was traced to the plant in Oklahoma.

Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, according to the CDC. The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

In addition to the Broken Arrow plant, the company has two plants in Brenham and one in Sylacauga, Alabama. Those plants will continue to operate and supply products to retail stores.

The recalled ice cream had been shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

For more information, contact Blue Bell at 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

Along with the banana pudding pints, Blue Bell said the recall now includes the following products made at its Oklahoma plant:

Ice Cream Pints: UPC # 0 71899-05101 5 / Code Date:

  • Ice Cream Banana Pudding pint / 021217S
  • Ice Cream Butter Crunch pint  /  021917S
  • Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip pint / 022017S
  • Ice Cream Cookies 'n Cream pint / 030317S, 030617S
  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla pint / 030417S
  • Ice Cream Dutch Chocolate pint / 032317S
  • Ice Cream Moo-llennium Crunch pint  / 032417S, 032517S

Sherbet Pint: UPC # 0 71899-19990 8

  • Rainbow Sherbet pint / 021717S, 021817S, 022317S, 030217S

Sherbet Quarts: UPC # 0 71899-18992 3

  • Orange Sherbet quart / 032617S
  • Mixed Berry Sherbet quart / 032717S

3 ounce Tab Lid Cup: Product # 136
*institutional/ food service cup only

  • Rainbow Sherbet / 022417S, 022617S, 022717S 

Gold Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-03720 0

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla half gallon / 030917T, 031017T, 031117T, 031217T, 031617T, 031717T, 031817T

Brown Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-83548 6

  • Ice Cream Pistachio Almond half gallon / 031317T 

Light Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-73501 4

  • Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla Light half gallon  / 031917T

Consumers who purchased these items should return them. For more information or questions, call 979-836-7977 or go to bluebell.com.

For More Information

Blue Bell News Release



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Mother Warns of Brain-Eating Amoeba]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:21:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Koral-Reef-knsd.jpg

Twenty-year-old Koral Reef's life was just beginning. She said yes to the dress and married her high school sweetheart. But Reef never got the chance to enjoy her happily ever after when she contracted a rare, brain-eating amoeba that took her life.

Reef’s mother, Cybil Meister, believes a family trip to Lake Havasu in Arizona was the catalyst for the infection that killed her daughter.

“She started with the headaches, the stiff neck, the sensitivity to light and heat was bad,” Meister told NBC 7.

Around Thanksgiving of 2013, Reef's family noticed something was wrong. By January, things went downhill. In June 2014, she went to the emergency room.

Doctors were never truly able to pinpoint a cause behind Reef’s health issues.

“They said, ‘Oh, she’s having withdrawal from her birth control; It’s a migraine.’ They gave her medicine and sent her home and then she progressively got worse,” recalled her mother.

In September 2014, Reef started losing her vision.

"She went to Temecula Valley and they did an MRI. They showed us the MRI and the amoeba, which they didn't know was an amoeba, but there was a mass covering the entire right side of her brain and partial of her left,” explained Meister.

In October 2014, Reef died.

Doctors say she had a rare but extremely deadly amoeba called Balamuthia. Meister believes her daughter contracted the parasite on that trip to Lake Havasu.

“Balamuthia's mortality rate is very, very high. Only 13 percent of patients survive without any type of treatment,” explained Dr. Navaz Karanjia.

Dr. Karanjia is the Director of Neurocritical Care and the Neuro-ICU at UC San Diego's Health System. She also diagnosed Reef with the amoeba.

She said Balamuthia is inhaled and the parasite has been found in soil and dust. The symptoms of the infection are general – such as headache, fatigue, and a stiff neck – which make it hard to diagnose.

"Usually the initial tests come back negative for the usual bacteria and viruses so medical providers need to know if those test come back negative a parasitic infection could be present,” said Dr. Karanjia.

Reef’s mother is now devoted to raising awareness about the deadly, brain-eating amoeba in her daughter’s name. She has started #TeamKoralReef through Amoeba Awareness.

She's hoping to keep others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

"We're reaching out to people trying to raise awareness because I don't think people understand how serious it can be. It's deadly,” she added.

Dr. Karanjia said a drug has been approved for treatment of another parasite, leishmaniasis, and that drug is being tried for amoebas as well. She said it has shown some promise in treating amoebas like the one that caused Reef's untimely death.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>