9 ways to handle holiday food when you have diabetes

If you have diabetes, managing your sugar intake is always a top priority. During the holiday season, however, when pies, cookies and indulgent recipes are everywhere you look, it can be even more challenging to keep your A1C levels steady. To help keep your weight and blood sugar levels under control during the holidays, try incorporating … Continue reading “9 ways to handle holiday food when you have diabetes”

If you have diabetes, managing your sugar intake is always a top priority. During the holiday season, however, when pies, cookies and indulgent recipes are everywhere you look, it can be even more challenging to keep your A1C levels steady. To help keep your weight and blood sugar levels under control during the holidays, try incorporating these nine strategies.

1. Plan ahead

Before you head off to a holiday event or restaurant, have a game plan for what you will eat. For example, you may choose to skip the foods you can get anytime (like crackers and cheese) and choose small portions of foods that are a real treat.

Or you may choose to load up on veggies, if available, to fill your plate and your stomach, and take the edge off your appetite. If you’re already hungry, enjoy a small healthy snack before you leave to help manage your blood sugar levels and make better food choices once you arrive. Something as simple as a handful of pistachios can take the edge off of your appetite. The American Diabetes Association calls nuts, like pistachios, a “diabetes superfood,” providing protein, fiber, and healthy fats — a trio that can help you feel fuller longer.

2. Keep your immune system healthy

To keep your immune system healthy, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, take a probiotic daily (if needed), stay hydrated, and get adequate sleep.

“Getting sick over the holidays is never fun, but it's even more troublesome when you're managing diabetes," May Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, founder of MilkandHoneyNutrition, and a Type 1 diabetic, told Fox News. "Stress hormones and medications (if needed) can cause blood sugars to run high, which can lead to headaches, nauseousness, and fatigue. And if you're already battling something like a cold or the flu, those symptoms are definitely not good."

3. Budget your sweets

Tis’ the season for cakes, cookies and pies. While managing sweets around the holidays can be challenging for anyone, if you have diabetes, keeping your sweet tooth in check is essential. Go for a healthier "sweet" option, like fruit, as much as possible.

According to the NIDDK, fruit is healthy for people to eat with diabetes, providing fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. For example, a holiday favorite is grapes, which are a natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols for heart, eye, and brain health.

In fact, a study looking at the impact of fruits on diabetes found that greater consumption of grapes was significantly associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. As always, portion sizes do matter and it’s a good idea to balance your carbs with protein and healthy fats to help stabilize your blood sugar. A handful of grapes with an ounce of nuts or cheese strikes a good balance.

4. Check your blood sugar frequently

When you have diabetes, it's imperative that you learn to effectively self-test your blood sugar to keep your glucose levels in check.

“Check your blood sugar 2-3 hours after a meal. For Type 1 diabetics, this is a good practice to ensure your blood sugars don't spend several hours out of range," Phipps said. "If your blood sugar is elevated this long after a meal, you should use your physician's recommendations for correcting a high blood sugar. Continued elevated blood sugars can also suppress your immune system, which could make you more prone to getting sick."

5. Add non-starchy vegetables to your recipes

Incorporating non-starchy vegetables (such as beets, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower) into your holiday recipes can significantly cut carbs and calories.

“Adding vegetables to all meals can help curb cravings and improve blood sugar control,” Misti Gueron, RDN, CDE, a Los Angeles-based nutrition expert and diabetes educator, told Fox News. Try adding cauliflower to mashed potatoes, broccoli to pasta, or bok choy to rice.

6. Put avocados to work

Avocados are a simple way to limit sugar intake, especially around the holidays, and can easily be incorporated into a diabetes-friendly diet. A good source of healthy fats and fiber, avocados are low in carbohydrates, which means they have little effect on blood sugar levels.

Researchers at Loma Linda University discovered that adding one-half of an avocado at lunch did not result in an increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed following a standard lunch. In addition, individuals experienced a 40 percent decrease in their desire to eat over the three-hour period following the meal than those who ate the same lunch without the avocado. Try using avocados as a fat substitute for unhealthy fats in your favorite desserts this holiday season.

7. Go easy on alcohol

Even moderate alcohol intake can cause a drop in blood glucose because alcohol blocks the production of glucose, so don’t drink on an empty stomach or when your blood glucose is low. The American Diabetes Association recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (such as vodka, whiskey, or gin). When possible, choose hydrating beverages instead of alcohol. “I often tell my clients to opt for sparkling water at parties to minimize sugar and calories and still enjoy the festivities,” Gueron said.

8. Maintain your schedule

While schedule changes and extra events are normal this time of year, as much as possible, try to keep to your routine. Even on days off from work and holiday gatherings, try to get up, eat, exercise, and take your diabetes and any other medications about the same time as you always do.

“Keep to your exercise schedule to help manage your blood sugar numbers to target, and keep to regular meal times for optimal blood sugar control and to minimize unnecessary temptations caused by being over hungry,” Gueron said.

9. Pack a cooler if you're traveling

Having nutritious foods available is key to sticking with a healthy meal plan, especially when you’re traveling. In addition to packing diabetic-friendly foods in a cooler, like hummus, nuts, or low-fat cottage cheese, Phipps, suggests keeping your insulin in a cooler too.

“Insulin starts to lose its effectiveness after about 30 days at room temperature. To ensure it is doing the job it is supposed to, make sure to store your insulin vials in a cooler or refrigerator if you're able. Ineffective (or less effective) insulin is never a good thing, but during a time of year when higher carbohydrate dishes are consumed more frequently, it's important to have an effective way to bring those blood sugars down,” Phipps said.

Patricia Bannan is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications.  She is the author of “Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies and No-Cook Food Fixes.” Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Cholera outbreak hits record 1 million

It had already become the world’s biggest cholera outbreak in recent history, but now the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen since April has hit 1 million, and at an incredibly fast speed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced the record Thursday on its official Twitter account Thursday, describing it as “shocking.””More than 80% of the population lack food, fuel, clean water and access to health care,” it said, pointing to some of the underlying causes of the disease.Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness that kills thousands of people worldwide each year. It is easily transmitted, by consuming food or water contaminated with the fecal bacteria Vibrio cholerae.Yemen’s civil war that began in 2015 has left millions of people on the brink of famine, and as clean drinking water becomes harder to find, cholera has spread through communities.Read MoreWhile the rate of cholera contraction is beginning to slow in Yemen, doctors are concerned the reprieve will be short, and fear the onset of diphtheria, another disease that can be deadly, especially for children. A rapid response by nongovernmental organizations has meant that, although 2,227 people so far have died, according to the WHO, the survival rate has been relatively high.Here’s how Yemen compares to other notable cholera outbreaks in recent decades: .m-infographic–1513874122560 { background: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2017/12/21/YemenCholeraV3_375.png) no-repeat 0 0 transparent; margin-bottom: 30px; padding-top: 724.1379310344828%; width: 100%; -moz-background-size: cover; -o-background-size: cover; -webkit-background-size: cover; background-size: cover; } @media (min-width: 640px) { .m-infographic–1513874122560{ background-image: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2017/12/21/YemenCholeraV3_780.png); padding-top: 478.3610755441741%; } } @media (min-width: 1120px) { .m-infographic–1513874122560{ background-image: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2017/12/21/YemenCholeraV3_930.png); padding-top: 400.859291084855%; } } <!–

Columbia University and its hospitals sued over doctor’s sexual abuse

Seventeen women are accusing Columbia University and the NewYork-Presbyterian hospital system of enabling a sexually abusive doctor over roughly 20 years of practice, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York Supreme Court. The doctor, Robert Hadden, pleaded guilty in 2016 to criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching, surrendering his medical license, according to court documents. He received no jail time.

Hadden is also named as a defendant in Tuesday’s suit. Columbia University and the NewYork-Presbyterian system are alleged to have “repeatedly and actively concealed, conspired and enabled the sexual exploitation and abuse being committed by defendant Robert Hadden” as early as 1993. Hadden, who court filings say is a resident of New Jersey, could not be reached for comment. His attorney in that case, Bill Vaslas, has not responded to multiple requests for comment. CNN was not able to identify Hadden’s legal representation in the new case. 93 more ex-students accuse former USC gynecologist of sexual misconduct, attorney saysAccording to the suit, Hadden, who worked as an obstetrician at the defendants’ medical facilities, repeatedly abused women, subjecting them to medically unnecessary vaginal and anal penetration, often without gloves; “serial, prolonged, and medically inappropriate breast examinations” and questions about their sexual activity, including whether their sexual partner was able to “satisfy them.”

    Of the 17 plaintiffs, 16 are anonymous. One accuser, “Jane Doe #16” in court documents, was delivered by Hadden as a baby, and was in high school when she became a patient of his. According to the filing, Hadden directed Jane Doe #16, a minor at the time, to “get on all fours” during her initial visit, before proceeding to “rub both of his ungloved hands up and down her body,” groping her, going on to “spread her buttocks,” and conduct a vaginal examination.Hadden is also accused of licking patients’ vaginas on multiple occasions during purported medical exams. “This guy had no bottom,” Anthony DiPietro, attorney for the accusers, told CNN Thursday. Doctor accused of sexually abusing children for years — hospital says it became aware after he retiredRead MoreMarissa Hoechstetter, the only named plaintiff in the case, told CNN that after Hadden assaulted her during a May 2012 exam, she never returned to see him. Hoechstetter saw Hadden from 2009-2012. He was her doctor during and immediately after her pregnancy with twin daughters. “It’s so hard to ever admit to yourself that it happened,” she said.Court records say Hadden made sexual comments to Hoechstetter during his time as her doctor. During her postpartum hospital stay, the suit alleges, Hadden came to her bedside, exposed her breasts, and said, “You look like a porn star.” Hadden, along with Columbia University and its associated medical facilities, were also the defendants in a 2017 civil suit. The 2017 suit was filed by four unnamed plaintiffs accusing Hadden of sexual abuse and the university of failing to protect patients from it. That case is ongoing. According to the suit filed Tuesday, a nurse who worked with Hadden at Columbia University’s Audubon Clinic walked in on an instance of abuse in the early 1990s, and reported it. The complaint says that the nurse was told to “keep quiet,” and “stay with your doctor” and not to “let him get himself in trouble.” DiPietro told CNN that the goal of Tuesday’s suit was to hold larger institutions accountable.Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    “These super-predators can’t exist without the support of an institution around them,” he said.

      Hoechstetter agreed. “I think the institutions that employ and protect these people have a responsibility,” she said. “This is a hospital. This is where people go for care.”A NewYork-Presbyterian spokesperson declined to comment for this story. Columbia University said in a statement, “the allegations leading to Robert Hadden’s 2016 guilty plea and the accusations contained in this recent complaint are abhorrent. Mr. Hadden has not practiced medicine at Columbia since 2012.” The university added that though it “cannot comment on matters in litigation, we stand with medical professionals everywhere in condemning this appalling behavior.”

Football player with history of concussions became pioneer on NASCAR’s pit road

On a warm, sunny November day, the ISM raceway near Phoenix is literally roaring with action. The NASCAR Cup Series is heading into its second-to-last race of the year, and drivers are speeding around the track for the final practice of the day.

This is what NASCAR pit crew veteran Dion Williams calls the “calm storm,” the one gearing everyone up for race day. “When you hear the cars prior to the race, testing and tuning up, it’s all a part of the process of getting you ready for that green flag.”

    The pre-race anticipation brings Williams back to his football-playing days.”When the green flag drops and when a whistle is blown for the first quarter, that’s where the butterflies in the stomach come in. As soon as you stand on the wall, as part of the pit crew, you are nervous.”Read MoreWilliams spent 13 years as a pit crew member, carrying tires and being a jackman for NASCAR drivers like Jeff Gordon and Chase Elliott. Though football and NASCAR are two very different sports, Williams credits a lot of his success on the track to his days on the gridiron.”You get used to handling pressure and performing well at a high level with thousands of people watching you. You have to be very athletic for these positions.”But even Williams didn’t realize that until he was invited for his first tryout. Dion Williams playing for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in October 2002.

    Sidelined by concussions

    The high school and college football player says he had “no idea” about NASCAR and did not grow up a fan of the sport. The unlikely switch came after a brutal hit in football.”It was a special teams play. I was running full speed down the field and got knocked out again. I was dizzy. I had blurred vision. I knew I was done as a football player after that hit.” Williams, a self-proclaimed “headbuster,” played linebacker at Wake Forest. He was involved in a lot of violent collisions and had a history of concussions. “I imposed my will on a lot of players. Over my 10 years playing football, I’ve had six or seven concussions.”Williams even recalls times when he got his “bell rung” but wouldn’t alert anyone so he could stay in the game. “There were times when you look up and see the field spin. The ground is turning. You did not want to come out. You wanted to fight through it. That was just the way it was. It just wasn’t treated the same as it is now.”After suffering through his final knockout blow and realizing that the hits would only get harder and rougher in the NFL, Williams was ready to hang up his cleats. It wasn’t until a NASCAR recruiter approached him about trying out as a pit crew member that Williams realized his dreams of becoming a professional athlete might still be possible.Dion Williams has worked in the pit crew for NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and Jeff Gordon.

    A pioneer on pit road

    Combining his size, strength and speed with his ability to perform under pressure, Williams quickly found his career in NASCAR on the fast track. Within six months, he was pitting cars in the top level of the sport. As he rose through the ranks, he found himself taking on a new role in the sport: trailblazer.”In 2005, when I first went over the wall, being one of the few African-Americans at the racetrack, I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until it was brought to my attention, ‘There’s never been an African-American to pit a car at Hendrick Motorsports’ or ‘there’s never been an African-American to win in the top series of NASCAR.’ That’s when it clicked to me that I’m doing something pretty cool.”Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    Having now retired from the pit, Williams is looking to “spread the gospel” of NASCAR. He’s a national recruiter for pit crew development in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. He travels the country looking for college athletes with the skill sets that could transition to NASCAR.”Running backs and wide receivers have good hand-eye coordination and good flexibility. They make very good tire changers. An average NFL career is about three years. You can easily go 10-plus in NASCAR competing at the highest level.”

      After years of changing tires, he’s now changing the sport by exposing it to more people like himself. “I could have been the first in a lot, but I definitely won’t be the last.”

Most US adults have not gotten a flu shot for this mild season

Most US adults have not gotten a flu shot this season, according to a new survey from NORC, a research organization at the University of Chicago.

As of mid-November, only 43% of surveyed people 18 or older said they had gotten vaccinated against the flu, according to NORC, which has conducted the National Immunization Survey for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2005. Another 14% who remain unvaccinated claim that they will get the shot, the survey indicates. Even if they do as they intend, that leaves considerably more than a third of adults (41%) who have not — and will not — get a flu shot, according to NORC. (The remaining 2% either did not answer or responded, “I don’t know.”)

    The big one is coming, and it's going to be a flu pandemicThe report comes early in what has been a mild season. Thirty-eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico experienced minimal flu activity for the week ending December 1, while New York City and 10 states experienced low or moderate activity, according to Friday’s weekly flu report from the CDC. Only two states, Georgia and Louisiana, experienced high activity during the week.The mild season is a dramatic shift from the previous flu season, which was the deadliest in decades, with more than 80,000 flu-related deaths in the United States. Read More

    ‘It’s still very, very early’

    “We cannot claim that the 43% of vaccinated people is the reason for the mild flu season so far,” said Richard Webby, a flu scientist and adviser to the World Health Organization on recommendations for the composition of flu vaccines. Webby, who was not involved in the NORC survey, said vaccination rates are similar to those of years in which flu activity has been widespread and illness severe for many people.How the flu turns deadly”We’ve got to keep in mind that it’s still very, very early, and even at this time last year, there hadn’t been a huge amount of activity either,” said Webby, a member of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases.No children died as a result of the flu during the week ended December 1, though five children died earlier this season, the CDC reported. Among adults, flu deaths are estimated based on pneumonia and other illnesses related to flu. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu was below the usual threshold for this time of year, the CDC said. Flu season deaths top 80,000 last year, CDC says Among those who visited a doctor’s office, just 2.2% said the reason for their visit was flu-like illness; this is considered a normal rate for this time of year, according to the CDC. The report also showed a total of 383 hospitalizations reported since October 1, with slightly more than 1 flu-related hospitalization for every 100,000 people during the week ended December 1. The highest rates of hospitalization were among adults 65 or older and children younger than 4; both age groups saw slightly more than 3 flu-related hospitalizations per 100,000 people.Webby said a “slightly reassuring signal” this year is that the H1N1 strain is the dominant strain of flu circulating. “That’s the strain that’s a little bit better match to our vaccine,” he said. “It tends not to have quite the same impact that the H3N2 season does, and that’s what we had last year.” Influenza B strain viruses, which have the same symptoms as A-strain viruses, are also circulating this season as usual, the CDC said.There were 1,105 new laboratory-confirmed cases during the week ending December 1, bringing the season total to 6,170, the CDC calculated. These numbers do not include all people infected with the flu, because many people do not seek medical help when they are sick and so go uncounted.

    Why you should consider getting a flu shot

    The most important response to seasonal flu, according to the CDC, is for everyone 6 months or older to get vaccinated. As long as flu is circulating in the area where you live, it is not too late to get vaccinated. Flu vaccine, even when just 20% effective, saves tens of thousands of livesLooking at the new NORC report, Webby worries about “the quarter of people [age] 60-plus that are not getting vaccinated.” Adults over 65, children under 2 and individuals with medical conditions not only should get a flu shot, they should get a pneumococcal vaccination to prevent pneumonia, according to the CDC. Flu is more likely to be severe or even deadly in these groups than among healthy adults.About half the people in the 18- to-44 age group also haven’t gotten a flu shot, noted Webby, who believes that “it’s probably an uphill battle” trying to increase these vaccination rates. After all, flu infections don’t usually cause severe illness in this age group. Flu vaccine just 36% effective this season, CDC reports”We’re struggling a little bit by the perception that flu is not really a deadly disease, which of course we know it is,” he said. “Perhaps the healthy adults are at a fairly small risk of getting a very very severe flu infection, but if they do get infected, they’re potentially still infecting others. And how many people in that age group have young kids or have elderly parents?” Young children and the elderly are at higher risk of getting severe illness, Webby said: “So by getting vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself, but also, through herd immunity, you’re protecting others.”Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    The overall effectiveness of last year’s flu shot was estimated to be 40%, meaning vaccination reduced an individual’s risk of seeking medical care by 40%, according to the CDC. Among children, effectiveness rates were higher: Children who got the shot were 59% seek medical care for the virus, the CDC reported this year.Though the vaccine is imperfect, it lessens the severity and duration of symptoms, and those who get flu after receiving a vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and less likely to die.

      Webby added that the vaccine is also safe. Though some people report a sore arm after getting the shot, the overwhelming majority experience no extreme side effects.”The vaccine has been given to many people every year with a very good safety record,” he said.

In space first, China launches lunar rover to far side of the moon

China is poised to become the first country in the world to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step closer to its goal of becoming a space superpower.

The Chang’e 4 lunar mission lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province during the early morning hours, confirmed by Twitter account of the country’s state media. The lander will conduct the first lunar low-frequency radio astronomy experiment, observe whether plants will grow in the low-gravity environment on the moon and explore whether there is water or other resources at the poles.

    Another function of the mission is to study the interaction between solar winds and the moon surface using a new rover. “Since the far side of the moon is shielded from electromagnetic interference from the Earth, it’s an ideal place to research the space environment and solar bursts, and the probe can ‘listen’ to the deeper reaches of the cosmos,” said Tongjie Liu, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center for the China National Space Administration.Read MoreThe Xichang Satellite Launch CenterBecause the far side of the moon is free from interference from radio frequencies, the mission requires a relay satellite to transmit signals that was launched into place this year. The Chang’e 4 rover is 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and about 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide and tall, with two foldable solar panels and six wheels.”China is anxious to get into the record books with its space achievements,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the US Naval War College and an expert on China’s space program.”It is highly likely that with the success of Chang’e — and the concurrent success of the human spaceflight Shenzhou program — the two programs will eventually be combined toward a Chinese human spaceflight program to the Moon,” she added. “Odds of the next voice transmission from the Moon being in Mandarin are high.”China’s last lunar rover — named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit — ceased operation in August 2016 after 972 days of service on the moon’s surface as part of the Chang’e 3 mission. China was only the third nation to carry out a lunar landing, after the United States and Russia.The overall design of is inherited from Jade Rabbit, according to the chief designer of China’s lunar probe program.”We worked hard to improve its reliability, conducting thousands of experiments to ensure its long-term operation, especially taking into consideration rocks, ravines and frictions on the Moon,” Wu Weiren told state broadcaster CCTV in August.


      Pence: New military branch dubbed ‘Space Force’ by 2020

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      Pence: New military branch dubbed ‘Space Force’ by 2020 02:55Beijing plans to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out orbital and rover exploration, followed by a mission that would include collection of surface samples from the Red Planet.China is also aiming to have a fully operational permanent space station by 2022, as the future of the International Space Station remains in doubt due to uncertain funding and complicated politics.In comparison, despite its recent success in sending a robotic lander to Mars, the US space agency NASA has faced years of budgetary constraints. China launches satellite as part of mission to explore moon's dark sideAlthough the Chinese government has long stressed its “peaceful motives” in space exploration, Washington increasingly views China — along with Russia — as a potential threat, accusing Beijing of working to bring new weapons into space and prompting President Donald Trump to announce the establishment of a US Space Force by 2020.The US Congress has barred NASA from working with China due to national security concerns.

        “A high percentage of space technology is (civilian-military) dual use,” Johnson-Freese said. “The US sees pretty much everything China does in space — including things the US has done in space — as threatening.”She suggested that combining military preparedness with diplomatic efforts would best deter perceived threats in space from all sides but added that “unfortunately, the US has not shown interest in diplomatic leadership regarding space security.”

Fatal brain-eating amoeba may have come from woman’s neti pot

A Seattle woman rinsed her sinuses with tap water. A year later, she died of a brain-eating amoeba.

Her case is reported this week in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.The 69-year-old, whose name was not given, had a lingering sinus infection. For a month, she tried to get rid of it using a neti pot with tap water instead of using sterile water, as is recommended.

    Neti pots are used to pour saline into one nostril and out of the other to irrigate the sinuses, usually to fight allergies or infections. According to the doctors who treated the woman, the non-sterile water that she used it thought to have contained Balamuthia mandrillaris, an amoeba that over the course of weeks to months can cause a very rare and almost always fatal infection in the brain.

    Fascinating, mysterious, and medically amazing case files. This series is the most interesting education into the world of medicine and disease and the human body.

    Read MoreOnce in her body, the amoeba slowly went about its deadly work.First, she developed a raised, red sore on the bridge of her nose. Doctors thought it was a rash and prescribed an antibiotic ointment, but that provided no relief. Over the course of a year, dermatologists hunted for a diagnosis. Then, the left side of the woman’s body started shaking. She’d experienced a seizure that weakened her left arm. A CT scan showed an abnormal lesion in her brain that indicated she might have a tumor, so doctors sent a sample of tissue for testing.Over the next several days, additional scans revealed that whatever was happening in her brain was getting worse. The mass was growing, and new lesions were starting to show up.Study: Neti pots really do help chronic sinusitisFinally, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, where the woman was being treated, opened her skull to examine her brain and found that it was infected with amoebae.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rushed the anti-amoeba drug miltefosine to Seattle to try to save the woman’s life, but she fell into a coma and died.According to the CDC, most cases of Balamuthia mandrillaris aren’t diagnosed until immediately before death or after death, so doctors don’t have a lot of experience treating the amoeba and know little about how a person becomes infected.The amoeba was discovered in 1986. Since 1993, the CDC says, there have been at least 70 cases in the United States.As in the Seattle woman’s case, the infections are “almost uniformly fatal,” with a death rate of more than 89%, according to the doctors who treated her and the CDC.The amoeba is similar to Naegleria fowleri, which has been the culprit in several high-profile cases.In 2011, Louisiana health officials warned residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who were exposed to Naegleria fowleri while flushing their nasal passages. An official urged users to fill the pots only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water, and to rinse and dry them after each use.Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

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    “Improper nasal irrigation has been reported as a method of infection for the comparably insidious amoeba,” the doctors say in the research paper about the Seattle woman. “This precedent led us to suspect the same route of entry for the … amoeba in our case.”

      The woman’s doctors say they weren’t able to definitely link the infection to her neti pot, as the water supply to her home was not tested for the amoeba. They hope her case will let other doctors know to consider an amoeba infection if a patient gets a sore or rash on the nose after rinsing their sinuses.Kristen Maki, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health, said in an email that “Large municipal water supplies … have robust source water protection programs” and treatment programs, and she noted that “Well protected groundwater supplies are logically expected to be free of any such large amoeba” such as Balamuthia.

Man whose wife died 6 days after giving birth now on mission to educate parents on maternal mortality

Tara Hansen was 29-years-old when she gave birth to her son Brandon. Her pregnancy had been a healthy one without any complications, according to her husband, Ryan Hansen.

“We made all the doctor's appointments, read all the books, did the classes, everything you expect to do during your first pregnancy,” Ryan told Fox News. “She gave birth and we had a healthy baby.”

But nearly 36-hours later, and now back at home, Tara started to experience flu-like symptoms, coupled with extreme exhaustion and fainting spells.

“She knew she didn't feel well. She knew her body shouldn't be as exhausted as she felt. She had pain in the delivery area and things of that nature and that kind of continued to the point where she just really knew that something was wrong and we needed to alert our physicians,” Hansen said.

Tara had contracted an infection and died six days after she gave birth.

She is one of the estimated 700 women who die in the U.S. from pregnancy or delivery complications a year.

Since his wife’s death, Hansen has created The Tara Hansen Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement of maternal health awareness.

60 percent of the maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable.

— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

“Having the realization that this wasn’t just her, just wasn’t our family, that this is an event that’s happening all across the country to different women in different places from different economic statuses. It’s alarming how many women die each year,” he said. “I wanted to do something to educate parents.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60 percent of the maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable.

“Women in America back in 1990 had a better chance of surviving childbirth than her daughter does today,” Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, a physician and executive director for Merck for Mothers, a program that's run by the pharmaceutical company Merck to reduce the number of maternal mortalities throughout the world.


Etiebet said there are several reasons why the U.S continues to see maternal death rates rise. One being that there is limited data on maternal deaths, so many people don’t recognize it as a problem.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. is the only highly-developed country where deaths due to pregnancy or childbirth are increasing.

“A second reason is because more and more women are actually pregnant at the same time that they have other chronic conditions, whether it be diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity all things that increase their risk for maternal death,” Etiebet said.

Etiebet also said that doctors often don’t listen to their patients' concerns as much as they should.

“As a community, we don’t listen to women, we don’t respond to what they’re telling us and don’t integrate their needs,” Etiebet said. “We’re going to miss the warning signs and our ability to take care of women appropriately and save their lives.”

Hansen can attest to the issue of patients perhaps being overlooked by some physicians.

“I do wonder if the routine nature and the frequency of childbirth that maybe we became complacent,” he said. “Drawing on my experience it felt like you’re here, you had your baby and now you have X amount of days here and you go home, but this is a major medical event and I think to some extent maybe that was forgotten.”

Tara Hansen passed away six days after giving birth to her first child, Brandon Ryan.

To help increase patient awareness, Hansen created an initiative called “Stop, Look, Listen” with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, that he says will help educate parents and families to be better advocates for their own care.

“We ask physicians to stop and remove themselves from what they're doing and focus on me. I need them to look at the area at hand and I need them to listen to all of my concerns,” he said.

Fox News’ Dr. Manny Alvarez said any woman can have complications after the birth of baby. Here are three of the most common complications tied with maternal morbidity and the symptoms everyone preparing for a new baby should know:

Postpartum hemorrhage:

Postpartum hemorrhage, also known as PPH is when a woman develops heavy bleeding after giving birth. It typically occurs within 1 day of giving birth, but may happen up to 12 weeks after having a baby.

Symptoms can include: severe bleeding, decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and a decrease in the red blood cell count.

“If you're soaking your pad more than one every hour or if you have a blood clot larger than the size of an egg, that's a sign that you need to seek immediate medical attention,” Dr. Etiebet said.

Postpartum preeclampsia:

Postpartum preeclampsia is the combination of high blood pressure and signs that some of the organs, like her kidneys and liver may not be working correctly. It’s often associated with swelling in the feet, legs and hands. Other symptoms may include severe headaches, changes in vision and nausea or dizziness.

Most cases of postpartum preeclampsia develop within 48 hours of childbirth, but it can sometimes develop up to six weeks or later after childbirth, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pulmonary embolism:

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. The blockage is normally caused by a blood clot that forms in the legs or lungs. Some studies suggest PE causes 20 percent of maternal deaths. Symptoms can include: shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and leg pain or swelling.

Lindsay Carlton is a Senior video producer and writer for Fox Digital Originals. Follow her on Twitter @LCCARLTON

Mom with cancer whose search for bone marrow donor went viral gives birth to twins

A California mother who was diagnosed with leukemia while pregnant with twins gave birth to a boy and girl on Thursday, named Rainy and Ryan. Susie Rabaca, whose search for a bone marrow donor went viral last month, is reported to be doing well, according to Fox LA.

Doctors had planned for the bone marrow transplant to occur shortly after the twins’ arrival, but it was not immediately clear if a date had been set.


Rabaca’s plea for help inspired approximately 40,000 people to register with the National Marrow Donor Program after none of her family members were found to be a donor match.

The 36-year-old, who has three other children, said finding her match was “everything.”

“For me to find one and for it to be 10 out of 10 at that, is amazing,” she previously told ABC 7. “Nothing better in the world right now.”


The Carson, Calif. woman said she wanted to find a donor so that she could live for her children. Due to her mixed heritage, finding a perfect donor match proved difficult.

“Only 3 percent of our registry is mixed ethnicity and so it can be really difficult to find a matching donor,” Julie Kornike, of BeTheMatch.org, previously told ABC 7. “The fact that we have identified a potential match for her is really exciting.”

Should you run outside in winter?

When the temperature dips below freezing and the ground becomes a sheet of ice, the bitter cold wind drives many athletes and weekend warriors indoors.

But there are plenty of others who see the falling snow as a cue to put on their running shoes and head outside for some exercise. In fact, winter running has become a popular activity recently for people who compete in year round races, or for those looking to work off the added holiday pounds.

In fact, many companies that specialize in outdoor activities now sell shoes specifically designed for inclement conditions, with features like tapered bottoms to better grip icy ground and thick water proof shells designed to keep feet warm and dry.


But what would possess someone to run outside in the cold when they could stay indoors and run on a treadmill?

“Ugh, not the treadmill,” Joe McAntosh, a 56-year-old Michigan native who’d rather bundle up than run inside, said. “I feel like a robot when I use that thing.”

McAntosh trains outside all winter, no matter what how low the temperature dips, and claims to love it.

"The cooler air is good for my muscles,” he said. “It keeps them from swelling up like they do in the summer.”

Melissa Polivka, who has already completed marathons in 30 states in her quest to hit 50, said she doesn’t take the season off simply because the weather is cold.

“The treadmill is so boring and hard on my legs,” Polivka, who sometimes runs with toe warmers in her shoes, told Fox News. “If it’s really bad, I put duct tape around the tops of my shoes to keep the snow out."

But, just because someone prefers to run in the cold than hit the treadmill, from a medical standpoint does that mean they really should?


"For the most part, if you're healthy enough to run other times of the year and not suffering from cardiac issues or injuries, it's usually fine," Dr. Aneesh Garg, of Chicago Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, told Fox News. "Although cold weather can be an increased trigger for asthma sufferers."

Some of the preparations Garg recommends include "making sure to wear proper running clothes that keep your muscles warm.  Use skin protection, such as Vaseline, to prevent wind burn.  And wear sunscreen" because even though its winter, your skin can still burn.

Hydration is also key.

"Often athletes don't feel thirsty when they run in the winter because of the cold but you can still get dehydrated," Garg said.

Garg, who is a team physician for USA Hockey, said, however, that there is a time when people should not be running outdoors.

"If the ground is icy, if there's black ice, you can slip and fall, causing secondary injuries," he said.

Running coach Jenny Hadfield knows about cold weather exertion.  Hadfield, an experienced runner and owner of CoachJenny.com, leads groups for marathons in Alaska and Antarctica, where the temperature can drop to a bone-chilling -40 degrees.

But being out in such frigid conditions without getting numb hands and chapped skin takes planning, Hadfield said. She suggests spending extra time warming up.

“Take at least 5 minutes to walk briskly before you start to run” she said. “It may take 10-15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo.”

She suggests shortening your stride and keeping your feet lower to the ground to reduce the risk of slipping, falling or straining muscles. She also recommends to avoid overdoing it with cold gear.

“Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don’t need many layers in most winter conditions,” Hadfield said.

Figuring out just the right wardrobe for Chicago winters was a challenge at first for Aparna Thakur, who grew up in New Delhi, India, where temperatures easily climb to over 100 degrees at times.

Now Thakur can be found hitting the frozen pavement at the crack of dawn.

“I find it magical to see all the ice formations on the lake,” she said.

For others, hitting the pavement while others have headed indoors can be relaxing.

“It’s so peaceful, it’s my form of meditation” adds McAntosh.

Ruth Ravve joined the Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1996 and currently serves as a Chicago-based producer.