Paramedic school graduate helps man choking ahead of internship interview

Matt Gush/Thinkstock(SAN LUIS OBISPO, Caif) --  A California paramedic school graduate jumped in to help a choking man in a coffee shop where he was awaiting an interview for a nearby ambulance company.

William Stewart was with three other former Sacramento State University paramedic students inside Coastal Peaks Coffee in San Luis Obispo, California. The foursome were waiting to be interviewed by San Luis Ambulance, which partners with the school to supply internships for the students.

"We were all kind of jittery, so we grabbed some coffee to calm our nerves," Stewart, who just graduated from the school in July, told ABC News.

"I heard a guy cough and I looked over and [said], 'He’s coughing so he’s probably fine,'" Stewart recalled. "But when I looked back, he was kind of holding his chest and walking around in circles and he wasn’t coughing anymore so I thought I should check on him."

Stewart, 23, then successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on the unidentified patron.

"He threw a thumbs up and I patted him on the back," the student added, noting that when he walked back over to his friends, he explained what happened but told them not to mention it in their upcoming interviews.

The coffee shop's owner Mike Knight told ABC News he saw Stewart jump up to help "before I could really grasp the situation," he said.

"I swear to you, it was less that five seconds and he had cleared the man's airway," Knight, who's owned Coastal Peaks Coffee Shop since 1989, continued. "He patted him on the back, and it was all good."

As promised, Stewart and his friends didn't mention the incident in their interviews, but thankfully they didn't have to.

After Knight found out Stewart was a student, he told ABC News that he walked over to San Luis Ambulance, which is around the corner, to encourage the owner to hire him.

Fred Motlo, a field supervisor for San Luis Ambulance, called Stewart after hearing about it and later offered him and his three friends internships. They will start in early October.

Eventually, Stewart hopes to be a flight medic or work in a rescue helicopter for the National Forest Service.

"The challenge kind of makes it exciting for me," he said of his future career.

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Richard Simmons argues tabloids knowingly published false information

Denise Truscello/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the latest legal wrangling over the defamation suit Richard Simmons filed against National Enquirer, Radar Online and their parent company American Media, the alleged source behind the reports that Simmons was transitioning genders said in a signed declaration filed Thursday that he never told reporters the fitness guru was becoming a woman.

Simmons filed a lawsuit in May over stories claiming that the fitness icon is transitioning from male to female, according to court documents.

The media reports that alleged Simmons was changing genders used Mauro Oliveira, Simmons' former masseuse, as their source. Oliveira was also the one who sold photos to a media agency of Simmons dressed in women's clothing, which were used to accompany the stories.

In July, the media outlets asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out, arguing in court documents that saying someone is undergoing a gender transition is "not defamatory under modern jurisprudence."

Neville Johnson, Simmons' attorney, told ABC News that the National Enquirer "has gone out of its way to try and humiliate and embarrass and slander" Simmons.

"They have hyped this into a whole other story with all these other details that are simply wrong and false," Johnson added.

Simmons' move on Thursday argues the National Enquirer and Radar Online knowingly printed information that was false. Simmons' legal team filed a signed declaration from Oliveira, who claims that he never said that Simmons was transitioning genders.

"I was shocked and disturbed after discovering that the National Enquirer and Radar Online published cover stories claiming that Richard Simmons has transitioned into a woman and included the photos I supplied," Oliveira stated.

"Although I may have said that Richard Simmons's chest looks like the chest of someone who might be on hormones," Oliveira's statemend added, "I never stated that Richard Simmons is now a woman, had breast implants, or had sex-change surgery."

Johnson told ABC News that Simmons is "doing fine" in the midst of the legal battle.

"He just is private and he'd like to stay that way," Johnson said. "If he has to come forward and testify and have his body examined, so be it."

A spokesperson for American Media told ABC News the company "stands by its reporting."

"It’s the height of sophistry to claim to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights, yet also claim to be defamed by being identified as transgender. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s noted Mr. Simmons refusal to identify with or openly support gay and lesbian rights over the course of his entire career," the spokesperson said in a statement. "AMI stands by its reporting, which was not only supported by a lengthy on-the-record taped interview with Mr. Oliveira, it was also supported by photographs and videotape (which AMI possesses but did not publish), and was consistent with prior reporting about Mr. Simmons’ lifestyle. We look forward to litigating Mr. Simmons’ claims in a public court of law."

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 30.

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Mom responds to backlash about her baby's cheeseburger-filled photo shoot

Laura Stennett Photography(NEW YORK) -- Lauren Ashcraft is refusing to let online shamers get her down after she did a cheeseburger-themed photo shoot with her “adorably chunky” son, Liam.

Liam was only 6 pounds, 6 ounces at birth, so she wanted to document “how healthy and perfect he was growing,” Ashcraft told ABC News in an email.

Liam and his twin sister, Lola, were born to the Anchorage, Alaska, mom.

“Because they were twins, they were small. By 4 months, he was 16 pounds. He fattened up really quick," she added.

The results of the cheeseburger-filled shoot were adorable, and at first, the response on social media was “wonderful,” Ashcraft said.

But then, “the ‘sanctimommies’ showed up in force,” Ashcraft said, referring to the online commenters who began attacking her son’s weight, health, and her choices as a mom.

“It became apparent they were posting Liam's pictures in their private special interest mom groups and having their members come attack everything from me to my son. It made me sick, angry, and most of all sad," she said.

It didn’t take long before Ashcraft decided “they would not win.”

She scheduled another photo shoot with Liam’s twin sister, Lola, surrounded by healthy organic vegetables.

“We wanted them to realize this was all done in good fun and to lighten up!” said Ashcraft.

The photographer who did the shoots, Laura Stennett, is also one of Ashcraft’s best friends. She said she was just as offended by the negativity surrounding Liam’s photo shoot and was totally on board to have fun with their creative follow-up.

“Instead of letting the naysayers bully us into taking the photos down, and instead of wasting hours of our lives combatting their comments with responses -- engaging them only made it worse -- we decided to do the veggie smash with his twin sister Lola,” Stennett told ABC News in an email.

Ashcraft said her photo shoots were “done in good fun” and “the rest doesn’t matter.”

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Survey: Parents link concussion with football, but ignore other contact sports

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New research from a statewide survey in Arizona may hold true for the rest of the country. Parents seem to understand that football can cause serious concussions, which in turn could cause serious long-term neurological damage. But they are missing the memo when it comes to the risks associated with other contact sports.

Soccer and cheerleading also have high rates of concussion, according to researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, a leading institution in studying concussions.

In a new survey conducted by the group in Arizona, 85 percent of parents said they would permit their children to participate in "any contact sport." That number is up from 69 percent of parents in a similar survey from 2014.

The survey reports that while only two-thirds of parents said they would allow their child to play football, nine of 10 parents were fine with letting their kids take part in soccer, even though girls’ soccer has the highest rates of concussion of any teen sport.

“The greatest rise of that participation is actually in girls’ sports,” Dr. Javier Cardenas, director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, said in a press conference Thursday. “The No. 1 increase is actually in cheer."

Cardenas added that because there are fewer girls involved in high-level cheerleading, the absolute number of cheerleading concussions is low.

Alexa Caiazzo of Gilbert, Arizona, was a cheerleader who said she had experienced a concussion.

“I couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even have a light on in the house,” Alexa Caiazzo, 16, told ABC News.

Alexa Caiazzo said she was treated at the Barrow Institute after suffering three concussions, which ended her seven years as a cheerleader.

“I had extremely bad pain in my legs,” she said. “My headaches got progressively worse, and I slept 15 to 20 hours a day.”

Alexa Caiazzo’s mom, Lisa Caiazzo, said that after Alexa's third concussion, she decided it was time to pull both of her daughters out of the sport.

"It was really hard,” Lisa Caiazzo said while fighting back tears. “To tell her that you are done was the worst thing I think I ever had to say to my kids. I knew it took a while for football to get those helmet laws into place, and now I think it’s time for cheer.”

At first, Alexa Caiazzo said she didn’t realize she was experiencing concussion symptoms, but she now hopes kids will become more aware of what to look for to determine if they have a concussion.

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Scientists tout positive findings in peanut allergy pill study 

MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new study may spell hope for millions who suffer from peanut allergies.

Scientists in Australia are reporting successful preliminary trials for a pill filled with a mix of probiotics and tiny amounts of peanut to build tolerance to peanut allergies.

Study author Dr. Mimi Tang told the medical journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health that roughly four out of five children who achieved tolerance after the first trial of the probiotic peanut pill were still eating peanuts four years later and seven in 10 of them had passed a "tolerance challenge."

In the first study, four years ago, 56 children took the pill once daily for 18 months. In this most recent study, 48 of the 56 participated.

"What we found was that the majority of children who achieved tolerance after the end of treatment in the original study were still eating peanuts four years after having stopped their treatment," Tang said.
She said the team of scientists were trying to "reprogram the immune response away from allergy towards tolerance."

"So we were very excited by these findings because to us it really shows that the probiotic-peanut combination can actually change the immune response to peanut and provide benefits, long-term, years after having stopped the treatment," she said.

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New study offers hope for early Lyme disease diagnosis

iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Researchers may now be able to detect Lyme disease in its earliest stages and differentiate it from other tick-borne ailments with similar symptoms, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The new research is creating a buzz within the medical community, as one of the major setbacks when it comes to properly diagnosing Lyme disease is that it can appear very similar to other ailments spread by ticks, including Southern tick-associated rash illness (often dubbed STARI). In addition, current Lyme disease tests available often produce unreliable results within the first four to six weeks of infection.

Researchers looked at blood samples of people who were both confirmed positive for Lyme disease and the samples of a set who were confirmed positive for STARI. By examining the molecular features of both sets, they were able to create a model that detected Lyme disease cases more accurately than standard diagnostic tests.

"We were able to tell the difference between early Lyme disease and Southern tick-associated rash illness by using biomarkers that show us how the body reacts to these illnesses," John Belisle, a professor at Colorado State University and one of the authors of the study said in a statement. "This could be important in helping to more accurately detect early Lyme disease, which is crucial because the longer people wait for Lyme disease treatment, the higher the potential risk for having more severe symptoms."

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, according to studies conducted by the CDC. Most cases in the U.S. occur in the Northeast and Midwest.

Symptoms of untreated Lyme disease includes facial palsy, severe headaches, episodes of dizziness, problems with short-term memory and nerve pain, according to the CDC.

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'Healthy Living for Summer': Travel tips for eating smart and staying active

Image Source White/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It can be easy to overindulge while traveling, but that may lead to feelings of regret once the vacation is over. How can we travel in a way where we maintain our balance and health.
In the eighth episode of ABC News' "Healthy Living for Summer" series, we spoke with Julieanna Hever, a plant-based dietitian.

"If it's a really long flight I'll bring food with me, but if it's a short flight I'll eat when I get there," Hever said. "I'll eat whole foods as much as possible, not packaged foods which can be
high in saturated fats, salts, sugars and oils."

Below are a list of tips Hever gave ABC News.

Quick tips

•  Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions about the menus at restaurants

•  Use apps to help you locate healthier foods and markets

•  Plan ahead - will there be ways to exercise, will there be a kitchen, can you bring food, how are you traveling and for how long

•  Look at a menu with "green goggles" and if there is no option you like ask to mix what's available (for example: ask the waiter if they can take mushrooms from one plate and asparagus from another to make a new dish)

•  Take healthy snacks with you: fruit, baked or sweet potatoes, raw vegetables, hummus, whole grain crackers, almonds

•  If there is no gym available, try to exercise in your room, or go outside and use it as a way to explore the city (bike, walk, run)

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Cholera in Yemen: What you need to know

gelmold/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Cholera has infected half a million people in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen so far this year, according to a statement released this week by the World Health Organization -- and
an estimated 2,000 of those people have already died from it. Health officials say 5,000 people in this country continue to become infected each day.

Below are answers provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to some of the more common questions about this ancient but nonetheless devastating disease.

What is cholera?

Cholera is an illness caused by the bacterium known as Vibrio cholerae. The infection can range from mild, with no apparent symptoms, to severe illness. Between 5 to 10 percent of those infected
will suffer the worst effects of the disease, which include severe diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps. In the most serious cases, these symptoms can rob a sufferer of his or her body fluids quickly,
leading to severe dehydration and shock. In these cases, not seeking immediate treatment can ultimately lead to death.

How does someone get cholera?

The bacteria that leads to cholera is found in food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Because of this, cholera is most common and can spread more quickly in
areas where water treatment, sanitation and hygiene practices are inadequate. Epidemics are more likely to happen in these regions because people are at greater risk of consuming food or water from
sources that have been contaminated by the feces of an infected person.

This bacteria can also be found in the environment such as in briny rivers and coastal waters.

In addition, a notable but less common cause of cholera infection is consuming raw or undercooked shellfish. There have been a few documented cases of cholera infection after consumption of such
preparations of shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico.

The illness is not directly contagious from person to person. This means that you can come into contact with an infected person and not have a higher risk of becoming sick, so long as you do not
consume contaminated food and water.

How many people are affected worldwide?

In a given year, researchers estimate that cholera is responsible for 3 to 5 million cases of illness and over 100,000 deaths worldwide.

How long does it take to experience symptoms after you are infected?

After infection, a person can experience symptoms anywhere from within a few hours to five days later. On average, symptoms typically appear in two to three days.

Is it common in the U.S.?

The spread of cholera in the U.S. is very rare today. The real risk is to those Americans who travel to areas where cholera epidemics are common. These areas include regions of Africa, Asia, and
South and Central America. Travelers returning from these regions should also be careful about what they bring home since contaminated seafood has been known to cause outbreaks of cholera in the

How is cholera treated?

Treatment includes immediate replacement of fluid and salts that the body loses in diarrhea. Oral rehydration solution (ORS) is a common form of treatment not only for cholera, but for other
diarrheal illnesses worldwide. Typically, it contains a prepackaged mixture of sugar and salts that a person can mix with water. In severe cases of illness, an individual may need fluid replacement
given through his or her veins (intravenous or IV fluids). When these simple treatments are employed, less than 1 percent of cholera-infected patients die.

On occasion, doctors will use antibiotic treatment in cholera; however, this step is not considered as important as prompt rehydration.

How can I avoid getting infected?

Sticking to simple precautions while visiting regions where cholera is present keeps the risk for cholera infection very low. A few quick tips:

•  Only drink bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water. You should also make sure the seal is intact on bottled or canned beverages that you drink. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes.

•  When it comes to food, either cook it or peel it -- so hot food that has recently been cooked or a raw fruit with a thick peel that you remove yourself are both relatively safe. Undercooked meats and seafood or unpeeled fruits and vegetables should be avoided.

•  Use bottled, boiled or treated water for brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, washing and preparing food, and making ice.

•  Wash your hands frequently with soap and water -- or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not immediately available.

Is there a vaccine for it?

Yes, but it is not routinely recommended for most travelers from the U.S. However, if a person is traveling to an area known to have active cholera transmission, there is a vaccine option that has
been recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is called Vaxchora and can be given in one dose by mouth to adults between ages 18 and 64. People considering receiving
this vaccine should consult with their primary care provider to ask if it would be appropriate for them.

Although vaccines can offer protection from infectious diseases, prevention measures -- like those noted above -- should be followed as well.

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Study finds those who are 'fat but fit' still have increased risk of heart disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study published in the European Heart Journal Monday finds that being overweight increases your risk of coronary heart disease, even if you are otherwise considered healthy, destabilizing the common conception that someone can be "fat but fit."

"Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors. Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor," Dr. Camille Lassale, the lead author of the study said in a statement to the Imperial College London announcing the findings.

Researchers analyzed thousands of incidences of coronary heart disease over a more than 12-year period in 10 countries in Europe. They found that being overweight or obese was associated with a more than 25 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, even in people who did not have any other markers that reflected an increased risk of heart disease.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, said the research shows that even if people appear healthy based on blood tests today, the risk of health complications can increase over time if they are obese.

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How animal behavior may change when the total solar eclipse darkens skies

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Animals across the country may react strangely on Monday as the first total solar eclipse to traverse the sky above the continental United States in decades takes place, experts say.

"In total solar eclipses, there are observations of animals going to sleep," Rick Schwartz, an animal behavior expert with the San Diego Zoo, told ABC News. "The animals take the visual cues of the light dimming, and the temperature cues."

"You hear the increase of bird calls and insects that you usually associate with nightfall," Schwartz added. "Farmers have said that the cows lay down on the field or the chickens go back into the coop."

Schwartz emphasized that reports of animals going berserk during solar eclipses is "anecdotal."

"The reality is that because of the infrequency of solar eclipses, and because when it does happen, it is usually not in the same place, it is very hard to have actual scientific findings," Schwartz said of animal behavior during solar eclipses. "There have been observations at other zoos that animals didn’t react, which is also something to be noted."

NASA has released a list of zoos across the country that are within the eclipse's path of totality and hosting special events on Aug. 21.

"Our animals are (we believe) completely unaware of the impending astronomical event," zookeepers at the Nashville Zoo in Tennesee wrote in a blogpost. "We are very curious to see how our animal collection will react to a false dusk, night and dawn taking place over the course of a few hours in the middle of the day."

The Nashville Zoo is inviting visitors to record their observations of animal behavior during the eclipse and is giving out free protective glasses to the first 5,000 guests on the day of the eclipse.

Schwartz told ABC News that as for house pets, their behavior is not likely to change, as "domestic animals that live with humans, their cues come from our behavior."

Meanwhile, in an attempt to gain more insight into animal behavior during an eclipse, the California Academy of Sciences has launched a nationwide citizen scientist project, calling on participants to closely monitor the behavior of an individual organism during the upcoming eclipse and record their observations using an app.

Schwartz said that the technology available to Americans now versus when the last total solar eclipse passed over the country may result in new findings.

"That is exciting to see what will come up, we might end up with a lot more data than we’ve had before," Schwartz said.

He also encouraged eclipse watchers to take a moment to observe the behavior of animals for themselves on Monday.

"I would say if you are going to be out looking at the eclipse, as exciting and interesting as it is to watch, take a second or two to look away from the eclipse and listen for the wild birds and wild animals, and see what it is like when the planet goes dark," he said. "What do you observe?"

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