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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to play a role in a new White House effort to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic, a White House official confirms to ABC News.Christie was a central figure in President Trump's campaign and was the first to lead his transition team, but he was replaced with Vice President Mike Pence just days after the election.He was also passed over for high-profile positions in Trump's administration, such as attorney general.Politico has reported on the details of a draft order, not yet obtained by ABC News, which calls for the creation of a commission that will be tasked with making recommendations on the funding, treatment and law surrounding opioid addiction and treatment.The expected commission would mark the president’s first foray into fulfilling one of his big campaign promises to address the opioid crisis.Though the White House now confirms that Christie is set to take a role in helping the president on the effort, the New Jersey governor was uncharacteristically mum when asked about it on a New Jersey radio show earlier this week.“We’ll see … I don’t jump any announcements by the President of the United States. If the president has something to announce, he’ll announce it when he wants, and then I can respond if I’m involved in any way,” he said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump signed on Tuesday the "Energy Independence" executive order, requiring the review of a regulation unpopular in coal country states where he was wildly popular on election day. The order also unravels former President Barack Obama's goal of tackling climate change."Today I'm taking bold action on that promise," Trump said at the signing of the executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency. "My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. We're going to have clean coal, really clean coal."EPA chief Scott Pruitt said on "This Week" this past weekend, "This is about making sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country."Part of Trump's executive order will require the EPA to rewrite one of the key parts of Obama's agenda, the Clean Power Plan.What is the Clean Power Plan?The Clean Power Plan, signed into law by Obama in August 2015, set the ambitious goal of requiring a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gases emitted by existing power plants from 2005 levels by 2030.Upon signing it, Obama called it the "the biggest, most important step we have ever taken to combat climate change."According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan was designed with three building blocks. First, it required an increase in the efficiency of existing coal-fired power plants. Second, it moved electricity generation away from fossil fuel-fired, coal power plants to natural gas-fired power plants. And third, it planned to increase the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.With the Clean Power Plan, each state was given specific carbon emission goal for electricity producers. The EPA claimed that the climate and health benefits of the plan "far outweigh the estimated annual costs of the plan, which are $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030." It also claimed that the plan would reduce asthma rates in adults and children.But the Clean Power Plan isn't currently being enforced because the law is stuck in legal proceedings. On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the law pending judicial review. Attorney generals from 28 states -- led by Pruitt, when he was Oklahoma's attorney general -- joined together to claim that the plan presents too broad an interpretation of the Clean Air Act.In December, those state attorney generals wrote a letter to President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan urging them to withdraw from the Clean Power Plan on day one of the Trump administration, saying that the rule "directly intrudes on each state's traditional prerogative over its mix of electricity generation."Legal challenges aheadThe first hurdle for the Trump administration will be moving Obama's rule out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit where it currently stands in legal limbo.The rewriting of the Clean Power Plan could take over a year, as it requires the EPA to follow the same procedure of rule-making used when crafting the original plan. This means, for every rule the EPA plans to rewrite, the administration will have to justify why the rule is being rolled back. Then, comments will be made on each of the new rules that the administration must respond to. This complex re-writing period will likely face hefty litigation from environmental advocacy groups opposed to the executive order.How will this affect the Paris Climate Agreement?The same year Obama signed into law the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement.The goal of the Paris deal is to commit countries worldwide to lowering the emission of greenhouse gasses. To remain in the deal, the U.S. must cut its emissions by about 26 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2025.Exactly how the Clean Power Plan will affect the Paris Climate Agreement is "unknowable," Richard Lazarus, an environmental law professor at Harvard University, told ABC News."As a formal matter, we cannot
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  • Case Western Reserve University(CLEVELAND) -- After years of paralysis, a man was able to pick up a cup of coffee and take a sip, thanks to experimental technology that allowed brain signals to control his arm with the help of a computer.The researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center documented their work in a new study published Tuesday in The Lancet medical journal. The study explains how a special electrical device, including implants in the brain and arm, allowed the man to control the movement of his right hand and arm years after being paralyzed from the shoulders down.Dr. A Bolu Ajiboye, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and lead study author, explained their patient was the first to have such a high level of paralysis and yet still be able to move his arm via the device called BrainGate2."He literally cannot do anything on his own," said Ajiboye of the study subject, who was paralyzed eight years before he took part in the study. "With [this] system, he's been able to scratch his nose or be able to take a take a drink of a cup of coffee ... he now has the ability to do things."To help the unnamed patient, doctors used the experimental neural interface system, BrainGate2, which is being studied in clinical trials at various institutions in the U.S. The system works by using electrical chips in the brain to transmit data to a computer, which then sends electrical signals to the muscles to move. In this case, two small chips were implanted in the man's brain in order to transmit data via a cable to a computer. The researchers also implanted small electrodes in his right arm, so that electrical impulses can cause the muscles to move.In a person with full mobility, a desire to move the arm will result in an electrical signal down the spinal cord to the muscles that will result in the arms moving. The devices recreates that by having the implant "read" data from the patient's brain, which the computer translates into action that is then triggered by electrical signals to implants in the patient's arm."What we are doing in this project is circumventing the spinal injury by taking [the] pattern of brain activity to directly stimulate the muscles," Ajiboye explained.Ajiboye said the patient was excited to take part in the study despite the invasive surgery in order to be able to do things for himself again."He said, 'You know what I really want to [do is] drink coffee,'" Ajiboye recalled. "We showed him drinking through a straw and drink coffee [via the device]."He also has gotten to feed himself and even itch his nose with the device. However, since the device is experimental, the patient can only use it in the lab, but researchers hope to eventually have a device that he can use at home."He definitely keeps us wanting to innovate," said Ajiboye. "We want to give him more functionality."Dr. Ben Walter, medical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and co-author of the study, said that this is still an early prototype with limitations. For example, the patient can't "feel" what he's holding; instead, he has to visually judge how much force to use in order to pick something up."In this particular application, he is not sensing the pressure and able to modulate the force based on feedback," Walter explained. "He can see what he's doing, but he can't feel."While experimental, Walter said the implant is still an important move forward and could become much more streamlined in the future."In this case, he just thinks about moving and he moves," Walter said. "We're really putting things back together the way they're meant to be."
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  • Keegan Carnahan/Twitter: @selftltledtyler(TAMPA, Fla.) -- One little girl’s magical mermaid dreams of being “Under the Sea” came true during bath time last week.Keegan Carnahan, a teen from Tampa, Florida, was helping give her nanny’s daughter a bath while the nanny, Jenna Haslam, was busy making dinner.Haslam’s daughter, 3-year-old Alidy Clark, thought Carnahan looked like a real-life mermaid because of her dyed pink hair, so the teen decided to take it one step further by putting on a waterproof mermaid tail she had in her closet.The timing worked out perfectly because Haslam had just ordered Alidy a children’s mermaid tail too, and the two quickly flipped and floated their way into “gadgets and gizmos a-plenty” paradise.“Alidy had decided to wear her mermaid costume around the house and ironically I had gone through a phase a couple years ago and had a mermaid tail in my closet!” Carnahan, 15, wrote to ABC News. “I thought what happened was funny so I was texting my friend Sophia about it and put it on Twitter but I never would’ve expected it to get this big.”
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  • The Baby Box Company(NEW YORK) -- Alabama will give families of all newborns in the state free baby boxes in which to slumber if they take a quiz on sleep safety. The initiative, to start Wednesday, follows New Jersey and Ohio's campaigns for infant sleep safety with the Baby Box Co.For Alabama, however, the goal is for the state to combat its higher than usual infant mortality rate, where 8.3 infants die every year out of 1,000 births, compared with the national average of 5.8 infant deaths to 1,000 births, according to officials."Alabama is sort of in a crisis situation," Jennifer Clary, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Baby Box Co., told ABC News while comparing the state's infant mortality rate to the other two states that have already started using the company’s resources.About 3,500 infants die every year in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.“If every mother in the state of Alabama used the baby box, it could cut the infant immortality rate by 22 percent,” Suzanne Booth, executive assistant for the Alabama Rural Development Office, told ABC News.The top three causes of infant deaths in Alabama are malformations at birth, disorders from short pregnancies like low birth weights in premature babies and SIDS, according to Alabama Department of Public Health.Alabama has set up the resources where parents can watch online videos about SIDS and safe sleep for their newborns through Baby Box University, and take a quiz to qualify for the free box. The families can pick up the boxes at a distribution center or have them mailed to their home address.The baby box is portable, secure and comes with a firm foam mattress and tight-fitting sheet for safe sleeping. The boxes, which retail for about $70 to $225, also include breast-feeding accessories, onesie, diapers and wipes.“It feels to me sometimes that I’m doing more for these families by giving them the education, and giving them the box, than by actually being their midwife during labor,” Celina Cunanan, director of the division of nurse-midwifery for University Hospitals/Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News.Infant mortality rates among black infants were also three times higher than white infants in Alabama, even though there are nearly double the number of white infant births in 2015, according to the state.Here are some tips the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to create a safe sleep environment for an infant:
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