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Laura Eskridge(SPRINGBORO, Ohio) -- Some parents despair at the thought of their kids leaving home. But not Vicky and Jeff Piper.

The Springboro, Ohio, couple was so looking forward to their youngest child leaving for college, they celebrated with a photo shoot.

It was her husband's idea, Vicky Piper told "Good Morning America."

"We had just dropped our son at school and I was receiving all these texts asking if we were ok, have I stopped crying, your house is going to be so quiet and what are you guys going to do now?" she said. "We just had a different perspective of empty nest."

The couple's daughter goes to college in Australia and their son in Michigan.

"The kids are cracking up [at the photos]," Piper said. "They are like, 'You are having too much fun,' but they are super happy for us."

Piper said the empty nest "feels amazing."

The photos have been shared widely on Facebook. Piper said she believes the positive reaction is because of the "positive perspective that there is life, hope and love after kids. It's refreshing to see, after all the work you put into raising strong, independent kids, it's time to enjoy your marriage."

She also said that her generation "missed out" on the all the photo opportunities couples do now, like baby announcements.

"Why not join them," she said.

As for the children, of course the Pipers miss them, "but we are looking so forward to spending time together."

"My husband stated for the last three months before our son left how much he just wants to date me all over again," Piper said.

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iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. ANNA CHACON

(NEW YORK) --  Young black men expect increased scrutiny, surveillance and even direct targeting when in areas that have more white people than they typically encounter, a study has found.

Researchers from the Department of Sociology at Ohio State University gave 506 black boys aged 11 to 17 smartphones to track their locations every 30 seconds for a week. The boys were asked where they were, with whom and how safe they felt around Columbus, Ohio, on a scale of 1 to 5. The mini survey took place from 2014 to 2016. Researchers received almost 7,400 total surveys.

Christopher Browning, a professor at Ohio State University and the study's lead author, has extensive experience researching how kids’ neighborhoods affect their behaviors and health.

In Columbus, where the study was conducted, Browning said: "There are high levels of segregation and poverty, but a lot of variation in close proximity -- there are affluent suburbs that are next to neighborhoods that are really poor."

His own childhood experience, growing up on the South side of Chicago, included navigating different neighborhoods and environments that inspired him to pursue this study for answers.

"Chicago is a place in which everyone knows where you're not supposed to go," Browning told ABC News. "In social science, this is the area we are interested in -- neighborhood environments. When we think of environments that do not include family, we think about the neighborhood -- potential exposures for youth that may have some important consequences down the line."

As an urban sociologist, he was concerned that maybe kids didn't spend much time in their neighborhoods and the interactions may be more complex -- their environments outside of their homes and immediate neighborhoods may be affecting their outcomes on a day-to-day basis.

Findings showed that young black men felt less safe in areas with more white people than they typically encountered. They also felt less safe in neighborhoods that were poorer than the ones they frequented. In contrast, black girls did not report feeling less safe in whiter areas. Researchers also noticed that white youths tend to self-segregate.

"Their experiences aren't as variable -- they do not spend as much time in black neighborhoods that black youth spend in white neighborhoods," Browning said. "It's the experience of having to navigate places that are whiter that may actually introduce more scrutiny to black male youth -- by police, by residents -- creating the potential for harassment and even victimization."

In particular, Browning and his researchers were concerned about the long-term consequences of the perception of safety.

"This is thought to be one of the reasons why black youth are generally not as healthy as white youth," Browning said. "There could be some physical and mental health trajectories which we could extrapolate to explain healthcare disparities in adult populations."

The old school mentality about African American youth is that they feel less safe because they live in areas of higher poverty and segregation, but the team found that, on average, African American teens didn't feel less safe. They felt less safe only when visiting poorer neighborhoods or whiter neighborhoods.

"We are not arguing that growing up in a poor, segregated neighborhood doesn't present challenges. One of the challenges are that those neighborhoods tend to have higher violence," Browning said

He suggests that youth may eventually learn to control the experiences and typical exposures they have in their own neighborhoods to reduce the likelihood of experiencing violence. However, when they go to different neighborhoods, they cannot control how they are being perceived and received.

"Who knows who is calling the police if someone decides that you don't belong there?" Browning said. "This may lead to feelings of insecurity in those places."

"The study confirmed what I've always known to be true -- given all the things that are going on in the world but also from personal experience, particularly for African Americans and people of color, there is an awareness that there are places that you are seen as not belonging," Dennis D. Parker, director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program and an adjunct professor at New York Law School, told ABC News. "This study shows that there are serious issues that create a sense of uncertainty and vulnerability in public spaces that should be for everyone. I don't know of black friends who have not spoken to their children, particularly their sons, of dealing with the police. I know of no white parents that have had to do that."

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Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Iskra Lawrence is a 27-year-old body positive model and activist on a mission to change the world.

You may recognize Lawrence from her many lingerie campaigns with Aerie, American Eagle Outfitter’s intimate apparel brand, or from social media, where she has amassed a following of millions preaching about self-love and body acceptance.

Once you notice Lawrence, her fresh face and positive outlook make her hard to forget. But it hasn't always been that way for the English model, who told "GMA" how she developed severe body and mental health issues after hearing she was too curvy or too big from industry insiders to be a professional model.b

"I remember seeing [photos] and being like, 'Why do I have a big stomach?'" she recalled. "'How can I change that about myself?'"

We took a trip down memory lane with the model and activist to learn more about her journey to self-acceptance. From her childhood days in England to becoming the face of Aerie's body-positive brand, this is what advice Lawrence would tell to her younger self.

5 things Iskra Lawrence would tell her younger self

1. You are so much more than your body

"I genuinely thought I was Lara Croft in that photo," Lawrence said, laughing while looking at a picture from her teenage years.

Despite the fierce outfit, Lawrence remembers feeling uncomfortable and getting shamed for her shorts.

"Because I was self-conscious about the size and shape of my body, the only way I was getting appreciated for it was guys and people thinking it was sexy," she said.

"So I would dress in a sexy manner to pretend I was confident about it," she explained. "I was dressing [that way] because I thought that's what I had to be ... because if you’ve got that body, then surely you have to be sexy."

She went on to add a piece of advice she would give to her younger self.

"The advice I would give myself at that age would be -- you are so much more than your body and don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions of you," she said. "Stay true to yourself.”

2. Don’t worry about growing up too quickly

As a child, Lawrence recalls riding horses in her home country of England and not caring about what anyone thought of her, even if her outfit clashed.

"And I said I liked fashion!” she joked looking at the picture. “I think the thing to remember is there, you’re just pure, you’re innocent, you have absolutely zero insecurities because you haven’t been taught to have insecurities yet.

“Just keep having fun, keep trying to be you and be a child.”

3. You are fine just the way you are

Despite being a U.S. size two or four, Lawrence says she was still “too big” for the modeling industry.

“I remember being so hung up on the fact that you could see that shadow so it made me look like I had a big stomach,” she said.

Lawrence said she developed very low-self esteem because she felt like her body wasn't as perfect as traditional commercial models, which sent her into a downwards spiral where she became fixated on how her arms, hips or stomach looked in photos.

“I would say to myself, 'Just stop. Stop torturing yourself. Stop torturing your body. You are good enough,'" she said.

4. Always just go for it

At a roller skating photoshoot, Lawrence said she learned to embrace the idea of how to fake it until you make it.

She admits she exaggerated her roller skating skills to book the gig.

“I was not great at roller skating,” she said, while laughing. "I will always just go for it and fake it 'til you make it sometimes."

5. Being real is good enough

After being told time and time again that she was too curvy or big for the traditional modeling industry, in 2016, Lawrence found a home at Aerie.

"There are so many emotions to this photo because as you can see, I am just living my best life," she said about the ad campaign. "I am just finally at a point of being confident and just happy in my own skin and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks."

Just like Lawrence, Aerie encourages body postivity, using real women, not supermodels, in their ads and promising no digital retouching to showcase their products. Lawrence remembers the "huge" positive reaction she received after the campaign first came out.

“People [were] saying, 'I’ve never seen anything like this in a lingerie campaign before,’" she recalled.

As a body-positive activist and through her responsibility as an Aerie Role Model, Lawrence said she wants to help people recognize their own self-worth.

“I want people who look at my images and instead of wanting to look like me," she said, "I want them to feel as happy as confident as I do."



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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Supermodel Miranda Kerr says she drinks it every morning and actress Busy Philipps has talked about it with her 1.1 million Instagram followers.

Speaking of Instagram, you’ve probably seen it all over your feed.

It is celery juice, the latest wellness trend gaining buzz on social media and with celebrities and health gurus.

“When juicing came back [in trend], it was all about fruit. Now with carb and sugar phobia, I think vegetable juices have taken hold again,” said Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD, a New York City and Los Angeles based performance dietitian. “Celery does check several boxes in that it’s green, low-calorie, readily-available, has some research behind it and it seems new.”

In addition to being low in calories, celery provides fiber, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and over a dozen types of antioxidants, according to Sass. It also contains natural substances that have been shown to help optimize circulation and boost endurance and enhance strength training when consumed pre-workout.

Celery also contains anti-inflammatory substances that are thought to help support a healthy gut and protect against cellular damage that can lead to premature aging and disease, noted Sass.

So why aren't we all guzzling celery juice -- made in either a juicer or blender with just celery and water -- all the time?

The human research on celery juice is "scant," according to Sass.

"We don’t have a robust picture of its benefits like we do for something like say, avocado or extra virgin olive oil," she said. "This also means we don’t know the optimal amount or frequency to consume, the potential risks for certain people, and possible interactions with medications and supplements."

She continued, "For example, allergic reactions are possible, especially for people sensitive to birch, dandelion, and other plants. Celery juice may also increase sensitivity to sunlight."

Sass's take on the wellness trend is that celery juice is fine, in moderation, as part of an "overall whole foods based eating portfolio."

"It’s fine to drink it daily, just be sure not to overdo it, and mix it up by consuming other green veggies and various colors of produce, too," she said. "In other words, if you sip celery juice in the morning, you haven’t satisfied your vegetable quota for the day."

When it comes to variety, mixing up the vegetables you eat, or drink, does a body good, according to Sass. Celery is not any better or worse than other buzzy vegetables like kale and spinach, just packed with different nutrients and antioxidants.

"When you eat the same few veggies over and over you miss out on the unique nutrients and other protective compounds found in the plants you aren’t eating," Sass said. "Research backs that variety may even trump quantity when it comes to disease protection, but obviously the ultimate goal is to eat enough produce and mix up the types."

The current recommendation for adults is a minimum of five servings, or five cups, of vegetables a day.

Drinking celery as a juice can help you pack in more servings of celery at a time but does not provide any more nutritional benefits than just eating raw celery, according to Sass.

In fact, there is research in other fruits and vegetables that consumption of them in raw-form versus juice-form may be preferable.

Juicing tends to remove a lot of the fiber content in fruits and vegetables, which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate digestion, and may also remove a lot of the nutritional content, according to Dr. Ryan Guinness, a resident physician at Kaiser Permanente and UCSF Medical Center and a fellow in ABC News' medical unit.

"I think the general consensus among the medical community, however, is that consuming fruits and vegetables in juice-form is still better than not consuming them at all," he said.

If you find the taste of celery juice hard to get used to, flavorings like lemon or lime or ginger root can pack a flavor punch without changing the nutritional or caloric values.

If you really don't like the taste of celery juice but still want the benefits, throw it in a smoothie.

Here is a favorite recipe from Sass.

Cynthia Sass smoothie recipe

Ingredients


1/2 cup organic celery juice

1/2 cup chopped kale

1 small frozen banana

1/c frozen mango

1/2 ripe avocado

1 scoop pea protein powder

1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice

1-inch cube fresh ginger root

3 fresh organic mint leaves

Directions

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.



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iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. RICHA KALRA

(NEW YORK) -- Thinking positively is often good for brain health -- but a new study shows it's important to proceed with caution.

Positive thoughts seem to increase connections between regions of the brain in favorable ways. But the study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, showed that optimism can also come with risks.

"We were interested to show the science behind an old phenomenon, called the optimism bias," said co-author, Dr. Bojana Kuzmanovic, Cognitive neuroscientist at Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, in an interview with ABC News. "What we conclude and believe depends on what we want to believe."

To see how optimistic beliefs influenced their brain activity, researchers from Germany and Switzerland looked at fMRI brain images and analyzed survey responses using computer models from 24 self-described positive thinkers, 10 men and 14 women.

When learning new information, these people were more likely to incorporate good news than bad news into their overall belief systems. The good news increased the activity in the reward region of the participants' brains. When the participants rejected bad news, the same reward region also showed increased activity. Plus, the reward regions of their brains increased connections to other thought-processing, or cognitive, areas of their brains.

The stronger the individual's original optimism bias was, the stronger the connections were between the cognitive areas of their brains.

Although increased activity in the reward centers and increased neural connections might sound great, there was an important caution noted in the study.

The optimism bias -- a thought process that leads people to believe that they are less likely to run into a negative event than other people -- was strong. In other words, optimistic people can believe "bad stuff only happens to other people."

This bias can have a strong unconscious influence, preventing people from taking precautionary measures when making important decisions.

"Even politicians making big decisions could be using this bias," said Kuzmanovic. "It is important to consider an alternative viewpoint, especially when you really care about the outcomes, and there is a lot at stake."

There are some other factors that researchers noted could have influenced the effects on participant's brains. Some ideas could have been especially positive for certain individuals because of their tastes or experiences and it's possible that hearing good news directly after bad news made it even better.

Kuzmanovic acknowledged that the implications of this phenomenon are not all bad. Previous studies have shown that incorporating positive thoughts into beliefs can lead to better cardiovascular health and an improvement in a person's overall ability to cope with stress.

"People do have positive value for their positive beliefs," said Kuzmanovic. "It is just about being aware. These influences are present in all the decisions we make, and may put us in danger of making biased decisions. When making important decisions, we should consider collaborating with others to understand different perspectives."

Richa Kalra, M.D., is a resident physician specializing in psychiatry and working in the ABC News Medical Unit.

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iStock/ThinkstockBY: DR. EDITH BRACHO-SANCHEZ and DR. RICHA KALRA

(NEW YORK) -- Adults who hold back-and-forth conversations with young children rather than just talking to them may be helping to strengthen connections between the language regions of the children’s brains, new research shows.

The new study published today in The Journal of Neuroscience found that dialogue with adults may lead to stronger pathways between two brain regions critical for language development in young children.

“Our findings show that the information highways between the language regions of the brain were stronger in children who took turns talking with their parents, and the greater connectivity held true independent of socioeconomic status,” said Dr. Rachel Romeo, postdoctoral research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the study, in an interview with ABC news.

The study by a team from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania was based on results from a relatively small group, 40 children ages 4 to 6.

The researchers recorded the children and their parents for two days to capture the number of different words children heard, the number of words they spoke, and the number of turns they took in back-and-forth conversations with their caregivers. The team then used an MRI to take images of the children’s brains, and performed common office tests to measure the children’s verbal and cognitive abilities.

Children who took more turns in back-and-forth conversation with their parents had stronger connections between the brain regions responsible for comprehension and production of speech, and also scored higher on verbal skills tests, the study found.

It is well known that the quantity and quality of that language that children hear early in life predicts their future verbal and cognitive skills.

In a study in the 1990s, researchers found that by the time children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds reach school age they are exposed to on average 30 million more words than children growing up in lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The findings became known in the medical community as the “word gap.”

Since then, much of the focus of early childhood language development has been on getting children to hear a greater number of words. Romeo believes the word gap is an overly simplistic approach to language development, and her team’s work is part of a movement to think more about the quality of speech children are exposed to as opposed to just quantity.

While other research has linked children's verbal skills to the complexity of conversations they have when young with adults, this is the first study to suggest which specific structural changes in the brain might be responsible for this association. As this is a small study, the connection will need to be proven in broader work.

“This was an early-stage study to determine whether these relationships [between conversational speech and structure of the brain] exist and now that we know they do, we will move to an intervention study where we will bring children and parents in and target those brain regions,” Romeo said.

If the study is confirmed, it’s an inexpensive intervention that any caregiver can do.

“When you engage children in conversation, you can target language for their appropriate level of development … They’re getting that optimal feedback,” Romeo said.

Edith Bracho-Sanchez, M.D., is a pediatrician and consultant for ABC News, and Richa Kalra, M.D., is a resident physician specializing in psychiatry working in the ABC News Medical Unit.

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ABC News(EMPORIA, Va.) -- A 6-month-old boy died after being left for hours in a hot car in a parking lot outside a Domino's restaurant in Virginia, police said.

The baby's mother, an employee at the Domino's in Emporia, Virginia, had dropped off one or two other children at a day care Friday before driving to work, Emporia Police Chief Rick Pinksaw told ABC News Monday.

The baby was in the car for several hours, Pinksaw said, though he declined to specify exactly how long.

Officers responded to the parking lot at about 9 p.m. and performed CPR on the infant before he was taken to a hospital, Pinksaw said. Emergency room staff tried to revive him but the baby was pronounced dead, he said.

The temperature reached 90 degrees in Emporia Friday with a heat index -- or what it feels like -- of 96 degrees.

"We're having a hard time wrapping our heads around how this could occur," Pinksaw said, calling it "such a tragic situation."

"I don't understand how anybody could leave a child in a vehicle. With the way the weather is with the heat, I just think, you know, if you put kids in your car, you need to account for those kids when you get out of the car," Pinksaw said.

"These kids are helpless and they depend on their parents or their caregivers to take care of them."

No charges have been filed against the baby's mother, 30-year-old Blondia Curry, Pinksaw said, adding that the decision will be up to prosecutors.

Autopsy results are pending, he said.

At least 33 children have died from hot cars this year in the United States, according to the organization KidsandCars.org.

This is also the fourth hot car death this year in Virginia, the organization said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time ever has green-lighted a birth control app to be marketed as a method of contraception.

The app, Natural Cycles, calculates when a woman is most likely to be fertile using their daily body temperature data and their menstrual cycle information.

The app then tells users what days they are more likely to be fertile and should abstain from sex or use protection if they do not wish to get pregnant.

"Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly," Dr. Terri Cornelison, the assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

"But women should know that no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device," she added.

The app had a "perfect use" failure rate of 1.8 percent in clinical studies that involved more than 15,500 women, or a "typical use" failure rate of 6.5 percent, according to the FDA. The "typical use" failure rate took into account women who sometimes did not use the app correctly or may have had unprotected sex on a day when the app flagged that they were fertile.

Natural Cycles has, however, courted controversy in Europe, as some women have reported unwanted pregnancies while using the app as their main form of birth control.

Sweden's public broadcasting company SVT reported that 37 out of 668 women who received an abortion at a Stockholm hospital from September 2017 to the end of December 2017 were using the app and still had an unwanted pregnancy.

ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton emphasized that no method of contraception is perfect except abstinence, so it's not completely surprising that women have still gotten pregnant while using it.

Ashton added that apps can be useful in that they enourage women to be aware of their bodies' monthly changes. If a woman does decide to use an app for birth control, however, she needs to have a plan for what she would do if she does have an unplanned pregnancy.

Most contraception pills have a "typical use" failure rate of approximately 9 percent, according to Ashton, which is actually higher than the rate of the app, the FDA's data showed.

Still, Asthon says that women should ask their doctors about risks, benefits and alternatives for any contraceptive method they are using.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Being expected to check work email during non-work hours is making employees, as well as their significant others, experience higher levels of anxiety, a study shows.

Researchers from Virginia Tech surveyed 108 employees working at least 30 hours per week, 138 significant others and 105 managers and found that the sheer expectation of monitoring work email, rather than the amount of time spent doing so, led to increased anxiety in both employees and their significant others.

"Some employees admitted to monitoring their work email from every hour to every few minutes, which resulted in higher levels of anxiety and conflict between spouses," co-author William Becker, an associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, told ABC News.

Significant others also reported decreased relationship satisfaction in contrast to employees themselves, whose satisfaction was not affected by the constant monitoring of work email.

Professor Becker asked, "Are we underestimating the effect this is having on our spouses?"

Both partners also reported negative health impacts from the increased anxiety, which may be explained by the well-established relationship between chronic stress and poor physical and mental health outcomes.

"Anxiety can manifest in several ways, including changes in appetite, concentration, focus and decreased quality of sleep. It makes people less productive in their work and home lives," Dr. Lama Bazzi, who is part of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Directors, told ABC News.

This study comes months after New York Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a "Right to Disconnect" Bill, the first of its kind in the U.S. and modeled after a similar legislation in France, which would make it unlawful for private employees in New York to respond to work email after hours.

"When do we un-blur the line between work and our personal lives?" Espinal told ABC News. "I have personally felt the effects of burnout and understood that there was a greater problem going on here."

The study team suggests a few methods for employers and employees to lessen these negative effects: Manage employer expectations on after-hours email and help employees to engage in mindfulness practices to reduce anxiety, no matter what after-hours expectations are.

"Being able to be in the moment is one of the biggest things we teach people in alleviating anxiety. Remove distractions and focus on the conversations you are having," Bazzi said.

Professor Becker hopes that the study will encourage leaders to be proactive and have clear policies that allow employees to be engaged and present in their personal lives. He also hopes to shift the onus onto employees to not fall in to the trap of glancing at email after hours.

"Quality of relationships matter, as does being mindful and present," Becker said. "Turn your phone off, put it away and engage in your real life."

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Recently, Dr. Jamie Peyton received a phone call from a fellow veterinarian at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding a yearling bear cub that sustained severe, third-degree burns on her paws and feet. In addition to being unable to walk or move from the severity of her burn injury, there were active fires burning nearby that placed her life at risk.

The bear cub is approximately 1 years old, estimated Peyton, a board-certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care, and showed promising signs of a fast recovery due to her young age, overall good health, voracious appetite, active lifestyle, spunky attitude, and the prompt treatment she received.

The time of year also makes a difference in the young cub's recovery.

“Most bears are very active during the summer versus the winter when they would be hibernating," Peyton, who is internationally renowned for her interest in burn injuries, multidisciplinary pain management, and innovations in wound care, told ABC News. "Better health and all these factors are better for healing despite her wounds being so severe."

Although she has experience treating bears with burn injuries in the past (she treated two adult bears injured by the Thomas fire in December), this bear is the youngest Peyton has treated and has more severe and extensive injuries. So she decided that the best remedy to treat the young bear would be fish skins.

What are some of the challenges in treating burns?

Burn injuries don’t discriminate -- they affect all species.

“Wildfires affect all of us -- I have been forced to evacuate from California wildfires five times," Peyton said. "It has driven me to advance areas of burn injury, wound care and pain management for patients."

Dr. Deanna Clifford, a senior wildlife veterinarian at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), noted the challenges of treating wildlife with burn injuries.

“When an animal’s extremities are burned, they basically cannot walk," Clifford told ABC News. "It is a challenge to figure out how to treat wildlife -- I cannot just walk up to a bear and give it a pill or an injection.”

Prior to recent advances, “bears like this were not treated for this injury -- they were either euthanized or never found,” Peyton explained.

Historically, burns were treated in patients with ointments and bandages, which is difficult to do for wild animals, particularly those with severe, third-degree burn injuries. Medical advances have led to the creation of skin and dermal substitutes that while very helpful, are prohibitively costly for both humans and animals alike -- sometimes costing thousands of dollars and rarely covered by insurance.

“We are trying to figure out how to heal severe burn injuries and wounds for veterinary patients and also keep it cost-effective," Peyton said, "we can’t afford a lot of the skin substitutes that are out there.”

It's why Peyton had the idea to look into other sources of biological dressings for wound care, like tilapia skin as bandages.

In wild animals, veterinarians are trying to balance managing severe burn injuries, minimizing the times they have to immobilize and anesthetize animals to perform procedures, while also accelerating healing time.

“We are learning as we go -- the fish skin is applied on a case by case basis,” Clifford said. “Ultimately, we want her [the bear cub] to have the best chance of success. Our goal is to heal the skin and release the bear into the wild as quickly as possible.”

How did fish skins as bandages come to be used in the United States?

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Peyton first heard about fish skin -- specifically tilapia -- being used as a treatment option for burn injuries in Brazil from a YouTube video. Brazil, like many developing nations, does not have access to tissue banks. With limited resources, “You have to think outside the box so we tried this on animals that needed help," said Clifford.

Given Peyton’s expertise, she recognized fish skin as a viable alternative to costly skin substitutes.

“The tilapia serves as a biological band-aid that is helpful in multiple ways," Peyton explained. "It provides pain control, protection, and acts as a collagen scaffold for wound healing. We have been very pleased because we have seen good results with wounds healing faster than expected."

Peyton also believes in using multi-modal therapy, which incorporates both medical-based treatments and holistic, integrated care. The bear has received both medications and non-drug based holistic therapy including acupuncture, chiropractic care, cold and infrared laser therapy, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) -- an electromagnetic field therapy that facilitates blood flow. To make the treatment more enticing, the bear is receiving her crushed pills in meatballs.

What is it about fish skin that helps heal the burn?

California Department of Fish and WildlifeThe tilapia provides direct, steady pressure to wounds, keeping bacteria out and staying on better and longer than any kind of regular, synthetic bandage, according to the CDFW. The process is simple -- Peyton buys the fish, cleans and sterilizes it, and sutures it onto the normal part of the animal’s skin and directly over the burn injury itself.

Before applying the tilapia dressing, this bear’s skin was cleaned and debrided and a medical-grade honey balm mixed with beeswax was applied to her feet to acclimate her skin and assess her walking. It was also important to rule out any signs of infection. Immediately, the veterinary team noticed she was not bearing weight.

“She was not putting weight on her front feet at all,” Clifford said. “Through this method, we also wanted to promote her healing as much as possible and see what tissue was affected -- what her burns are trying to tell us.”

Prior to the application of the fish skin, the bear was licking her paws constantly, “a sign of concern," Peyton said.

“The animal pain response is that they will lick their wounds when something hurts,” Peyton added.

Once the tilapia was applied, she did not fuss with her paws at all.

“She has not taken the dressing off or licked it, which lets us know she has been getting pain relief from this,” Peyton said.

Over time, the fish skin will dry out and act as a protective, leather-like shield. It was sutured on to prevent it from coming off, and the bear will be reassessed in the next couple of days for progress.

“While it is too early to know when she will be released," Peyton said, "her response in the past week has been remarkable, especially regarding her pain control and the extent of her wounds.”

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iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Men's bodies may respond better to low-calorie diets than women's, a new study showed.

A study in Denmark recruited more than 2,000 people who had pre-diabetes -- meaning high blood sugar, but not yet diabetes -- to look at how low-calorie diets worked for them. In the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that men benefitted in more ways from the reduced calorie counts, and not just in the numbers on the scale.

"Despite adjusting for the differences in weight loss, it appears that men benefited more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow," said lead author Dr. Pia Christensen, of the University of Copenhagen.

After eight weeks on the low-calorie, high-protein diet, all participants had lost about 10 percent of their body weight and gained control of their blood sugar, researchers said. In addition, men lost significantly more body fat than women, had improved resting heart rate, lower bad cholesterol and had lost a few inches off their waist.

Women, on the other hand, had some negative effects in addition to the weight loss. They saw decreases in good cholesterol, or HDL, lean body mass and bone-mineral content -- none of which is good for long-term health.

Both genders saw a decrease in inflammatory biomarkers, which led to improvement in blood flow.

Does this study mean women should not adhere to a low-calorie diet? No.

Weight loss can curb diabetes, but women should understand rapid weight loss may have long term implications. It's important to eat a different and more balanced diet after this kind of rapid weight loss, and work with doctors to monitor overall health.

A total of 86 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this condition, blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to classify as type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, it can lead to a future full of insulin shots and doctors’ visits which may eventually include diabetes.

"Progression of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle modification," Dr. Joann E. Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts told ABC News. "Most importantly, lose weight and become physically active."

But, it's important for people with pre-diabetes to recognize that it it's easy for it to progress to diabetes and they need to stay vigilant.

"If you tell people that they don't have diabetes yet, they think 'Oh good.' They take that loophole," Anne Daly, past-president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association, told ABC News. "We don't want people to take that loophole."

Managing weight loss includes diet changes and exercise, as well as consulting with health care professionals.

"In order to create a calorie deficit, which is how you lose weight, you've got to decrease what's coming in the door and increase what's going out the door," Daly added. "You need to work on both sides of that energy equation. You can try to be a couch potato and eat like a bird, but it isn't going to work."

Aditi Vyas, M.D., specializes in radiology and occupational and environmental medicine and is a resident in the ABC News Medical Unit.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, but a mother in New York discovered her town required breastfeeding be limited to "designated areas."

That code went unnoticed and unchanged in Hempstead, New York, for more than 35 years until Colleen Morgan, 33, brought it to the attention of town leaders.

Morgan, a mother of two, noticed in June that among the rules for the local pool was one that read, "Breastfeeding and diaper changing shall be permitted in designated areas."

"It upset me for two reasons," Morgan told Good Morning America. "One, because it's illegal and, two, because they felt the need to put breastfeeding in with diaper changing as though it's something dirty that needs to be done out of the public eye."

Morgan sent an email to Town Supervisor Laura Gillen to alert her to the discrepancy between the town code and New York state law, which has protected the right to breastfeed in public since 1994.

She also posted about it on social media and was surprised to see that while the majority of the replies were supportive, some were still opposed to women's breastfeeding in public.

"I was kind of shocked," Morgan said. "I think a lot of people don't even realize that unless you're actually looking for it, you don't even see it. When a baby is nursing, the child's head covers the mother's breast. This is a normal thing that mothers will do in public."

Gillen has introduced a new town code that would permit women to breastfeed in public anywhere throughout Hempstead, a suburb of New York City. The town board is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month.

"I am the first mother who has ever served as Hempstead town supervisor, so this is an issue that is very important to me," said Gillen, a mother of four and the first Democrat to serve as town supervisor in more than 100 years. "We're very grateful that Colleen came forward and made us aware of this archaic rule that had not been updated since 1982."

In addition to Gillen, two other members of the town board are mothers. Gillen said she's "optimistic" the law will pass and credits being a mother to helping her bring a new perspective to her role.

"I'm looking at things for the long-term because I want to make the town better for my children and for everyone's children," she said. "We're looking to update outdated procedures and be more inclusive and respective of people’s rights."

Morgan, a special-education teacher, will be watching the town vote and hopes women watch closely as their voices are heard.

"I think it's great, especially for women to see that women can make a difference," she said.

Moms continue the fight for breastfeeding

The controversy in Hempstead unfolded as mothers around the world continue to try to normalize breastfeeding, which is recommended exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

"Big Latch On” demonstrations took place around the world in recent days as moms in cities from New York to Seattle, Savannah and Mexico City breastfed en masse to bring attention to the issue.

Breastfeeding in public only became legal in all 50 states earlier this year when legislation was passed in Utah and Idaho.

Even with breastfeeding in public legal nationwide, women still face discrimination.

Two breastfeeding moms were asked to leave a public pool in Minnesota in July after being told they were making other pool-goers uncomfortable. Days later, more than a dozen moms held a "nurse in" at the pool, north of Minneapolis, in support of the moms.

Women are also taking action to not only normalize breastfeeding, but also make the places they breastfeed more comfortable.

Krish Vignarajah, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, released a campaign ad in March that showed her nursing her nine-month-old daughter, Alana.

A petition started by Lacey Kohlmoos and Samantha Matlin, two working moms from the Philadelphia area, resulted in Amtrak's agreeing to install self-contained mobile lactation pods at Amtrak stations in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago.

Breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the U.S., according to the 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 81 percent of infants born in 2013 were breastfed immediately after birth, and more than half were breastfeeding at six months.

Employers have been required to provide "reasonable break time" and a place, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump breast milk since enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Nearly 30 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, also have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Women can find the specific breastfeeding laws in their state by visiting the NCSL's website.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Encouraging people to eat a variety of foods, also known as dietary diversity, may actually backfire, according to a new scientific statement by the American Heart Association.

The suggestion that people try to eat a variety of foods has been a basic public health recommendation for decades. Now, experts are warning that it may actually lead to just eating more calories -- and to obesity. The issue: People may not interpret "variety" the way nutritionists intend.

Marcia Otto, Ph.D., lead author of the AHA advisory, said that can be a big problem.

"We looked at all the evidence that was out there and saw a link between dietary diversity and a greater intake of both healthy and unhealthy foods," said Otto, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center's School of Public Health in Houston. "This raised some red flags and had implications on obesity -- we saw a greater prevalence of obesity amongst people with a greater dietary diversity."

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, explained that this goes against standard dietary advice.

"Most dietary guidelines around the world include a statement of eating a variety of foods," Mozaffarian told ABC News. "'Grandma’s wisdom' states to eat ‘everything in moderation,’ but does science support that?"

There is little agreement about the definition of "dietary diversity," said Dr. Goutham Rao, co-author and chair of the department of family medicine and community health at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University.

Rao also pointed out one of the problems to ABC News: "What does dietary diversity actually mean? It is not clearly and consistently defined across the board, and there is no useful measure of it."

How is it measured?


Some measure a food count, aka the number of food groups eaten, or "evenness," the distributing of calories evenly across individual foods, or by how different the foods are from each other.

Rao explained that the feeling of fullness is important.

"The phenomenon of sensory satiation is very important -- when something new is presented to us, we tend to eat more and more," Rao said. "For example, people who go on cruises tend to gain a lot of weight because restaurants are usually open all the time with a variety of foods."

After 20 years of experience in the field of obesity, Rao said he's observed: "People who have a regimented lifestyle and diet tend to be thinner and healthier than people with a wide variety of consumption."

He added that he's noticed this pattern for a very long time in his patients.

The authors of the AHA scientific statement conducted a review of articles published between January 2000 through December 2017.

So, what were the authors' conclusions?


There's no evidence that dietary diversity promotes healthy body weight or optimal eating patterns. Limited evidence shows that eating a variety of foods is actually associated with more calories, poor eating patterns and weight gain. There is some evidence that a greater variety of food options in a single meal may delay people's feeling of fullness and actually increase how much they eat.

What's their advice on what you should eat?

The researchers recommend eating more plant-based foods, which includes fruit, beans, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, they recommend adding low-fat dairy products, nuts, poultry, fish and vegetable oils to your diet. It's important to limit sweets, sugar and red meat -- the more problematic parts of a "diverse" diet.

"Part of the advisory's recommendation reflected changes to the food system that have developed over time -- centuries ago, food was not heavily processed and vitamin deficiencies were a very real concern -- diversity in diets may have actually been very beneficial during that time," Mozaffarian explained. "Nowadays, 'everything in moderation' can be misinterpreted and feed into the food industry. When we conducted a comprehensive literature search, none of the studies convincingly showed that diverse diets lead to better health outcomes. In fact, studies show that the more diverse a diet is, the worse it is and more weight people gain."

Mozaffarian’s own impression as a scientist is that a diet with a limited number of healthy foods eaten regularly tends to be the healthiest. Good examples of healthy eating are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet, a heart-healthy eating plan, and the AHA dietary recommendations.

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Courtesy Maria Jordan MacKeigan(NEW YORK) -- Maria Jordan MacKeigan had never met a person with Down syndrome until her own daughter, Jordan Grace, was born with the chromosomal abnormality four years ago.

Now MacKeigan is making sure her daughter and all kids with disabilities are known to the world.

MacKeigan, a mother of two from Canada, organizes pop-up photo shoots so that kids with disabilities can have headshots taken. The headshots are then used to try to get kids with disabilities featured in advertisements.

“I want to normalize differences. I want to normalize disabilities,” she said. “I don’t want people to be scared of my daughter or just walk away. I want them to play with her and accept her.”

MacKeigan added, “Advertisements [featuring kids with disabilities] are a conversation starter for other parents to talk to their children about differences and that it’s OK to be different and to include and accept them.”

MacKeigan has organized photo shoots in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, and in Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up. The photo shoots are staffed by professional photographers and stylists, so they get exposed to kids with disabilities too.

“It’s so magical to see them in front of the camera,” MacKeigan said of the children being photographed. “You can see the true joy that they live and a different kind of beauty.”

MacKeigan’s daughter, Jordan Grace, has scored modeling jobs thanks to the photos taken at Changing the Face of Beauty pop-up photo shoots.

“I’m so proud of her that I want the whole world to know her,” MacKeigan said. “She’s the kind of girl who steps and smells the roses and notices the little things that we don’t notice.”

The photo shoots organized by MacKeigan are the brainchild of another mom, Katie Driscoll, who also has a daughter with Down syndrome.

Driscoll, a professional photographer, founded Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of kids with disabilities featured in advertising and media.

She started the headshot clinics around three years ago when she found that brands were having trouble finding kids with disabilities to cast as models. The problem, according to Driscoll, is that talent and modeling agencies remain hesitant to represent kids with disabilities.

“I think more brands would be more inclusive if it was easier to find the talent,” Driscoll said. “We want to empower the disability community to push the talent firms for representation.”

The pop-up photo shoots are held not just in cities like New York and Los Angeles but in towns across the U.S. and Canada. More than 30 photo shoots have been held over the past three years.

“If we start a conversation in communities across the country, hopefully talent agencies hear that and it impacts their decisions,” Driscoll said. “I believe advertising is the missing component [in disability acceptance] and it can change the future of the disability community.”

Some brands are responding to the call for more inclusion in their advertisements.

In July, the clothing brand Aerie launched a campaign featuring models in a wheelchair, wearing an insulin pump and using arm crutches. In February, Lucas Warren, who has Down syndrome, was chosen as the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby.

Changing the Face of Beauty has also received pledges from more than 100 companies to include models with a disability in their advertising, according to Driscoll.

"It’s important to be seen in the world that you live in," she said of children with disabilities. "We have to be able to be a part of advertising, the most influential voice in the world."

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Some crayons may not be ready for play time, according to a new report.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group, said in its annual report on the safety of school supplies that Playskool brand crayons purchased at a Chicago Dollar Tree store tested positive for trace amounts of potentially dangerous asbestos chemicals.

The group tested six kinds of crayons from different brands, purchased at stores in several states and online. According to their report, Only the green Playskool crayons tested showed trace amounts of tremolite, a type of asbestos fiber.

"It’s completely unnecessary for crayons to contain asbestos," Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG education fund toxics director, told ABC News. "We know how to produce crayons without asbestos and most crayons are free of asbestos."

Dollar Tree stores acknowledged the report, telling ABC News in a statement, "The safety of our customers and associates is our top priority. Our company utilizes a very stringent and independent testing program to ensure our supplier products meet or exceed all safety and legal standards. We are aware of the report and have since re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing."

CPSC warns parents to keep fidget spinners 'away from young children' after swallowing incidents

Hasbro, the parent company of Playskool, said it is looking into the reports.

"Product and children’s safety are top priorities for Hasbro," Julie Duffy, senior vice president of global communications for Hasbro, said in a statement to ABC News. "We are conducting a thorough investigation into these claims, including working with Leap Year, the licensee of the product."

According to the report, the crayons U.S. PIRG purchased at the Chicago Dollar Tree were manufactured in China and did not carry an AP seal, meaning an “approved product” certified as non-toxic by The Art and Creative Materials Institute, or ACMI, a manufacturer’s association that promotes safety standards in art materials.

Several other brands of crayons were found to have asbestos fibers in 2000, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study.

CPSC said in its report that it believed the risk that children could be poisoned by coloring with or chewing on tainted crayons was low. But, the commission said, there was no reason crayons should carry the risk at all.

"Although CPSC staff determined that the risk is extremely low, the staff believes that as a precaution, crayons should not contain these fibers. CPSC staff asked the industry to reformulate crayons using substitute ingredients," the report said.

The commission, however, stopped short of regulating or banning asbestos in crayons.

In 2015, four unidentified brands of crayons were found to contain asbestos in tests by the Environmental Working Group.

Other children’s products have recently been found to include asbestos, including makeup kits.

Asbestos refers to a group of minerals that can crystallize into fibers. Because those fibers naturally resist heat and chemicals, they have often been used to make insulation. If these fibers are released into the air and then inhaled by people, they can cause dangerous conditions in the lungs and an aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma.

Talc, which crayon manufacturers often use as a binder in the wax, can be contaminated with asbestos fibers. Many manufacturers now purify the talc to eliminate asbestos contamination, but there is no specific regulation that requires it.

U.S. PIRG emphasized that its findings this year were mostly positive. Many of the school and art supply products it tested did not contain toxic chemicals.

"The good news is that several years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission tested several products and found that many of them had these trace amounts of asbestos and we’re not finding that anymore," Cook-Schultz said. "Now it’s just a matter of getting the law in place to actually make it so that crayons cannot contain asbestos in the U.S."

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 14, 2018

An elderly Warren County, Pennsylvania woman was killed, while three others were hurt, when a car struck a tractor on Route 957 in Sugar Grove Township Sunday night....    State P...

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