<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usFri, 22 Sep 2017 16:05:35 -0500Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:05:35 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[CVS to Limit Opioid Prescriptions to 7-Day Supply]]> Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:27:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cvsgeneric_1200x675.jpg

CVS Pharmacy will limit opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply for certain conditions, becoming the first national retail chain to restrict how many pain pills doctors can give patients, NBC News reported.

When filling prescriptions for opioid pills, pharmacists will also be required to talk to patients about the risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home and proper disposal, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The move by CVS to limit prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin to a seven-day supply is a significant restriction for patients — the average pill supply given by doctors in the U.S. increased from 13 days in 2006 to 18 days in 2015, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Why Do College Kids Think Backpacks Can Save a Drunk Friend?]]> Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:37:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/drunk_pack_stock_image.jpg

In the final hours of his life, Tim Piazza lay on a couch in a Penn State frat house barely conscious and occasionally vomiting from alcohol poisoning and serious internal injuries.

Twice on a night of heavy drinking in early February, frat brothers, apparently oblivious to his injuries, strapped a backpack on the very ill young man. Piazza died a day later, February 4, at Hershey Medical Center.

In another, more recent death on a Pennsylvania college campus, dorm mates of Lafayette College freshman McCrae Williams put a backpack on the young lacrosse player as he lay in his bed this September. He had thrown up and fallen to the floor in his room after what has been described as a "day drink" party and possibly another party the night before.

The college kids in both instances put backpacks on their dying friends in the hope of preventing the young men from turning unconsciously onto their backs and asphyxiating on their vomit, according to authorities.

There is even a term for it now in college circles: "JanSporting," named after the popular brand of backpack used by high school and college students. Another term for it is "the drunk pack." Pillows often are placed in the backpack to prevent a person from turning from his or her side.

One article on the lifestyle website Total Frat Move claims "JanSporting" "just might save" a drunken friend's life, though it also emphasizes that overly intoxicated people shouldn't be left alone, regardless of what position they are put in.

"JanSporting" may be popular on campus, but it is not a prescription likely to gain support in the medical community anytime soon.

"Sadly, 'JanSporting' is another one of those internet-fueled misconceptions that people, especially college students, use to prevent bad outcomes from excessive alcohol consumption," said Dr. Ralph Riviello, vice chair of clinical operations at Drexel University's Department of Emergency Medicine. While "the backpack theoretically can prevent someone from rolling onto their back, aspiration can occur in other positions, and the degree of intoxication and responsiveness are the biggest determinants of aspiration."

He said if a friend is so drunk that unconscious vomiting is a concern, calling 911 is the right and immediate thing to do.

"If someone is that drunk that you are considering putting a backpack on them, you need to call 911. They need to be transported to ED for evaluation," Riviello said.

He said a common misconception among young people, particularly underage college students, is that going to an emergency room for intoxication will lead to ramifications with their college administrators.

But details of their hospital trip are protected by privacy rights and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act known as HIPAA.

"We see a lot of college kids on Friday or Saturday. We never would report them to the Dean’s office or campus officials," Riviello said. "We would encourage kids to seek help or visit their student health center and that sort of thing, but we don’t call the school."

The one call doctors and nurses might make? "We may call your parents if you’re underage and they are close enough to pick you up," he said.

Still, as recent college tragedies should teach other young people, Riviello said it’s better to get to a doctor quickly and live than worry about the embarrassment and fallout from being dangerously intoxicated.

"If you're that sick or you're that out of it, you need medical attention," Riviello said. "Your drunk friends aren’t going to provide the amount of attention that you need."



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA['Scam': Kimmel Slams 'Kimmel Test' Senator's Bill]]> Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:02:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kimmel-Cassidy.jpg

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel sounded off on Tuesday to blast Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy for his part in crafting the latest GOP health care proposal that, Kimmel said, goes against the promises the senator had made to him on his show. 

Kimmel had discussed health care with Cassidy after the late-night host revealed in early May that his newborn son had open-heart surgery to fix birth defects. This led Kimmel to deliver an emotional message to Congress, pleading for affordable health care for Americans, especially those in similar situations.

Cassidy then famously coined the "Jimmy Kimmel test" phrase, saying families like Kimmel's should not have to deal with high premiums, lifetime caps and rate hikes when it comes to coverage. A week after Kimmel's plea, the Louisiana senator appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to expand on his idea of affordable health care.

Kimmel is now claiming Cassidy "lied right to my face" in that conversation.


Cassidy delivered his replacement for the Affordable Health Care Act last week. In a proposed bill written with Sen. Lindsey Graham, states would receive block grants and cuts would be made to Medicaid, among other things.

"This new bill (passes) a different 'Jimmy Kimmel test,'" Kimmel said on his show. "In this one, your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed." 

He claimed the Graham-Cassidy bill would kick 30 million Americans off their insurance and give states certain control over lifetime caps and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The Congressional Budget Office said it plans to deliver an initial analysis on the bill early next week, but can't do a full analysis by the end of the month. That's when a crucial deadline hits for Senate Republicans to act under special budget rules. 

In the meantime, groups including the American Medical Association and AARP have come out against the proposal. 

Kimmel went on to argue this latest bill is "actually worse" than the GOP's previous attempt to replace the ACA. That "skinny repeal" came to a halt when Republican Sen. John McCain delivered the deciding vote against it in the early hours of July 28.

Before McCain went thumbs down, GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski also voted "no."

"I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one," Kimmel said of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, calling it a "scam of a bill." 


"Health care is complicated. It's boring. I don't want to talk about it… And that's what these guys are relying on," Kimmel continued. "Most of the congresspeople who vote on this bill probably won't even read it, and they want us to do the same thing. They want us to treat it like an iTunes service agreement." 

Cassidy responded to Kimmel's heated monologue with a statement late Tuesday. 

"We have a September 30th deadline on our promise," the senator wrote. "Let's finish the job. We must because there is a mother and father whose child will have insurance because of Graham Cassidy Heller Johnson. There is someone whose pre-existing condition will be addressed because of GCHJ. I dedicated my medical career to care for such as these; this is why GCHJ must pass." 

Speaking on CNN Wednesday morning, Cassidy also argued that "more people will have coverage and we'll protect people with pre-existing conditions."

"I'm sorry he does not understand," Cassidy said of Kimmel.

Independent analysts have said the proposal allows states to take action that could raise the cost of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Cassidy said that if a state applied for a waiver it must provide affordable coverage.  

As Kimmel urged viewers to call their representatives with opposition to the bill, he offered one final reason why he renewed his health care debate.

"Before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I'm politicizing my son's health problems, I want you to know, I am politicizing my son's health problems because I have to," Kimmel said. "My family has health insurance. We don't have to worry about this, but other people do."




Photo Credit: Files
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<![CDATA[Infected Puppies Put 9 in Hospital, Sicken 30 More]]> Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:22:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-55656729.jpg

Puppies carrying a common germ have infected 39 people, putting nine of them into the hospital, federal health officials told NBC News.

The cases are all linked to puppies sold in seven states by the pet store chain Petland, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The infection, called Campylobacter, is common in dogs and it can pass to people easily.

“The ill people are from seven states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin),” the CDC said. The illnesses go back nearly a year, to September of 2016.

Dogs infected with Campylobacter might look perfectly well, but they can also have diarrhea, vomiting, or a fever. In people, symptoms include diarrhea, sometimes bloody; fever; stomach cramps; nausea and vomiting.



Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Recalls Pacemakers Over Fear of Hackers]]> Fri, 01 Sep 2017 13:32:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/drvisit_1200x675.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration is recalling 465,000 pacemakers over fears that they could be hacked.

The pacemakers are to be uploaded with new secure software after the FDA discovered cybersecurity vulnerabilities that would allow a hacker to take over the medical device that controls the heart.

Pacemaker brands from Abbott -- the Accent, Anthem, Accent MRI, Accent ST, Assurity, and Allure -- are included in the recall.

Patients do not need another surgery. The FDA said the recall requires an in-person patient visit with a health-care provider. An update of the firmware, the device's permanent software, will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.

According to the FDA, while the pacemaker is being updated, it will operate in backup mode, pacing at 67 beats per minute, and essential, life-sustaining features will remain available. At the completion, the device will return to its pre-update settings.

"To further protect our patients, Abbott has developed new firmware with additional security measures that can be installed on our pacemakers," said Robert Ford, an Abbot executive vice president for medical devices, in a statement about the update. 

The FDA approved the firmware update last week.

Cybersecurity concerning patients' medical devices and their associated computers, networks, programs, and data focuses on protecting them from unintended or unauthorized access, change, or destruction.

The FDA said there have been no reports of unauthorized access to any patient's implanted device, and according to an advisory issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, compromising the security of the devices would require a highly complex set of circumstances.



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Administration Cuts Funding to Teen Pregnancy Programs]]> Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:24:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-3155076.jpg

The U.S. has experienced a drastic drop in teen pregnancies, which many hail as proof of the effectiveness of an Obama-era federal grant program, NBC News reported.

Started in 2010, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program gives $89 million a year to 81 organizations around the country. It was renewed in 2015 for another five years.

But a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services dated July 3 shows that the Trump administration is slashing more than $200 million from the program without warning — meaning funding is now slated to end in June 2018, not in 2020.

The abrupt funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention, at a time when teenage births are at historic lows, has been called "highly unusual" by Senate Health Committee Democrats, especially since Congress has yet to vote on the 2018 appropriations bill.



Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Add Drug Tests to Back-to-School Routines]]> Thu, 24 Aug 2017 10:30:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_drugtests0823_1500x845.jpg

Parents, worried about drug abuse and the country's rising opioid epidemic, are adding drug tests to their child's back-to-school routines this fall in places like Cincinnati, Ohio. Drug testing companies say parents test for amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine and marijuana use, among others. 

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<![CDATA[Backyard Chickens, Ducks Linked to Salmonella Cases: CDC]]> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:36:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CHICKENS6.jpg

Recent salmonella outbreaks may be linked to backyard poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an outbreak advisory released Monday, the CDC said there have been 961 cases in 48 states and Washington, D.C., so far this year. Of the nearly 1,000 cases, 215 resulted in hospitalization and one in death.  

In tracking the illnesses, the CDC said 74 percent of those who got sick reported that they'd had contact with live poultry in the week before the illness started.

The federal agency and multiple states are investigating 10 separate multistate outbreaks of salmonella infections in people who had contact with backyard flocks. The CDC said chickens, ducks and their young can be carrying the salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean with no signs of illness.

The agency recommends always washing hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry. They said children younger than 5 years old should not handle or touch live poultry without adult supervision.

There have been 56 reported cases of salmonella in Virginia — the highest number reported in the United States — seven in Maryland, and one in D.C. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Signs of Potential Eye Damage After Watching Eclipse: Expert]]> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:20:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-835902046.jpg

Experts have long warned that watching a solar eclipse without proper eyewear can lead to potential damage in your eyes. 

But what might that damage look like? 

Dr. Linda Chous, chief eye care officer for UnitedHealthcare, helps answer that question. 

If you’ve looked at the eclipse without glasses, do you feel the adverse effects immediately or over time?
It is unsafe for anyone to look directly at the sun for any length of time or during an eclipse, as damage can occur within seconds of exposure. The sun is incredibly bright – some 400,000 times brighter than a full moon. Any amount of exposure can cause short-term and long-term damage.

If immediately, what are the signs?
Short-term issues can include solar keratitis, which is similar to sunburn of the cornea (the front part of the eye). This can cause eye pain and light sensitivity, with symptoms often occurring within 24 hours after exposure.

If over time, what are the things you should look for?
Long-term issues can include solar retinopathy, which is when the sun burns a hole in the retinal tissues, usually occurring at the fovea. This can cause loss of central vision, with symptoms occurring immediately to two weeks after exposure. Depending on the severity of the retinopathy, vision problems can last for months or be permanent.

How do you know if you might have damaged your retina/vision?
There are often no immediate signs of eye damage after viewing an eclipse without proper eye protection. Symptoms can occur immediately, within several hours or even weeks after exposure. Potential signs of damage include sensitivity to light, eye pain and loss of vision in one or both eyes.

Is there anything you can do immediately following viewing without the glasses?
Visit a local eye care professional for a comprehensive exam if you or a family member experience discomfort or vision problems following the eclipse. It is important to note there can be a delayed response to any damage incurred during an eclipse, with symptoms showing up hours later.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Overdose Death Rate Doubles]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:21:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_teenoverdoses0816_1500x845.jpg

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a steep increase in fatal drug overdoses involving teenagers ages 15 - 19 since 2015 after years of decline. Deaths from fatal drug overdoses doubled, with most cases stemming from opioid use. 

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<![CDATA[If Trump Cuts Obamacare Subsidies, Premiums Will Spike: CBO]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17206719818863.jpg

The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare premiums will increase by 20 percent next year and by 25 percent in 2020 — if President Donald Trump ends key federal subsidies to the program.

The CBO report released Tuesday also found that if the administration moves to cut the billions in subsidies to insurers, that would leave about 5 percent of Americans living in areas with no access to individual health care plans.

As CNBC reports, Trump has repeatedly threatened to end the billions of dollars in payments to insurance companies that sell individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurers have warned they will be forced to raise premiums sharply to make up for the loss of cost-sharing reductions payments, or CSRs, if Trump cuts them off.



Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Apple, Aetna Meeting to Bring Apple Watch to Aetna: Sources]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:25:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/applewatchcolorful-1200x675.jpg

Apple and Aetna held secret meetings last week to bring Apple's health- and fitness-tracking device, Apple Watch, to Aetna customers, according to three sources who spoke with CNBC. 

Aetna, which covers an estimated 23 million people, is negotiating a deal with Apple to either provide the smartwatch for free or at a discounted rate to its members. 

Recently, Apple has focused on developing new health sensors for people with chronic disease, according to a CNBC report in April.

Apple Watch recently surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling health-tracking device, after shipments reached an estimated 22 million in early 2017. 



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Looking into the Future: Online Eye Exams]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:12:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MD02F_1200x675_1022508099586.jpg

An online eye exam that you can take on a computer, in the comfort of your home. Seems like the perfect solution for busy people who may not have time to see the eye doctor. Yet, the increasingly popular tests have left many in the medical community skeptical.

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<![CDATA[5 Die After Being Fitted With Obesity Devices, FDA Says]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:16:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cms794.jpg

At least five people have died after receiving gastric balloons to help them lose weight, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. 

It’s unclear whether the balloons or the surgery to implant them could have caused the deaths, but the FDA issued an alert to doctors to monitor patients who have the devices, according to NBC News. The balloons are intended to treat severe obesity by reducing how much a person can eat by filling the stomach, closing off part of the stomach or surgically reducing stomach volume.

Two different balloon devices have been involved in reports of the deaths, which came as quickly as a day after surgery: one made by Apollo Endo-Surgery, the other by ReShape.

Apollo said the company has sold 180,000 of Orbera balloon devices worldwide.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File]]>
<![CDATA[1 in 3 Cancer Patients Face Unexpected Costs: Study]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:34:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2017-08-10+at+11.30.52+AM.png

A Duke University study found more than a third of cancer patients with health insurance faced out-of-pocket costs that were more than they expected. Researchers say patients with unexpected costs are less willing to pay for care and may skip or opt out of necessary treatments.

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<![CDATA[The Freshman 15 Is a Myth]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:19:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/freshman15.jpg

Incoming college students have long feared the freshman 15, the alleged 15 pound weight gain common among first year students. But studies suggest this concept is nothing more than a myth, NBC News reported.

Only 10 percent of students end up gaining 15 pounds or more. Fluctuation in weight is still common for freshmen, but students typically gain an average of 7.5 pounds.

For some students, stress and other factors can actually trigger weight loss. It’s worth noting that the peak age for eating disorders is 18 to 21, right around the time students first enter college.

There are many measures students can take to maintain a healthy weight as they leave home for the first time. Establishing a routine meal schedule and limiting snacking will help make the adjustment easier. Getting a good night’s sleep and working to keep stress levels low will also help.



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit: CVS Charges More for Drugs Paid for With Insurance]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 05:16:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cvsgeneric_1200x675.jpg

A California woman sued CVS Health Corporation Monday, accusing the company of charging customers more when they use insurance to pay for certain generic prescriptions, NBC News reported.

Megan Schultz claims in the lawsuit that she paid $165.68 for a prescription at CVS, America's largest pharmacy chain. Had she bought the same drug without using insurance, she said it would have only cost $92.

"CVS never told her that paying in cash would allow her to pay 45% less for the drug," the complaint says, claiming that the higher costs come from the pharmacy overcharging and remitting the excess payments to its pharmacy benefit manager, which negotiates between the insurance company and pharmacy.

CVS denied the allegations, responding in a statement that they "are built on a false premise and are completely without merit."



Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Americans’ Use of Alcohol Is on the Rise: Study]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 08:36:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_ALCOHOL_INCREASE_080917-150230034019500001.jpg

A new study has found an 11 percent increase in alcohol use among Americans between 2002 and 2012. There was an even bigger jump in high-risk drinking and alcohol-use disorders. Women, older adults and racial minorities were found to have increased their alcohol use and abuse the most.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Hospital Named Among Best in US]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:05:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/northwestern+hospital+generic+emergency+room.jpg

A Chicago hospital has once again been named among the best in the nation, according to the newest ranking from U.S. News & World Report.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital was ranked at no. 13 on the list of top 20 hospitals in the country, the only Illinois hospital to be named among the prestigious “Honor Roll” list. The ranking does mark a drop from Northwestern’s eighth-place ranking last year and its 11th place ranking the year before.

Northwestern also remained at the top of the list of best hospital in Illinois for the sixth year in a row, followed by Rush University Medical Center, Loyola University Medical Center, Advocate Christ Medical Center and NorthShore University Health-Evanston Hospital.

The report used data from nearly 5,000 medical centers and analyzed survey responses from more than 30,000 physicians to rank the hospitals in 16 adult specialties from cancer to urology. In addition, the rankings used information on death rates for patients who represent especially challenging cases and patient safety.

The honor roll list is made up of the hospitals that were nationally ranked in the 16 specialties and named "high performing" in a series of nine of conditions and procedures.

The top hospital on the list was Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, followed by Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco.

Northwestern was ranked nationally in 13 adult specialties and rated "high performing" in each of the nine adult procedurs and conditions.

“Northwestern Medicine’s continued success in the U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings is a reflection of our Patients First mission and our culture of excellence that drives us to not only be Chicago’s premier academic health system, but one of the best health systems in the country,” Dean M. Harrison, president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, said in a statement. “I applaud and congratulate our exceptional physicians, nurses and staff who provide world-class compassionate care to our patients each and every day. Without their talents and dedication, this accolade would not be possible.”

Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was also named among the Best Children’s Hospitals in the country, coming in at no. 7 on the list, a drop down from last year’s no. 6-ranking. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab was named the nation's best hospital for rehabilitation.

Here is the list of 10 best hospitals in Illinois:

1. Northwestern Memorial Hospital

2. Rush University Medical Center

3. Loyola University Medical Center

4. Advocate Christ Medical Center

5. NorthShore Evanston Hospital

5. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital

5. OSF St. Francis Medical Center

8. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

8. University of Chicago Medical Center

10. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital

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<![CDATA[Opioid Overdoses Have Been Higher Than Thought: Study]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 05:40:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17171822298733-hypodermic-needles-syringes-everywhere-.jpg

Deaths from heroin and opioid overdoses may have been underreported by more than 20 percent, according to a new study from the University of Virginia.

Researchers looking into the nation's deadly drug overdose epidemic revisited thousands of death certificates between 2008 and 2014 and found that mortality rates for opioids were 24 percent higher than previously reported, while the mortality rate for heroin was 22 percent higher than previously reported, according to NBC News.

"Opioid mortality rate changes were considerably understated in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey and Arizona," according to the study, published this week in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. "Increases in heroin death rates were understated in most states, and by large amounts in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, Louisiana and Alabama."

The presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has urged President Donald Trump to "declare a national emergency" to deal with the crisis that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, killed nearly 35,000 across the United States since 2015.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File]]>
<![CDATA[Transgender Medical Center Opens For Kids]]> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 07:53:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_transgenderclinic0802_1500x845.jpg

Transgender kids in the St. Louis, Missouri, area now have somewhere to go for medical care and counseling. A transgender medical center opened Tuesday, and it's the first of its kind in the region. The medical facility is expected to help hundreds of children and their families throughout the region with comprehensive health care.

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<![CDATA[Amrita Protein Bars Recalled for Listeria Risk]]> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 05:43:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/necn+recall+generic.jpg

A brand of protein bars has been recalled by its manufacturer because it may be contaminated with listeria.

Amrita Health Foods, which is based in Pleasantville, New York, voluntarily recalled a limited number of Amrita Bars after a supplier reported that sunflower seeds and sunflowers seed butter sold to the company could be contaminated.

The recalled Amrita Bar were distributed to retail stores across the country. The following products have been recalled:

  • Amrita Chocolate Maca Bar, 60g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Dark Chocolate Quinoa, 60g (UPC 853009004438) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Sunflower Seed Butter, 60g (UPC 853009004414) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Chocolate Chip Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004391) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Mango Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004018) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Apricot Strawberry, 50g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Pineapple Chia, 50g (UPC 853009004025) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Apple Cinnamon, 50g (UPC 853009004049) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Cranberry Raisin, 50g (UPC 853009004032): Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018


Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious infections in young children, the elderly, and anyone with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, nausea and diarrhea.

Anyone with questions about the recall can call Amrita Health Foods Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. at 1-888-728-7779. Or click here for more information.  



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Glitter iPhone Cases Recalled for Burn Risk]]> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:05:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/iphone-cases.jpg

Decorative iPhone cases sold at Victoria's Secret, Nordstrom Rack and other stores have been recalled by their manufacturer because a liquid glitter inside the cases can cause skin irritation and chemical burns.

MixBin Electronics recalled 24 styles of cases for iPhone 6, 6S, and 7. Over 260,000 affected cases were sold at websites and stores for Victoria's Secret, Nordstrom Rack, Amazon, Tory Burch, Henri Bendel and MixBin.

Worldwide, 24 cases have been reported of the liquid inside the cases causing skin irriation or chemical burns, including 19 cases in the U.S., according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

One consumer reported permanent scarring from a chemical burn, and another reported chemical burns and swelling to her leg, face, neck, chest, upper body and hands.

Only fluid released from a cracked or broken case may cause skin irritation. If you come into contact with the liquid glitter, immediately wash affected areas with warm soapy water and seek medical attention if irritation continues.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cases and contact MixBin Electronics for a full refund at 855-215-4935 or online here.



Photo Credit: US Consumer Product Safety Commission]]>
<![CDATA[1 in 3 Americans Took Prescription Opioids in 2015: Survey]]> Tue, 01 Aug 2017 12:31:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lucha+opioides.jpeg

About one in three Americans used prescription opioid painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin in 2015, according to a survey released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NBC News reported.

The NIDA study calculated 91.8 million Americans used prescription opioids, with nearly five percent of adults surveyed saying they took them without their doctor’s permission.

“The most commonly reported sources were friends and relatives for free,” the study reported. “Or a physician.”

Also Monday, a presidential opioid commission chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie released an interim report that said the U.S. "is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks." The report urged President Donald Trump to "declare a national emergency."

The commission suggested expanding treatment facilities across the country, educating doctors about the proper way to prescribe pain medication, equipping all police officers with the anti-overdose remedy naloxone, developing new fentanyl detection sensors, and improving data-sharing among law enforcement agencies.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Xtreme Eating Awards: 2017's Calorie-Filled Recipients]]> Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:18:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chillis+Ultimate+Smokehouse+Combo.jpg

Most people won't consider eating five bacon double cheeseburgers from Burger King, but that's the calorie equivalent of one Buffalo Wild Wings Cheese Curd Bacon Burger with fries.

That's just one of the "nutritional nightmares" the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest has called out in its latest Xtreme Eating Awards.

The annual awards "dishonors" chain restaurant meals that exceed the recommended daily allowances of calories (2,000), sodium (2,300 mg), saturated fats (20 g) and added sugar (50 g).

"These meals are extreme, but even the typical dishes served at restaurants are a threat to Americans' health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more," CSPI Senior Nutritionist Lindsay Moyer said in a statement.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act included provisions requiring calorie counts on the menus and menu boards of chains with 20 or more outlets. The Food and Drug Administration had scheduled the rules to go into effect on May 5 of this year. But less than a week before that deadline, lobbyists for pizza chains, supermarkets, and convenience stores convinced the Trump administration to delay the implementation date.

The decision prompted the CSPI to confer its first-ever Xtreme Putting Profits Before Public Health Award to Domino’s Pizza — the loudest industry voice opposing calorie labeling.

"Who cares about the obesity and diabetes epidemics, as long as the cash keeps rolling in to one of the nation’s premier purveyors of white flour and cheese?" the group said in a news release.

From the belt-busting Carnivore Pizzadilla to the caloric Flying Gorilla cocktail milkshake, here are some of the worst offenders of 2017.

Worst Cheese in a Leading Role: Buffalo Wild Wings' Cheese Curd Bacon Burger

A regular burger with deep fried cheese curds, bacon, American cheese, and something called “cool heat sauce,” Buffalo Wild Wings’ cheese curd bacon burger comes with a side of fries and contains 53 g of saturated fat and 1,950 calories, according to CSPI.

Worst Visceral Effects: Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo

A sort of create-your-own-adventure meal, Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo contains a little bit of everything. Diners choose three meat from a list that includes BBQ chicken breast, jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, battered Chicken Crispers, or a half rack of baby back ribs, plus four sides.  That's 2,440 calories, 41 g of saturated fat and a ridiculous 7,610 mg of sodium. While CSPI notes that this meal contains enough sodium for nearly four days, it is also possible that the sheer quantity of this meal could last for the same amount of time. 

Least Original Breakfast: IHOP Cheeseburger Omelette With Pankcakes

IHOP’s cheeseburger omelette is loaded with chunks of ground beef, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, and topped with ketchup, mustard and pickles and comes with a stack of buttermilk pancakes on the side. The meal contains just about an entire day's worth of calories (1,900) and added sugar (44 g), plus double the amount of saturated fat (45 g) and sodium (4,580 mg), and a whopping three-days worth of cholesterol (1,005 mg). As CSPI notes, “it’s the equivalent of eating four McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins drizzled with two tablespoons of syrup.”

In a statement, an IHOP spokesperson said that while it applauds the CSPI's efforts, "it's misleading to single out the highest meal combinations without informing people of the wide range of choices offered at our restaurants that meet a variety of dietary needs. Our commitment is to offer guests flavorful, inventive all-day breakfast dishes that can be enjoyed as they see fit - whether it's every day or occasionally depending on how they choose to live a balanced lifestyle."

Worst Adapted Pasta: The Cheesecake Factory Pasta Napoletana

The Cheesecake Factory, which has appeared on the list every year since it began in 2007, is on the list this time twice: for worst cocktail for its Flying Gorilla, and worst pasta dish for the Pasta Napoletana.

How do you turn a meat lover’s pizza into a pasta? Start with a mountain of spaghetti, then heap it with Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, bacon, butter and cream, of course. The Cheesecake Factory's Pasta Napoletana is like eating a Pizza Hut Meat Lover's Personal Pan Pizza, but with an additional cup of pasta and a cup of heavy cream,  the CSPI says.

"With more than 250 menu items, The Cheesecake Factory has always been about choices," said spokeswoman Aletha Rowe, in a statement to NBC. "Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories. Others want to share their dish - and we love it when guests share - that's a great sign that our portions are generous - and a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers for lunch the next day."

"For our calorie conscious guests we have our award-winning SkinnyLicious menu featuring nearly 50 delicious choices with 590 calories or less - which is actually larger than many restaurants entire menus," Rowe added.

Worst Original Appetizer: Dave & Buster’s Carnivore Pizzadilla

What’s the most calorie-dense portmanteau of a food item imaginable? The award goes to Dave & Buster’s Carnivore Pizzadilla. The 12-inch pizza quesadilla hybrid with cheese, pepperoni, and Italian sausage. The dish packs 67 grams of saturated fat and 4,700 mg of sodium, the equivalent of 100 slices of pepperoni layered atop two Taco Bell Cheese Quesadillas or half a stick of butter melted over three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese, the CSPI said.

Most Damage From Supporting Vegetable: Texas Roadhouse Prime Rib, Loaded Sweet Potato, Ceasar Salad

The Texas Roadhouse’s Loaded Sweet Potato was voted worst side at (770) and comes covered in marshmallows and caramel sauce. It's one of two sides diners can get with the 16 oz prime rib (1,570). Add a Caesar salad as your second side, and it’s like eating two of the chain’s 12 oz. New York strip steak dinners, according to the CSPI.

"We are proud of our made-from-scratch food and the vast menu options that we offer our guests," a Texas Roadhouse spokesperson said in a statement to NBC. "We also list calories on our menu and online, which allows our guests to choose what they feel is best for them."

Most Ridiculous Ending: Uno Pizzeria & Grill Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake

Truly both awesome in the literal sense of the word and insane in the colloquial one, a slice of Uno Pizzeria’s “Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake” weighs over a pound and contains an estimated 168g of sugar and 1,740 calories, according to CSPI. And while it may be appealing to hard core chocolate lovers, this confection is not for the faint of heart, literally.

NBC's Danielle Abreu contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Chilli's]]>