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Meghan Tucker (NEW YORK) -- One woman is set to tackle an amazing feat -- running seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents.

That accomplishment would be amazing in itself. But for BethAnn Telford, who says she continues battling brain cancer, the task is awe-inspiring.

Telford, 47, said she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005. After "several brain surgeries," she told ABC News that she still has active cancer cells in her body that affect her in a number of ways.

She said hasn't driven in 12 years because she has seizures often "and I have no sight in my left eye." Her brain cancer also affected her bladder, she said, which led to a surgery for a major bladder augmentation.

Telford said her bladder is one of the things she has to really keep an eye on when participating in the 2017 World Marathon Challenge that has 33 participants from 13 different countries competing. Over the seven days, they'll each spend 59 hours in flight spanning more than 23,600 miles.

"My bladder can only hold a shot glass of liquid," she explained. "I self catheter so when I go to the bathroom ... during the marathons, I just don’t go into the jiffy pot. I have to keep it clean and sterilized."

The first marathon is in Union Glacier, Antarctica, on Jan. 23. Telford and the other competitors will then run in Chile, the United States, Spain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.

Telford knows she won't be the first to cross the finish line. For Telford, her participation is much bigger than winning.

Telford, who started running marathons 15 years ago, said she's running to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. It's especially important for her to invest in children.

"Since I wasn’t able to have kids, I’ve 'adopted' hundreds and hundreds of children [with pediatric cancer] where I’ve tried to instill in them, and their families, that there’s hope," she said. "Their last stop is the hospital. They don’t come home with their parents, unfortunately, and it saddens me that we can’t find a cure."

During the marathons, Telford said she'll be running with pictures of those children clipped to her race belt. She'll also be wearing New Balance running shoes, decorated by the children.

"I know that when I look down, these kids are with me and that's what's going to get me through this," Telford said.

The government worker, who lives in Washington, D.C., has been training four times a day to prepare for these races.

"I wake up at 3:30 in the morning, run, or I do core strength training," she detailed. After going to work, she'll finish the day by doing yoga or swimming.

Since 2005, Telford said she's raised more than $835,000. But with these series of marathons she hopes to cross the million-dollar mark.

She'll be donating the funds she raises to a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, co-founded by Steve and Jean Case. Steve Case is also known for co-founding AOL.

"It means so much to the entire brain tumor community across the world because what BethAnn is doing is raising awareness about this devastating disease," Nicola Beddow, Director of Communications and Partnerships for Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, told ABC News. "And then she’s also raising dollars for research; we invest in cutting-edge research to develop new treatments for brain cancer because sadly they’re just not enough right now."

Along with raising money, the marathoner wants to spread hope. The word "hope" is so important to her that she has it tattooed on her left inner wrist.

"This is not a tough endeavor for me. It sounds like it is, but the toughest thing in my life to date, at 47, is telling my mother and father that their child has brain cancer," Telford said.

"Nothing compares to that -- going through chemo, brain surgeries, and even [facing] death," she continued. "I know I can do this. It’s just one step in front of the other."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rise of drug-resistant bacterial "superbugs" have been a concern of public health officials for years, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a worse-case scenario -- a woman with a bacterial infection that was resistant to all Food and Drug Adminstration-approved treatments.

A Nevada woman died in September after being infected with type of drug-resistant bacteria called Klebsiella pneumonaiae that was resistant to all antibiotics available in the U.S., the CDC reported on Friday.

The woman was in her 70's when she arrived at the hospital in August 2016 with signs of sepsis. She had been in India years before and had been treated for a broken leg and bone infection, according to the CDC. After doing tests, her doctors found the bacteria -- which belonged to a class of drug-resistant bugs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) -- were resistant to all forms of FDA-approved antibiotics. The patient died in September after going into septic shock, according to the CDC.

The woman's extremely rare infection has focused attention on the increasing problems surrounding these drug-resistant infections and the lack of antibiotics available to treat them.

Fewer New Antibiotics Being Developed


No matter how effective an antibiotic is at killing bacteria, new drugs will be needed as the bacteria mutate and grow more resistant to the existing drugs.

"Antibiotic resistance occurs as part of a natural evolution process, it can be significantly slowed but not stopped," the CDC notes on its website. "New antibiotics will always be needed to keep up with resistant bacteria as well as new diagnostic tests to track the development of resistance."

However, the number of drug applications for novel antibiotics being developed by pharmaceutical companies have been dropping steadily over the last three decades, according to the CDC.

From 1980 to 1984, there were nearly 20 FDA drug applications approved for new antibiotics, but from 2005 to 2009, there were fewer than five applications approved, according to the CDC.

In 2013, the CDC said developing new antibiotics and new diagnostic tests was one of its four core actions to stop antibiotic-resistant infections from increasing.

CRE Infections Are an 'Urgent Threat'

In 2013, CDC characterized CRE infections as an "urgent" threat, meaning the bacteria is an "immediate public health threat that requires urgent and aggressive action."

The bacteria cause 9,000 drug-resistant infections per year and 600 related deaths, according to the CDC.

While most drug-resistant CRE bacteria are still susceptible to one or more antibiotic, in the infection of the woman in her 70's reported by the CDC, the bacteria was resistant to all FDA-approved antibiotics, an extremely rare event.

CRE include common bacteria such as E.coli and Klebsiella bacteria.

Doctors Can Attempt to Treat Even Drug-Resistant Infections

When a patient has a drug-resistant bacteria, doctors will sometimes have to use harsher antibiotics or high dosages in order to try and fight the infection.

If a patient has a drug-resistant infection, doctors will work with a lab to test different doses of various antibiotics in an effort to overwhelm and kill the bacteria, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

However, antibiotics can be taxing on the patient, especially if they are older and with underlying medical conditions.

"This is the kind of calculation you do with every patient," Schaffner said. "Patients with underlying illnesses present a certain kind of challenge."

The CDC authors reported that an intravenous version of an antibiotic called fosfomycin is available in other countries but not for use in the U.S. It's unclear if the patient's doctors attempted to get an FDA exemption to use the drug and treat the patient.

Long Exposure to Antibiotics and Long Hospital Stays Can Be Dangerous

While this recently reported case is frightening, it is also unusual. The patient had been in and out of hospitals in India for two years after fracturing the large femur bone in her leg and developing a bone infection.

Long hospitals stays, especially in India, and exposure to different antibiotics can increase the likelihood of eventually developing a drug-resistant bacterial infection. As travel around the globe is becoming easier, it's increasingly important for doctors to find out where their patients may have acquired an infection, Schaffner said.

"India has a notorious reputation for this [type of bacteria,]" he noted. "Travel-related questions are becoming much more important ... and just reinforce that we are a very small world."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New research from Brigham Young University scientists suggests that not all people taking selfies are narcissists. In fact, there are three main types, the researchers discovered: Communicators, Autobiographers, and Self-Publicists.

Communicators, "take selfies primarily to engage their friends, family or followers in a conversation," according to the published study.

"They're all about two-way communication," explained coauthor and current student Maureen "Mo" Elinzano. See also: Anne Hathaway's "I voted" selfie snaps on Instagram.

Autobiographers, "use selfies as a tool to record key events in their lives and preserve significant memories." Such users, "want others to see their photos, they aren't necessarily seeking the feedback."

One example includes, NASA astronaut Scott Kelley, "who returned to Earth in 2016 after a year in space, chronicled his trip with a number of epic shots, including a full-blown space-suit selfie."

Self-publicists, are the ones we usually think about when it comes to selfie snappers, but it's, "actually the smallest of the three groups," researchers say.

"They are the people who love documenting their entire lives…hoping to present themselves and their stories in a positive light," said coauthor Harper Anderson. Examples abound -- from Kardashians to your standard duck-facing party people.

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Alo Ceballos/GC Images(NEW YORK) — A couple of weeks after welcoming her first child, Dancing With the Stars pro Peta Murgatroyd took to Instagram to get real about her post-baby body.

Murgatroyd and her fiance Maksim Chmerkovskiy welcomed son Shai Aleksander on Jan. 4.

"Real life: I took this photo 8 days post birth. I left the hospital looking 5 months pregnant. Many people think a woman should shrink right back to her pre-birth weight immediately. That is just not the truth for most," she wrote, alongside a picture of her proudly displaying her body.

She continued, "The female body is incredible and resilient, but healing and strengthening take time. Now it's time for patience and hard work. Lots of love to all the new mamas out there on the journey."

Murgatroyd, 30, also added in a hashtag that "shaiiswortheverypound."

The Dancing duo announced their engagement in December 2015. Six months later, they revealed they were expecting their first child, whom they welcomed earlier this month.

Shai Aleksander Chmerkovskiy
01/04/17 5:34am

— Maksim Chmerkovskiy (@MaksimC) January 4, 2017

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Are female doctors better than their male counterparts?

In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Harvard researchers looked at whether female doctors outperformed male doctors. The study's authors concluded that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die each year if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians.

The reason? They’re not exactly sure, but here’s my take:

As a patient, I don’t care whether my doctor is a man or a woman as long as he or she is smart and kind. And as a doctor, I think that excellent medical care should be blind to gender or sex. However, if it is discovered that women use different communication or nurturing skills and that can be shown to save lives, then that would be a target in teaching and training new and current physicians.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While Republicans move forward with efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, President-elect Donald Trump has no plans to cut Medicare or Social Security, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on This Week.

“That’s his position and that’s the position that he’s going to be taking. There are no plans in President-elect Trump's policies moving forward to touch Medicare and Social Security,” Priebus told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

When Stephanopoulos asked about Medicaid, noting that "repealing Obamacare would cut Medicaid," Priebus said, "Those are things that we're going to be discussing over the next several weeks."

“Certainly Obamacare is something that isn't very popular around the country,” he said. “It's not working … All of the promises of Obamacare, all of those shiny objects that were sold in Christmas in 2009 didn't come true.”

Priebus continued that, “People voted for Donald Trump. They want to repeal and replace Obamacare. And we will. And we will cover those folks that are on Obamacare that need to be covered. But at the same time, we're going to find ways to lower prices, allow people to choose better doctors, and have a lot more freedom when it comes to health care.”

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Courtesy Caitlin Fladager(NEW YORK) --  A Canadian dad has decided to take his 3-year-old daughter out on monthly dates so she knows how she should be treated.

It all started last week when Noah Slomski, a father of two from Vancouver, British Columbia, wanted to take daughter Arianna out for cake and ice cream at Afterthoughts Dessert Restaurant.

Slomski's wife of nearly three years, Caitlin Fladager, wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that her husband even helped "pick out a dress for her to wear, got a little purse ready for her, held the door open for her and made her feel like a princess."

 "She loved it [and] was so happy when she got home," Fladager, 23, wrote of the date, which the restaurant confirmed to ABC News. "She will always know how she deserves to be treated because her dad sets such a high example."

Fladager also posted photos from the outing, with more than 68,000 people “liking” it and more than 42,000 people “sharing” it on Facebook.

 Slomski, 22, told ABC News he decided to make their "date" a monthly outing "so I can spend more time with her. We typically spend a lot of time together when I'm home from work anyway, but not just the two of us."

The father of two hopes it will help facilitate more bonding with his daughter. He and his wife also have a 1-year-old son named Jack.

"All bonding time is good for strengthening a parent-child relationship, and time spent that differs from the usual routine is always enjoyable," he said.

 His wife agrees that the date night has already improved their relationship "very much."

Fladager added that Arianna was “always very close to her dad, but I feel like they have an even tighter bond now."

Although Slomski doesn't have next month's date "set in stone right now," he hopes to plan a dinner or a brunch for his little girl.

He's most looking forward to "splitting a milkshake, just little things like that."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Audrey Doering and Gracie Rainsberry, twin sisters separated at birth, are warming the hearts of millions after they reunited for the first time Wednesday on Good Morning America.

The video of the identical 10-year-old girls tearfully embracing was viewed 11 million times on Facebook.

"I am so amazed that so many people have watched it," Audrey's mom Jennifer Doering told ABC News. "I am so glad we are able to share this with others. For us, it's amazing. There's been an outpouring of true love for our family."

Audrey and Gracie were separated at birth in China, and then adopted by two different American families who lived hundreds of miles apart.

When Doering became curious about her daughter's past, she learned through a Chinese researcher that Audrey had a twin, Gracie, who had also been adopted and brought to the U.S. She eventually found Nicole Rainsberry, Gracie's mother, on Facebook.

Before reuniting face-to-face on "GMA," the twins used Facetime to communicate.

Shortly after the meeting, Gracie said she was feeling excited and happy.

"It's very overwhelming," she said.

Audrey said, "It felt like there was somebody missing."

"Now, it's complete," she added.

Doering said the heartfelt moment almost "didn't feel real."

"I was similar to them, overwhelmed," she said. "I [was] so happy that they were together, finally."

After their appearance on the show, the two families saw "School of Rock" on Broadway, visited the bright lights of Times Square and enjoyed dinner at Planet Hollywood.

The night ended with a hotel sleepover party between Audrey, Gracie and Gracie's older sister Chloe, 13.

"They really do have similar interests and tastes in a lot of stuff they do," Doering said. "As we go on we'll see it more and more. It's like someone you've always known and they go right together."

The Doerings and Rainsberrys will vacation in San Diego together in March and have the girls visit one another over the summer, Doering said.

A friend of the Doering family set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of both families. The money raised will go towards travel expenses so the girls can continue to see each other.

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ABC News(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) -- The survivors of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack that left 14 dead and 22 injured in San Bernardino, California say that they still struggle to receive medical treatments despite assurances from the county that their care would be expedited.

The San Bernardino Survivors Speak Out support and advocacy group said in a statement on Friday that the county “has failed to expedite the workers comp process,” and has been slow in providing information to a firm that it hired last month to accelerate the process.

Amanda Gaspard, who has struggled to get a surgery despite the fact that she still had the shrapnel of two bullets embedded in her leg, said that her frustrations with the bureaucracy and denials had added to her suffering over the past year.

“They do not want to pay for it,” she told ABC News last month. “I am in pain every single day.”

Her surgery was approved shortly after she spoke out.

Sally Cardinale and Ray Britain, who both survived the attack, said in December that medications were regularly being denied.

“These are people that were shot. A lot of the things that we're talking about -- we're talking about people having to fight for surgeries, for physical therapy to try and learn to walk again,” Britain said.

On Dec. 19, San Bernardino County CEO Greg Devereaux sent a letter to the survivors saying that IWCC had been hired to “help expedite your workers’ compensation cases,” and that he expected the firm to contact injured employees or their lawyers by Dec. 29, the group said.

But as of Friday, according to the group, some of the survivors have still not heard a word from IWCC.

The group also claims that on Jan. 5, an employee of IWCC “claimed that the County had taken awhile to approve sharing file information and thus she was only about half way through the list,” and that, “she was running into road blocks and hurdles with helping the survivors.”

In a phone call with ABC News, a spokesman for IWCC, Harold Anderson, “cannot comment at all” on the claims, and he would not say how many of the survivors had been contacted.

San Bernardino County did not immediately respond to ABC News request for comment.

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Hillary Gardner (BALDWYN, Miss.) -- A newborn baby has created a birthday trifecta after being born on the exact same month and day as his mother and father.

"I think we forgot it was our birthday because we were just so excited, thinking about him coming," mom Hillary Gardner, of Baldwyn, Mississippi, told ABC News. "Luke's mom had a cake already made for us and when she found out Cade was going to be born, she went back and had his name put on the cake."

First-time parents Hillary and Luke Gardner, both 27, met at Mississippi College seven years ago.

The two later transferred to Mississippi State University together before marrying on Nov. 10, 2012.

Luke Gardner told ABC News that after meeting Hillary, he immediately realized that they shared a Dec. 18 birthday after viewing her Facebook profile online. They've been celebrating their big day together ever since tying the not, Hillary said.

"I was born at 8:10 in the morning and Luke was born at 2:10 p.m.," she added. "I always joke that I get to celebrate the whole morning and he only gets after lunch."

When Hillary became pregnant, her obstetrician, Rachel Garner, gave her a due date of Dec. 19.

Hillary went into labor on Dec. 17 at 2:30 a.m. As the hours ticked by, the couple said they knew their son would come into the world the same day they did.

"She was 4 centimeters dilated and I said, 'Yup it's going to happen,'" Luke recalled. "Everybody at the hospital was going crazy. They couldn't believe it."

Cade Lee Gardner was born on Dec. 18 at 10:01 a.m. He was 8 pounds, 1 ounce, at Mississippi Medical Center-Women's Hospital in Tupelo.

Dr. Rachel Garner told ABC News that the coincidence is a "remarkable" one.

"Hillary actually never told me that her and her husband's birthdays were coming up so it was completely by chance that it happened," Garner said. "I thought that was pretty special."

As for future birthday celebrations, the Gardners said from now on it's Cade's show.

"We realize it's not about us anymore," Luke said. "We'll have the corner of the cake, probably."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The maker of Nutella is fighting back against a finding by food safety officials in Europe that palm oil used in Nutella's chocolate-hazelnut spread could pose a potential cancer risk.

"Ferrero wants to assure its consumers that Nutella and other Ferrero products that contain palm oil are safe," Ferrero, the Italian company behind Nutella, told ABC News in a statement Thursday.

Ferrero has been defending its popular Nutella product since a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said palm oil can create carcinogens when processed at temperatures above 393 degrees, as is the case with Nutella.

The company described to ABC News the steps it says it takes to lessen any potential risks from processed palm oil.

"When palm oil, produced and processed to minimalize the presence of these contaminants, is refined correctly, it contains a lower level of contaminants than other vegetable oils that have been treated at excessive temperatures," the statement read. "This case applies to the palm oil used by Ferrero, who for years has been able to significantly reduce the levels of contaminants in its palm oil compared to conventional palm oils available on the market, similar to the levels found in other vegetable oils that have been processed properly, in line with EFSA's parameters."

"This is due to careful harvesting, from the squeezing in the quickest possible time to the processes and manufacturing at the lowest possible temperatures," the statement continued. "We manage all technological-productive factors with the aim to reduce the duration and the temperatures of the processes, thus minimizing the risks of possibly developing or increasing 2MCPD, 3MCPD or GE. Furthermore, our Quality Assurance and Process Control Systems allow us to constantly monitor such factors and guarantee the food safety of our products to the consumer."

The EFSA report, first released in May, said that more study is needed on the risk of palm oil processed at high degrees.

The company released a commercial in Italy late last year to assure customers the product is safe.

Palm oil is found in a variety of processed foods, from margarine to instant noodles and whipped topping, according to Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor.

"If you have a diverse diet, you're not going to be taking in too much of [palm oil]," Besser said Friday on ABC's Good Morning America.

The current research on a possible connection between palm oil and cancer has been conducted only on animals, according to Besser.

"There have been no studies to show a palm oil connection to cancer in humans," he said.

Officials from The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Besser they are monitoring research on the effects of palm oil in processed foods.

"I talked to the FDA yesterday, they said they're aware of these studies but from their perspective palm oil is safe to be used in foods," Besser said. "They'll continue to look at the evidence."

When it comes to eating Nutella, Besser advised treating it as an occasional food due to its higher sugar content.

"It should not be an everyday food," Besser said. "It is not a breakfast food."

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

American life expectancy has fallen, albeit slightly, for the first time in more than two decades -- and it could be our fault.

The death rates for most of the top killers have increased, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, drug overdoses and accidents. Researchers say one of the driving forces may be obesity.

Here’s what you can do to help extend your life:

  • Address your stress. Stress is a silent killer and implicated in everything from substance abuse to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Make this year the year of waste management. Getting your body weight in the healthy range is one of the most important life extenders there is.

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WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — These middle school students on Long Island, New York, are quite literally lending a helping hand.

Since late November of last year, a group eighth-grade students from Howard B. Mattlin Middle School have been working nearly every day with a 3-D printer to create a prosthetic hand that will be donated to a child in need.

"They love that they are a part of something that's going to make a difference and something they never thought would be possible," said Melissa Goscinski, an art teacher at the school who spearheaded the program.

Goscinski told ABC News Thursday that her kids "use almost all their free time in between classes, before school and during lunch" just to work on the project.

"They have really taken ownership of this, and the great thing is that when they run into problems, they don't give up," she said. "They talk to each other and work together to figure it out on their own. They're really developing great problem-solving skills."

Goscinski's students are making the hand as part of an online collaborative project called the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge.

The project's website
provides information about what materials are needed to create the prosthetic hands as well as simple video tutorials on how to put them together.

The detailed but easy-to-follow instructions on the site have empowered even young children to create prosthetics, according to Chris Craft, the project's founder.

More than 550 groups have signed up, and the project has received more than 350 hands since it started last year, Craft told ABC News Thursday.

The hands are donated to individuals who contact Craft as well as various nonprofits around the world, Craft said.

Recipients of the hands are featured on the project's social media pages.

Goscinski said she is not sure yet who may receive the hand that her students are making, but, nonetheless, her eighth-graders are excited to make more and get more groups of students involved.

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iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — Two sisters from Austin, Texas have come up with a workout that's positively magical: a Harry Potter-themed yoga class.

Nerdist reports certified yoga instructor Isabel Beltran and her sister Ximena Larkin already staged a class called Pints & Poses, held in Beltran’s boyfriend's Circle Brewing Co. brewery.

However, the two sisters used the location to create the magical routine, complete with wands for participants, and Hogwarts-inspired poses like Slytherin cobra, and the Reverse Wizard.

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Gebhard Bieg(MADISON, Wis.) -- A woman's post-mortem was 800 years in the making, with "ancient" bacteria providing the critical clue for her likely cause of death, and offering a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of our forebears in the Near East.

In the 800-year-old remains of a Byzantine woman found in Turkey, in what used to be Troy, an archaeologist discovered some nodules the "size of strawberries" -- leading to initial speculation that the woman died of tuberculosis. But the story turned out to be much more complex.

Researchers from multiple institutions, including McMaster University in Canada and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were able to extract "ancient" bacteria from the nodules, revealing a likely cause of death that was entirely different, according to findings published this week in the science journal eLife.

Co-author Dr. Caitlin Pepperell, an expert on the evolution of pathogens and a professor of medicine and medical microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said after seeing the "chalky and white" nodules, researchers initially suspected the woman had died from tuberculosis.

"When tuberculosis affects the lungs they can cause calcified lesions," Pepperell told ABC News.

However, when they opened up these nodules, they found preserved and fossilized tissue that did not appear to have signs of tuberculosis infection. She and her colleagues then worked with a specialist to extract and read "ancient" bacteria.

They found these fossilized nodules had bacteria far different from the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.
"We got these reads from these bacteria and at that point we knew it was not TB. It was something else and the job was to figure out what it was," Pepperell said.

Their work was complicated by the fact that a large amount of DNA on the remains is from foreign bodies. Additionally, they had to examine the bacteria for signs it was from the same era as the remains and not a recent addition.

"DNA becomes damaged in a predictable way over time. You look for those damage patterns," to find the ancient DNA, Pepperell said.

Further testing revealed strains of two different types of bacteria called Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Gardnerella vaginalis, which pointed to the woman dying of a serious infection -- possibly related to the urinary tract or reproductive system.

But they found a big missing piece of the puzzle when they discovered DNA likely from a male fetus.
"What clinched it was that we got Y-chromosome data," Pepperell said, referring to the chromosome found only in males. "I had always been suspicious of a pregnancy-related infection ... because they were an incredibly important cause of death in women in that time and place."

The presence of the Y chromosome would point to an infection in the placenta involving both of the found bacteria, she said. Immune cells from both the woman and the male fetus would be present in trying to fight the infection, explaining the presence of Y-chromosome DNA.

Pepperell, along with her fellow researchers, now theorize that the woman died after contracting a serious infection called chorioamnionitis that affected her placenta, amniotic fluid and other membranes around the fetus.

As a result of finding this specific strain of the Staph bacteria, Pepperell said researchers understand a little bit more about how people of the Byzantine era lived and died.

“The strain from Troy belongs to a lineage that is not commonly associated with human disease in the modern world,” Pepperell said in a statement.

She pointed out that many people of this era lived in close quarters with their livestock.

“We speculate that human infections in the ancient world were acquired from a pool of bacteria that moved readily between humans, livestock and the environment," she said.

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