<![CDATA[NBC10 Boston - Health News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcboston.com/news/health http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC10 Boston https://www.nbcboston.comen-usTue, 22 May 2018 23:00:36 -0400Tue, 22 May 2018 23:00:36 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Most Docs Say Emergency Rooms Not Prepared for Disaster: Survey]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 21:20:06 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/emergency+waiting+room+composite.jpg

Ninety-three percent of doctors say their emergency departments are not fully prepared for a surge of patients in the event of a disaster, according to a new poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

The poll released Tuesday also revealed that less than 50 percent of emergency physicians believed they were even somewhat prepared for an emergency that require drastically increased patient capacity, whether due to a natural disaster or man-made event like a mass shooting.

The study polled more than 1,300 emergency physicians from both urban and suburban hospitals from April 25 to May 6. The survey had a response rate of 18.6 percent and a 2.7 percent margin of error. 

Only six percent of respondents answered that their emergency departments were fully prepared and, on the other end of the spectrum, 17 percent said their departments were not at all prepared.

"Emergency physicians are concerned that our system cannot even meet daily demands, let alone during a medical surge for a natural or man-made disaster," said ACEP President Dr. Paul Kivela in a release.

In another striking finding, 90 percent of about 250 doctors polled said there was a shortage or absence of critical medication in their emergency rooms and that over the last year those shortages have increased, according to the poll.

Dr. Karl Marzec, an emergency medicine specialist with Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, said he is often prompted to use a different medication, which may not be his first line of treatment, due to the shortage. 

"Over the last six months, there's been prolonged shortage of critical medications that we use on a daily basis, so we've been having to go to alternative medications," Marzec said. "Some of them work just as effectively but we are also in shortage of these backup alternative medications that we're using."

Marzec said pain medication, nausea treatments and saline — all of which help patients recover — are in short supply and that could slow down patient care in a mass casualty event. 

The respondents were also asked whether their hospital re-evaluated procedures in light of recent events. Thirty percent of physicians said they had not really or not at all re-evaluated, while 44 percent of emergency rooms did somewhat evaluate their procedures. 

Marzec said his hospitals do prepare by thinking about what type of emergencies could occur in San Diego County, like fires, earthquakes and shootings. 

"If there's large fires throughout the county, we'd be thinking, 'What are our burn facility capabilities,'" Marzec said. 

ACEP said a coordinated approach to preparedness, including a region-wide data management system and tracking of resources, is key to ensuring preparedness in a mass emergency.

The organization is working to get a bill approved by Congress that could increase oversight of medical resources, allowing for better tracking and ensuring supplies are there when needed, Marzec said. 



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Team Approach to Health Care Amid Doctor Shortage]]> Fri, 18 May 2018 19:08:32 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Team_Approach_to_Health_Care_Amid_Doctor_Shortage.jpg

There is a shortage of primary care physicians.

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<![CDATA[Doctors Save Woman Whose Heart Stopped During Labor]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 17:57:06 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Doctors_Save_Woman_Whose_Heart_Stopped_During_Labor.jpg

A mother was brought back to life just minutes after delivering her daughter.

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<![CDATA['Tully' and Postpartum Depression]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 17:29:10 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/_Tully__and_Postpartum_Depression.jpg

There is controversy surrounding the new movie "Tully," with critics calling it irresponsible.

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<![CDATA[Cape Cod School Closed After Norovirus Symptoms Detected ]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 23:25:20 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Centerville+Elementary+School+MA.jpg

It's been a rough couple of days for 8-year-old Julian Liddell.

"I threw up in class, so I had to go to the nurse," said the second grade student at Centerville Elementary School in Massachusetts.

His mom got a call from the school Wednesday.

"I thought it was a nervous stomach, so I told them to give him a Tums and send him back to class," said Jane Liddell. "And then she called back about 20 minutes to a half hour later and said, 'He's very sick, you're going to have to come get him.'"

Julian is not the only one who has been sick at the Cape Cod school.

The superintendent of the Barnstable School District says of the 262 students, 70 were sick Wednesday and 101 students were absent Thursday.

About a third of the 52 staff members have been out, as well, with gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting.

State health officials said in a statement, "While the organism has not yet been identified, the Department of Public Health is working with the school to perform testing on specimens at the state Public Health Laboratory. But the volume of symptoms and the onset of illness are consistent with readily transmittable organisms like norovirus. We are working with the school and local health officials on infection control; closure of the school through the weekend is likely to be beneficial to interrupting the chain of transmission."

So far, so good for Marcus Keith, a Kindergarten student at the school. He's feeling well and trying to stay healthy.

"Washing my hands after I go to the bathroom," said Keith. "Doing hand sanitizer before I eat lunch."

His mom is hoping for the best and constantly reminding him how to stay healthy.

"Hand-washing, good diet," said his mother Jocelyn Duffley. "I told Marcus just not to touch his face a lot."

Custodians have already done a deep clean, disinfecting the building. They'll do the same thing Friday.

It's hoped the school will reopen on Monday.



Photo Credit: David Curran]]>
<![CDATA[It's Safe to Eat Romaine Lettuce Again, CDC Says]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 10:26:39 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/950400894-Romaine-Lettuce.jpg

Romaine lettuce grown near Yuma, Arizona, is believed to have sickened 172 people in 32 states, killing one person, but it's unlikely to do so any more, NBC News reported.

Any romaine lettuce that's now in stores is very likely not from the Yuma region, meaning it's unlikely to carry the E. coli bacteria linked to the outbreak, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

More cases may still be reported but the lettuce has a 21-day shelf life and the lettuce's harvest season in Arizona ended in mid-April.

"The most recent illnesses reported to CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples’ homes," according to the CDC update.



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Opioid Crisis Makes More Organs Available: Researchers]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 08:36:35 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-724243309.jpg

America's opioid epidemic is making more organs available for lifesaving transplants, researchers reported Wednesday.

Close to 14 percent of people who donated an organ in 2016 — 1,029 donors — had died of a drug overdose, the team of experts reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. That compares to just 1 percent in 2000, or 59 donors.

And the transplants are safe. Organs donated by people who have died of drug overdoses are not dangerous because most traces of the drug are gone by the time the organ is removed, said Dr. Josef Stehlik of the University of Utah, who also signed the letter. The report added that there is "no significant difference in survival after transplantation."

"The drugs are metabolized and excreted from the donor body by the time the transplant would take place (in brain-dead donors body functions — such as kidney and liver function — continue during preparation for transplant)," Stehlik told NBC News by email.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra, File]]>
<![CDATA[Study: Autism Can Now be Detected in 3-Month-Old Babies]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 18:52:49 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Autism+crop+blue+2.jpg

Autism can now be diagnosed in babies as young as 3 months old, according to a Boston Children's Hospital study.

The study shows that electroencephalograms (EEGs), which measure the brain’s electrical activity, can accurately predict or rule out autism in babies.

"This probably has its roots in prenatal brain development. It isn't something that just happens postnatally," Dr. Charles Nelson, who runs the infant screening process at Boston Children's Hospital, said.

Dr. Nelson says the study's accuracy in predicting autism in babies at 9 months old is nearly 100 percent.

The methods used in the study are clinical, behavioral and the EEG, when a cap of electrical sensors is placed on the child's head to listen to the neurons interacting with each other.

The earlier autism is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment can be. Typically, many children aren't diagnosed until age two or older.

"What we are looking for are patterns of brain activity that look different, therefore seem to develop in a pathway that leads to a child to develop autism," Dr. Nelson said.

He says this screening method to diagnose autism may be available for pediatricians to use in three years.

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<![CDATA[Mother ODs on Heroin With 4-Year-Old in Back Seat]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 18:01:41 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Woman_ODs_in_Minivan_With_Child_in_Back_Seat.jpg

A mother was arrested Tuesday morning in Manchester, New Hampshire, after police say she overdosed behind the wheel of her minivan with her 4-year-old child in the backseat.

When officers responded to a 911 call, they found the woman and her son passed out in a car on Wilson Street. It was about 85 degrees outside, the windows were rolled up and police say the two had been in the car for more than an hour.

"It makes me so, so sad," said neighbor Hava Causevic who watched as officers pulled the young boy from the hot car. "The child was very, very weak."

At the same time, emergency responders used Narcan to save the boy's mother, who they say overdosed on heroin.

"When they pulled her out of the car, she had a syringe on her lap, as well as two bags of drugs — heroin and cocaine," explained Manchester Police Lt. Brian O'Keefe.

Now, 34-year-old Sara Donlon is charged with OUI and endangering the welfare of a child.

NBC10 Boston spoke with a family member who says Donlon is a mother of three boys. She is originally from Dracut, Massachusetts, but has been living in Maine for three years. They knew she'd been taking pain pills, but had no idea it had progressed to this.

For people who live in the Manchester neighborhood where Donlon was arrested, it's a story they hear all too often.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Solomon Sanchez.

Sanchez says he's a parent battling addiction himself.

"I understand what that feeling is like," Sanchez said. "It's a desperate, hopeless, awful feeling."

Patrick Kiley is also a dad and knows what it's like to be addicted to drugs.

"When you're that far into it, nothing can keep you clean, not even your children," Kiley said.

Both men are thankful to hear that Donlon and her little boy are OK. They're hopeful this will be the wakeup call she needs.

"I think she made a big mistake," Sanchez said. "I think if you took drugs out of the equation, I bet she's a wonderful mom."

Police say the little boy is with his father. Donlon posted bail and will be back in court in June.

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<![CDATA[More Kids, Especially Girls, Are Attempting Suicide: Study]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 11:01:21 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/NC_teensuicide0515_1500x845.jpg

More kids are attempting suicide or thinking about it, according to a new study out Wednesday.

The rate of children's hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts or activity doubled from about 2008 to 2015, researcher Dr. Gregory Plemmons of Vanderbilt University told NBC News.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at data from 49 children's hospitals. It found that girls made up nearly two-thirds of cases.

What's behind the uptick isn't clear to the researchers — "I don't have any one magic answer that explains why we're seeing this," Plemmons said.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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<![CDATA[School Stress May Be Cause of Rising Teen Suicide Attempts: Study]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 11:00:41 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/NC_teensuicide0515_1500x845.jpg

New research shows a growing number of young people are thinking about taking their own lives, and the study suggests school stress may play a role. Vanderbilt University researchers say the rates of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts have doubled since 2008, and the problem seems to spike in the fall.

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<![CDATA[Local Company Helps Stroke Victim Regain Use of Her Arm]]> Tue, 15 May 2018 20:32:27 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/188*120/jessica+peters.jpg

A bionic arm brace has been life changing for Jessica Peters, who suffered a stroke when she was 26 years old, just months before her wedding. The stroke left Peters unable to walk, talk or use her right arm, but Cambridge company Myomo has given her use of her arm back with their MyoPro brace. The extraordinary technology is helping Peters do ordinary things so she can continue to inspire. Susan Tran reports:

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<![CDATA[Mom's Seeming 'Pregnancy Brain' Turns Out to Be Melanoma]]> Mon, 14 May 2018 13:11:10 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/skin-cancer-death-today-main-1-180511_442778c524777a13304ae8eb78074cb1.focal-1000x500.jpg

When Danielle Dick was frustrated at being unable to find the right words, her obstetrician told her it was probably "pregnancy brain" brought on by the twins she was carrying.

But "Today" reported that, when one day she wasn't able to speak at all, an emergency MRI revealed three masses nestled in her brain, which turned out to be melanoma.

She died less than a year later at 32, having delivered the twins at 29 weeks to allow them time to develop and her to undergo more aggressive treatment. Now her husband is raising awareness about the severity of skin cancer.

"I hope that people realize the importance of going to the dermatologist regularly. That is what she wanted people to know as well," Tyler Dick said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Tyler Dick]]>
<![CDATA[Mass. Son Gives Gift of Life for Mother]]> Sun, 13 May 2018 23:45:40 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Gift_of_Life.jpg

A Boxford, Massachusetts, woman is celebrating Mother's Day this year thanks to a life-saving liver donation from her son. Kristy Lee reports.

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<![CDATA[Removing Doctors' Implicit Bias Could Save Black Mothers]]> Fri, 11 May 2018 10:40:56 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-694024327.jpg

Each year in the United States, about 700 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide. Some theorize the racial disparity in U.S. maternal mortality rates is at least partly caused by institutional racism in our society and health care system, conscious or unconscious.

For example, Alia McCants gave birth via cesarean section in 2014 and later hemorrhaged, NBC News reported. She recalled her obstetrician was dismissive of her desire to avoid a C-section. And most crucially, a doctor was short with her while explaining warning signs of hemorrhaging, leaving her not immediately able to recognize the danger she was in when the bleeding started.

One approach to combat this in hospitals and medical schools is training providers on implicit bias — the deeply ingrained stereotypes that everyone has.

Experts want to target discrimination and "microaggressions" health care workers may not realize they put out. Thirty-two percent of black women feel they’ve been discriminated against in physicians’ offices.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Changes Coming to Expiration Dates on Food Labels]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 18:23:46 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Changes_Coming_to_Expiration_Dates_on_Food_Labels.jpg

Billions of dollars' worth of unnecessary waste is in our trash because many toss food after seeing dates. But most dates on food are not actual expiration dates.

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<![CDATA[Tips on Finding the Best Sunscreen]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 18:00:52 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Tips_on_Finding_the_Best_Sunscreen.jpg

Summer is nearly here, but if you're going to be outside for more than a few minutes, you are urged to use sunscreen. But which one is right for you?

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<![CDATA[Lyme Disease Vaccine Developed in 1990s Remains Shelved]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 17:34:13 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Potential_to_Vaccinate_From_Lyme_Disease.jpg

A simple sweep for deer ticks this time of year can net a couple of them within a matter of seconds. But a defense against the illness they bring, produced and approved by the FDA two decades ago, is still unavailable to the public.

The most prominent infection in this part of the country is Lyme disease, which can have debilitating effects on people years after they become infected.

"My friend's husband has Lyme disease and he's been suffering for the last three years," said Isabelle Campanini of Middleborough, Massachusetts.

Sam Telford, professor of infectious disease and global health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, was one of two researchers who developed an FDA-approved Lyme disease vaccine called LYMErix back in the 1990s.

"I had no idea there was a vaccine for that," said Christian Peters of Middleborough.

"It angers me that we have a product sitting on a shelf that I worked on as a young scientist that could have prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of Lyme Disease in the interim," Telford said.

So why haven't most of us heard of it?

The version made for humans was shelved by the manufacturer three years after it was introduced after what Telford and other experts have said was an unfounded fear of a link to arthritis.

"That's the irony, is that the pet vaccine is exactly the same vaccine," said Telford. "It is the same anti-OspA vaccine strategy with the same protein and hundreds of millions of doses have been given to dogs with no safety issues."

Now, some are wondering if it's time to bring back the vaccine for dog's best friend, too.

"If they do have something out there that might protect people, it might be worth researching," said Campanini.

Telford says it would likely cost several million dollars to bring the LYMErix vaccine back. But experts say it would likely costs hundreds of millions to develop a new Lyme disease vaccine.

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<![CDATA[Nasal Spray Addiction Is Real and a Risk]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 11:57:03 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/NC_nasalspray0509_1500x845.jpg
Nasal sprays have been on the market for years and provide instant relief for millions of Americans who get nasal congestion from colds or allergies. But for some, that relief can turn into an addiction.

 

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<![CDATA[Northwest, Southwest Most Challenging for Spring Allergies]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 06:59:49 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/pollenGettyImages-168997935.jpg

The most challenging cities to live with spring allergies are mostly located in the northwest and southwest of the country, NBC News reported.

The finding comes in a recently study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which also says climate change is to blame for this year’s more intense pollen counts.

Among the study's rankings of the 18 most challenging cities to live with spring allergies are Louisville, Kentucky; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia. McAllen, Texas, is ranked as the most challenging city, while Youngstown, Ohio, is the least challenging. 

According to researchers, this year’s intensified allergy season may be the result of warmer, wetter winters.



Photo Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Suffering From Allergies? Here's Some Tips]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 23:28:07 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Suffering_From_Allergies__Here_s_Some_Tips.jpg

With the pollen count is at its highest in a long time, it's an especially bad time for allergy sufferers. Doctors say if you're battling symptoms, you should take an allergy skin test to find out what's triggering them, then develop a treatment plan that may include over-the-counter medications or a nasal spray. If symptoms are more serious, you might consider allergy shots.

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<![CDATA[What to Do When EpiPens Are in Short Supply]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 12:56:55 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_16238410648858.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration added EpiPens, generic epipens and Adrenaclick autoinjectors to its list of drug shortages. This doesn't mean people cannot get EpiPens or generics, the FDA said, but they may have to look harder or turn to a different brand, such as Auvi-Q by Kaleo. 

To stay prepared during the shortage, don't wait for an emergency and check your autoinjector supply now, NBC News reported. After checking the injectors and their expiration dates, search for alternative brands.

Also, it's important to understand how to use a different brand from the one you're used to. Each brand functions a little differently and the methods for injecting may vary. The stress of an allergic reaction is not the best time to learn how to use a new injector.

There's a number for patients to call if they have trouble finding the injectors. "Patients who are experiencing difficulty accessing product should contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance in locating alternative pharmacies," the FDA said.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File]]>
<![CDATA[EpiPen Shortage Declared by FDA]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 12:01:21 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/epipen3.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration says there is a shortage of EpiPen auto injectors, which are used to treat severe allergic reactions.

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<![CDATA[Teen Wakes From Coma as Parents Prepare to Donate His Organs]]> Tue, 08 May 2018 10:12:33 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/tdy_news_melvin_miracle_boy_180508_1920x1080.jpg

Just when his parents signed papers allowing his organs to be donated to other children, 13-year-old Trenton McKinley began to stir from his coma, "Today" reported.

The Alabama boy was injured in a go-carting accident two months ago, rushed to a hospital with seven skull fractures.

"They told me I'd be a vegetable," Trenton told "Today" after he had regained consciousness hours before his family was prepared to take him off life support.

Now the teenager is able to talk and walk: "I don't really seem like a vegetable, do I?"



Photo Credit: "Today"
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<![CDATA[Calorie Disclosure Rule Goes Into Effect for US Restaurants]]> Mon, 07 May 2018 16:22:42 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds-menu1.jpg

After years of delays, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced a law requiring restaurants and other food outlets with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts.

In anticipation of the law, big firms like McDonald's and Starbucks have already introduced the calorie information on their menus and menu boards.

For example, a Big Mac Meal at McDonald's with regular fries and a full-sugar coke contains 1,120 calories, and that information is now posted clearly in the chain's restaurant locations.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women are likely to need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day, and men from 2,000 to 3,000.

The food labeling rule had an original compliance date of 2015, but that was extended three times to help the industry understand and prepare for the rules.



Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/AP]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Expands Kratom Recall Over Salmonella Fears ]]> Mon, 07 May 2018 11:57:54 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/fda+logo.JPG

Badger Botanicals is recalling four different dietary supplements that may have been contaminated with salmonella, the Food and Drug Administration said on its website Friday.

The recall affects consumers who purchased Green Suma, Red Suma, Green Hulu 2 and Red Hulu 2 kratom dietary supplements in pouches of 250 grams through the Utah-based company’s website from Jan. 1 through April 12 of this year, the FDA said.

One possible illness has been reported in connection with the recall, according to the FDA. Salmonella symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping and fever, the agency noted.

The recall comes less than a month after the FDA announced that it was investigating a "multistate outbreak" of Salmonella linked to products that contain kratom — a plant native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papau New Guina, according to the agency's website. 

The agency hasn’t approved any uses for kratom, and has gotten "concerning reports about the safety of kratom, including deaths associated with its use," it said last month.

"The FDA advises consumers to avoid kratom in any form,” it said on its website. “In addition to the public health concerns raised by this outbreak, there is strong evidence that kratom affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine and appears to have properties that expose people who consume kratom to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence."

Anyone who bought the supplements included in the recall should stop using them. Unused supplements can be returned, the FDA said.

Consumers with questions can call Badger Botanicals at 1-385-325-0875.

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<![CDATA[Local Farms Offer Safe Alternative Amid E. Coli Concerns]]> Thu, 03 May 2018 21:43:17 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Protecting_Crops_From_E._Coli_Outbreak.jpg

There's nothing like a fresh salad, especially with warm, summer-like weather, but you might want to think twice before tossing romaine lettuce in.

The E. coli outbreak affecting romaine led to a death in California, and two E. coli cases have now been confirmed in Massachusetts.

At Hearth Pizzeria in Needham, lettuce is a staple. People being urged to stay away from chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, has restaurant owners concerned.

"We have young families that come into the restaurant all the time, and its very important for them and us to be safe," said Ivan Millan-Pulecio, the executive chef at Hearth.

Lucky for that restaurant, one of its big providers of lettuce in the summer is local — Volante Farms in Needham.

"When you hear 'romaine lettuce,' 'E. coli,' most people aren't going to dig any deeper. They are just going to stop eating romaine lettuce, which I totally understand," said Dave Volante, owner of Volante Farms.

Even though Volante has seen no signs of E. coli on their romaine, they saw sales drop.

"We pulled romaine from the shelves for a couple days to make sure everything was processed, and they found the location and the source, but also because when they see that on the news, they don't want to buy romaine, anyway," said Volante.

Volante is a smaller farm, with just 30 acres and 14 people picking lettuce. They say that's a plus when it comes to contamination, compared to factory farms like the ones at the center of the outbreak.

"That's the beauty of small farms. We can track that food — we have clean water — the risk of contamination so much smaller on a small farm," said Volante.

Health officials say romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, should be avoided. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says you can't always tell where your lettuce is from on the packaging, so if you're unsure, it's better to stay away from it altogether.

"Washing your greens is always a good idea, and it does reduce the burden of contamination, but it doesn't eliminate it," said Dr. Larry Madoff from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. "We know now that sometimes, the lettuce can actually grow around the bacteria and it can be impossible to remove it by washing."

Another good option is to "shop local."

"Know your farmer," said Volante. "I know chopped romaine is super popular right now because you can pour it out, put dressing on and you're done, but there's nothing like a fresh cut of a head of lettuce out of a field in a New England."

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<![CDATA[Natural Alternatives for Allergy Relief]]> Thu, 03 May 2018 20:12:45 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Natural_Alternatives_for_Allergy_Relief.jpg

You may not be enjoying the summer heat if you suffer from allergies. But if the over-the-counter drugs aren't working for you anymore, there could be other options.

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<![CDATA[DNA Tests From Home Could Detect Breast Cancer]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 18:16:26 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/DNA_Tests_at_Home.jpg

The FDA recently approved an at-home test that can screen for cancer, but experts are warning of its limits.

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<![CDATA[Unusual Cases of Rare Eye Cancer Puzzle Doctors in 2 States]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 09:02:19 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2018-05-02+at+9.00.36+AM.png

A rare eye cancer has cropped up in dozens of people in two Southern states, mainly women in their 20s and 30s, NBC News reported.

Doctors are puzzled by the ocular melanoma diagnoses in a group of graduates from Auburn University in Alabama and people from Huntersville, North Carolina.

The cancer is rare, usually affecting just six in a million people.

Doctors are so far reluctant to call it a cancer cluster, as no common thread or cause has been found, but researchers are studying the groups to see if there's a link between them.



Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Saving Money on Prescription Drugs]]> Tue, 01 May 2018 17:48:27 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Saving_Money_on_Prescription_Drugs.jpg

A recent Consumer Reports survey showed high drug costs are forcing some to cut back on groceries or delay their retirements. But there are options.

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