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KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) -- The family of a 14-year-old athlete has confirmed that he died after being infected with a deadly amoeba that attacks the brain.

Michael Riley is believed to have contracted the amoeba during a swim in a fresh water lake, and his family posted a message on a Facebook page dedicated to supporting his health battle.

"Michael fought a courageous fight over the past week, allowing him to move on to be with the Lord for future heavenly tasks, a beautiful set of wings, and a pair of gold running shoes," the family's message reads.

"The tests tonight produced undesirable results which were coupled with the inability to function without support and proper blood flow to the brain," the statement says.

The so called "brain-eating amoeba" occur naturally in fresh water and can cause irreversible damage or death if they infect a person through the nose. Cases are rare, but deadly and only a handful of people are known to have survived the infection.

The Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services reported they were notified of a suspected amoeba infection Aug. 22, but could not confirm the teen was the patient due to privacy reasons.

Michael's family initially told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas that they believed the teen contracted the dangerous infection on Aug. 13 during a trip to the lake with his teammates.

The teen, who qualified for the Junior Olympics three times, and was playing in the lake alongside his new high school track teammates.

About a week later, the teen reported a headache and fever and within 24 hours he had become confused and disoriented, according to the family's website. At the hospital, his doctors quickly suspected the rare naegleria fowleri amoeba.

"As Michael's work here is done, we will begin our work in honoring him by continuing with our search for a better understanding along with an awareness campaign in hopes of sparing others from the tremendous pain and agony that follows the onset of Naegleria fowleri and primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)," the Riley family wrote in their statement on Facebook early Monday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A mother of four is at the center of a blistering social media movement dubbed #IStandWithCherish.

Cherish Peterson is under fire for leaving behind her 2-month-old son, Huxton, outside an Arizona supermarket Aug. 24. A photo snapped by a bystander shows the baby strapped into a carrier inside a shopping cart.

In an interview with station KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Peterson shares her side of the story.

“I got into my car and normally I put my cart away, but I didn’t need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there, and I drove away,” Peterson, of Gilbert, Arizona, told the station.

She describes the horrific moment she realized baby Huxton was not in the car when she got home 40 minutes later.

“As I was pulling into the garage, my 3-year-old goes, ‘Where’s baby Huxton?’” she explained. “His car seat is right behind me so I turned around and realized it was gone.”

An off-duty Phoenix police officer had spotted the infant and took him inside a nearby salon. Huxton was not injured, but Peterson now faces a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

“I thought the whole time he was in my car,” the mother, now 28, said.

The incident has sparked a social media firestorm with many quick to condemn Peterson’s actions.

But just as fiercely, others are rushing to support Peterson on Twitter and a Facebook page attracting nearly 17,000 members. Supporters are sharing what they’re describing as their own “perfectly imperfect” parenting moments and calling for forgiveness.

“I have never met Cherish but the public punishment through social media has to be far more painful than any charges that might be brought against her. I forgive and so should we,” one user wrote on the page.

Her husband, Nathan, is also springing to her defense.

“We love our family and we love our children,” he said. “I married the best, in terms of the mother and wife Cherish is to me and our children.”

The Petersons admit they’re not perfect parents and they’ve learned this the hard way.

“I’m a good mom who made a horrible mistake,” she said, fighting back tears.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN QUENTIN, Calif.) — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with local and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at San Quentin State Prison.

As of Sunday, officials confirmed there are six cases of the disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five of the affected inmates are currently being treated at outside hospitals. Another 51 inmates are currently under observation for respiratory illness.

Legionnaires’ is caused by bacteria found in both potable and non-potable water systems, and is “carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture,” the CDC said in a blog post. It can’t be transported between people and symptoms can appear two to 10 days after exposure.

While the investigation continues, the San Quentin prison has limited its use of water.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) — A 51-year-old mother with multiple sclerosis gave birth to her own granddaughter in North Dakota, acting as a surrogate for her daughter.

The pregnancy came with an unexpected and welcome side effect.

Mandy Stephens and her husband Jamie couldn’t wait to get pregnant after marrying in 2013, but they had trouble conceiving and opted for in vitro fertilization.

Stephens became pregnant, and the 20-week ultrasound looked perfect. But she subsequently went into early labor and lost the baby, which she named Theo.

“There’s so much excitement,” Stephens, 32, said. “You carry the baby for so long, and then it’s all ripped apart and taken away. Your whole world stops.”

Mandy’s mom, Sherri Dickson, felt the pain, too.

“Watching your child lose a child is the definition of sadness,” Dickson said. “I can’t describe it any other way. It breaks your heart.”

Because Stephens’ cervix opened early, doctors warned the couple that a premature birth could happen again, though there is a procedure that may allow women with cervical insufficiency to carry their own baby.

The couple considered different options. Adoption? A surrogate?

That’s when her mother stepped in.

“I decided that if they needed somebody to carry their child, I would volunteer,” Dickson said.

The decision was easy for Dickson, who, at 51, had three grown children of her own. But there could be complications because of her age and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system.

“The disabling effects of the disease may make it physically difficult for the mother to carry a pregnancy,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Muscle weakness and coordination problems may increase the likelihood for falls.”

But the situation also came with a potential health benefit for Dickson, whose MS was in remission: Becoming pregnant might help keep it that way.

Researchers think that protective changes in the immune system during pregnancy keep the disease at bay.

Two attempts were made with in vitro fertilization, and by November of last year, Dickson was pregnant with her daughter and son-in-law’s baby.

“Pregnancy was easy,” Dickson said. “I was very fortunate … I was playing tennis a week before I delivered, and working out with my trainer, but the delivery at 51 was way harder than the delivery at 33 with my last baby.”

Mila was born four weeks ago.

“It’s indescribable,” Dickson said. “There are times I look at Mila and say, ‘We did that, you know?’ We gave her what she wants. Not that you ever make up for a baby you lost but you give someone that hope, you know?”

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Reduced-fat ice cream that doesn't melt? That's what British scientists are said to be working on.

A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Dundee said in a written statement that they have discovered a type of protein which could be used to create ice cream that is more resistant to melting.

"The protein binds together the air, fat and water in ice cream, creating a super-smooth consistency," the scientists said in the statement, enabling summer treats to keep frozen for longer in hot weather.

“We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, both for consumers and for manufacturers," Professor Cait MacPhee, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the project, said.

Researchers estimate that ice cream made with the naturally occurring protein, known as BslA, could be available within three to five years.

In addition, products manufactured with that protein would contain lower levels of saturated fat and fewer calories than those currently on sale.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It may be better to talk to your teens about alcohol earlier rather than later.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement Monday telling parents to talk to their teens about alcohol, and specifically address the dangers and health effects of binge drinking.

And the message may not come a moment too soon.

Past research cited by the group shows that over three-quarters of U.S. teens will eventually experiment with alcohol. These teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior leading to such negative consequences as unwanted pregnancies, irreversible brain changes, and severe injury and death.

The group also notes that kids as young as 9 years old have started to think about trying alcohol.

What’s the solution?

Talk to your kids about alcohol. The AAP says the very act of addressing the dangers with them influences their decisions around alcohol and leads them to make smarter choices.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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cosmin4000/iStock/ThinkStock(HOUSTON) -- A 14-year-old boy from Houston has died after battling a 'brain-eating' amoeba.

The announcement of Michael Riley's death was posted on his Facebook page by his family on Sunday.

The CDC says that the 'brain-eating' amoeba, known as the Primary Amoeba Meningoencephalitis (PAM), can be contracted after being in a freshwater lake and is very common in freshwater lakes and rivers in Texas, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.  

The amoeba is said to travel into the nose and it's most common victims are children.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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smolkapressepool/ullstein bild via Getty Images(NEW YORK) --   Renowned neurologist and author of "Awakenings" Oliver Sacks died Sunday. He was 82.

His assistant, Kate Edgar, told The New York Times the cause was cancer. ABC News was unable to reach Edgar.

Sacks, a professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine, announced in February a rare eye tumor had spread to his liver and that he was in the stages of terminal cancer.

Sacks is best known for his writing on neurological case histories including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and an "An Anthropologist on Mars." His book "Awakenings," based on his work in the 1960s with patients who were unable to initiate movement, was turned into an Oscar-nominated movie of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

Sacks, whose autobiography was released this spring, wrote in February he felt "intensely alive" after his diagnosis.

"Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts," he wrote. "This does not mean I am finished with life."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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janulla/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say a new type of pacemaker without wires and that doesn't require surgery to install could be the future of the device.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the new device is about one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker and was effective in about 90 percent of the 300 patients who were studied. Researchers followed the participants for six months after they received the new pacemaker, and found that just 6.7 percent of patients had severe adverse events.

The study notes that the rate of side effects was about double that of the 3.2 percent of patients with serious adverse events when using a conventional pacemaker, but say that the non-surgical nature of the device and its lack of wires could make it a feasible option in the future.

Still, the study's authors acknowledge, more time may be needed to accurately assess the safety and efficacy of the new pacemaker device.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Don't pay any attention to the label.

The Federal Drug Administration said this week they issued "warning letters" to three tobacco manufacturers including ITG Brands LLC, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc., and Sherman’s 1400 Broadway N.Y.C. Ltd., for their package labeling that says "additive-free" or "natural."

“The FDA’s job is to ensure tobacco products are not marketed in a way that leads consumers to believe cigarettes with descriptors like 'additive-free' and 'natural' pose fewer health risks than other cigarettes, unless the claims have been scientifically supported,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products in a statement. “This action is a milestone, and a reminder of how we use the tools of science-based regulation to protect the U.S. public from the harmful effects of tobacco use.”

According to the FDA, it's the first time they've used this kind of authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 to "pursue regulatory action regarding the use of “additive-free” or “natural” claims on tobacco product labeling."

The makers have to respond to the letters within 15 days of their delivery with a plan on how they're going to change the labeling or wording.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(PHOENIX) -- It was a sight to see in Arizona road as a stream of big trucks took part in a funeral procession to pay tribute to a 3-year-old boy who recently died.

ABC News station KNXV-TV in Phoenix reports that more than 100 trucks, including fire engines, vintage military vehicles, and semis, went through the city of Mesa Friday afternoon.

It was all for Elijah Steffen, who died on August 21 from a rare disease. He was a fan of big trucks but never had the chance to attend a monster truck rally in Las Vegas.

The whole thing began with a Facebook post by a family friend. Ironically, the initial request was for just one truck to show up at Elijah’s funeral. Instead, many trucks participated.

"That's what a community does," said Sam Koster, who brought her truck. "They all come together. And that's what this family needs."

Scott Campagna also attended with his truck. "I couldn’t imagine losing my child," he said. "If we could make this family smile by being here, then it's all worth it."

The hour-long procession concluded at the Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Drug Administration issued an alert on Friday, warning about certain types of Type 2 Diabetes treatments causing severe and debilitating joint pain.

The FDA mentioned in the alert the medicines sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin, and alogliptin as causing the joint pain.

"Patients should not stop taking their DPP-4 inhibitor medicine, but should contact their health care professional right away if they experience severe and persistent joint pain," said the statement. "Health care professionals should consider DPP-4 inhibitors as a possible cause of severe joint pain and discontinue the drug if appropriate."

According to the FDA, "DPP-4 inhibitors are used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kapowsin Meats has recalled approximately 523,380 pounds of pork products because of a Salmonella contamination, an expanded number since its original recall.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday, the Graham, Wash. establishment originally recalled some of their products weeks ago, but the USDA has expanded the recall after an investigation by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

"FSIS has been conducting intensified sampling at Kapowsin Meats while this establishment took steps to address sanitary conditions at their facility after the original recall on August 13, 2015," said the statement. "Sampling revealed positive results for Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- on Whole Hogs for Barbeque, associated pork products and throughout the establishment. FSIS has deemed sanitary improvement efforts made by the Kapowsin Meats insufficient, and the scope of this recall has been expanded to include all products associated with contaminated source material."

The statement also said Kapowsin Meats had voluntarily suspended work.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Courtesy BluePearl Veterinary Partners(NEW YORK) -- A year-old pit bull named Honey survived being shot point blank in the mouth by her owner's ex-boyfriend during an argument at her Brooklyn apartment in New York City, according to Honey's owner and a criminal court complaint.

Honey's owner, Asha Stringfield, 24, told ABC News on Friday that she has a restraining order against her 47-year-old ex-boyfriend, Kenneth White, who she said attacked her after he got annoyed about the food she had at her house and jealous about another male friend of hers. The restraining order was confirmed by court documents obtained by ABC News.

White "repeatedly punched" Stringfield in her head and face, grabbed her by the throat, pulled her off the bed by her hair and pointed a gun to her face, asking her to give him "two reasons not to shoot" her, according to a criminal court complaint filed in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

"He kept repeating, 'You don't love me like I love you,' and telling me that I thought he was stupid and disrespectful," Stringfield said. "After hitting me and making me bleed, he said he was going to take my dog, and he opened the door and Honey came in, and I was so scared."

Stringfield said Honey ran to her and tried to lick her wounds, and she tried to hold Honey away from White.

"He kept telling me to let her go, but I wouldn't and then he shot her straight in the mouth through her head," she said. "I screamed. There was blood everywhere. I was freaking out. I didn't know what to do, but Honey was still alive and choking trying to cough the bullet out.

"My friend woke up and told me to take Honey to the bathroom, so we sat in the shower with the bathroom locked and waited."

White eventually left and Stringfield's cousin called 911 for her.

An NYPD spokesman told ABC News that Stringfield was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated and released the next day. Honey was taken to a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in midtown Manhattan, the NYPD spokeswoman added.

"When Honey came in to the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Midtown on Sunday, Dr. Alex Schechter was skeptical when told the dog suffered a gunshot wound," a spokesman for BluePearl Veterinary Partners told ABC News in a statement. "Honey was shaking, barking and nervous, but the wound was not obvious.

"But after sedating Honey, Schechter could see a wound inside her mouth. Then when the X-Rays came back, he was astounded. It showed the bullet had entered Honey’s mouth and narrowly missed her brain. The bullet actually went through a portion of Honey’s skull, and lodged in muscle tissue in the back of her neck."

Honey was then transported to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), where a surgeon is assessing the pup, Stringfield said.

A spokeswoman for the ASPCA deferred inquiries about Honey to Stringfield.

Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners Team Leader Mary Santivanez said that the bullet is still lodged inside the young pit bull, and there's a great chance the dog will die if it is removed, according to the criminal complaint.

Stringfield said doctors told her they are monitoring Honey and working to figure out if they should perform the risky surgery.

"Right now, I'm taking it day by day," Stringfield said. "I'm praying for my dog and that things get better. My friends and family have been sending me a lot of prayers and love for Honey and I on Facebook. I just want to get away from here as soon as possible."

White was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, strangulation, menacing, aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal contempt, and torture and injury to an animal, according to police.

According to court records online, White is being represented by the Brooklyn Defender Services, which did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional information such as if he has entered a plea.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A warning from school administrators to parents over their daughter’s lunchbox is one seemingly worthy of a super hero’s rescue. The only problem is that super heroes are banned from the school, even on a lunchbox.

An Imgur user posted a letter earlier this week reportedly sent from school officials to his friends, expressing concern that their daughter brought a “Wonder Woman” — themed lunchbox to school.

"We noticed that Laura has a Wonder Woman lunchbox that features a super hero image," the letter begins. "In keeping with the dress code of the school, we must ask that she not bring this to school."

"The dress code we have established requests that the children not bring violent images into the building in any fashion — on their clothing (including shoes and socks), backpacks and lunch boxes," the letter continues. "We have defined 'violent characters' as those who solve problems using violence. Superheroes certainly fall into that category."

The school’s name and address are redacted in the letter, which was posted anonymously.

The Imgur user also posted two photos of the lunchbox reportedly under fire.

The front of the lunchbox shows just a close-up image of Wonder Woman’s face, while the back shows a full-body image of Wonder Woman in her costume holding her lasso.

“As lovely as Aphrodite, as wise as Athena,” the lunchbox reads.

The letter quickly went viral, prompting even the actress best known for playing Wonder Woman, Linda Carter, to share the story on social media.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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