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The Gompf Family(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A Florida family has posted a billboard to draw attention to the dangers of the "brain-eating" amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, for people swimming in local lakes, ponds and streams.

The Gompf family posted a billboard in Tampa in honor of their son, Phillip Gompf, who died from meningitis caused by Naegleria fowleri in 2009. It's part of a campaign on water safety the family started in 2014.

"We can't bring back our child. Protect yours, with nose clips," the billboard reads next to a family picture with Phillip missing.

The boy's mother, Dr. Sandra Gompf, said in a video on the family's website that he contracted the infection after he went swimming in a lake. His first symptom was a headache that appeared five days later, the following morning Phillip's parents had difficulty waking him up.

They rushed him to the pediatric ER.

"He was found pretty quickly to have severe meningitis sand three days later he was gone," Gompf said in a video posted on the website to draw attention to the issue.

Both of Phillip's parents are doctors who specialize in serious infections. They are now posting the billboard and starting an online campaign to help protect other children.

"It's 99 percent fatal, but it's 100 percent preventable," Gompf says in a video. "You just need to keep water out of the nose."

There are zero to eight infections in this country from parasitic amoebas each year, and nearly all are fatal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises people to take steps to avoid getting water up their nose in freshwater lakes and streams. Swimmers can keep their head above water, use a nose clip or hold their nose shut when underwater.

"If I could tell you one thing that Phillip would want you to know is to enjoy nature but to remember that natural bodies of water are alive," she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers are learning more about the Zika virus and how it affects the development of infants in utero -- and what they're learning is painting a grim portrait of the destructive nature of the infection for the fetus.

Two studies published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet shed new light on the effects of the virus.

In one study, researchers from multiple institutions, including the Brazilian Ministry of Health, examined children who had been born to mothers with suspected Zika virus infections. The virus has been found to cause microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head. However, researchers found of the approximately 1,500 births they studied, about 20 percent of the babies born with Zika virus had normal head circumferences. This means these infants may have developmental delays or other defects even though they do not have microcephaly.

The other study published by researchers from multiple institutions, including the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the ways the virus affects brain tissue. They looked at brains of three infants who died after being born with Zika-related microcephaly and also at fetal tissue from two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage related to Zika infection.

By looking at the tissue, researchers found evidence of body deformities, cell death and abnormal calcium deposits in brain tissue related to the viral infection.

The researchers hope to be able to better understand how the virus attacks the developing brain through these studies.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News that the study findings show how much researchers are playing catch-up with this disease.

"I’m afraid the more we learn the nastier the Zika virus is," Schaffner said. "It’s quite evident that the Zika virus, if it gets into a pregnant woman, can get into the placenta and into the baby and it gets right into the brain cells."

Schaffner said other birth defects, including those that affect sight and hearing, often appear if brain development is affected in utero.

"Some of the babies will have blindness and hearing defects," if their brain development is impacted, Schaffner explained. "Some of the babies who appear normal at birth on follow-up can be found tragically later to have limitations of brain function, vision and hearing."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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

When you send your child off to college, you expect them to get a good education and life experience -- not the mumps.

The contagious illness is the result of a virus that causes painful swelling of the salivary glands. College students are particularly at risk. The mumps virus is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.

Although most people are vaccinated against mumps at a young age, the vaccine does not provide full protection. Two doses of the vaccine are approximately 88 percent effective in preventing mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, tiredness, muscle aches and swollen salivary glands. In rare cases, severe complications, including meningitis or inflammation of the ovaries or testicles, can occur.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 25-year-old teacher lost 115 pounds in one year by relying on Instagram to publicly share her progress.

Laura Micetich said she struggled with her weight since childhood but it was during college that the 6-foot-tall woman’s weight spiraled out of control.

“I had finished college, I was going into my teaching degree [and] I stepped on a scale and I was over 300 pounds,” Micetich told ABC News.

When, at age 23, Micetich developed hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone, she decided to take action.

Micetich changed her diet and began working out, documenting it all on Instagram. She said she lost 40 pounds in the first month alone.

“Instagram gave me this place where I could post my pictures and be accountable to myself but also I was accountable to that 12-year-old who didn't feel good about her body and suddenly could feel good about her body just by an adult telling her everything was okay,” she said.

Micetich’s diet today consists of eggs and oatmeal for breakfast and meals full of protein, such as fresh tuna, and vegetables like oven-baked broccoli. She also works out six days per week.

By sharing her story in pictures and posts on Instagram, Micetich became an inspiration to not just herself but her followers too.

“People were going to my pictures and saying, ‘How did you do this?’ and ‘Can you give me information?’” she said. “And I'd say, ‘Yeah shoot me an email,’ and I'd send them as much information as I could.”

Micetich’s message to others is that hard work pays off.

“It's about proving to yourself that you want that change enough to wait for it and work for it and when it gets there, then you appreciate it,” she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — They might be pretty to look at, but the handheld fireworks known as sparklers people love on the 4th of July can be dangerous.

The Chicago Tribune reports that sparklers accounted for more than 12 percent of fireworks injuries from June 23 to July 20, 2015, based on information from the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal's Division of Fire Prevention.

Of the 7,000 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, sparklers accounted for an estimated 19 percent from June 20 to July 20, 2014.  But those numbers skyrocket when it comes to kids: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics for children under five, sparklers accounted for 61 percent of the total estimated injuries.

MaryLynn Jacobs, vice president of operations at ATI Physical Therapy, said people are naïve about the dangers of sparklers, which burn at around 2,000 degrees -- that's hot enough to melt some metals.

Jacobs doesn't recommend having fireworks at home for safety reasons. "Being a mother of three, I would just ask [people] please to watch from afar. Let's go to a fireworks display.”

Jacobs says large bubble wands and pinwheels that aren’t fireworks are good substitutes for children.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Nicole Nichols(RICHLAND, Miss.) -- A Mississippi state representative suggested to a mother that she buy her family's own diabetes medication when she wrote to him asking for support after she started to experience difficulties in getting assistance from Medicaid.

Richland resident Nicole Nichols wrote to the Mississippi House of Representatives Monday morning to voice her concern that children with Type 1 Diabetes "aren't getting the necessary diabetes supplies and meds they need to stay healthy."

"We have recently begun having a lot of problems with Medicaid/CHIPS coverage of the essential diabetes supplies needed, not only to keep our kids healthy, but to literally keep them alive," Nichols wrote to Mississippi lawmakers. "No parents should have to fight for so long for their child's essential medical supplies and medical needs when it's explicitly stated as a covered benefit."

Later that day, Mississippi State Rep. Jeffrey Guice, R-Ocean Springs, replied, "I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?"

The mother of two, whose 8-year-old daughter Bella has Type 1 Diabetes, told ABC News she has been filled with "silent fury" since she received Guice's response. Two other state representatives responded to her email as well, but Guice's was the only negative one, she said.

Nichols posted the exchange to a Facebook page Living in the World of Test Strips, which provides community support for parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes. This morning, she attended a special session at the Mississippi State Capitol, where Guice was in attendance, and spoke to several reporters about the problems she's been experiencing. A few legislators even offered their support, telling her to call their office if she continues to encounters problems with obtaining her daughter's medication.

Nichols responded to Guice by detailing how much each portion of her daughter's medication costs, which amounts to about $2,500 a month, she said. Guice responded by merely asking if insulin was covered by Medicaid, Nichols said.

Despite Guice's comment, Nichols said she is focusing on "the kids" and "getting them what they need to get healthy." She said she aims to raise awareness and be an advocate for several other families of children with Type 1 Diabetes who are having the same problem.

"I will gladly use his mistake to get the kids what they need," she said, adding that she's been experiencing the problem since April.

A representative for Guice did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Nichols' husband also has Type 1 Diabetes, but he has not had any problems receiving medication, which is covered by his insurance through his employer, Nichols said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Gillian Mohney/ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Gay rights groups and members of Congress called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reverse the guideline that bars gay and bisexual men from donating blood unless they abstain from sex for one year.

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, whose district includes Orlando, said not allowing many gay and bisexual men to donate blood is discriminatory during a call with reporters Tuesday, adding that the ban should be lifted to "treat all people equally." He pointed out that in times of crisis, such as the June 12 shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people, people want to give back to the community.

"We had two blocks that had to be cordoned off of people anxious to give blood that day, in the rain," Grayson said, referring to the day after the Orlando nightclub shooting. "Recognition of the impulse we all feel in times of tragedy, to help. No one should be turned away under those circumstances."

Grayson also said new testing could be done to more accurately test for HIV.

Rep. Jared Polis, who represents Colorado's 2nd district, called on the FDA to update its blood donor regulations to focus on behavior rather than sexual orientation.

"Gender of one’s partner has nothing to do with whether one is engaged in risky behavior or not," he said Tuesday. “Nothing [is] inherently different about the blood of gay or bisexual Americans."

The congressmen were joined by the LGBTQ rights groups National Gay Blood Drive, Equality Federation and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. In December, the FDA changed its guidelines to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they abstain from having sex with a man for one year. Prior to December, gay and bisexual men were barred from donating blood for life.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A billion-dollar bill to help address the Zika virus crisis fell apart on the Senate floor Tuesday over perennial partisan squabbles -- namely, about whether to devote funding to the family planning organization Planned Parenthood.

Democrats blamed Republicans for using the bill to “whack” the organization, while Republicans say the bill includes plenty of funding, allocated in the most effective way, to target those most affected by the Zika virus, including those seeking contraceptive services.

Both statements are disputed by the opposing side, but the fact is that the bill failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to advance, largely over disagreements about a portion of the money that amounted to less than 9 percent of its total funding.

The Zika bill also contains provisions related to the environment and the display of Confederate flags that Democrats find objectionable. In addition to the policy specifics, Democrats also object to the fact that the House Republicans revised and passed the conference report on a party-line vote in the dead of night last week amid the protests of House Democrats who were staging an unrelated sit-in on gun safety.

But no provision got more public push-back from Democrats than the lack of direct funding to Planned Parenthood.

Just before the 52-48 vote on the Zika bill, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer assailed his Republican colleagues for blocking funding specifically to the organization.

“Republicans can't miss a chance to whack Planned Parenthood, even if their services are exactly what can help prevent the spread of this debilitating virus,” said Schumer, the likely incoming Senate Democratic leader.

The White House threatened on Monday to veto the bill, citing its inadequate funding overall and claiming it would “block” access to contraception.

“The bill includes an ideological rider blocking access to contraception for women in the United States, including women in Puerto Rico, even though this is a sexually transmitted disease,” White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said.

While the bill doesn’t directly provide funds for private family planning organizations, Republican Senate aides note that it does contain $95 million for public health departments, hospitals and public health plan reimbursement through what’s known as a Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).

Republicans say this grant allows each state and territory the maximum flexibility to deliver the funding wherever it is most needed. Of the funding, $40 million also goes specifically to 20 community health centers throughout Puerto Rico, where the virus is expected to have the biggest impact.

They also note that the SSBG funding would be available to a network of 13 federally funded family planning clinics throughout Puerto Rico called PREVEN, which among other services provide contraception, and that Planned Parenthood providers and patients can still get Medicaid reimbursements for Zika care.

“If Planned Parenthood wants to accept your Medicaid, you can absolutely get a reimbursement through them,” a Senate Republican aide said. Democrats and Planned Parenthood argue that using the SSBG to fund Zika efforts in this bill, which is the final product of a reconciling or “conference” between House and Senate versions, is not the most effective way to target funds, as Republicans claim.

A Senate Democratic aide said the initial Senate version of the bill, which had bipartisan support, contained a more workable proposal: funding health care services through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program called the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, which the aide said more directly assists women and babies, the populations most affected by Zika infection.

“You would think that in response to a virus that primarily impacts women’s health that has a lot to do with pregnancy, and contraception is uniquely equipped to prevent, then you’d want to invest in organizations that are really good at providing that kind of care,” the aide added.

The aide also noted that the bill makes access to contraceptives more difficult for women, especially in Puerto Rico, because the Senate bill structures its SSBG funds to exclude private health care agencies like Planned Parenthood.

“Eligible providers could only be public health departments, hospitals and entities reimbursed by public health plans. This would make access to contraceptive and prenatal services more difficult, especially for women in Puerto Rico.”

In response to that criticism, Stephen Worley, a spokesman for Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, said, “Democrats should be more concerned with the outcome than whether or not their preferred programs are funded.”

But Senate Democrats also acknowledge that the current bill doesn’t “block” access to contraception, which is what the White House claimed Monday. Rather, Democrats object to the bill’s lack of additional funding specifically for Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.

“Obviously there’s no rule in this legislation that says you can’t get care for Zika as an individual if you go into a clinic. But there’s no supplemental funding to address the additional need that goes to providers who are uniquely equipped to support this kind of response,” the aide said.

Planned Parenthood also slammed the bill in a statement, saying it “exclude[d] the International Planned Parenthood Federation Puerto Rican member association, Profamilias, from the Zika response.” Profamilia appears to have seven facilities around the island.

After the bill failed Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would address the issue again sometime after the Fourth of July weekend. But time is running out for the body, with only two weeks of the legislative session left before it leaves for the rest of the summer.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month, the national conversation has once again turned to the link between gun violence and mental health. But would improving mental health care in the U.S. have a major impact on gun crimes?

In the second episode of ABC News Pulse Check, two experts -- one in gun violence, the other in mental health -- challenge headlines suggesting that an overhaul of the mental health system would address widespread gun violence and other violent behavior.

“If we were to eliminate the risk associated with mental illness, about 96 percent of the violent behavior out there would still be there,” said Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a leading gun violence researcher at Duke University.

Ron Honberg, senior policy adviser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, welcomes the call to improve the mental health system but thinks that overstating the link between mental illness and gun violence only adds to the stigma of people with mental health issues.

“Most people with mental illnesses are not violent,” Honberg noted. “And most struggle, oftentimes silently, because of the stigma.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Annual pelvic exams -- often an uncomfortable part of a woman's visit to the gynecologist's office -- may no longer be recommended for all women, according to new guidelines by a federal task force.

The United States Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), the expert committee that advises U.S. doctors on all matters concerning preventive medicine, says there is “not enough evidence” for or against pelvic exams in women without any pelvic symptoms.

The committee conducted a full review of all studies to date pertaining to screening pelvic exams. USPSTF did not find any studies that directly showed improved quality of life or lifesaving events due to pelvic exams.

The pelvic exam includes visual and physical components that can be performed by providers for screening purposes. The USPSTF has already established recommendations for screening pelvic exams for specific diseases such as cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Until now, there were no prior recommendations for screening pelvic exams for women without symptoms.

Interestingly, the USPSTF said 68 percent of U.S. obstetrician-gynecologists it surveyed routinely perform a pelvic examination, and 78 percent of all surveyed physicians (including family/general practitioners and internists) believe that pelvic examinations are a useful screening test for gynecologic cancers. Some organizations such as the American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians have recommended against screening pelvic exams.

However, other organizations such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), still recommend yearly pelvic exams for women over the age of 21.

“In addition to the screenings, evaluations and counseling that clinicians can provide, the annual well-woman visit is an opportunity for the patient and her ob-gyn to discuss whether a pelvic examination is appropriate for her," Dr. Thomas Gellhaus, president of ACOG, said in a statement.

Gellhaus recommends that patients and physicians communicate and discuss concerns together regarding pelvic examinations.

Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the pelvic exam is an extremely useful diagnostic tool.

"Pelvic exam is used to educate and empower women about their gynecological health," she told ABC News Tuesday. "Women usually understand the value of [screening pelvic exams]."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Rose Bennett(PEMBROKE PINES, Fla.) -- A 1-year-old boy in Pembroke Pines, Florida can't stop hugging a bag of diapers -- because he's convinced he is the baby on the bag, his mom Rose Bennett told ABC News.

"He said, 'Ben!'" she recalled. "[I said,] 'No, Ben that's not you!' He said, 'Ben!' And then he hugged it. It was just too cute."

The Internet seems to agree. After Bennett, 21, snapped photos of her son hugging the diapers, the images went viral with more than 12,000 sharing it on Twitter.

Bennett explained that she normally doesn't buy the type of diapers her "really intelligent" son has fallen in love with. But since the store ran out of Ben's size, "I grabbed a size 5."

Rose Bennett

"There’s not a brown child on the packaging on the size 4, but on this size there is," she explained.

Bennett said she loves the fact that her son can see images of himself even at such a young age.

Rose Bennett

"Representation really does matter in the media and in packaging for children apparently," she said. "[The pampers] are not marketed towards me. I’m not looking at the child on the package. I’m looking at the price, but Ben cares. It’s the first time he's looked at the package and knows it’s a baby."

"I think it’s great," Bennett added. "I’d like him to see more figures that look like himself."

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iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Zika virus-related microcephaly has been reported for the first time in Florida.

A woman from Haiti gave birth to a child with microcephaly in the state, the Florida Department of Health said Tuesday.

Officials noted that the mother contracted the disease when she was out of the U.S. Her name and location were not disclosed.

There have been two other cases of women in the U.S. giving birth to children with Zika-related microcephaly. In both of those cases, the women contracted the disease while outside of the country, according to health officials.

While Zika often causes mild symptoms, the virus has been found to cause serious birth defects, including microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head. A total of 223 people in Florida, including 40 pregnant women, have been suspected or confirmed of being infected with the Zika virus. There have been no cases where people were infected by mosquitoes while in the U.S., according to health officials.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in the 24 counties where people have been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Texas law that imposed strict new requirements on abortion clinics in the state.

The 5-3 decision in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt will likely have sweeping implications for abortion regulations throughout the United States.

What Happened

In a major win for abortion rights advocates, the court ruled that the state’s regulations imposed an “undue burden” on women’s right to seek an abortion.

“We agree with the District Court that the surgical center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer for the majority.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy also joined the majority opinion knocking down the Texas law.

In 2013, Texas passed HB2, which contains the two provisions: one, a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; and two, a requirement that abortion facilities comply with the requirements for ambulatory surgical centers.

The plaintiffs in the case argued that there’s no evidence that the law promotes women’s health and that it is really about impeding women’s access to abortion.

On Monday, the majority of the Supreme Court agreed.

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, arguing that the court's abortion jurisprudence is fundamentally misguided.

He wrote that the court Monday "radically rewrites the undue burden test ... and applies [that test] in a way that will surely mystify lower courts for years to come."

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a separate dissent, which Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts joined, on technical and procedural grounds.

What It Means

Abortion advocates were overjoyed at the court’s decision.

“I came here to show support for what's actually right, women's rights, women's privacy and women's right to their bodies. I have no words. I sobbed when I heard that we won," said Ashley Plinkhorn from Austin, Texas, outside the court after the decision was announced.

Amy Hagstrom-Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and lead plaintiff in the case, said that “justice was served.”

In terms of on-the-ground impact, all of Texas' 19 clinics will remain open. Some of the clinics that closed when the law partially went into effect may ultimately reopen, though advocates stress that this will take time.

"Today's decision is a real game changer in what have been years and years of attacks on women's health and rights and we are going to turn things around and fight to get rid of these laws in all the states," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), in an interview with ABC News.

Clinics in Mississippi and Louisiana will also remain open while the litigation in those states continues, according to CRR, which brought the case to the Supreme Court.

Proponents of the Texas law said that the regulations were put in place to protect women’s health and safety.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that Monday’s decision “erodes States’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women.”

“Texas' goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women,” he said in a statement.

Where Things Go From Here

Justice Breyer made it clear in the court’s opinion that abortion regulations that are not justified by medical necessity are going to get a very close look in the lower courts. This ruling will have an impact well beyond this one case.

Some challenges to similar laws in other states are already ongoing; others will likely be brought in court very soon, as advocates vowed to keep “fighting until access is restored for all women in the U.S.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch also said that the Justice Department, which filed a brief in support of the clinics, “will continue fighting against laws like this one.”

"When we filed a brief in this case, the Department of Justice made clear that we believe laws like the one at issue here unfairly restrict women's rights, negatively impact women's health, and undermine the state's interest in protecting the safety and welfare of its people,” she said in a statement.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Deadly floods in West Virginia have already killed at least 23 people and officials fear the heavy rains could put others in danger. But floodwater can be noxious even after it recedes, according to medical experts.

Standing water can contain harsh chemicals as waters wash over roads and other industrial areas. Bacteria can infect open wounds, causing dangerous infections, and infectious diseases including E.coli, norovirus and tetanus can spread easily in areas with flood damage, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who escape their homes amid standing water or who go back to their homes to deal with flood damage should be extra vigilant about the safety risks.

“Disease producing bacteria are often carried by flood water and sewage,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer, said in a statement last week. “These bacteria can remain alive and dangerous for long periods of time on items covered or exposed to flood water or sewage.”

Bleach and other cleaning supplies should be used to kill bacteria that can build up after a flood.

“It is important to remember that clothing and some furniture and household furnishings can be salvaged by cleaning and disinfecting,” Gupta added. “However, residents should discard whatever item cannot be cleaned and dried. Mattresses, for example, should be discarded.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in an earlier interview that mold or debris left behind due to muddy water can exacerbate asthma or breathing problems.

"You can get mold growing up on things that you’re then trying to clear out," Schaffner said.

As mud dries, it can turn into dust and affect the lungs, said Schaffner, who recommends wearing a surgical mask during cleanups.

Anyone who had a wound exposed to floodwaters should seek medical attention to determine if a tetanus booster shot is necessary, he said.

In addition to short-term problems, Schaffner said, there's another hazard that could last long after the floodwaters recede. He said he's concerned that standing water could mean an increase in the West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes.

"All this floodwater is going to leave puddles and pockets of water that will be great breeding grounds of mosquitoes," Schaffner said. "If there are a lot of mosquitoes, more mosquitoes will bite birds and then bite people," spreading the virus.

A list of ways to stay safe after a flood can be found here.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Binge-eating disorder is the most prevalent eating disorder in the U.S., affecting about 3 percent of American adults at some point in their lives.

You’ve had it if you’ve ever had brief episodes of binge-eating at least once weekly for three months, accompanied by psychological distress and perceived lack of control.

In a new review found in Annals of Internal Medicine of previously published research, scientists wanted to learn the best ways to treat this problem. Looking at 34 controlled trials, they found that cognitive behavioral therapy (a kind of talk therapy), the drug lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), second-generation antidepressants (SGAs) and topiramate (Topamax) reduced the frequency of or eliminated binge-eating.

Lisdexamfetamine also decreased obsessions and compulsions linked to binge-eating and reduced weight, and SGAs helped with depression symptoms. Topiramate also helped with weight loss.

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