• DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bill Gates is donating $12 million to fund research for a universal flu vaccine.The billionaire spoke Friday at the annual meeting for the Massachusetts Society of Medicine in Boston, where he announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page and his wife, Lucy Page, for research on the vaccine, Quartz reported."To broaden efforts even further, today we are launching a $12 million Grand Challenge in partnership with the Page family to accelerate the development of a universal flu vaccine," Gates said in his remarks. "The goal is to encourage bold thinking by the world’s best scientists across disciplines, including those new to the field."One hundred years ago, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic killed 50 million worldwide, Gates said, estimating that an outbreak of the same scale would kill 30 million people in six months.Clinical trials for a universal flu vaccine are expected to begin soon, Gates said.Gates has been vocal on social media in recent days about the importance of vaccines in global health.At the talk in Boston, Gates compared the need to prepare for a pandemic in the same way a military prepares for war, emphasizing the need to improve generic antiviral drugs that can be distributed widely to lower the chances of as many people as possible from getting sick.The Universal Influenza Vaccine Development Grand Challenge aims to "identify novel, transformative concepts that will lead to development of universal influenza vaccines offering protection from morbidity and mortality caused by all subtypes" of the flu, according to the foundation.
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  • Courtesy Heidi Richmond(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) -- Four hundred and eighty seven peanut butter and jellies.That's how many sandwiches Heidi Richmond delivered to kids in Arizona on Thursday during the teacher #RedForEd walkout.Richmond, a museum marketing manager from Scottsdale, told ABC News she offered to make and deliver meals for many of the 600,000-plus students across the state as educators and staff go on strike. More than 75 percent of students in Arizona rely on free meals at school so they don't go hungry."I'm not a teacher, I'm not a parent and I'm not a student, but I am #RedForED," said Richmond, who supports the movement."Education is really important to me," she added. "The kids that are in school learning right now will end up being our doctors and lawyers. I want to see change in Arizona. I respect that educators wouldn't normally do something like this. It affects their kids and that's why were seeing this movement. They can no longer deal with the lack of support and funding. I think that's why, in great part, they're standing up."Arizona teachers went on strike this week to put pressure on lawmakers into approving a 20 percent pay hike, increase education funding to $1 billion and boost the salaries of school support staff.Public educators in Arizona rank 46th in the nation in teacher pay, earning about $12,000 less than the national average of $59,660, according to a 2018 report by the National Education Association.Earlier this week, Richmond took to Facebook asking if people would like packed lunches delivered to their home or districts, knowing that some students would not receive the school meals so many of them rely on.Flooded with requests and volunteer offers, Richmond she she got started at 9 p.m. on April 25, hand-making sandwiches until 4 a.m. As of Thursday, she and a group of volunteers delivered hundreds of lunches and are "losing count," she said.“We love our kids and work to make sure they get fed year-round -- the walk-out was no different," said Kayla Miller, a school psychologist who volunteers with Richmond. "Educators wanted to be in two places because we know that this walkout is necessary and that our voices were needed at the capitol but we also needed to make sure our kids were cared for. By working together, the community and educators were able to meet our kids’ needs right now and for the future.”Richmond is one of many teachers, parents and concerned citizens who are working to feed over 600,000 students that participate in the National School Lunch Program.Each bag delivered includes a sandwich (no peanut butter for kids with allergies/restrictions), breakfast items, a bag of chips, a can of tuna, two pieces of fruit, crackers and instant oatmeal.All of the food items and ingredients have been donated, Richmond said.Richmond's initiative is not the only one of its kind. Another is the Phoenix-based St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, which typically serves 7,000 daily meals after school. St. Mary's has also been preparing boxed lunches and emergency food boxes in anticipation of the walkout.
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  • Courtesy Tia Freeman(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Nashville, Tennessee, woman traveling to Stuttgart, Germany, thought she had a case of food poisoning after she forgot to ask for a vegetarian meal on her flight.Turned out, she was actually in the early stages of labor.Tia Freeman, who said she did not know she was pregnant until her seventh month, told ABC News she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Xavier Ata Freeman, in the bathtub of her Istanbul, Turkey, hotel room.After landing, Freeman was in line at customs in Turkey, where she had a long layover en route to Germany, when it occurred to her that she might be in labor, she said.Knowing no one in Turkey, and uncertain as to whether she was experiencing food poisoning, false labor or the real thing, she turned to Google for help and searched “how to tell if you’re in labor.”Freeman left the airport and headed to her hotel, all the while experiencing the mysterious pains. Once inside her hotel room, she realized that she was indeed in labor.“I was shocked but calm. I knew that panicking wouldn’t help in this situation,” she said. “I needed to figure out what my next step was.”Scared that a hospital wouldn't take her insurance overseas, Freeman decided to take the risk and try to deliver her baby herself, according to ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV. So, Freeman went back on the internet to figure out how to give birth alone, she said. She headed to the bathroom and sat in the tub.“I look up YouTube videos and begin gathering what little supplies I have,” she said. “I time my contractions using my iPhone and then begin to push.”At 8:29 p.m. on March 7, her little boy, Xavier Ata Freeman, was born.Freeman later went to the hospital to get checked out, she said. There, her baby was declared "perfectly healthy," she posted on Twitter.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK)-- More children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their new numbers now show that autism affects one in 59 children, an increase from previously reported one in 68 children.Dr. Walter Zahorodny, a pediatrician and autism researcher, is "stunned by the speed of increase."This data was collected in 2014 through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, an organization described by the study's authors as "an active surveillance system that provides estimates of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children aged 8 years."In this study, the ADDM Network first identified over 10,000 children with symptoms of ASD in 11 states. A team of researchers and experts in the field then reviewed their medical and school records since birth, confirming an autism diagnosis in 5,473 children. This extremely thorough approach limited confusion and ensured accurate and consistent diagnoses and results. Part of the difficulty in autism research is that there isn't a medical "test" that determines if a child falls on the autism disorder spectrum -- it's an evaluation based on observation, so reliable numbers have been historically difficult to guarantee.The overall prevalence of autism was 16.8 per 1,000 children, or 1.68 percent, according to the study. This number varied between different states. The state with the lowest rate was Arkansas at 13.1 per 1,000 children. The state with highest rate was New Jersey at 29.3 in 1,000 children. There's no reason given for regional variation.Zahorodny, the lead researcher at the New Jersey site, states “3 percent is a real landmark, given that we started at 1 percent autism prevalence 14 years ago.”These rates of autism are significantly higher than those in the last study from ADDM, which looked at a similar number of young children in 2012. This new study looked at exactly the same six locations that participated in 2012, and in these sites, the 2014 autism rates were 20 percent higher than they were in 2012.Historically, the rate of autism in white children is 20-30 percent greater than black children and 50-70 percent greater than Hispanic children. In agreement with that previous data, autism was more common in white children, although there was a significant increase in the diagnosis in black and Hispanic children, with the prevalence in white children only 7 percent greater than in black children and 22 percent greater than in Hispanic children. In agreement with past studies, autism was about four times more common in boys.One outlier: There was virtually no difference in autism rates between white, black, and Hispanic children in New Jersey. The authors argue that perhaps New Jersey's overall higher autism prevalence is related to the more inclusive diagnosis of minority children, and therefore might be the most accurate rate in the study.This study is not intended to be representative of the entire country. There are clear limitations, primarily because the data originated from only 11 collection sites. In addition, there were discrepancies in the amount and type of medical and educational data that was recorded from state to state. The data in this study is only as accurate as the information that was documented by physicians, counselors, and schools.Why are more children than ever diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder?The short answer: We don't know.The cause of autism is still unknown. There are associations between autism and prematurity, advanced parental age, and genetics -- however no evidence of causation, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). There's also a lot of discussion about potential environmental causes, yet again, there's no science to support these claims (the claim that vaccines cause autism has been disproven by the AAP time and time again).To be diagnosed on the spectrum, a chi
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever wanted to participate in a charity run, but don't actually want to run very far? This might be the race for you.A group in Boerne, Texas is hosting "The Boerne 0.5K," a 0.3 mile race, and it's being billed as a "running event for the rest of us."The "very fun, tongue-in-cheek event" intended to "lampoon the typical 5K" will benefit the charitable organization Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides food on the weekends for children who depend on federal free and reduced meal programs offered through their schools.Organizers of the event are giving out many incentives to those who participate in and complete the nearly 547-yard race, including race T-shirts, free beer at both the beginning and the end of the race, and even "a pretentious oval Euro-style 0.5K sticker that you can attach to your rear windshield."There is even a VIP option -- for $25, you get a "bigger" medal without even having to run the race.As far as in-race amenities, the organizers are providing finish line photos, a coffee and doughnut station at the halfway point for carbo-loading and energy, and "world's best bagpipe player" serenading runners at the starting line with "Amazing Grace."Sadly, this year's event is sold out, but the event organizers are "already discussing how we can increase the capacity for this event" next year.Best of luck, runners!Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • The Club House/Rowe Plastic Surgery (NEW YORK) -- Sometimes, a man just needs a place to go and be a guy.But we're not talking about a locker room. Now, there's a place for only men to receive plastic surgery and non-invasive services like Botox and injections for hair loss.It's called The Club House, and it's believed to be the only one of its kind in the country.Founded by New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe, The Club House, he said, fills a need that's otherwise been ignored."It's designed for men, by men, and is a place where men can feel comfortable," Rowe told Good Morning America."There are certain things that men would rather be a little bit more private and discreet about whether it's over the phone or in the office. The male patients are often coming for hair plugs or penis augmentations," Rowe said. "An all-male facility makes them a little bit more comfortable."Justin Barton is one of those men. He told GMA he sees Rowe for platelet-rich plasma therapy, also called PRP, a treatment that involves withdrawing a patient's own blood, processing it so that only the enriched cells, platelet-rich plasma, remain, and injecting it into the scalp with the goal of stimulating natural hair growth."It's a slick atmosphere, like someplace you'd come to have a drink with the guys," Barton said. "It's comforting to come someplace that's focused on male issues."Rowe estimates that of all his patients 20 to 25 percent are men, compared to a national average of about 10 percent. About 80 percent of the inquiries from Rowe's male patients, he said, come between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Most procedures take place before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.It's another way, Rowe said, that his male clients differ from women, who tend to make appointments during regular business hours and come for appointments in a steady stream throughout the day. His female patients are seen at a second nearby office on New York's Upper East Side.The Club House's decor is a departure from the look of the average plastic surgeon's office. Instead of white walls and Botticelli playing in the background, visitors to The Club House are immersed in a decidedly male-inspired motif. There's bamboo wallpaper, a shoeshine stand, a small bar, a poker table and a fireplace. ESPN and financial news are broadcast on all the TVs, and 1990s hip hop is played on the sound system.But it's the changes that aren't immediately visible that matter most, Rowe said."A [male] patient doesn't have to whisper, 'Oh, I'm here for a penis augmentation,'" he said. "It's a place where a guy could call up and say, 'I'd like to talk to Dr. Rowe about penis augmentation, hair transplant, hair plugs or hair removal from my back,' and feel comfortable."Eventually, Rowe said he hopes any shame associated with male plastic surgery will go away."I hope that stigma is gone hopefully in 20 years, and a place like The Club House won't be needed," he said. "But until that time comes about, I think I'm providing a service. And the fact that this has exploded and patients are beating down the door literally to get in tells me that there is a need, and we're fulfilling that need. Hopefully, down the road, places like this will not be needed. But until that time comes, we're here."
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