• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A stroke can be a life-changing event that can have permanent effects and the risk of having another stroke is high, especially in the first few months afterwards.But there may be a way to help reduce that risk further, by adding a clot-prevention drug called clopidogrel to the usual regimen of aspirin.A new study of almost 5,000 adults in 10 countries, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, provided strong evidence that people who had a a TIA, transient ischemic attack, or minor stroke could reduce their risk of heart attack, major stroke or death within three months by 25 percent -- by adding the clopidogrel to aspirin.“I believe it will greatly increase use of the combination in these patients,” said lead author Dr. Clay Johnston, dean and professor of neurology at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.With a minor stroke that has mild, non-debilitating symptoms or a TIA with a temporary blockage of a brain blood vessel, a patient has up to a 15 percent chance of enduring a more severe stroke within the next three months.Clopidogrel, also known by its brand name Plavix, is a platelet inhibitor commonly used in patients with a recent heart attack or stroke to prevent future episodes. It’s also used for those with peripheral artery disease.For this study, treatment began within 12 hours after the first event, since most subsequent stroke events occur soon after the initial TIA or minor stroke.This trial supports research conducted in Chinese patients and now expands to an international population and diverse health care settings, with the majority of the patients studied living in the United States.The significant benefit of lowering the risk of recurrent stroke, known as an ischemic event, comes with a relatively small risk of internal bleeding, which is referred to as hemorrhage."First, there were three times as many major ischemic events prevented as major hemorrhages produced," Johnston said. "Second, the excess risk of hemorrhage was non-fatal and non-intracranial [not in the brain]."But these effects were still preferable to another stroke because they were "fully reversible, while strokes are permanent and likely to have lasting effects."Of course, those who have an increased bleeding risk would have to use extra caution.The take home message: the combination of aspirin and clopidogrel reduces the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke during the high risk period following a TIA or minor stroke. The possibility of preventing the devastating effects of stroke is a strong recommendation with the cost of a smaller bleeding risk."This trial is likely to change practice since most clinicians and patients are usually willing to accept the increased risk of hemorrhage to offset the disabling impact of a stroke," Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor of neurology at Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami said in a statement.Johnston said, "For most patients, this trade-off is very much worthwhile."
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When “13 Reasons Why” premiered last year on Netflix, the series quickly drew controversy for its storyline centering on a high school student who commits suicide.Schools sent warning letters to parents, and suicide prevention and mental health advocacy groups stepped up with resources in response to the high demand.The second season of the show starts streaming this Friday on Netflix and here’s what you can expect.Netflix worked with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), among other mental health advocacy groups and experts, to develop resources for viewers ahead of the new season.AFSP’s chief medical officer, Dr. Christine Moutier, told “Good Morning America” she and her team began a dialogue with Netflix nearly one year ago and have been working closely over the past several months to develop mental health resources paired with the show.“We want to build a more informed viewer audience, including parents, schools and young people themselves,” she said. “We wouldn’t have partnered with [Netflix] if we hadn’t been completely convinced that this was genuine and they were going to offer resources.”"13 Reasons Why," based on a 2007 young adult novel of the same title, centers on high school student Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, who commits suicide. Hannah leaves behind 13 cassette tapes explaining who’s to blame for her suffering.The second season of the show will focus on the aftermath of Hannah’s death.“I think it’s going to be a different conversation this time around,” Moutier said. “[There will be] themes of recovery and healing and support.”The show will feature public service announcements from the cast members, as well as both video and online text discussion guides, according to Moutier.Netflix also developed a website, 13reasonswhy.info, as a one-stop resource for parents, teens and educators.“The hope is that the steps we're taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as season two rolls out later this year,” Brian Wright, Netflix’s vice president of original series, wrote in March. “We’ve seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now -- more than ever -- we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers.”What parents should knowMoutier advises parents to, first, know their child and what they can and cannot take in terms of the show's content and conversations around suicide and death."If you’re a parent who has a child who has had a suicide attempt, this would be a show I would have great caution around," she said. "[It's] knowing your kid and knowing what might have a negative impact on their mental health because you wouldn’t want to expose them to anything."She continued, "I would challenge parents to not just go by the obvious stuff that alerts them of concerns, but also [ask], 'How vulnerable is my kid to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and how sensitive [is my kid]?'"If you think your child would benefit from watching the show, watch it together and start a dialogue, she advises."If your kid is already watching it, make the conscious choice to watch it together, that would be my ideal," Moutier said. "If the parent has their relationship with the teen, then the parent and teen can go on the site and look at the discussion guide and the resources."This season's focus on the experience of loss and how to move forward after suicide could be beneficial to young people, Moutier explained."The topic of building a greater sense of compassion and understanding directly relates to suicide prevention in a good way," she said. "Oftentimes when people are at risk for suicide, the warning signs are complicated –- anger, isolation, drugs and alcohol, for example –- an
    Read more...
  • Jack Candini(MILFORD, Mass.) -- He may have been scared in the moment, but Milford High School senior William Pointer said it didn't stop him from jumping into action when he noticed his teacher needed medical help."I was terrified," said Pointer, 18, of Massachusetts, who has known educator Dennis “Jack” Candini since freshman year. "But I didn't second-guess myself. I needed to get someone who could help with the situation."On April 27 after 1 p.m., Jack Candini was subbing for a teacher in a food service class when students noticed he was having trouble speaking.Pointer told ABC News that a few students called 911 while he and another classmate ran next door to alert another teacher, Pam Hennessy, who took control of the scene. Hennessy had the students move the desks and evacuate the room in preparation for EMTs to arrive.Candini, 71, taught for 32 years at Milford High School before retiring in 2004. He now works as a substitute teacher and continues to coach school sports.Candini told ABC News the students noticed changes in his face and speech."I've no [prior] history of anything and I've been active all my life," Candini said. "When [the stroke] was occurring, I was kind of in denial -- that's why the students, I give them so much credit. They trusted their judgement and they stayed on the situation."According to the Mayo Clinic, there are telltale signs when someone is having a stroke: trouble with speaking and understanding, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, trouble with seeing in one or both eyes, headache and trouble with walking."The length of time they have been present can affect your treatment options," the Mayo Clinic states on its website.Now recovering, Candini said that he's found a way to show appreciation to his students."Not being sure how to thank someone for saving your life, especially a group of young kids--what I've done through the principal and through the school, we are going to do a one-shot scholarship to a senior that hopes to have a major in the medical field as a token of my family's gratitude," Candini said. "It will acknowledge the young people that got involved."Marian Candini, Jack Candini's wife, said she "doesn't know how to thank" the kids and the community for their support."My husband doesn't really like all this publicity, but if it helps saves someone else's life, it's the silver lining," she said. "I feel very blessed and beyond grateful."Milford High School principal Joshua Otlin said, "We are very thankful that our students responded decisively and effectively in this moment of crisis. Any delays could have had catastrophic consequences for Jack, and our students' decisions made all the difference.""While I am extremely proud of our students, I'm not at all surprised that they rose to the occasion," he added. "As the principal, I have the pleasure to see and hear about daily acts of kindness and courage from our students and I know that we have a special community of compassionate young adults at Milford High School."Candini said he hopes to become well enough to proctor next week's state-wide testing at the school and eventually, play hockey again.William Pointer said it was "amazing" to be involved in saving his teacher's life."It's a good feeling," he added.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Is there such a thing as second-hand pot smoke? We know second-hand tobacco smoke is bad -- so bad that multiple public health interventions have led to decreased cigarette use overall. As cannabis use becomes more popular -- and legal in more states -- should we now be concerned with second-hand pot smoke, especially around children?Researchers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health have collected data on parents who have children under 18 years old living in the home, as well as information on tobacco and marijuana use in those groups between 2002 and 2015. They looked at pot and tobacco use among people of different incomes, races, education, and marital status. This data confirmed some of what we already knew: Tobacco use is declining, and cannabis use is on the rise.The use of tobacco alone has decreased to 20.2 percent from 27.6 percent between 2002 to 2015, but daily pot smoking almost doubled in the same period, from 0.7 percent to 1.6 percent. While this may seem like a small rise, it means that there were, on average, 6 million children in the United States in 2015 living with a parent that smoked cannabis.They often seem to go together -- cannabis use is almost four times more likely in cigarette smokers. About one-quarter of homes with children under 18 years old in 2015 had a parent who smoked both tobacco and marijuana.Prior studies have suggested that second-hand exposure to cannabis is almost equal to, if not worse than, exposure to tobacco smoke. There may be an additive effect that combining the two sorts of smoke brings -- we don’t know yet.It’s already proven that teenagers who use marijuana may have long-term changes to their memory, learning capabilities, and attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. There are currently nine states that allow for recreational use of marijuana, but it's only legal for adults over the age of 21 to purchase cannabis from these recreational dispensaries.“Smoked marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing substances as smoked tobacco," according to the CDC.There have been no concrete answers regarding second-hand exposure to cannabis. Studies related to cannabis use are particularly difficult given that “marijuana is a schedule I drug and is highly regulated by the government," as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene explains, “this makes it hard to conduct research about related health effects."So what does this mean? Should cannabis continue to be tightly regulated, if children are breathing the smoke? Are they harmed by it? Really, we don’t have those answers yet.This article was written by Chantel Strachan, MD, a second-year internal medicine resident from the University of Connecticut who works in the ABC News Medical Unit.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- An Australian man credited with saving the lives of over 2.4 million babies with his blood made his final donation Friday, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.James Harrison, nicknamed “the man with the golden arm,” has a rare antibody in his blood that is used to make a lifesaving medication called anti-D, given to mothers whose blood is at risk of developing rhesus D hemolytic disease (HDN), or antibodies that attack their unborn babies.“It’s a sad day for me. The end of a long run,” Harrison, 81, told The Sydney Morning Herald on the day of his last donation. “I'd keep on going if they'd let me.”Harrison has surpassed the donor age limit.Harrison has donated blood over 1,100 times through the Australian Red Cross Anti-D program.“More than 3 million doses of Anti-D containing James’ blood have been issued to Aussie mothers with a negative blood type,” the Red Cross said.Harrison was the first donor in a national Anti-D program that started in 1967. Prior to the creation of the program, HDN killed thousands of babies every year.Harrison made the decision to donate blood after he underwent major chest surgery and depended on blood donations to save his life, according to the Red Cross.All of Australia’s anti-D plasma comes from a small pool of 200 donors, but 17 percent of Australian women who become pregnant need the injections to keep their babies healthy, according to the Red Cross.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding that will be watched by viewers around the world is just days away.While most attention focuses on how brides prepare for their wedding day, we can’t forget about the grooms too.Harry, 33, appears in top shape as his wedding day approaches.While we don’t know Harry’s secrets to looking his best -- being in love can’t hurt! -- we can look to the experts for guidance on how other grooms can follow his lead.“GMA” turned to Noah Neiman, co-founder of New York City’s Rumble boxing studio, for help.Rumble has become a must-go destination for top names including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart."We have a ton of guys that come in here just looking to be stronger, be more confident," Neiman said. "One of the best ways that I’ve found is boxing. We get you strong in here so that you’re strong as a guy, as a gentleman, outside."Watch the video above for Neiman's pre-wedding workout, and follow his five tips below to get ready to greet your bride at the altar.Noah's tips
    Read more...