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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Santa Claus makes a list each Christmas. Experts say if you want to keep your New Year’s resolution after Jan. 2, you should follow Santa’s lead.With anything that we do in life, it’s a good idea to have things written down that we can track over time,” said Dr. Marcelo Campos, a primary care doctor at Harvard Vanguard and lecturer at Harvard Medical School. “It’s almost like a commitment that you have toward what you want to achieve.”Campos and other experts stress the importance of spending the remaining few days before the calendar turns to 2018 planning what you want to accomplish in the new year.Simply making a New Year’s resolution is a step toward success, according to research conducted by Dr. John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton and the author of “Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.”Norcross’ research found that people are 10 times more likely to make a change by declaring a New Year’s resolution compared to “non-resolvers.”He also found that, contrary to public opinion, not all New Year’s resolutions are destined for failure, with nearly 44 percent of people finding success six months into the new year.How do you make it into that 44 percent who find success? Campos said taking time to answer five questions before declaring your New Year’s resolution can help keep you on track through the next year.Read below for Campos’ five questions, along with New Year’s resolution advice from Campos and other experts.1. What is your 'why'?
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  • Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center(CINCINNATI) -- Valeka Riegel gave birth to her son, Zakary, in December of 2016. She would not see his face for the first time until April, after doctors completed a delicate and complex surgery to seal a hole in his skull that had caused a sac-like protrusion to obscure the front of his head. “I was first told that he may have a cyst on his cheek,” said Riegel. As it turned out, it was more than a cyst. Zakary had what is known as a congenital bony defect in his skull. Specifically, it was a hole that allowed the fluid surrounding the brain – and even some of the brain matter itself – to escape the skull, leading to a balloon-like pouch so large it covered his face. Technically referred to as an encephalocele, it restricted his breathing, thus requiring him to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for four-and-a-half months until he grew big enough for the surgery to correct it. “The growth covered (his face) from his nose to his mouth and when you looked at him as a baby, all you saw was a little mouth,” Riegel said in a media interview for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Riegel, herself a surgical nurse, lived by her baby son’s bedside for most of the time he was in the NICU, driving back home for her 12-hour work shifts on Fridays and weekends. “I knew how complicated this was emotionally, physically and medically,” she told ABC News. “As a mother I was blessed with a pregnancy and was placed in a difficult position.” Yet she held her cool until the big day. “Two hours before surgery was when severe panic set in,” she said. Dr. Charles Stevenson, the pediatric neurosurgeon who led the team involved in Zakary’s care, said the surgery involved much more than simply revealing Zakary’s face. Essentially, doctors were faced with the challenge of removing part of the baby’s brain, closing up the hole in the skull, and ensuring that everything happened in a way that the baby would not only survive, but also have a chance at a normal life. “There were several steps involved, including exposing the forehead, exposing the defect, amputating all that tissue, and then reconstructing a normal brain, and then reconstructing all of the normal layers or barriers which had formed a the time of development,” Stevenson said of the nine-hour procedure. One of the most delicate aspects of the operation was harvesting tissue from one section of the membrane covering the brain to close over the open hole. The other aspect of the surgery – how Zakary would look afterwards – presented another set of challenges. Stevenson had known from the time he saw the results of a fetal MRI that Zakary would need a complex reconstruction of his face. “I phoned a friend very quickly,” he said. Answering the call was plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Pan. “If you’re lucky you may see one or two of these patients over the course of your career,” Pan said. For him, it was his second time, and working alongside Stevenson, he was able to deal with the cosmetic consequences of the condition even as his fellow surgeons worked on the technical hurdles of restoring the integrity of the baby’s skull. For Riegel, it was a nerve-wracking wait. But she was pleasantly surprised when Stevenson walked out of the operating room sooner than anticipated. “He said to me, ‘He doesn’t look like Zakary, but he still has the same beautiful smile,'” Riegel said, recalling Stevenson’s advice to her before she saw her baby’s new face. “Just look at his smile and you will see Zakary, I promise you.” “The first thing he did after extubation was smile, and 23 hours later he was out of the pediatric ICU,” Riegel said. Zakary will be celebrating his first birthday in the company of his mother and his two olde
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  • Melinda Ray(NEW YORK) -- One woman's plea for a liver donor seemed close to impossible until her message made its way to a perfect stranger, who ultimately became her perfect match. Melinda Ray, a 35-year-old wife and mother of three from Colorado, was dying from a genetic disease that was rapidly destroying her liver. "We had just had candidate after candidate being ruled out, and symptoms were progressing. They were progressing fast," her husband James Ray told ABC News. "The days were getting harder." Desperate to find a match, Ray moved her message to Facebook, where her plea for a donor spread from relatives to friends and eventually to complete strangers. Robin Ihnfeldt heard about Melinda Ray's condition through her friend, Melinda’s sister over the summer. She told her husband, Jeff, that Ray had been unable to find a match. Without hesitating, Jeff Bramstedt, a 47-year-old former Navy SEAL from San Diego, California, said, “I’d do it.” “He’s always been an amazing man,” Robin Ihnfeldt said. “He hears bullets and he runs into these situations.” Bramstedt, now a skydiving instructor and Hollywood stuntman for films like "Iron Man" and “Deepwater Horizon,” turned out to be a match for Ray and agreed to the 10-hour transplant surgery. But doctors at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital warned him this could be risky. Chief of transplant surgery Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret said she told Bramstedt, "There’s a lot of things that can go wrong, including the risk of dying." "I think I probably considered it for all of half a second before I said, 'I’m up let’s do this,'" Bramstedt told ABC News. Three weeks ago, Bramstedt traveled over 1,000 miles from California to UCH in Aurora, Colorado, where the surgical teams successfully transplanted 60 percent of his liver to Ray -- unlike other major organs, the liver can regenerate itself. After going through the surgery, doctors joked with Bramstedt that it would be 10 weeks before he could jump out of an airplane again, but he said he has gained something important through the experience. "I feel that I have a little sister now. We literally share DNA at this point,” he said of new bond with Ray. "She gets extended years, she gets to raise her kids, to be the mother that she's always wanted to be and live out life with her husband.” Bramstedt says he hopes other healthy veterans will consider volunteering to make a transplant for someone who needs it. “You’re going to change someone’s life,” he said. “It could be the difference between life and death for somebody." Bramstedt and his wife Robin received holiday cards from Melinda’s children. Kieran, 7, drew a an upside-down, bean-shaped liver with a smiley face, writing, “Your dad is my hero.” "It gave me really great hope, and humanity, and hope that I could be a mom and a wife, because that’s something I wasn’t sure was going to happen through the year," Melinda Ray said. “And just the fact that someone would put their life on hold for me and stop their life and save mine, you know, it meant everything to me."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Knowing how your blood sugar responds to certain foods could be a key to weight loss, according to the researchers behind a new diet book.Drs. Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science tested blood sugar levels in 1,000 people after every meal for one week.They found that foods that created a healthy response in some participants produced an unhealthy blood sugar spike in other participants.The key to weight loss, according to Segal and Elinav, is watching how your blood sugar reacts to different foods.For years, we've been trying to search for that silver-bullet diet that would work for everybody and we've been miserably failing,” Segal told ABC News. “And that's because the best diet for each person really has to be tailored to that individual.”"There is not yet any "evidence-based science" to support the practice of blood sugar monitoring for weight loss, according to ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who also holds an M.S. in nutrition."I completely agree with the fact there is no one size fits all for a diet. You have to find what works for you," Ashton said today on "Good Morning America." "But at this time there is no rigorous, peer-reviewed, evidence-based science to support the practice of checking your blood sugar after you eat."Ashton also stressed that the concept of using blood sugar levels to create an individualized approach to a diet applies to non-diabetics only.The program laid out in Segal’s and Elinav’s book, “The Personalized Diet,” focuses on finding which carbohydrates are best for each person. Determining that, they say, requires testing your blood sugar via a finger prick after meals.Our solution gives you a way to find out which carbohydrates would actually be best for you to integrate into what we believe would be a healthy diet for you,” Segal said.Segal and Elinav say their algorithm, based on blood sugar reactions, determines what foods you should avoid and what foods to add to your diet.Some people, for instance, may be able to eat white bread, instead of wheat, while others may need to spread fats like avocado, olive oil or butter on the bread.What we were surprised to find out was just like any other food, there is no such thing as a good bread,” Elinav said. “The response to bread was completely individualized.”Other foods sometimes not associated with diets, like cheese, are fine to eat for weight loss, as long as they are not paired with a carbohydrate, according to the pair’s research.When you don't have carbohydrates, those foods will not spike your blood sugar levels,” Segal said.Segal and Elinav also found that traditional pre-competition foods for athletes like bananas and dates, both high in carbohydrates, may actually cause more fatigue.When it comes to achieving weight loss, Ashton recommends taking an approach that is "safe, simple and sustainable."She also added a fourth item to the list, saying, "You have to watch the sugar."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The president of the American Heart Association is calling on everyone to get CPR training, crediting the CPR he received from his daughter for saving his life following the minor heart attack he suffered last month. "I never would have thought I would have had a heart attack at the age of 52," Dr. John Warner told ABC News. "I felt fine that morning." "Many heart attack victims that have a sudden cardiac arrest get no warning symptoms," he added.  Warner was attending the AHA’s Scientific Sessions Conference with his family in November when he suffered a minor heart attack in his hotel room. Less than 24 hours before going into cardiac arrest, Warner gave a speech at the conference, discussing the toll that heart disease has taken on his family. "After my son was born and we were introducing him to his extended family I realized something very disturbing," Warner said during his address. "There were no old men on either side of my family. None." Warner went on to explain that the men in his family suffered from cardiovascular disease. The following day, Warner suffered cardiac arrest in front of his wife and two children. Approximately 350,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest each year, according to the AHA. Lisa Warner, John Warner's wife, told ABC News that the family immediately leapt into action when she saw her husband in distress. "We knew that we needed help immediately," she said. "He wasn't breathing at this point, he was turning purple." Lisa Warner and their son went to seek help while their daughter, Lauren Warner, stayed with her father. "I used my knowledge of CPR and began to do some chest compressions on him," Lauren Warner told ABC News. Two medical professionals were able to immediately respond Lisa Warner's calls for help. Dr. Tia Raymond and nurse Janie Garza performed CPR and used the hotel's portable defibrillator to restart John Warner's heart. Three weeks after the terrifying incident, Warner is back at work and using his experience to raise awareness of learning CPR. "CPR was absolutely what saved my life," John Warner told ABC News. "If I had not received CPR, I wouldn't be here today." The AHA states on its website that when a person has cardiac arrest, "survival depends on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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