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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some were warned by a parent before every health care encounter. Some heard it from a doctor. Others remember an uncomfortable reaction. Around one in 10 people are told at some point in their lives that they are allergic to penicillin. Actually having a penicillin allergy, however, is far less common, and carrying the "allergy" label can, in fact, be harmful. In a new study, researchers showed that, using formal allergy testing, many children with a reported penicillin allergy actually could take penicillin antibiotics without a problem. Researchers in the pediatric emergency department at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin found that 76 percent of children with a penicillin allergy in their medical chart reported only low-risk symptoms, such as rash, vomiting or diarrhea. When 100 children with low-risk symptoms agreed to go through formal allergy testing, all 100 children passed the test -- they didn’t have a penicillin allergy. Then the important part: The allergy label was removed from the medical chart. Lead author Dr. David Vyles, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, told ABC News, "I have several kids myself. When I was in medical school, one of them was diagnosed with a penicillin allergy." He "never believed the allergy in the first place” because it didn’t fit the symptoms of a true allergy. "When I was paying for medications, there was a huge difference in cost between getting amoxicillin for an ear infection and getting an alternative antibiotic." When he entered training, he said he realized just how many people think they have a penicillin allergy. "You're getting 10 percent of [Americans] reporting that they're allergic, and that's causing huge problems down the line," he said. "We thought about how we could make a difference in young kids that could be carried through to adulthood. And that was de-labeling them." The group published these findings last year. But then they were interested whether such de-labeling would convince the kids' pediatricians to prescribe penicillin antibiotics -- or whether families would be willing to actually take them. About three-quarters of parents responded that they would feel comfortable with their child receiving penicillin antibiotics after the testing. In fact, 26 of those 100 children did take a penicillin antibiotic in that year. None of these children had serious reactions, and only one developed even a rash. Penicillin allergy: what’s the harm? Many of the most effective antibiotics for common infections are penicillin derivatives. Often, the second-line antibiotics are not only less effective, but more toxic. Alternative antibiotics may be more likely to cause uncomfortable side effects or even adverse events such as kidney damage or a secondary infection. Studies have shown that kids with a penicillin allergy actually end up with longer average hospital stays than their non-allergic peers. Avoiding penicillin antibiotics also means that providers have to use more powerful antibiotics in settings where they are not necessary. This breeds bacteria resistant to the strong antibiotics, potentially creating dangerous superbugs. An added benefit: Penicillin drugs are often the least expensive option, so the use of second-line antibiotics for questionable allergies subjects parents such as Dr. Vyles and the health care system at large to higher costs. In this study group alone, the estimated cost savings achieved by getting penicillin antibiotics rather than an alternative were calculated at $1,368. The potential annual savings at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin emergency department has been estimated at $192,000. And they're not stopping there. Vyles and his team are in the middle of a new study -- allergy testing right in the emergency room, with careful documentation of the difference in antibiotic spending in subsequent years
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  • Sussex Police Department(LONDON) -- A British man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of deliberately trying to infect 10 men with HIV.Prosecutors alleged that Daryll Rowe, 27, infected five men through unprotected sex, and attempted to infect several others by intentionally damaging condoms.Rowe, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2015, met men on the gay dating app Grindr, prosecutors said.After having sex with his partners, he would message some of the victims saying, “I have HIV. Lol. Whoops,” according to The Guardian.Christine Henson, the judge at his sentencing, said, “The messages you sent make it crystal clear you knew exactly what you were doing. As well as the physical offenses, it is clear for the victims the psychological effects are immense.""Many of those men were young men in their 20s at the time they had the misfortune to meet you," she said, adding, “I cannot see how and when you will no longer be a danger to gay men.”One of Rower's victims testified during the six-week trial that he felt “pressured” into having sex with Rowe; another branded him as “grotesque” and a “sociopath.”A third victim said Rowe had “destroyed my life. I would rather he had murdered me than left me to live my life like this.”Rowe's lawyer pleaded with the judge for a lighter sentence, arguing that a life term would stigmatize HIV sufferers.Henson said the sentence would not be about "stigmatizing anyone with HIV," but about the "immense" psychological effects Rowe caused his victims.Rowe, who is 27, will serve at least 12 years of his sentence in prison. It is the first sentencing of its kind in the U.K., where a person is imprisoned for “grievous bodily harm” by intentionally infecting others with HIV.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The key to crushing your fitness goals may come down to something as simple as changing the time of your workout.If you want to run faster and lift heavier, research shows you should hit that snooze button and workout in the afternoon, according to Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.Morning workout benefitsIf you want to lose weight, set your alarm for an early-morning workout, according to Pink, who analyzed decades of research for the book.“There really isn't a perfect time to exercise,” he told ABC News. “It really depends on what you're trying to achieve.”People who hit the gym for their mental health are better off exercising in the morning, according to Pink."One of the greatest benefits of morning exercise, at least in my view, is that exercise gives us a mood boost," he said. "We feel better."Pink added, "That can last a long time, and if you exercise in the morning, you get that mood boost and it lasts a big chunk of the day."Perks of an afternoon workoutOn the other hand, if you want to set personal records, working out in the afternoon or early evening can help you reach your peak performance."Afternoon exercise seems to be better for performance overall," he said. "Lung performance is higher at that time of day, and eye-hand coordination is better that time of day. And also, speed is better."Pink attributes that quality to the fact that our bodies are more warmed up by the middle to end of the day.For that same reason, afternoon and evening exercise is preferred to avoid injury because, according to Pink, "you're literally more warmed up."What an evening workout is good forIf you want to actually enjoy exercise -- and not dread it -- you can also sleep in and schedule an evening workout instead."Late afternoon, early-evening exercise -- people report enjoying it more at that time of day. Particularly, finding it less effortful," Pink said. "I think the reason for that is body temperature."He continued, "We're more warmed up, and so people seem to enjoy it more and find it less of a strain."When by Pink explains the best time to do anything, from running a marathon to asking for a raise.No matter your goal, Pink found that motivation for exercise also comes when you are facing a life milestone, such as the end of a decade."Twenty-nine-year-olds are twice as likely to run a first marathon as 28-year-olds and 30-year-olds," he said. "Another age at which people are disproportionately likely to run a first marathon is 39 and also 49. It all has to do with endings.""When we get to the end of something, even something as arbitrary as a life decade, it tends to energize us," Pink said. "We kick a little bit harder."
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  • Christopher Furlong/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The father of a terminally-ill British baby who has been denied further treatment had a private audience with Pope Francis on Tuesday, during which he asked for help to save the child.In a tweet by an Italian newspaper, Pope Francis is reported to have said in the meeting with Alfie Evans' father, Tom Evans, that the "only master of life is God. Our duty is to do everything to protect life."Alfie, who is just under 2 years old, has a rare neurological condition that will continue to progress. Doctors have not been able to diagnose it.The boy's parents, Evans and Kate James, have appealed on numerous occasions against legal decisions preventing the baby from being taken to Italy for treatment.After hearings in London and Liverpool in February, a judge ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where the baby is being treated, could end life support against the wishes of his parents.The judge, Justice Hayden, endorsed a plan submitted by doctors for withdrawing his treatment.The Pope has previously called for the two sides to work together toward a solution to help Alfie, in the wake of protests about the decision.The Papal audience comes two days after the Court of Appeal in London refused to overturn a decision that would allow Alfie to leave Alder Hey, where he has been treated since December 2016, and receive treatment in Rome.Alfie's parents have lost legal battles in the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and their appeals have also been rejected by the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.Alfie has been compared to baby Charlie Gard, who died last year in London at the age of 11 months old from a terminal mitochondrial disorder after doctors ended treatment that he had been receiving since birth.His parents also fought a legal battle to allow Charlie to receive experimental treatment abroad, but were defeated in the courts. The case garnered widespread international attention and statements of support by both Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Research suggests that up to 48 percent of adolescents have experienced online bullying.These victims endure feelings of embarrassment, worry, fear, depression and isolation -- which go along with more suicidal thoughts, self-inflicted injury and suicide attempts.What’s worse -- internet providers, parents and the teens themselves haven’t been able to find an easy solution.Enter scientists at MIT.Though cyberbullying causes anxiety and depression, online peer support can make a difference, promoting mature coping skills, including humor and connectivity.It’s that spirit of peer support that scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are hoping to harness with a new software called “Squad box,” a free online tool meant to combat online harassment.This program allows assigned friends, known as “moderators,” to filter negative messages and emails, intercepting the negative and sparing the intended recipient from enduring the abuse.They call this technique “friend-sourcing." Right now, blocking users, deleting comments and reporting harassment directly to site administrators seem to be the only tools.Some social media sites may also screen for “trigger words” on public posts.These techniques have their shortcomings, however, and are limited to the accuracy of the sites’ algorithms and speed of their response times.One of the developers, Amy Zhang, a doctoral student in computer science at MIT, is studying how to “improve online discussion.”Zhang said many people already use their squad to help screen their emails, and her software makes this process easier. She argues that much of the harassment she has studied is contextual, which means it is different for every individual person.The “one size fits all” solution many websites utilize -- content moderators who don’t know the target, for example -- may not always be helpful. On “Squad box,” you can “tailor your response for what you want.”Children and teenagers have a heightened reliance on technology, particularly on social media, and feel pressure to construct and maintain a positive online persona -- a version of themselves without insecurities.“Squad box” allows users to manage cyberbullying in real time through their own, established support network. It intends to empower victims and solidify social connectivity.Critics worry, though, that this new software will be just “spreading the burden” of online bullying among more teens. Proponents counter that this personal touch may unite victims and limit the negative reach of cyberbullying.Laura Shopp, MD, a third-year pediatrics resident affiliated with Indiana University, works in the ABC News Medical Unit.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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