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aprilante/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A so-called Sober Curious movement that's been gaining in popularity focuses on eliminating alcohol for health, sleep and wellness reasons, and its founder encourages people to participate by asking them to imagine "what it's like to live hangover free."

Ruby Warrington, author of the book Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, told ABC News' Good Morning America that she believes sobriety "can be a lifestyle choice for anybody."

"We don't have to drink. There's nothing that says, as an adult being, you have to consume alcohol," she added. "And yet, our society doesn't really lead us to believe that. In fact, it's very much the norm to drink."

Her book encourages readers to be more mindful about consuming alcohol.

She also touched on the stigma of saying you're "sober," comparing it to "if you were telling them you weren't eating gluten, or you were taking a break from dairy, they wouldn't bat an eyelid."

"But if you tell them you're not drinking, it can bring up all these issues," she said, adding that our "society is on alcohol as a social lubricant."

Listen Bar in New York City is a pop-up watering hole that caters specifically to the growing Sober Curious movement. All of the drinks -- from the creative cocktails to the shots -- are non-alcoholic.

The bar aims to be a place where people looking for a night out can go without feeling the social pressure to drink.

A 2017 survey found that a third of people wanted to cut back on their alcohol consumption -- some because of regret or embarrassment -- and many others for health reasons.

There's even a new app called "Sober Grind" which helps connect you with people who chose not to drink.

ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who did her own variant of Sober Curious when she gave up alcohol for a month for wellness reasons during her Dry January challenge, came up with five "yes" or "no" questions she encourages you to ask yourself about alcohol -- especially keeping track of how many times you answer "yes."

Question 1: Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

Question 2: Have you gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt?

Question 3: Have you had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want?

Question 4: Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious?

Question 5: Do you spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or getting over other after-effects?

If you answered "yes" to one or two of those questions, it could be a reason for concern, depending on your particular symptoms and their severity.

The earlier questions tend to be early signs of potential trouble, whereas the latter questions indicate that you have moved further down a risky path.

The questions are based on symptoms for alcohol use disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The DSM is the most commonly used system in the United States for diagnosing mental health disorders.

If you answered "yes" to some of the questions or are simply interested in the Sober Curious movement, Ashton shared some tips to help you stay on track.

First, keep a calendar so you can keep track of how many nights a week you drink. Second, recruit some friends and hold each other accountable to feel less pressure to consume alcohol. Finally, be curious.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Hailshadow/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New York City followed through on its threat to fine people who refused to get measles vaccines on Thursday.

The city's health department issued civil summons to three people a week after issuing an emergency order requiring anyone 6 months or older who lived in four specific zip codes -- all in Brooklyn -- to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine within 48 hours. Each person will be on the hook for a $1,000 fine.

The zip codes -- 11205 in Clinton Hill, 11206 in Bushwick and 11211 and 11249 in Williamsburg -- are all in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities.

"Since the Emergency Order took effect, the Health Department carefully investigated cases with the help of its disease detectives," the health department said in a press release. "Many of the people who were contacts of individuals with measles had proof of vaccination, however the Health Department identified three children who were exposed to the measles but still unvaccinated as of April 12."

In addition to the three people fined for being unvaccinated, the city also closed four additional schools for failure to provide vaccination and attendance records, the city said.

The health department had ordered United Talmudical Academy, a yeshiva preschool, closed on Tuesday, but it has now been allowed to reopen.

As of Thursday, there had been 359 measles cases in Queens and Brooklyn since the beginning of the outbreak last October, including 74 since the emergency order was issued on April 9.

"The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring," according to the health department. "Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel."

A lawsuit filed by five unnamed parents asking for the emergency order -- and mandatory vaccinations -- to be vacated "as arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law" was also shot down on Thursday.

"The pivotal question posed for this court's determination is whether Respondent Commissioner has a rational, non-pretextual basis for declaring a public health emergency and issuing the attendant orders challenged herein," Kings County Judge Lawrence Knipel wrote in his decision.

The judge found the emergency declaration to be well-founded, and followed up, writing, "A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire. Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion."

Measles can cause fever, runny nose, diarrhea and pneumonia. Severe cases can even result in death, especially in infants, pregnant women, children and people with compromised immune systems.

The vaccine is considered "very safe" and effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also debunks any concerns -- often held by so-called anti-vaxxers -- that the vaccine could cause autism.

"Vaccine safety experts, including experts at CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for increases in the number of children with autism," the CDC states on its website.

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JasonDoiy/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Since 2010, 23andMe has charged people to test themselves for potentially harmful gene mutations, such as those in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which, when mutated, can dramatically increase a person’s risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.

But while 23andMe can screen for the three most well-known BRCA mutations, the test is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to test for the remaining 1,000-plus BRCA mutations. This presents a problem: As many as 94 percent of people carrying a BRCA mutation may receive a false-negative if they take the stripped-down test 23andMe offers, according to a recent study.

Dr. Pamela Munster, an oncologist and director of the Center for BRCA Research at UC San Francisco Medical Center, is one person who received one of these false-negatives. Two years after taking the 23andMe test in 2010, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I never thought I would be at high risk for a BRCA mutation,” Munster told ABC News, noting that even if she had been concerned about carrying a BRCA mutation, she would not have qualified for screening. “I didn’t meet any criteria that made me high risk.”

23andMe has introduced warning labels since Munster took the genetic test. A spokesperson for the company told ABC News that test results clearly warn customers that these "1,000-plus alleles or variants [are] not captured, so [the] panel does not rule out a potentially high-risk mutation.”

The spokesperson also pointed out that “before customers can even access their results, they’re required to review an eight-page module.” That module highlights the limits of the 23andMe test, noting that the 23andMe test should not replace routine screening and that results should be reviewed with a clinician, who can help the patient get a complete test done.

Munster said that she doesn’t think 23andMe is trying to mislead its customers, but expressed fear that they may not be able to fully interpret abnormal test results on their own.

BRCA mutations are rare in the United States., occurring in one in 300-500 women. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends BRCA screening in people with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or relatives who have BRCA mutations.

23andMe’s spokesperson told ABC News that “a substantial fraction” of the company’s BRCA carriers did not report a high-risk family history, so they wouldn’t have met the criteria for traditional BRCA screening. After they discovered their BRCA mutations, many of them undertook prophylactic surgeries to mitigate their risk, the spokesperson said.

Unlike 23andMe’s test, the physician-prescribed blood test, called a multigene panel test, screens for many mutations beyond BRCA genes.

“[While] a lot of people think of the heredity of breast cancer as purely BRCA-related, 90% of our genetic testing includes genes other than BRCA,” Dr. June Hou, gynecologic oncologist and director of Columbia University’s Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program, told ABC News.

BRCA mutations have also been linked to pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and skin cancers like melanoma, among others, Hou said. Because BRCA2 mutations have been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in males, she said that she reminds female patients with BRCA2 mutations that the mutated gene might not only affect them but their male family members, too.

Case in point: Shortly after Munster discovered she had breast cancer, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When she recommended that he get screened, he came back positive for a BRCA2 mutation.

As scientists continue to uncover the genetics of breast cancer, the popularity of sites like 23andMe underscore concerns about who should be screened. Until then, experts recommend that doctors provide their patients with a safe space to discuss the pros and cons of testing and to recognize that breast cancer screening is individualized and patient specific.

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Miami Valley Hospital(DAYTON, Ohio) -- Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, is about to turn it up to 11.

Eleven nurses in the hospital's labor and delivery unit are pregnant at the same time.

The due dates for the nurses, one a gestational carrier, span in time from early May to late October. All 11 of the nurses plan to deliver at their employer, Miami Valley Hospital, which oversees about 4,000 deliveries per year.

"Knowing that our coworkers are going to be there when we deliver is very comforting," said Lindsey Highley, who's due with her third child in May.

Jessica Piddock, due in July, described the baby boom at the hospital as "completely crazy," while Charlotte Phillips, due in May, called it "really exciting."

All three nurses said they and their pregnant coworkers are comparing notes, sympathizing with each other through difficulties and mostly just looking ahead to having 11 more kids on board.

"I think we all just really look forward to watching each other's children grow and getting motherhood advice as well," Highley said.

The baby boom at the Ohio hospital comes just weeks after nurses in Maine, teachers in Kansas and firefighters' wives in North Carolina each made headlines for the same thing: A large group of coworkers expecting babies at the same time.

Earlier this year, a group of eight nurses in one obstetrics unit made headlines for giving birth over a span of five months.

Last year, five coworkers at a doctor's office in Ohio were all pregnant at the same time too and, in Kentucky, seven dads and one mom in a police department welcomed new babies at the same time.

Some may be wondering: Can there really be something in the water at these employers? Is there some way to medically explain the phenomenon?

The answer, doctors say, is no.

"More likely, I think it's people who are around the same age, going through the same thing, and they see people getting pregnant and being able to handle it," said Dr. Joanne Stone, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital. "It's more of an atmospheric thing than there's any medical reason for it."

Stone said baby booms are more likely a sign that the women and men's employers are doing something right, in providing a positive workplace environment for expectant parents.

"Unfortunately, there are some where [pregnancy] is looked down upon," she added.

Dr. Richard Beckerman, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., agreed with Stone.

"I don't think it's a medical marvel as much as it's a really neat and fun-loving incident," he said. "It's a great human interest story and a nice thing to see."

And scientific or not, it's still beneficial for the expectant mothers, Stone and Beckerman added.

"I think it's always nice," Stone added, "to get that support and to be able to share how you feel and to feel validated -- to not feel so bad if you're tired and you need to put your feet up for a moment. Everyone understands. It's a positive feeling."

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Kevin Winter/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- Along with footage of rehearsals, intimate family moments and reflections on her 2018 monumental Coachella performance, Beyoncé opened up about a very personal aspect of her health in her new documentary.

The 23-time Grammy winner and mother of three shared in the Netflix documentary Homecoming that she had an "extremely difficult" pregnancy with twins Rumi and Sir in 2017, suffering from preeclampsia among other conditions.

Preeclampsia, also known as toxemia, is a rare pregnancy complication "characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys," according to the Mayo Clinic.

Beyoncé said she got pregnant "unexpectedly" and added, "My body went through more than I knew it could."

"I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth," she shared. "I had high blood pressure. I developed toxemia, preeclampsia, and in the womb, one of my babies' heartbeats paused a few times, so I had to get an emergency C-section."

Some symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, swelling or weight gain, headaches and protein in urine. The condition affects 5 to 8 percent of all births in the United States, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

The foundation says 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths are estimated to be caused by the condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that African-American women have a three to four times higher risk of pregnancy-related death than white women.

Beyoncé previously spoke about her pregnancy complications in Vogue in August 2018.

"I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience," she said.

She also expanded on how her c-section changed her.

"My core felt different. It had been major surgery. ... I needed time to heal, to recover," she told the outlet.

"During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier," she added. "I accepted what my body wanted to be."

Homecoming features footage of Beyoncé in her first rehearsal post-pregnancy, as she speaks about the challenges of getting back into it after undergoing a difficult pregnancy.

"It's my first time back home on the stage after giving birth. I'm creating my own homecoming, and it's hard," she said. "There were days that I thought I'd never be the same, I'd never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same."

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Pornpak Khunatorn/iStock(SEATTLE) -- After 74 confirmed cases of measles, Washington state politicians are taking action.

The state Senate has passed a bill that, if enacted, would revoke the state's vaccination exemption for those who have a personal or philosophical opposition to vaccines.

If enacted, the bill wouldn't apply to all vaccines but only the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine that helps prevent the spread of those three diseases.

The bill narrowly passed the state Senate in a 25-22 vote Wednesday, and a very similar version passed the state House in early March, meaning that the finalized version is set to head to the governor's desk soon.

A spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee, who is also part of the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates, told ABC News that the governor has previously expressed his support for the bill, but noted that he always reviews legislation "carefully before taking action."

This action comes amid an ongoing measles outbreak across the country, where 20 states -- including Washington -- have confirmed cases. All told, there have been 555 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. so far this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Washington is currently one of 18 states that allow for philosophical exemptions to vaccinations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Missouri allows a philosophical exemption for child care facilities, but not for public schools.

All states allow exemptions for medical reasons, and that is not expected to change anytime soon, but states could be targeting both philosophical exemptions and religious exemptions.

Religious exemptions are in place in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

There are only three states that have no religious or personal exemptions: California, Mississippi and West Virginia.

The proposed bill in Washington state would not change the religious exemption in the state, but according to state figures, that exemption does not lead to a high number of unvaccinated children.

According to data from Clark County, where the majority of Washington state’s measles cases were found, 7.9 percent of kindergarten students were exempted from vaccinations in the 2017-2018 school year.

The reason? Personal exemptions.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Fashion maven Nina Garcia, the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine and a judge on Project Runway opened up about her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, saying she felt in her industry it was "very important to stand up and be like, 'You know what? We are not perfect.'"

Garcia told ABC News' Robin Roberts that she underwent the preventative surgery after taking a test to see if she had BRCA-genetic mutation.

"To my surprise and horror, I got that envelope that said positive," she said.

The two BRCA genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) normally help protect women from cancer, however, some women may have mutations to their BRCA genes, which can actually lead to cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If untreated, women with a BRCA gene mutation are seven times more likely to get breast cancer before the age of 70, when compared with women without the gene mutations, according to the CDC.

When she first received the positive test results for the mutation, Garcia said, "So many thoughts raced through my mind."

"I was like, 'Oh, my -- why me?" she said. "What does this mean?"

"And then I kind of switched, and I was like, 'How lucky ... that I was able to know this so early on,'" she said.

Although not a cancer diagnosis, the positive BRCA test is a marker for an increased risk of breast cancer and requires constant vigilance.

"Every six months I would get tested," Garcia said.

Over the last three years she said there was some "ambiguous information" and "abnormal cells," until soon there was a "radical scar" and a "lumpectomy."

"The news started to get worse. In January, I decided I wanted to opt for a double mastectomy," Garcia said.

"I don't think it's a choice that every woman should make," she added. "But with my history, it was the right decision for me ... it was my personal choice."

After making the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy, Garcia, who lives her life in the public eye, had the added challenge of grappling with revealing something so private.

"I feel like I'm carrying this big secret," she said of her time during February, when Fashion Week was about to begin and she announced she would be missing some major shows as she recovered.

She said she struggled with wondering, "Will I look weaker to my staff? Will I miss such a important moment that is Fashion Week for me, as the editor of Elle, a fashion magazine?"

Garcia said she found solace confiding in her husband, who she says was "very encouraging" through the whole process.

"He was the first one that said, 'You've gotta share this. This is important,'” she said.

Garcia said she is now sharing her own story in hopes of offering comfort and support to other women.

"I am in a business that ... is so about perfection," she said. "And it's changing ... thankfully it's changing."

"I also thought it was very important to stand up and be like, 'You know what? We are not perfect,'" she said, adding that her story is such a "real health issue for women."

Garcia added that going through something like this with the right attitude also makes all the difference, mentally and physically.

"I'm not going to lie. A double mastectomy is a very big surgery," she said. "But the mindset of being grateful, of not being, 'Why did it happen to me,' but, 'I am so thankful that I was able to do something about it.'"

Garcia is now back at work at Elle and back to judging the next generation of fashionista's on the upcoming season of Project Runway, but said she is carrying with her a new perspective.

"I learned that I could be very brave. I learned that ... I'm strong," she said. "I think the most invaluable lesson is that you got to share your stories."

"The message is the technology and the science is there especially for breast cancer. For that woman at home that hasn't had her mammogram, that hasn't had a sonogram, to get tested, for that woman at home that has a history of breast cancer in their family to get the BRCA gene test," she said. "I think it's so important."

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Hailshadow/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The man who is believed to have brought the ongoing measles outbreak to Michigan thought he was immune to the disease, according to a doctor who spoke with him.

The man, who remains unidentified but is believed to be "patient zero" in Michigan, traveled to the Great Lake state from New York in March.

The man had previously traveled to the U.S. from Israel in November, making it unlikely that he was infected then, and more likely that he caught the disease while in New York, according to Steve McGraw, the emergency medical services director for Oakland County, Michigan, who spoke to him days after he was diagnosed.

It is not clear if the man is a U.S. citizen.

There have been hundreds of confirmed cases of measles in New York since an outbreak started there in 2018, and has continued into 2019.

During the roughly 15-hour drive from New York to Michigan, the man felt fine, but "he got sick when he arrived, started having a fever, cough and headache," McGraw said. He added that in early March, it isn’t uncommon for people in Michigan to have those symptoms.

After seeking a doctor’s opinion, the man was misdiagnosed with bronchitis, but according to McGraw, the man returned the next day. That's when the doctor became concerned when he saw a rash on the man’s face.

The doctor "did a heroic thing and he called the health department," McGraw said. Officials then had trouble finding the man with measles because he "did not have a reliable cell phone" and "wasn’t really on any particular itinerary."

McGraw said that the patient was fundraising on behalf of Orthodox Jewish charities and "he would be in, sometimes, three different synagogues in a day."

Once it was determined where the man was, McGraw, who is also the medical director of the Detroit-area Hatzalah, which is an emergency medical service for Orthodox Jews, met with him. After communicating with him through a translator -- because the man does not read or speak English -- McGraw was able to tell him that "this was definitely measles."

"He was really upset," McGraw said. "He really had no idea he had been sick that way, especially that he had been contagious."

The outbreak in Michigan’s Oakland County started in mid-March, and 39 cases have been confirmed since then. There have also been three other individual measles cases in three other counties.

Michigan is one of 20 states where there have been confirmed cases of measles this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 555 confirmed cases nationwide.

Many of those connected to the outbreaks have ties to communities with low vaccination rates, and Orthodox Jewish communities in New York have been impacted extensively.

McGraw said that the Orthodox Jewish community in Oakland County was very receptive to treating the measles outbreak and having individuals get vaccinated. Rabbis worked with local synagogues to open vaccination clinics, leading to "hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line just to get their vaccination," McGraw said.

The individual who brought the disease to Michigan suffered from what McGraw said is a common misconception -- the man, who is in his 40s or 50s, believed that he was immune from the disease because he said he had it when it was younger.

"He was told he was immune because he had the measles [when he was younger], that’s why initially he completely discounted his [the doctor’s] suggestion," McGraw said.

"I know people who believed they were fully immune because they had measles, and then they had measles in the past month and a half," McGraw said, referring to other cases.

The timing and widespread roll out of the measles vaccine can also play a role in whether or not someone has full immunity. Prior to 1989, doctors typically only issued one vaccination, but after that date, two vaccinations for measles became standard. One immunization is 93 percent effective while two are 97 percent effective, according to the CDC.

McGraw’s advice is to get another immunization if there is any question as to whether or not you had two doses.

"Nothing is as good as certainty. Unless you know you’ve had two, just get a second one," McGraw said.

The CDC considers anyone who had two doses as a child as protected for life from the disease, and said that adults only need one dose, but there are cases where a second adult dose would be helpful.

"Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days,” the CDC’s website reads. “These adults include students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers."

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chemicalbilly/iStock(NEW YORK) -- “Cure” is an elusive word, but it’s exactly what researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are calling their treatment for the most common form of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a group of rare immune diseases that you might know better as “bubble boy” disease.

This form of the disease, SCID-X1, first made headlines in the 1970s and 80s with David Vetter -- the original “bubble boy” -- who spent 12 years in strict isolation to protect himself from infections. His story inspired several films about the disease, including the 1976 film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring John Travolta.

The disease, which is caused by genetic mutations, is characterized by a lack of immune function, which makes it easy to develop life-threatening infections. The rare disease is estimated to affect only one in 50,000 to 100,000 newborns, many of whom are expected to die from infections early on.

“Because infants with this disorder have no functioning immune system, without treatment, a diagnosis of SCID is a true death sentence,” said Dr. Ewelina Mamcarz of the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at St. Jude’s during a press conference. “A simple infection like the common cold could be fatal. If left untreated, patients rarely live past their second birthday.”

Mamcarz and her team, however, recently discovered a technique that could save these children. They published the results in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For years, stem-cell transplantation from a matched sibling was a patient’s best hope for survival, Mamcarz said.

“[But] more than 80% of patients lack such donors,” she said. “They must rely on stem cells from other donors. This process is less likely to cure SCID, and more likely to lead to serious treatment-related side effects.”

With this in mind, the researchers at St. Jude turned to gene therapy -- an experimental technique whereby a reengineered virus is used as a vehicle “to introduce a normal copy of the mutated gene into patients’ blood stem cells,” said Dr. Steven Gottschalk, a co-author of the study from the same department at St. Jude as Mamcarz.

The trial involved harvesting blood stem cells from the bone marrow of eight infants newly diagnosed with SCID-X1. Then, with the help of an inactivated lentivirus, they inserted a healthy copy of the mutated gene into the stem cells and reimplanted them into the infants. Prior to reimplantation, the infants were given low-dose chemotherapy to “make space in the bone marrow for the gene-corrected cells,” Mamcarz said.

“This approach has shown outstanding results,” James Downing, the president and CEO of St. Jude, said during the conference. “The treatment has fully restored the immune system, which wasn’t possible before, and has no immediate side effects. These infants are able to respond to vaccination and are [living] normal and healthy lives.”

Whereas prior attempts to use gene therapy unintentionally resulted in leukemia, the researchers reported that none of the patients have shown even the earliest signs of the blood cancer. Gottschalk said it was because the lentivirus was designed “with insulators” to prevent the activation of any genes that could cause cancer.

In the wake of their success, Mamcarz said the team is hopeful that their experimental treatment will be applied to other genetic diseases, such as the blood disorder sickle cell disease.

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Moussa81/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department announced Wednesday that 60 people across five states, including more than 30 physicians, were charged in connection with millions of illegal prescription opioids in a takedown by its "Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force."

The states are Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia. Some cases were developed years ago and are being brought to light with the new cases being unsealed on Wednesday.

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a release.

According to the Justice Department, the suspects wrote some 350,000 prescriptions and distributed 32 million pills.

In Tennessee, according to prosecutors, a doctor known as the "Roc Doc," 'allegedly prescribed powerful and dangerous combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines, sometimes in exchange for sexual favors.'

The Justice Department said over three years the doctor "allegedly prescribed approximately 500,000 hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches, and more than 600,000 benzodiazepine pills."

The Western District of Tennessee saw the most number of individuals and doctors charged.

In another instance, in the Western District of Kentucky, according to the DOJ, a doctor would provide pre-signed blank prescriptions to office staff who used them to prescribe drugs while he was out of the office.

In a case out of Dayton, Ohio, the DOJ said a doctor who is alleged to have been the highest prescriber of controlled substances in the state, and several pharmacists, are charged with operating an alleged “pill mill.” According to the indictment, the DOJ says, "between October 2015 and October 2017 alone, the pharmacy allegedly dispensed over 1.75 million pills."

The Department of Justice worked alongside the Department of Health and Human Services as well.

“It is also vital that Americans struggling with addiction have access to treatment and that patients who need pain treatment do not see their care disrupted, which is why federal and local public health authorities have coordinated to ensure these needs are met in the wake of this enforcement operation," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a release.

"The Trump Administration’s law enforcement and public health leaders will continue to work hand in hand to end this crisis that has hit Appalachia hard and steals far too many lives across America every day," Azar continued.

According to NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ohio and West Virginia rank at the top of opioid overdoses in the country.

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yaoinlove/iStock(EDMONTON, Alberta) -- The next time you think about passing your preschooler a smartphone or tablet at the dinner table to keep them entertained, you might want to think twice.

A new study out of the University of Alberta has found that by the age of 5, children who spent two hours or more looking at a screen each day were 7.7 times more likely to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when compared to children who spent 30 minutes or less each day on a screen.

“Children should develop a healthy relationship with screens as young as 3 to 5 years of age,” Dr. Piush Mandhane, lead researcher of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, told ABC News. “Our data suggests that between zero and 30 minutes per day is the optimal amount of screen time.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends limiting screen use to a maximum of one hour a day of high-quality programming for preschool children ages 2 to 5, and encourages parents to watch with their children and guide them through the experience.

As an investigator on the nationwide Canadian CHILD study, Mandhane has been following children from mid-pregnancy into childhood and adolescence. With screen time on the rise among children, Mandhane said it came as no surprise when parents began asking, “How much is too much for our children?”

The current study was conducted by gathering information from parents about their children’s screen time during their 3- and 5-year follow-ups. The research team also collected comprehensive behavioral assessments at the 5-year visit.

The researchers found that children with reported screen time in excess of two hours a day were more likely to exhibit behavioral problems by the time they turned 5, particularly poorer attention. Conversely, children who spent two hours or more each week participating in a form of structured physical activity were less likely to experience mental health issues.

Although the study could not establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the two, it suggests that a child’s preschool years may be a vital time for providing proper guidance on screen time limits.

Mandhane said that next, his team plans to take a closer look at how the content on children’s screens as well as the time of day in which they use devices influences their behavior.

Mandhane also suggested three tips for promoting healthy behaviors in preschoolers:

Take advantage of built-in apps to monitor screen time exposure.

Mandhane pointed out that parents can either turn off the device themselves or set the device to automatically turn off when kids have reached their daily limit.

Set a regular bedtime.

It’s best to avoid screens at least one hour before bed, Mandhane said.

“More screen time equals less sleep time,” he said. “A bedtime that is structured will go a long way.”

Encourage organized physical activity.

Enrolling children in a baseball, soccer or hockey league, or even gymnastics, provides a structured form of physical activity outside of school that helps promote an active lifestyle, Mandhane said, adding that it might also improve their focus and allow them to get better, longer sleep.

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Bill Chizek/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Abortion rights advocates have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to summarily strike down a controversial Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The court in February, by a 5-4 vote, temporarily put the law on hold – hours before it was set to take effect -- pending an expected appeal from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing a Louisiana abortion clinic and two physicians.

The organization is challenging a decision by the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the Louisiana law.

“The stakes in this case are high for the rule of law, and the real world consequences for women in Louisiana could be dire,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Abortion access in the state is already hanging by a thread. The number of clinics has already fallen from 11 in 2001 to just 3 today.”

The group says enforcement of the law would impose a near-impossible standard for abortion providers to meet, citing administrative hurdles to securing admitting privileges across the state.

“The doctors in our case and throughout Louisiana who provide abortions engaged in extensive efforts to obtain privileges and virtually all of them were shut out,” said T.J. Tu, the lead attorney on the case.

In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas, saying the rules effectively imposed an “undue burden” on women’s right to access an abortion by reducing the number of available providers.

“So blatant is the 5th Circuit’s refusal to follow [that precedent] that we are asking in our petition for a summary reversal,” Northup said. “That’s how clear cut this case is. There’s no need for new arguments.”

Supporters of the Louisiana law say the admitting-privileges requirement is a reasonable restriction to ensure the health and safety of women seeking abortions.

“We urge the Court to grant cert in this case so that the Justices can take a closer look at the facts themselves and let the law stand,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.

“Louisiana legislators on both sides of the aisle enacted this law to protect women from the abortion lobby which repeatedly puts profit over health and safety standards, and has proven incapable of policing itself,” she said in a statement when the law was first put on hold.

Kathaleen Pittman, clinic administrator at one Louisiana abortion provider, said health care workers are already seeing an uptick in cases of attempted “self-abortions” because of shrinking options for women.

“We do anticipate a rise in self-abortions. We’ve seen it reported to us, especially from women coming to us from Texas, of trying alternative means,” Pittman said. “Women are going to have abortions, the question is: will they be illegal and unsafe, or legal and safe?”

Louisiana authorities have 30 days to file a response with the Supreme Court. While it is possible the justices could grant their petition this term, it’s more likely they do so during the October term, the parties said.

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Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is due to give birth any day.

While she and Prince Harry await their first child, the world is waiting to find out where exactly Meghan will give birth.

Buckingham Palace has revealed only that the birth will be private, with an announcement coming about the birth only after Harry and Meghan have celebrated “privately as a new family.”

The most recent high-profile royal births -- Prince William and Duchess Kate’s three children -- took place at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital. That is also where Meghan’s mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana, gave birth to her sons, William and Harry, in the 1980s.

The lack of information around where Meghan will give birth has led to lots of speculation, including one (unconfirmed) theory that Meghan may choose to have a home birth.

If she did, Meghan would not be the first royal to do so. Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to all four of her children, including Meghan’s father-in-law, Prince Charles, at home.

Of course home for a royal is different than for the rest of us. Queen Elizabeth’s four deliveries took place at Buckingham Palace, a 775-room royal residence in London, and Clarence House, which is today the official London residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Meghan and Harry recently moved to their newly-renovated home, Frogmore Cottage, an 18th-century home on the grounds of Windsor Estate, about 30 miles from London.

Any member of the royal family would also have access to top medical care, whether in the hospital or at home. That access to care, experts say, is critical for both mother and baby.

"In obstetrics, we have two lives at stake, two patients and the clock is ticking," said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent and a practicing OBGYN. "If that baby gets into trouble, we don’t have 20, 30, 40 minutes to go from the bedroom to the operating room because minutes matter."

As rumors swirl around Meghan's upcoming delivery, here are the most pressing questions answered about home births:

How common are home births?

Home births are on the rise in the U.S., data shows.

Approximately 35,000 births, or just under 1 percent, per year occur in the home in the U.S., according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

In the U.K., where Meghan will give birth, just over one in 50 pregnant women give birth at home, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

Why do women want home births?

A home birth offers a chance for a woman to have more control over her delivery (everything from location to music and lighting), and to have less medical intervention, according to Dr. Sarp Askel, an OBGYN in New York City.

"The low intervention aspect of a home birth, plus the ability to be able to control your birth experience is incredibly attractive to a lot of women," he said.

What are the risks of a home birth?

Home births are associated with a “twofold increase in perinatal death” according to a 2017 position paper by ACOG. Home births are also associated with a triple risk of incidents of seizures and serious neurological dysfunction for the baby.

For the mother, the main risk factor in a home birth is related to bleeding.

Based on statistics alone, Meghan giving birth to her first child in the U.K. would put her more at risk of needing transfer to a hospital for complications during delivery if she choses a home birth. In the U.K., 36 to 45 percent of women having their first baby require transfer to a hospital after a planned home birth compared to 9 to 13 percent of women who have had children before.

In the U.S., even with the risks, ACOG acknowledges that the risk versus benefit of a planned home birth "remains the subject of debate." Most of the data on home births comes from observational studies, not randomized clinical trials.

The organization told ABC News' Good Morning America in a statement, "Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that hospitals and accredited birth centers are the safest settings for birth, each woman has the right to make a medically informed decision about delivery."

Does age matter when it comes to home births?

The Duchess of Sussex will give birth to her first child at age 37, which technically puts her in the medical category being of "advanced maternal age."

That would not automatically preclude her though from giving birth at home, according to Aksel, who is not involved in Meghan's treatment.

"Inherently don’t think just because a woman is 37 she should be labeled high-risk and has to be in the hospital," he said. "However, [increased] age does put women at increased risk for developing complications during labor."

Who should not have a home birth?

Women who are in a high-risk pregnancy should not consider a home birth, according to both Aksel and Ashton.

Other disqualifying factors for a home birth include: Being pregnant with more than one baby; Having had a previous C-section birth; Being breech (i.e. the baby's buttocks and/or feet are positioned to be delivered first); Maternal medical conditions, like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes; And high-risk fetal issues.

What should women consider before choosing a home birth?

Askel recommends that a pregnant woman considering a home birth have an honest conversation with herself and her health care provider about her risk and her tolerance for risk factors associated with a home birth.

"Be honest about what kind of candidate you are," he said.

Women also need to be prepared to have a certified birth provider -- whether that's a midwife, a nurse or a doctor -- oversee the birth at their home.

"I don’t think there’s any such thing as a low-risk pregnancy because any pregnancy can turn into a high-risk pregnancy in a matter of minutes," he said. "Having someone [leading the birth] who is well versed and experienced in that is really important."

Finally, any woman considering a home birth should have a well-rehearsed and documented contingency plan in place, advises Aksel. A major part of that plan should include plans for quick and reliable transport to a nearby hospital, if needed.

"Make sure that you have a very well-prescribed, comprehensive plan in place for options a, b and c, all the way to z," he said.

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RuslanDashinsky/iStock(NEW YORK) -- From what to eat to how to exercise to what position in which to sleep, there's a lot for pregnant women to think about. Thanks to a new study, now they can add commutes to that list.

The longer the commute for a pregnant woman, the worse outcomes her child may face, according to a study published last month by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Lehigh University.

Women who travel at least 100 miles roundtrip between their homes and workplaces were found to be at "much greater risks" of having low birth weight babies and fetuses with intrauterine growth restriction.

Increasing the distance a woman commutes during pregnancy by 10 miles raises the probability of low birth weight by .9% and the probability of intrauterine growth restriction by .6%, the study found.

Long commutes, defined by the Census Bureau as 50 miles or more to work, during pregnancy are also linked to the "under-utilization of prenatal care" and increased maternal stress, according to the study -- so think missed doctors' appointments and delayed treatments.

Among the women studied, 15% with longer commutes skipped their first pre-natal checkup and were more likely to have their first pre-natal visit very late in their pregnancy -- as late as their third trimester.

The study, which looked at pregnant women in New Jersey, also found long commutes increase stress in pregnant women.

High stress in pregnancy is associated with poor fetal outcomes, like the low birth weight and intrauterine growth restriction also found in the study.

Male fetuses are at higher risk than female fetuses when it comes to pregnancy stress, a fact that has been known for quite some time. A mother's maternal stress can also increase their children's risk of mental health issues later in life, possibly more in female kids, recent research has found, because it, in a sense, hard-wires the stress system.

A long commute is a necessity of life for many working moms, but there are things they can do to lessen the burden of it, experts say.

Dr. Joanna Stone, director of maternal fetal medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, recommends women make sure the commuting option they're using, whether train or car or bus or boat, is the least stressful option possible.

Meditation methods can also be helpful for pregnant women to use to de-stress during their commute, according to Stone.

Finally, Stone advises pregnant women, even in difficult circumstances, take the time they need, whether it's asking to work from home, if possible, or making other parts of their lives at home less stressful.

"You need to take some time for yourself," she said.

In terms of lessening the burden for pregnant women, the study's authors wrote that they believe their research has "important implications" for maternity leave.

"Our study has important implications for public policy proposals that consider expanding maternity leave to cover the prenatal period, which is particularly relevant in the context of the United States," the authors wrote. "Even today, compared with other high-income industrialized countries, the United States is ranked last on every measure of family-friendly policies."

The U.S. is the only advanced industrialized nation without a guarantee of paid leave for new parents, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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ABC News(HAMDEN, Conn.) -- An emotional reunion more than three months in the making took place live on Good Morning America when a 19-year-old girl met the complete stranger who gave her his liver.

Madison Ricci, 19, and Jaelin Highsmith, 22, underwent a liver transplant surgery in December that took a total of more than 20 hours.

Ricci’s medical complications after the surgery delayed their meeting until Tuesday, when she was well enough to meet Highsmith in person. Highsmith surprised her live on GMA at her family's home in Hamden, Conn.

"I’m speechless," said Ricci, who just had two words for Highsmith: "Thank you."

"Unreal. That’s the best way to describe it," Highsmith said of their first meeting. "It’s been a long time in the making."

The journey to Ricci and Highsmith’s first meeting began seven years ago when Ricci was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, at age 12.

While on spring break last year as a student at the University of Tampa, Ricci’s health deteriorated. Doctors told her family that the best hope for survival for Ricci, already on the liver transplant list, was to find a living donor who would give her a piece of their liver.

After months of waiting – and bumps in the road like a potential donor who fell through – Ricci learned she had a match.

Highsmith volunteered to be Ricci’s donor after one of his best friends – a family friend of Ricci’s – sent out a text asking for help in finding her a donor.

He had only a five to 10 percent chance of being a match for Ricci, according to her family. Yet after over four months of testing, Highsmith was determined by doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital to be a match.

"The bottom line was the opportunity as there and there’s no way I could pass it up," he said. "I knew from day one if I was able to do this, I would do it."

Highsmith and Ricci began to communicate by text message after the surgery and have stayed in touch via texts and social media before they were able to meet in person.

"Maddie and Jae have so many similarities, it’s just amazing to us," said Ricci's mom, Kristine Ricci. "We are forever grateful for Jaelin and his entire family as they are all now part of ours."

Highsmith has also stood by Ricci's family as they continue to support her recovery, including helping them raise money for her ongoing medical treatment.

"The connection and the love that we share between us all is just amazing," Kristine Ricci said.

For more information on living organ donations visit the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system.

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