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Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Iconic American civil rights activist, politician and minister Jesse Jackson announced Friday that his doctors have diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease – a diagnosis that he says comes after several years of symptoms.

Below are answers to some of the more common questions about this disease.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder globally, after Alzheimer's disease, affecting more than 1 million people in North America. It was originally described by
English surgeon James Parkinson in 1817. While the precise causes of this condition remain unknown, the disease is characterized by abnormalities in a specific region of the brain called the
substantia nigra, and it results in decreased signaling of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This imbalance leads to the hallmark symptoms of this condition -- abnormal movements, such as a
characteristic hand tremor, slow movements, muscle stiffening, and a decreased ability of the body’s reflexes to appropriately adjust to changes in posture. Psychiatric symptoms often include
anxiety and depression. Other characteristic symptoms include walking in short, shuffling steps and decreased facial expressiveness, called “masked facies.”

Who is affected by this condition?

There are an estimated 7.5 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s, and the risk of developing it increases with age. Approximately 41 per 100,000 persons aged 40 to 49 years has
Parkinson's, compared to an estimated 1,900 per 100,000 persons over the age of 79.

What are the risk factors for Parkinson’s?

Aside from older age, the most well-established risk factor for developing Parkinson’s is having a family member who has been diagnosed with this disease, as was the case with Jackson. Men are also
1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women. Several large studies have also found a correlation between depression and the development of Parkinson’s, though it is unknown if
depression plays a causative role in the development of Parkinson’s, or if it is instead an early symptom. Other possible risk factors include exposure to certain types of pesticides and high
consumption of dairy products.

How is Parkinson’s diagnosed?

Parkinson’s is diagnosed based on a patient’s clinical history and physical exam. Diagnosis is made by the when a person has Parkinsonian symptoms without any other explanation, such as another
neurological disease, head trauma, or a medication that may also be causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms. There are currently no available laboratory or imaging tests that can confirm a diagnosis of

What are the treatments for this condition?

Treatments for Parkinson’s are aimed at correcting the abnormalities in brain dopamine levels and usually include a medication called levodopa or other dopamine-stimulating drugs. These drugs,
however, pose a risk of causing uncontrollable movements called dyskinesia. Younger patients with Parkinson’s-associated tremor may benefit from using drugs in a class known as anticholinergics.
Some patients who experience symptoms despite medications may benefit from placement of a stimulation device deep in their brains or other neurosurgical procedures. Physical therapy and speech
therapy can also be used to help minimize the effects of the disease. Researchers are working on developing gene therapies or methods of neural transplantation to slow or reverse the effects of
Parkinson’s, but management with medications and symptomatic support remain the current mainstay of treatment at this time.

What is the prognosis for Parkinson’s?

Neurologic changes seen in Parkinson’s are typically irreversible and may worsen as the disease progresses. The number and severity of symptoms vary from person to person, and there are currently
no ways to predict which individuals will experience a rapid or slow decline. Parkinson’s itself is generally not considered to be a fatal disease in and of itself; however, the neurologic changes
caused by Parkinson’s increase a person’s likelihood of dying from conditions such as pneumonia due to difficulty swallowing or trauma from falling.

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ABC News(RENO, Nev.) -- One of my favorite things to do with my children is to read to them.

A few years ago, the bedtime book was "Wonder," and it was hands-down one of the best books we read together. So, a few years later when my mother forwarded me an email from a member of her book club, I took notice. “Has Elizabeth heard of the book 'Wonder?'” the email read. “If so, I have the real-life wonder boy in my class.” I jumped for the phone.

We made contact with the Newman family, living in Reno, Nevada, and spent the next two and a half years following Russ and Magda and their sons Nathaniel and Jacob. Nathaniel, now 13, had been born with a severe case of Treacher Collins syndrome. It’s a genetic condition that radically affects the bones in Nathaniel’s face. Russ and Magda were shocked when Nathaniel was born – they had no warning anything was wrong.

They are incredibly brave people, who have been through so much. But they made a pledge to each other, and to Nathaniel, that they would not hide him from the world, or the world from him, and they allowed my producers and me to follow them for more than two years. We were along with him on his first day of middle school, where students had all gotten a letter from Nathaniel explaining his condition, along with a picture, so they could prepare themselves.

We were along when the family met a man with this rare condition, who was able to explain what Nathaniel will probably face in his teenage years. And we and our cameras were there when the Newmans decided to try a risky and revolutionary surgery that might allow Nathaniel to breath without a trach tube in his throat. Magda Newman calls the surgery barbaric, and honestly it was. But no one was braver than Nathaniel, who chose to take the risk.

Shadowing a family like this for as long as we did with our cameras is a delicate thing. We assigned one of our best producer/shooters for this, Jeff Schneider. After the first few hours of recording, he was able to make the Newmans so comfortable, they could almost forget he was there. We captured some truly intimate moments with this family – the worry about how other kids would treat their son, the anguish as they carried him into the operating room for yet another surgery. My producers, Sean Dooley and Jen Joseph, and I all became very close to the Newmans. They are remarkably candid about their most difficult moments, about their worries and their fears. I interviewed them almost half a dozen times over the two years.

Getting to know Nathaniel was wonderful. He is a sensitive boy, but so very strong. He was four years old when he first realized he looked different. Sometimes, he told me, in moments of pure joy, he can forget for a moment what his face looks like. But he knows he will always look this way, no surgery can correct it, and that there will people who will at times be cruel.

But one thing has made life easier for Nathaniel: the book "Wonder," by RJ Palacio. Russ Newman says that book has done more than anything in the world to ease the way for children like his son. The Newmans could not believe the story when they read it. It is their story. As Russ told me, “Was RJ spying on us?” RJ likewise told me that when she met Nathaniel, she exclaimed, “It's Auggie Pullman come to life.” It really stretches credulity, the similarities between art and life are so strong.

We interviewed RJ about how she got the idea for the book, and how she never expected it to be the phenomenon it has become: Five million copies sold around the world, translated into 45 languages, and now a blockbuster movie.

If the book has eased the way a bit for Nathaniel and other children like him, we hope our hour Friday night will do the same. It is so much easier to be humane, to be kind, when the person in front of you is someone you know. We are excited to introduce our viewers to Nathaniel, and the Newman Family.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Owning a dog is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, according to a comprehensive new study published by a team of Swedish researchers on Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.

The scientists followed 3.4 million people over the course of 12 years and found that adults who live alone and owned a dog were 33 percent less likely to die during the study than adults who lived alone without dogs. In addition, the single adults with dogs were 36 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

"Dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household," Mwenya Mubanga, a Ph.D. student at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden, and the lead junior author of the study, said in a statement announcing its findings.

The link between dog ownership and lower mortality was less pronounced in adults who lived either with family members or partners, but still present, according to the study.

"Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households," Mubanga added. "Another interesting finding was that owners [of] dogs from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected."

The study, which is the largest to date on the health implications of owning a dog, suggested that some of the reasons dog owners may have a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease were because dog owners walk more.

"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease," Tove Fall, a senior author of the study and a professor at Uppsala University, said in a statement.

"We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results," Fall added. "Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner."

Fall added that because all participants of the study were Swedish, the results most closely apply to dog owners in Sweden or other "European populations with similar culture regarding dog ownership."

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(Things of My Very Own) Things of My Very Own, an organization in Schenectady, N.Y. that helps kids in crisis, shared the Christmas wishes of some of the children they work with.(NEW YORK) -- There's nothing like a little perspective to make a person realize how lucky they are.

While many are clamoring for the iPhone X this holiday season, some kids in this country are in need of the basics, like food.

Rayn Boncie, founder of Things of My Very Own, an organization that provides crisis intervention services to children impacted by extensive abuse and/or neglect, posted this message on Facebook from one child in its care:

"I want school snacks so I'm not the only one not eating during snack time at school."

People from as far away Italy and Switzerland have contacted the organization after seeing that message, she said.

"That post seems to have moved a lot of people," Boncie said.

The organization has also posted a number of other wishes from children on their Facebook page.

But there are many other children in need. Things of My Very Own, based in Schenectady, New York, shared with ABC News a few of the tags from its holiday gift drive.

Each year, the organization helps 5,000 to 7,000 children in the New York region.

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sudok1/iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- Seven hospital workers in Hawaii have been relieved of their duties without pay after an "extremely dangerous" psychiatric patient escaped from there and boarded a flight to California, officials said.

The Hawaii State Hospital employees were placed on off-duty status without pay while officials investigate how the patient, Randall Saito, managed to break free from the mental health facility on Oahu and travel some 2,350 miles on Sunday. Saito was captured in northern California three days later.

"The hospital employees are being notified and will be relieved of their duties for 30 days as the internal investigation continues. As the investigation progresses, more employees may be identified and placed on off-duty status," the Hawaii State Department of Health, which runs the hospital, said in a statement Wednesday. "The department is committed to a thorough investigation, evaluation and correction of our hospital protocols and procedures to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring."

Meanwhile, all unescorted on-campus and off-campus privileges at Hawaii State Hospital have been stopped and visits to Kaneohe Clubhouse community center have been suspended, the health department said.

Hospital staff have also been retrained on the accountability process, security personnel have been reassigned and extra security fencing is being obtained, the department said.

Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Ginny Pressler said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that Saito's escape was a "result of a major breakdown" in staff protocols, procedures and guidelines at the hospital. An initial internal investigation revealed that staff "may have inadvertently or purposely neglected" to notify supervisors of the incident, Pressler added.

In 1981, Saito was committed to the Hawaii State Hospital just outside Honolulu in Kaneohe after being acquitted of first-degree murder by reason of insanity. He walked out of the psychiatric hospital Sunday morning and chartered a plane to Maui. He boarded another plane from there, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

While on the loose, Saito was considered "extremely dangerous and should not be approached,” police warned.

Saito arrived in San Jose, California, on Sunday night. He was arrested in Stockton on Wednesday morning at about 10:30 a.m. PT "as the result of a tip received from an alert taxi cab driver," the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office said.

Saito was still in California on Wednesday afternoon awaiting positive fingerprint identification, according to Hawaii Gov. David Ige. The patient had been missing for more than 10 hours by the time hospital staff alerted authorities, Ige said.

"I am deeply concerned that such a dangerous person was able to escape from the Hawaii state hospital and remain undetected for such a long period of time," Ige said at a press conference Wednesday. "Authorities and the public should have been notified much, much sooner."

Authorities have evidence that Saito's escape was "premeditated," "intentional" and "planned," said Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin.

"This was something that was not done by someone who was suffering from any sort of mental defect or disability," Chin said. "We intend to press that argument with the court when he was flown back."

Saito is awaiting an extradition hearing in California, and his bail will be set at $500,000, according to Chin. If he posts bail, then he will be placed back in the custody of the Hawaii State Hospital, Chin said.

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The Newman Family(NEW YORK) -- It was a frigid February night in New York City when Magda Newman was in labor with her first child. With her husband, Russel Newman, by her side, she labored for nearly 17 hours before giving birth to their son.

But when she finally delivered, the couple’s moment of expected happiness quickly turned to anguish.

Magda said the room was filled with silence, and no one was saying anything to her about her newborn baby. At first, she said, she thought he was dead.

“I’m like, ‘What’s going on? Is he alive? What’s going on? I want to see the baby,’” she said. “And they didn’t want to show it to me.”

“I think they were scared at first,” Russel said. “Because he had no cheekbones and no upper or lower eyelids."

The baby also wasn’t breathing. Magda Newman was left on the delivery table as doctors worked to save her son’s life.

Russel Newman said one of the doctors called him out of the delivery room to show him a textbook. He said the doctor flipped open a page showing a black-and-white photo of a teenager with Treacher Collins syndrome. Treacher Collins is an extremely rare congenital craniofacial disorder caused by mutations in the POLR1C gene. It affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 people in the United States. The diagnosis did not show up on any of Magda’s prenatal scans -- a common occurrence in cases of Treacher Collins.

“And I remember thinking, ‘That’s going to be my kid?’” he said. “It was surreal.”

Nathaniel's first year

The Newmans named their baby Nathaniel and contacted the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery (IRPS) at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center, a leading hospital working with children who have Treacher Collins. They left a message and, within hours, received a phone call back from Shelley Cohen, a speech and language pathologist.

“She goes, ‘It’s Shelley Cohen. Congratulations,'" Russel said.

“That was the first person who said to us, ‘Congratulations,’” Magda said.

Before Russel could say anything else, Cohen said to him, “Hey, Mr. Newman, you had a baby boy, I heard. That's wonderful.”

“And I remember going, ‘Are you freaking nuts?’” Russel said. “And she said, ‘Let me just tell you -- your son is going to live a long, healthy, happy, wonderful life.’ And I believed her.”

Nathaniel was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at NYU, where he spent the first month of his life. Pat Chibbaro, a pediatric nurse practitioner who worked with the Newmans, said they were “absolutely devastated.”

But shortly after Nathaniel was born, the Newmans said something unexpected happened that sustained them through the early days and then the years ahead. While still reeling from the trauma of his birth, Russel and Magda Newman found themselves alone in a hospital room watching the Grammys. The show opened with Christina Aguilera singing her song, ‘Beautiful.’ It became a beacon of hope for them.

“I swear she was singing to us that night, I swear, as cheesy as that sounds,” Russel said. “That song just resonated.”

“We decided he's going to be beautiful not because of his appearance, because of his personality,” Magda added. “He's going to be a beautiful person.”

The couple said they decided right then to get out of bed and go down to the NICU to see their son.

“And we held Nathaniel for the first time,” Russel said, through tears. “And it was awesome. And then the journey started.”

Magda said it took a year before she could look at her son without flinching.

“I almost cried every day,” she said. “Every single time I looked at him, I could not believe it’s my child. I couldn’t believe it.”

In Nathaniel’s case, his condition caused him to be born without cheekbones, eye sockets or ears, and he had a severely undeveloped jaw. Hearing and eating was were nearly impossible, but most harrowing was that his condition made it difficult for him to breathe. His nasal passageway is nearly solid bone, and his airway is so narrow it was like trying to breathe through a soda straw.

As different as Nathaniel looked on the outside, nurse practitioner Pat Chibbaro assured the Newmans that his brain was unaffected.

During the first year of his life, Nathaniel went through more than 10 surgeries to try to improve his quality of life.

“We've never done cosmetic surgery on Nathaniel,” Russel said, adding that every operation "has had some benefit to life function."

After several failed surgical attempts to open his nasal passages, an emergency tracheotomy was performed on Nathaniel -- a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the trachea, creating a direct airway. It is a procedure as life-altering as it is lifesaving.

“Once you become dependent on a trach, your life changes,” Russel said. “His brain, his body is going to learn to breathe through a trach, and then he's going to be prone to infection, which ended up proving to be true.”

For the first-time parents, bath time became a scary activity, as they tried to avoid getting water in Nathaniel’s trach. They started sleeping in shifts to constantly monitor their fragile son but remained committed to their pledge to give him as normal a life as possible. However, moments as simple as pushing Nathaniel down the street in a stroller were a trial.

“I lived in New York City,” Magda Newman said. “We're walking with the stroller, and everybody was, ‘Oh, you have a baby.’ And they go, ‘Let me see the baby.’ And they're like, ‘God bless you.’”

“Oh, that was the worst,” she continued. “As a new mother, nobody would say, ‘Oh, he's so cute. Oh, congratulations.’”

The decision to have another child

By the time Nathaniel turned 2, Russel and Magda started talking about having a second child, but it was not an easy decision to make. There was still a 50-50 chance that a second child would be born with Treacher Collins. The Newmans said they did “every test known to man," hoping to ensure that this would not happen.

“Our DNA was even sent off to Johns Hopkins,” he said. “They basically came back and said, ‘We're 99 percent sure your second child will not be affected by Treacher Collins.’”

The Newmans’ second trip to the delivery room was nothing like the first.

“This delivery was so quick,” Magda said. “I walk into the hospital. Twenty minutes later, Jacob was born.”

“Jacob literally came out looking like a porcelain doll,” Russel added. “He was just gorgeous.”

Through the years, Nathaniel and Jacob shared all the typical moments and memories that brothers do, but for Nathaniel, things were always different. When he was around 4 or 5 years old, Russel Newman said Nathaniel became conscious of his own face.

“He could clearly vocalize, ‘I don't like the staring. I don't like the name-calling,” Russel said. “At that age, we're going to birthday parties, and other kids see him and scream and leave. He knows it was about him.”

Nathaniel said the first time he realized his face was different from other kids’ was “when the first kid" called him "monster."

“And then I realized that they don’t do it to anybody else, so I was different,” Nathaniel said.

By the time he was 11 years old, Nathaniel had been through 54 surgeries. Now, when he meets new people, he said he explains to them that he has Treacher Collins, and isn’t bothered so much by looking different.

“I kind of like it,” he said. “It just seems fun because I stand out.”

“Sometimes, if I'm having a good time, I forget what I look like,” Nathaniel added.

Starting middle school

In fall 2015, Nathaniel, walked into B.D. Billinghurst Middle School in Reno, Nevada, for his first day of sixth grade. Russel had gotten a new job that moved them to Reno. For Nathaniel, this meant having to meet an entirely new group of classmates.

To ease the transition, the Newmans came up with a plan to have Nathaniel write a letter to his classmates explaining his condition, but also that he was as normal as any of them. In the letter, Nathaniel told his classmates that he had three dogs and liked Pokémon and Star Wars.

“And we included a picture to try and avoid some of the first-day shock and awe, if you will,” Russel Newman said.

One of his teachers said the letter was very helpful for the students to know what to expect “rather than just walking into school and then having that reaction.”

There is something else that the Newmans mention in Nathaniel’s letter that has changed the way children react to him.

“We incorporate the book ‘Wonder’ into the welcome letters,” Russel said. “Like, ‘Hey, you might have read ‘Wonder’ now. Well, I'm a kid just like Auggie Pullman.' ”

The novel "Wonder," by R.J. Palacio, was published in 2012. It has sold more than 5 million copies and been translated into 45 languages. Palacio said the idea for the book came after she and her young son had a chance encounter with a little girl who had a severe facial difference, like Treacher Collins.

Palacio was outside an ice cream shop in her Brooklyn neighborhood when she first noticed the young girl. She said when her son saw the little girl’s face, he began to cry hysterically. In an attempt to protect the young girl from the embarrassing episode, Palacio said she quickly pushed her stroller away. As soon as the incident was over, Palacio regretted how she handled it and could not stop thinking about it for the rest of the day.

“I just thought, ‘OK, I'm going to write a book,'" she said, adding, "It's going to be about what it must be like to face a world every day that doesn't know how to face you back."

After nearly 60 surgeries, Nathaniel undergoes a radical procedure

The Newmans met with surgeons at Seattle Children's Hospital and made the difficult decision to have him undergo a radical surgery that had only been performed on one other child with Treacher Collins. He was 12 years old, and the goal of the surgery was to be able to open up Nathaniel’s airway enough to finally remove his trach.

For the surgery, Dr. Richard Hopper, the chief surgeon at the hospital’s cranio-facial center, had to literally rearrange the bones in Nathaniel’s face.

“It’s not giving you a new face,” Hopper told him. “I think you should be very happy with your face and we don’t want to take that away from you, but it puts your face into a different position.”

As Russel had done for all of Nathaniel’s nearly 60 surgeries, he carried his son into the operating room.

“It never gets easier. Putting your son on a metal table, surrounded by things that are going to cut him open,” Russel said.

During the 12-hour surgery, doctors separated Nathaniel’s skull from his face and moved it into the correct position, anchoring the bones in place with a metal halo that would remain attached to his head for three months. When Nathaniel woke up, his jaw was wired shut to the halo and he could not eat or speak. Attached to that halo were tiny turning devices that Russel and Magda were required to screw three times a day to continue the excruciatingly slow process of moving Nathaniel's face.

The whole process was so difficult that it often left the Newmans questioning whether they had made the right decision.

But with each moment of doubt, they reminded themselves of their goal: a trach-free life for their son.

Nathaniel Newman these days

In August 2016, doctors removed the metal halo from Nathaniel’s head. But he still had to undergo months of tests and evaluations before those doctors were finally ready to do something the Newmans had waited a lifetime to do: remove Nathaniel’s trach.

After 13 years of heartache, struggle, perseverance and triumph, something that for so long had just been a dream, was now a reality.

Over the years, the Newman family has worked with two nonprofit organizations: myFace and Children's Craniofacial Association. Both offer support to patients with facial differences and their families, as well as raise awareness about these conditions.

And recently, Nathaniel celebrated his 13th birthday.

Russel Newman marked the occasion by sharing an emotional message to his son on Facebook, writing, “You, my little wonder boy, you show me every day that my strength pales in comparison to what you possess in that enormous heart of yours.”

“I have a 13-year-old boy that's tackled more challenges than most 100-year-old men would ever dream of.”

 Watch the full story on ABC News' 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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Hayley Garnett(NEW YORK) -- Many women hide the scars of pregnancy, but one mom put hers on display in a very public way instead.

Hayley Garnett recently gave birth to twin girls Ruby and Ramona. She also has a son, Archer. Among the beautiful pictures of her children on her Instagram is a photo that stands out.

In it, she holds her twins next to her bare stomach covered in stretch marks. "Happy one week birthday, ladies," she wrote. "This morning Archer asked me what’s wrong with my belly and I told him that all of my babies leave marks on my belly so that I never forget for a second that I grew them in my body all on my own and that they exist earthside with me now! A forever reminder, whether I’m truly confident having these marks or not, it’s no doubt a testament to the miracles my body has made."

Her photo has been liked almost 12,000 times.

"I decided to share the story because I habitually try to share a lot of personal feelings through my Instagram page because I really believe that showing your vulnerability is not only a healing process but also has the ability to really connect you with an individual or community in a way you may not have thought possible," Garnett told ABC News. "I hoped that being open and honest about the marks that twin pregnancy gave me would give other moms the courage to actually accept themselves and maybe see their own marks in a different, more positive light."

She said the reaction has been almost entirely positive. Her only detractors, she said, are people who think "I was intentionally editing my photo to make my marks look excessive which in itself just seems like a silly accusation."

The Columbia, Missouri, mom said her husband, Cody Garnett, "is so very supportive of everything that I do and is always on my team. He makes me feel beautiful no matter what and would not hesitate to assure other women who bear the marks of pregnancy that they are beautiful as well."

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Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In a groundbreaking decision on Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug with a “digital ingestion tracking system,” which senses when a pill is swallowed and sends the data to a smartphone.

The new drug-device combination product called Abilify MyCite is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and mood disorders. The Abilify (aripiprazole) tablets come embedded with an ingestible event marker (IEM) sensor -- the size of a grain of sand -- that sends information to a patch the patient wears. The patch then transmits the data to smartphones and online health care portals, which can be accessed by health care professionals and caregivers if the patient approves.

This new concept could mean significant advancements in treatment for many disorders, specifically psychiatric illnesses, which rely heavily on patients who must consistently take their medication if they are to achieve stability.

Schizophrenia, a chronic psychiatric disorder, affects approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population. The disabling condition includes delusions, thought disorders and hallucinations that can ruin jobs, relationships and day-to-day functions. People with schizophrenia have the greatest success in treatment if they take their medications.

This, however, can be difficult. If they don’t take the medication, they relapse, are re-hospitalized and have to start over again. It’s both disturbing to their lives and an extra expense for them to carry.

Psychiatric diseases are not the only illnesses that may benefit from a drug-device. This way to track medications could help manage a variety of chronic illnesses.

Approximately half of all people with heart disease, for instance, don’t take their medication regularly. For patients with diabetes, studies show that hospital costs are 41 percent higher every year for those who don’t take their medication as directed, compared to those who do.

In general, medication “non-adherence” results in additional cost to the U.S. health care system of $290 billion annually.

While the potential benefits are easy to see, these pharmacological strides also raise concerns about diminished patient autonomy and suspicion of the medical system. Now, it’s the patient who controls who has access to this electronic data. But this type of system could erode the trust traditionally shared between the physician and patient. That trust is particularly important for patients with psychiatric diseases.

“I would want a study conducted to see how the technology impacts the doctor-patient relationship,” said Dr. Paul Applebaum, director of the Division of Law, Ethics and Psychiatry at Columbia University. “What kind of message are we communicating?”

It is also important to note that the improvement in patient compliance with treatment is the ideal outcome, but so far nobody has shown that this pill will do it.

Applebaum sees how the new technology may prove beneficial in certain populations, such as “patients with early dementia, since the culprit for non-adherence is memory.”

However, he notes it may not be as effective in patients who are worried about side effects or have other common reasons for not taking their prescriptions.

Sandy Walsh, a spokesperson for the FDA, said “it is too soon to gauge” what implications this may have on a broader scale.

However, she points out that “the FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans expect to include a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires people to purchase health insurance or face penalties, in their tax plan, complicating the party's efforts to reshape the tax code by year's end.

The change -- which President Trump called for yesterday in a surprise tweet from Asia -- would help Republicans pay for proposed tax cuts in their plan by slashing more than $300 billion in government spending on subsidized medical coverage over 10 years.

“We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters Tuesday.

Republicans also say the mandate disproportionately impacts low-income Americans.

The move would also leave 4 million more Americans without health insurance by 2019 and 13 million by 2027, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Slipping the health care provision into the tax plan carries risks for Republicans.

Doing so could ignite Democratic opposition to the tax bill and turn the tax push into a health care debate, complicating the GOP's top legislative priority and making it more difficult to achieve by the end of the year.

The House is expected to vote on its version of the tax plan -- which won't include the individual mandate repeal -- as soon as Thursday.

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ABC News(LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y.) -- Sam Antar was all smiles when he was offered a full-time, paid position as a "granologist" at Luv Michael, a healthy snack business.

"I like to put the ingredients together," Antar, 22, told ABC News. "I love making new friends."

Based in Long Island City, Luv Michael's mission is to provide meaningful employment for young adults with autism.

The business was started by Lisa Liberatore and husband, Dimitri Kessaris, for their son, Michael, who has autism and also loves to cook. Luv Michael now employs six workers and sells granola in more than 60 stores on the East Coast.

"Teamwork is pivotal in the Luv Michael program," said Sarah Kull, the company's curriculum coordinator. "We all motivate each other. We collaborate. We share ideas. Someone's having a hard day, we support them."

"There's no discouraging," she added.

Volunteers work for three consecutive weeks so staff can gauge their commitment, interest and skill set. After that period, and if all goes well, Luv Michael offers the volunteer a full-time, paid job.

"I can't begin to tell you the impression and the feeling that we have in the room when they're offered the job," Liberatore said.

Antar's mother, Deborah Ehrlich-Antar, was present as he accepted his job offer.

She told ABC News that her family was incredibly thankful for the work opportunity and that finding Luv Michael had been a "miracle."

"For any child with autism, after high school and after services from the Board of Education end, each child is in a very different place, a place where they're not quite sure what programs they're going to be involved in and what they're going to do every day," Ehrlich-Antar said. "It's extremely difficult and it's a time of uncertainty and great concern."

Ehrlich-Antar said Luv Michael's staff understand that people with autism need a place to thrive, be productive and feel good about what they're doing.

Antar told ABC News that after working at Luv Michael, he'd like to move on and become a chef.

"I'm learning a lot at Luv Michael," he said. "I love baking and cooking."

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Carlo de Jesus(NEW YORK) -- Imagine unlocking your cellphone with a drop of sweat?

Dr. Jan Halámek, a biochemist and assistant professor at the University of Albany, and his team are studying that very concept. Halámek believes there is a better way to secure electronic devices, and facial recognition is not one of them.

Halámek’s approach relies on amino acids found in skin secretions. A phone, for example, will be able to identify what compounds are in its owner’s unique sweat, Halámek told ABC News.

The amino acids and their compounds will ideally be able to unlock a device through “obvious connection of metabolized and fluctuating levels,” he explained.

“The device will sense them, and say ‘that’s my owner,’” said Halámek. He said his lab has tested the method successfully.

Those metabolizing levels change depending on factors like eating and exercising, he said. “We are unique and we metabolize. It’s a dynamic process, but metabolized levels change.”

To build a profile, the device would first have a “monitoring period” in which it would continuously measure its owner’s sweat levels at various times of the day, according to a press release on the science.

Halámek's lab is still working on how often the phone would need to recalibrate to stay up to date.

“I’m asked a lot, ‘what if people steal my sweat,’” Halámek said. “The answer is that it would work, but not for long. The sweat will begin to decompose and will not stay stable.”

That's one of the reasons why Halámek believes a biochemical approach to cybersecurity would be the most effective.

“Metabolization is not constant. It is not a Social Security number,” he said.

To break into a phone, one would have to know exactly what the metabolizing levels are at that point in time.

His team is submitting proposals for funding to get this research in the hands of smartphone makers.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A pair of identical twins with the joint goal of losing weight tried out two different trendy diets for one month, and revealed their individual weight loss results live on "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

Lauren Holman and Leila Cruz, both 32, from Brooklyn, New York, tried the Whole30 and Counting Macros diets to see which one worked better for them. Both twins said they were hoping to shed the extra pounds they gained after having babies.

Prior to embarking on their diets, each woman met with Dr. Avigdor Dori, a clinical dietitian and exercise physiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, to measure their body fat percentages and establish their goals. Dori suggested that women should have 30 percent body fat or less to be in good health.

Although the pair are genetically identical, and each strictly adhered to their diet plans, the 30-day challenge did not account for the lifestyle or environmental factors that could affect the twins' weight.

Twin 1: Lauren Holman

Starting Weight: 152.3 pounds

Starting Body Fat Percentage: 41.2 percent

Diet: Whole30

The Whole30 diet requires dieters to eat whole foods, meats, and vegetables, and bans sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy and dairy for 30 days.

"What we do is we pull them out for 30 days and it's a pretty strict pull out,” Whole30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig, who coached Holman, told ABC News. “It’s like pushing the reset button with your health habits and your relationship with food.”

To stick to foods on the diet, Holman cooked everything herself.

Holman's take on Whole30:

Holman told ABC News that her weight loss battle began shortly after she gave birth to her son three years ago.

"I was 115 pounds before I got pregnant and even after my pregnancy I haven’t gotten anywhere near my goal weight," she said.

Holman added that her weakness when it comes to maintaining diets has always been "snacking," saying that prior to starting, she felt "nervous" about doing the Whole30.

"There is not much snacking on Whole30," Holman said, adding that she was also apprehensive about giving up sugar.

Since completing one month of the Whole30 diet, Holman said she has lost 10 pounds, feels like she is no longer bloated and is sleeping better.

"It was also a great experience to do this with my boyfriend," Holman said. "Him and I both have struggled with weight loss since having our son so this was super fun to do together as a couple."

"The hardest thing about the diet was the first two weeks," she added. "I had to get used to reading every ingredient, and to my surprise everything has sugar."

"Another hard part about the diet was the money," she added. "It is very expensive to eat healthy."

Holman said the diet was "worth it in the end," telling ABC News that going forward she is "definitely going to keep up with the Whole30."

Weight Lost After 1 Month: 10.7 pounds

Body Fat Percentage After 1 Month: 5.1 percent

Twin 2: Leila Cruz

Starting Weight: 133.8

Starting Body Fat Percentage: 37.9 percent

Diet: Counting Macros

Counting macros is dubbed the new school approach to counting calories. To follow the diet, Cruz can eat whatever she wants, as long as it fits into her personalized pie graph of carbs, proteins and fats.

"There are three macro categories, protein, carbs, and fats, [and] having the correct amount of those three things is important," SD-Evolution founder Alessandra Scutnik, who coached Cruz, explained. "We do recommend that 80 percent of your day is nutrient dense foods like fruits, veggies, complex carbs, lean meats and then that leaves 20 percent to be anything you want."

Cruz said that 20 percent was ice cream for dessert. For the rest of her diet, she weighed everything she ate and checked the macros to make sure everything stayed within her numerical range.

Cruz's take on Counting Macros:

"I haven’t been serious about losing weight mainly because I thought I couldn’t do it," Cruz told ABC News.

She said she "was able to eat what I want" with this diet.

"I ate all my favorite foods in moderation. Knowing how much protein, fat, and carbs I was allowed in each meal made it easier for me to pick meals for the day," she said. "As I continue to do the diet I definitely feel like I have more control over my day."

After completing the diet for a month, Cruz, like her sister, said she feels less bloated and noticed that she has been sleeping better.

Cruz added that one of the hardest parts of the plan was having to add certain foods to her diet in order to reach her protein goals.

"I ate protein bars and started drinking protein shakes," she said.

"Another struggle was weighing my food," Cruz added, saying as a teacher the logistics of weighing her food in her classroom were a bit difficult. "Also, if we ordered out I didn’t know the nutritional facts for certain foods."

She said she struggled slightly with having to log every single thing she ate each day.

Overall, however, Cruz said she feels "proud."

"I’m very proud of myself and how far I’ve come," she told ABC News. "It’s just the beginning of a steady healthy lifestyle."

Weight Lost After 1 Month: 6.7 pounds

Body Fat Percentage After 1 Month: 4.6 percent

Tips to Mastering the Whole30, from Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig

1. Announce your commitment. Having accountability will keep you on track, and makes it easier for you to recruit friends and family for support along the way.

2. Recruit your support team. You’ll need motivation, encouragement, resources, and maybe some tough love along the way, so ask key players for exactly what you’ll need. Task your mom with daily encouragement, your best friend with a butt-kicking when you need it, and your Whole30-savvy co-worker with recipe inspiration if you get bored.

3. Clean out your pantry. If your Whole30 excitement is high you may be tempted to skip this step, thinking, “I don’t even want this stuff, no need to remove it!” But the future you will thank you for getting the chocolate out of easy reach when you’re cranky, tired and craving. Give it away, donate it to a local shelter, or box it up with lots of tape and stick it in the garage for a month.

4. Plan some meals. Having a robust plan for the first few days will help you alleviate stress and keep you on track when days run long.

5. Stock up on emergency food. During the Whole30, you can’t grab candy out of the vending machine if you’re in a pinch. Having plenty of “emergency food” on hand can help you work around getting stuck in traffic, travel days, and late meetings. Hard boil some eggs, prep a protein salad, stash some Whole30 Approved jerky or an RxBar in your desk at work, and roast a double-tray of veggies on Sunday night so you always have some on hand.

Tips to Mastering Counting your Macros from SD-Evolution founders Josh and Alessandra Scutnik:

1. Establish your baseline or “maintenance” calories and macros. If you are new to calorie counting and are unsure how much food you are consuming, the first step is to start tracking your current food intake using an app. It’s as simple as logging what you eat on a daily basis. At the same time, you want to be tracking your body weight to see if it is maintaining at this intake. We suggest tracking both your food and body weight for about two weeks. The reason why we suggest two weeks is that your bodyweight is going to fluctuate daily based on a number of factors including but not limited to sleep, stress, sodium levels, water levels and bowel movements. The most optimal way to get an accurate body weight average would be to weigh-in at least twice per week for two weeks, then take the average of those numbers. If your body weight is staying the same, we can assume these are your personal maintenance calories.

2. Purchase a food scale to measure your portions (this is more accurate than using measuring cups or spoons). This is important for at least the first few weeks to ensure you learn proper portion sizes, but using a food scale is not something you need to use as you become familiar with the foods you normally consume. The first few weeks are usually a big eye opener in regards to what your normal portion sizes look like!

3. Follow the 80/20 rule when choosing foods to eat. As long as you fill your day with 80 percent nutrient-dense choices, you can leave some wiggle room for foods that you enjoy and may not be as “healthy.”

4. Be consistent! The two most important factors with any diet are adherence and consistency. If you aren’t sticking to your plan and being consistent how will you know if it’s truly working for you?

5. Meal prep. Meal prep is an absolute game changer. By making your meals ahead of time, you are already prepared for your week. You don’t have to prep every meal, but having some go-to options handy will keep you in line with your goals and keep you on track!

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider whether a California requirement for pregnancy centers in that state to provide information about publicly funded abortion and contraceptive services violates free-speech rights.

The petitioners, which say they are "life-affirming pregnancy centers", argue that California’s Reproductive FACT ACT, “Forces licensed pro-life medical centers to post notices informing women how to contact the State at a particular phone number for information on how to obtain state-funded abortions, directly contradicting the centers’ pro-life message.” And that petitioners argue is a violation of the First Amendment, both its protections of speech and of free exercise.

The pro-life groups opposed to the FACT ACT, suggest they were “targeted” based on their religious viewpoint. In court documents, the petitioners argue, “The State of California forces licensed centers to communicate the government’s message about state-funded abortions to everyone who walks in the door. The State, rather than using countless alternative ways to communicate its message, including its own powerful voice, instead compels only licensed facilities that help women consider alternatives to abortion to express the government’s message regarding how to obtain abortions paid for by the State."

Attorneys representing California in court documents argue, “Some 700,000 California women become pregnant each year, and over half of those pregnancies are unintended. The Act addresses two problems that pregnant Californians can face. “First, many women cannot afford medical care on their own, and are unaware of the public programs that are available to them.”

According to court documents, California’s attorneys said that the state legislature was trying to provide as much information as possible,“The state Legislature concluded the most effective way to ensure that women quickly obtain the information and services they need” is to require licensed health care facilities that are unable to immediately enroll patients into state-funded programs to advise each patient at the time of her visit that the programs exist and give information on how they may be accessed.”

The case represents the Supreme Court's first major grant in an abortion-related case since the addition of its newest member, Justice Neil Gorsuch, said Kate Shaw, an ABC News Supreme Court contributor who also teaches at Cardozo Law School.

The case could have broader implications, she said.

"This case raises important First Amendment questions, and, depending on how the Court answers them, it could potentially impact the status of other state laws that regulate abortion — both those designed to facilitate access to abortion, and those designed to thwart it," Shaw said.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the California law. Both the 4th and 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have struck down similar laws.

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Keira Miller(NORCROSS, Ga.) -- In lieu of the traditional ringing of the bell, Josh Libman recently celebrated the upcoming end of his cancer treatment with tubas, drums, flutes, saxophones and pom-poms, all courtesy of the efforts of registered nurse Alane Levy.

Libman, 32, of Norcross, Georgia, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer this summer and in July his left lower leg had to be amputated. That surgery was followed by rounds of grueling chemotherapy, requiring him to stay in the hospital for days.

Levy learned of his plight this summer, when she came across Libman's story in a Jewish mothers Facebook group.

"I reached out to the family and said, 'This is who I am and this is what I do and I would like to take care of Josh and the family through this entire process. Instead of writing a check, I'll give myself,'" said Levy, who cares for people in their homes post-surgery.

Levy said she was with the family since before Libman's amputation and had even stayed with him in the hospital.

"It has been my honor to be part of their family and to take care of them," she said.

With Libman nearing an end to treatment, Levy said, she wanted him to be able to ring a bell, a tradition for cancer patients ending treatment in hospitals across the nation. Libman has one round of chemotherapy and a surgery left.

Levy, however, said that Libman was on a floor with sickle-cell anemia patients and there was no bell.

"I just wanted him to have that memory," she said.

So Levy improvised, big time. She reached out to the band leader at Norcross High School, Libman's old high school, and asked for help.

On Thursday, the entire band -- all 150 students -- marched down Libman's street and appeared in front of his home to play. In the front, band members carried a poster with a message for Libman: "You are loved."

"We believe!" the band members chanted as Libman stood by. "We believe that Josh will win! We believe that Josh will win!"

Levy had prepared Libman for the band's arrival, telling him to grab his jacket, a hat and his crutches, but even she was not ready for the celebration that was in store. Levy had only expected about 50 students to show up.

"They were the best, most beautiful bell I could've ever thought of," she said. "Josh was so excited. I was so excited. And, I couldn't think of anything better to do."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The new recommendations on blood pressure from the American Heart Association (AHA) will significantly increase the number of Americans diagnosed with hypertension, particularly in younger age groups.

The number of adult women under 45 with the diagnosis will double, while the number of adult men under 45 will triple. The number of Americans that are recommended medical treatment will only increase slightly.

The AHA recommends “lifestyle modification” as a first line treatment. However, it is not always clear to patients which lifestyle modifications are the most effective. The below descriptions summarize which lifestyle modifications are recommended by the AHA, based on the latest available research.

Diet changes

The single intervention with the greatest documented effect on blood pressure is the “DASH” diet, a well-studied diet that encourages fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and discourages foods high in saturated and total fats. Research shows that this diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by approximately 11 mmHg. In addition, the guidelines recommend low-sodium diets (goal less than 1,500 mg per day, with the best effects seen at less than 1,000 mg per day), and diets rich in potassium (dried apricots, avocado, salmon, green leafy veggies and bananas). Low sodium and high potassium diets can lower systolic blood pressure by approximately 4-6 mmHg.

Weight loss

Losing weight improves health and well being in many capacities, but exactly how much to lose may be different for everyone. For those over 5 feet tall, an “ideal body weight” can actually be calculated mathematically. These numbers will change based on how tall you are, and the calculations are different for men and women. Formulating an individualized numerical goal in this way can help people reach a healthy body mass index.

A normal, healthy BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 may be a good long-term goal, but in order to get there most physicians recommend losing 1 kilogram (or about 2.2 lbs.) at a time. The average American can expect a 1 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure for every 1 kilogram reduction in body weight.


Aerobic exercise yields the most benefit in lowering blood pressure. What constitutes enough? The experts say 90-150 minutes per week with heart rates up to 65-75 percent of one's heart rate. For strength training, the AHA recommends dynamic and isometric resistance exercises.

Dynamic exercise is any exercise that involves joint movement, such as bicep curls, tricep dips or squats.

Isometric exercise is typically done against immovable objects and includes planks, wall-sits and boat pose.

Experts say weight training should be done three times per week and benefits are usually seen after 8-10 weeks of practicing.

All of the above activities were seen to benefit people with hypertension with studies indicating a decrease of systolic blood pressures of approximately 4-8 mmHg.

Alcohol consumption

For drinkers, limiting the amount of alcohol consumed has a beneficial impact on blood pressure. Studies find that drinking in moderation lowers systolic blood pressure by up to 4 mmHg. For men, AHA recommends drinking less than or up to two drinks daily, and for women only up to one drink daily. In fact, decreasing alcohol intake even proved to reduce blood pressure in patients who had not been diagnosed with hypertension yet.

Consult with a health care professional

While the above recommendations can change blood pressure for a large share of those with hypertension, there are still millions of Americans for whom lifestyle modifications are not enough. Consult with your health care professional to see which intervention, medication or otherwise, is right for you.

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