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iStock/Thinkstock(GREENVILLE, N.C.) --  A widow, who lost her police officer husband in the line of duty while she was expecting, decided to honor him in a maternity photo shoot that's gone viral.

Officer Allen Jacobs died March 18 in Greenville, South Carolina.

His widow Meghan Jacobs is pregnant with their third child -- a baby girl to be named Lennox -- who is due in July.

 To honor her late husband, Meghan Jacobs, with the help of a friend of more than 15 years, photographer Jessie Ellex, planned a maternity photo shoot that resulted in more than 600 photos.

"The tone of photo shoot was very mixed," Ellex, 29, told ABC News. "It was, of course, very somber, but bittersweet, knowing Meghan and Lennox have the support of the Greenville Police Department."

 Ellex said the six-hour photo shoot started with just Meghan Jacobs and her mother, but they were later joined by officers.

"When the police officers met us around 7:30 [p.m.] all I could do was fight back tears. But we all pushed through," she recalled.

In many of the photos, Allen Jacobs' fellow officers and a police dog posed behind the widow. The photo shoot also featured her late husband's patrol car, his uniform, his badge and even the flag that had been on his casket.

 In a caption on Facebook, Ellex noted that the "flag was never disrespected and never touched the ground."

Ellex said Meghan enjoyed the photos and that she is relieved because "Meghan is like a sister to me, so when she met Allen he became an important part of my life just like Meghan."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina whitewater rafting facility was forced to close after water samples tested positive for brain-eating amoeba.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) announced the temporary cancellation of its whitewater activities in a statement Friday, and said it was based on "discussion with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health officials."

Health officials had been studying the water since the death of Ohio teen Lauren Seitz, who visited the park with her church group, and fell in the water when her raft overturned.

Doctors said Seitz had died from a rare, but fatal brain infection caused by being exposed to an amoeba, Naegleria Fowleri, in the water.

The statement from USNWC said "initial test results" found Naegleria Fowleri DNA in its whitewater system.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The increase in fears over the Zika virus has also caused an increase in the number of Latin American women wanting abortions, researchers say according to the BBC.

Recent estimates published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the abortion requests in Brazil have more than doubled.

The BBC reports many governments have advised women not to get pregnant while the risk of contracting the Zika virus is still prevalent.

Many pregnant women who have contracted the Zika virus have given birth to babies with microcephaly, or tiny brains and heads.

According to the BBC, 60 countries and territories have reported cases of Zika that were spread by mosquitoes. More than 1,500 babies bave been born with microcephaly as a result of the zika virus.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Mosquitoes and other biting insects may be an unfortunate part of summer, but you don't have to suffer. We've got a few tips for avoiding those nasty bug bites.

More Is Not Better

Extra coats of bug spray do not offer added protection. One coat of bug spray to exposed skin is enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says DEET offers the best protection against mosquito bites but notes that the chemical may cause skin rashes, including blisters and skin and mucous membrane irritation, if applied in high amounts.

If you want to avoid products that contain DEET, there are natural alternatives such as lemon eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, neem oil and citronella.

The Best Ingredients to Fight Off Bugs

Be sure to look for proven ingredients like DEET, picaridin and IR3535 to give long-lasting protection. Apply repellants only to exposed skin and avoid spraying the repellant over cuts, wounds or irritated skin, the CDC advises.

Look for an EPA Label

If you're unsure of which product is the right one for you, go to the Environmental Protection Agency's Insect Repellant Search Tool. You can plug in which bug you're trying to avoid and the duration you're going to be outside. The EPA regulation number on the back of each bottle confirms that the product has been proven safe and effective by the EPA.

Don't Spray Your Face

To protect your face, spray bug spray on the palm of your hand before applying the product to your face. The CDC says bug sprays can be used with sunscreen, though it's best to apply the sunscreen first.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Scales have evolved from simply stepping on a scale to see your weight at one moment in time to being able to track weight over time and connect with apps on a smartphone.

Scales also now measure body fat. Good Morning America invited three women to try six different consumer body fat scales.

The three women first had their body fat percentage measured by Dr. John Shepherd and his team at the University of California San Francisco’s Body Composition Lab. Shepherd considers these findings — obtained using a body fat assessment device known as the Bod Pod — the “gold standard” in the final comparisons.

The body fat scales tested by the women included those made by Tanita, Fitbit, Taylor, Withings, Weight Watchers and Qardio.

The scales ranged in price from $40 to $150. All six scales reported the weight correctly for all three women, with less than 1 percent of error from Dr. Shepherd’s findings.

On average, the Tanita scale, Taylor scale and Weight Watchers scale each reported our testers’ body fat 4 percent more than the “gold standard.”

The Withings scale reported our testers’ body fat 9 percent more than the “gold standard.” The Withings body analyzer uses a scientific technique that is widely recognized as the best method for at-home body mass measurement.

The Qardio scale reported our testers’ body fat 5 percent more than the “gold standard.”

We had a syncing error with the Fitbit scale — which Fitbit says may have been due to a Wi-fi problem, so we are not reporting those results.

We reached out to all the companies in our story and some criticize the use of the Bod Pod as the “gold standard” and say their own testing confirms the accuracy of their products. They also tell us these products are meant to help users see trends over time.

Consumer Reports tested the same six scales in March and came to the conclusion that, “The results were unimpressive: None was very accurate.”

As of earlier this month, the Withings model is no longer on the market. The company has now released two new scales that test body fat among other things.

The scales still use the same technique to calculate body fat but, “the new electronics are more advanced and take even more exact readings,” Withings told ABC News.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

They don't call it the graveyard shift for nothing.

Past research has shown a link between shift work and an increased risk for cancer, metabolic disorders and heart disease.

Now, a new study looked at the risk of heart disease in female nurses who worked at least three nights per month, in addition to other day and evening shifts. Researchers found that women who did five years or more of shift work had an increased risk of heart disease.

So how do you preserve your health if you're working overnight?

Try to counteract this associated increased risk with things that can lower your risk. Exercise daily if you can, eat a heart-healthy diet and if you smoke, try your best to quit.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(BLUE HILL, Maine) -- A 40-year-old Twinkie in Blue Hill, Maine, seems to have weathered the past few decades quite well. Perhaps a testament to the power of preservatives, the legendary Twinkie at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill remains, with the exception of some dust, remarkably intact.

What began as an impromptu chemistry experiment in 1976 has left the small private school home to the world’s oldest Twinkie. Chemistry teacher Roger Bennatti, who has since retired from teaching, began the experiment during a lesson on food additives and shelf life when a student expressed curiosity about the lifespan of a Twinkie.

To answer, he gave his students a few bucks and sent them to a store. They returned with a package of Twinkies. After popping the first one in his mouth, he placed the second one on the blackboard. “Let’s see,” he said.

Forty years later, the Twinkie remains, though its exact location has since changed. After leaving George Stevens Academy in 2005, Bennatti passed the Twinkie down to Libby Rosemeier, who had been a student in that very chemistry class and now serves as the school’s Dean of Students. The Twinkie remains on display in a glass box in her office and has become, in many ways, the school’s claim to fame.

Rosemeier is still in awe at the amount of attention the Twinkie has garnered.

“It’s really funny that we’re this wonderful coastal community in Maine, and we have this school of 325 kids that is a gem and we’re doing great things and kids are going to great colleges, and the thing people know about us is this 40-year-old Twinkie,” Rosemeier told ABC News.

Nevertheless, she welcomes the Twinkie attention, if that’s what puts the school and all of its students’ accomplishments, including an impressive jazz band and sports teams with championship titles, on the map.

Bennatti, too, said he is surprised by the impact of his Twinkie experiment decades ago, though he refers to it as a “worthy science experiment.”

“When I retired I could have taken it with me, but I wanted it to stay with George Stevens,” he said, adding that in the future, he hopes it is kept on display and dedicated to all of the past, present and future science students of the high school.

“I’ve heard people suggest that the sports teams should be renamed the Fighting Twinkies,” Bennatti laughed, “but I’m not so sure they’ll go for that.”

As for the Twinkie’s future, Rosemeier, who tentatively plans to retire in the next five years, is still unsure of who will inherit the 40-year-old sugary treat.

“The Smithsonian hasn’t contacted me yet,” she joked.

Hostess did not respond to a request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cancer can seem to strike out of the blue, but taking basic preventative measures may decrease a person's chance of developing forms of the disease by as much as 45 percent, according to a review of studies published today in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Medical experts have asserted for decades that certain behaviors including smoking and eating an unhealthy diet can increase the risk of developing cancer. In the report published Thursday, researchers attempted to understand how reducing these behaviors and living a healthy lifestyle could affect a person's chance of developing cancer.

The researchers examined 12 ongoing cohort studies, looking at the health of people between the ages of 25 to 79 and their habits. They found those who adhered to cancer prevention guidelines including living a physically active lifestyle, eating five or more servings of vegetables per day and limiting alcohol consumption were not-so-surprisingly less likely to develop cancer.

What was striking was the significance of the decrease. Those who followed the guidelines had a 10 to 45 percent reduction in the risk of developing cancer, decreasing with healthier lifestyle habits. Similarly, they saw a 14 to 61 percent reduction in deaths from cancer among the people who adhered to these guidelines. More research is needed to see if these initial findings continue to hold firm past the 7 to 14 years of monitoring done during this analysis. That amount of time may not be enough to fully understand how healthy behaviors affect cancer development. Additionally subjects self-reported their activities, which is not the most accurate way to measure healthy behaviors.

“If you adhere to these guidelines, you may reduce your risk of getting or dying from cancer, though the risk is not totally eliminated,” lead author Lindsay Kohler, a doctoral candidate at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona said in a statement today. She noted that family history and environmental factors also play a role in cancer development and death.

“However, following these recommendations will lead to healthier lives overall and, in turn, reduce the risk for many major diseases," she said.

Dr. Gregory Cooper, Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control at the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, explained that these types of studies can help him illustrate to patients why exactly it's important to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.

"I'll tell a patient that there was just a study that was published that people who ate five servings of fruits and veggies a day can have low risk of cancer," said Cooper. Additionally he said this information can be used to help educate patients in cases where precancerous lesions may be found, such as during a colonoscopy.

Patients ask "'What caused it?' I say part of it is probably hereditary and part of it might be related to diet," Cooper said. "It's another opportunity to educate patients. You have pre-cancerous polyps and it may be a way to prevent that."

Cooper also pointed out that just because a person lives a healthy lifestyle and has no known cancer risks, does not mean they can avoid recommended testing. He pointed out that there is still a significant portion of cancer cases where the likely cause remains unknown.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A recent article about so-called "Mom Hair" is sparking an online firestorm in the mommy blogosphere.

The New York Times style section recently ran a piece about new moms struggling with hair loss after pregnancy and deciding on a "longer-in-back, slightly-shorter-in-front bob," calling it "inescapably frumpy" and comparing it to "Mom Jeans," which in turn launched a wave of backlash from women across the web.

Ashley Austrew, a mother from Omaha, Nebraska, wrote a post on the blog, Scary Mommy, an online community for parents, criticizing the article for its condescending remarks and calling it mommy shaming.

"I don't know about you but I'm sick of having the word 'mom' continually used as a synonym for uncool, unflattering, unhip and sexless," Austrew wrote.

Even though celebrity moms like Michelle Williams, Miranda Kerr and Kris Jenner have been flaunting shorter looks and looking great, style critics have long seen motherhood as synonymous with general un-coolness.

Saturday Night Live poked fun at the connection between moms and poor style choices in a skit about "Mom Jeans" over three years ago. Then in May, the show mocked the inevitability of new mothers shearing off their sexy, long locks for "the cut."

Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist in New York City and author of "Your Best Age is Now," says she often sees mothers face societal stereotypes.

"Just because somebody has a baby, it doesn’t mean that they don’t wanna look good, that they don’t wanna look glamorous, and, if they don’t hit the mark right away, it’s an evolutionary process," she said.

She said shaming particular looks is unnecessary, especially when what really matters is having a haircut that makes a woman feel good about herself.

"They did a Harvard study where they found that women who got their hair done, cut, colored and blown out, the younger they thought they looked, the lower their blood pressure would go down, so it has a physiological effect," Ludwig said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What if you woke up one day suddenly speaking with a Southern twang or French lilt or British accent? In rare cases, this happens to people when a brain injury leads to a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS).

Lisa Alamia, of Rosenberg, Texas, woke up from jaw surgery in December with an unexpected side effect: a new British accent. She has received nationwide attention for her rare FAS diagnosis.

"I was very shocked,” Alamia told ABC News. “I didn't know how to take it. I was very confused. I said 'Ya'll’ all the time before the accent. Once I got the accent, I started noticing I'd say, 'You all.’"

The syndrome usually develops after neurological damage such as stroke. There are only about 100 documented cases of FAS, which was first described in 1907. A famous case involved a Norwegian woman shunned in her community when she developed a German accent after a traumatic brain injury during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. A Scottish case published last month in Practical Neurology describes another instance of a woman who, like Alamia, developed FAS after a minor dental procedure, trading her Scottish accent for a German one.

Approximately 86 percent of cases are linked to neurological damage in the speech centers of the brain, from strokes, trauma, or other diseases like multiple sclerosis, according to a study published earlier this year in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. These patients usually don’t take on a specific accent -- for example, they don’t have a true German accent -- but the general changes in their prosody, or speech, can be mistaken for a specific foreigner.

A second type of FAS is not associated to any brain changes at all. These cases are often psychological in nature -- for example, anxiety, depression or emotional trauma can change aspects of how the brain interprets information and can cause someone to change their speech patterns, according to the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal. This can happen even though there is no physiological trauma to the brain that can be detected. However, this does not mean a patient is "faking it," it just means changes have happened in their brain on a subconscious level.

"It's such a rare condition that neurologists don't believe that this is a real condition," said Dr. Toby Yaltho of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates, who treated Alamia. "The big thing is to know that she's not faking it."

FAS is treated in a variety of ways, from behavioral therapy to speech therapy to anti-anxiety medications, and some patients do recover their natural speech, according to medical literature.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Get ready to roll up your sleeves this flu season.

Nasal flu vaccinations are no longer being recommended by federal health officials after they were found to be less effective than traditional flu shots.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, changed its recommendations Wednesday on flu vaccines after the nasal flu vaccine was deemed relatively ineffective at preventing the virus over the past three flu seasons.

CDC officials reported during the most recent flu season that they could find no measurable protective benefit in children between the ages of 2 and 17 who were given the nasal spray.

The change means that both adults and children who are frightened of needles will no longer have another option that is less invasive.

The American Academy of Pediatrics backed the CDC's recommendation, while acknowledging that many parents and medical providers preferred to give children the nasal spray over a shot.

“We do understand this change will be difficult for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients, and to patients who prefer that route of administration,” AAP CEO-Executive Director Dr. Karen Remley said in a statement Wednesday. “However, the science is compelling that the inactivated vaccine is the best way to protect children from what can be an unpredictable and dangerous virus."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents, by and large, watch their kids like hawks in public places.

But things happen, and big crowds at popular summer places like theme parks and state fairs mean a child can get lost in the time it takes to reach for a camera.

A police department in California is getting big praise on social media for a super-simple child safety tip they posted last week. They suggest parents write their phone number on the child's wrist and cover it with liquid band aid, in case the child is lost or separated from them.

This post has been shared 14,000 times -- and it's the second time the Clovis Police Department has shared the tip. The first time was a few months ago when it was "one of the most popular ever" tips they've shared.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Fresh off a five-day trip in tropical paradise, Harper’s Bazaar senior digital editor, Chrissy Rutherford, returned home with one scary souvenir.

“You sort of think that it’s not going to happen to you,” Rutherford of New York City told ABC News.

She was on a train heading to a wedding three days after arriving home from her Jamaican vacation when she first really started to notice her systems.

“I’m sitting on the train and I start taking a selfie as one does as they’re on a train by themselves on the way to a wedding,” she said of the alarming experience. “When I saw my skin, my heart just started pounding.”

Her face had broken out in a rash, a symptom that appeared after she had already been experiencing two days of leg soreness and joint stiffness.

“A light bulb I guess just went off in my head and I thought, ‘I think I could have Zika virus,’” Rutherford recalled.

After a Google search of Zika symptoms and two trips to the doctor, a urine test confirmed her fears. She had contracted Zika.

More than 750 people in 45 states have reported cases of Zika, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus spreads through mosquito bites and can be transmitted through unprotected sex, which presents risks for pregnant women, including links to birth defects for their unborn babies.

With no prescription treatment to cure Zika, Rutherford spent the next 10 days suffering through her illness.

“I was just feeling so lifeless, my body so achy and I knew that even once I got up on my feet, it was going to be painful,” she explained.

Now, nearly two weeks later, Rutherford said she’s finally starting to feel like herself and ready to share her experience with her readers at Harper’s Bazaar.

“A lot of people aren’t aware what it’s like to have this virus,” she said.

Rutherford admits she did not wear bug spray while on her trip, which is something experts strongly recommend.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(HOUSTON) — A Texas woman went into jaw surgery to correct an overbite and while she got her new smile, she got something she did not plan for: a British accent.

Lisa Alamia was diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome, an extremely rare speech disorder that alters the person's speech so that a person appears to speak with a "foreign" accent.

When the mother of three underwent the lower-jaw surgery in December 2015 and came home with a British accent, her children thought she was kidding.

"I was very shocked,” Alamia told ABC News. “I didn't know how to take it. I was very confused. I said 'Ya'll’ all the time before the accent. Once I got the accent, I started noticing I'd say, 'You all.’"

Doctors estimate the speech disorder has affected fewer than 100 people in 100 years worldwide. The condition is most often caused by a brain injury, but Alamia's neurologist said everything came back normal after a full range of tests.

"It's such a rare condition that neurologists don't believe that this is a real condition," Dr. Toby Yaltho of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates told ABC News. "The big thing is to know that she's not faking it."

Alamia said, "I've never been outside of the country, except for a mission trip to Mexico. That's not where my accent came from."

There is no known cure for the condition and while the accent can diminish over time, it can also be permanent.

Alamia, who feared people wouldn't believe her, is planning to start speech therapy, and says she's come to realize that the accent doesn't define her.

"In the beginning, that was my fear: 'Oh, is she lying?' I said, ‘You know what, Lisa? You're still you. You are who you are,’" she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and this density can make detecting breast cancer through mammography more difficult.

Now, a new study shows that while many states are trying to inform women of these risks, they may be failing. Currently, 24 states require that women receive a notification of how dense breasts can affect their mammogram results.

Here's what you need to know about how to interpret your mammogram:

Ask you doctor if your mammogram reveals you have dense breasts.

Ask if a breast ultrasound is appropriate for you.

Remember that a mammogram is not a perfect screening test but it is important for women's health, so talk to a doctor about breast cancer screening.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.








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