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fcafotodigital/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Seven dietary factors may increase the risk of cancer for American adults aged 20 and over, according to a new study published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum medical journal.

The study, conducted by researchers at Tuft's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, found that in 2015 over 80,000 new cancer cases were associated with low whole-grain intake, low dairy intake, high intake of processed meats and red meat, low fruit and vegetable intake, and high intake of sugary beverages.

Those new cases represent approximately 5.2 percent of total cancer cases reported among U.S. adults in that year, similar to the percentage of cancer cases linked to alcohol consumption -- approximately 4 percent to 6 percent -- according to the researchers.

“Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake,” the study's lead author, Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, said in a statement.

While the study looked at national data for diet and cancer, that data is based on what people self-reported.

"It was a very interesting study," ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Thursday on Good Morning America. "They based it on mathematical models, statistics, estimates, they crunched some numbers based on how people say they ate and the new cases of cancer in the United States."

"It’s not only about eating the wrong things, it’s about not eating enough of the right things," she added.

Low whole-grain intake was the dietary factor most strongly associated with a higher cancer risk, according to the study. Cancers most associated with diet were colorectal cancers, followed by cancer of the mouth and throat.

Researchers also found that diet was responsible for higher rates of cancers among racial minorities in the U.S., including African Americans and Latinos, compared to white people.

Ashton said that especially in regards to the study's finding about low whole-grain intake, people need to keep in mind that diets and eating are "not one size fits all."

"You have to find what works for you and there is a trade off, and a big one when you talk about low-carb diets," she said. "Because for a lot of people [on low-carb diets], they’re keeping their weight down, they’re preventing obesity and diabetes and heart disease and some types of cancer, so that can be a good thing.

"But, again, if you’re not eating grains and dairy and fruits and vegetables, you’re missing out, so again, moderation, holistic and do what works for you," said Ashton.

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Courtesy Chelsea Garcia(NEW YORK) -- Aubrey Garcia, a 7-year-old girl with spina bifida, is running straight into people’s hearts after completing her first track race.

Aubrey’s mom Chelsea Garcia learned that her daughter had a fluid sac on her spine and an enlarged ventricle in her brain when she received her 20-week ultrasound. When the doctor called the next day to tell her and her husband what they had found, the couple didn’t know how to take the news.

"I had never met anyone with the condition or read anything about it," Garcia said. "You never think you’re going to hear something bad about your child."

The day after Aubrey was born she received surgery to remove her spinal defect and insert a shunt to drain the extra spinal fluid into her abdomen. Despite the procedure, the effects of her condition still impact her.

Aubrey has no feeling from the knees down and has worn orthotics on her feet and ankles since she was 3 months old. When learning to walk, she had to teach herself using only her hip and thigh muscles. Because of this, she has relied on the help of mobile prone standers, walkers and therapy to help her walk the majority of her life. After years of hard work, Aubrey began to walk on her own at 6 years old.

"Sometimes I’ll suggest using a walker to get around if we’re going to Walmart or a big store like that, but she refuses," Garcia said. "She wants to do it all on her own."

Because of Aubrey’s strong will, it came as no surprise when she told her mom that she wanted to run track just like her older sisters.

"She’s very headstrong and she won’t be stopped from doing anything and she’s not fazed by learning how to do things differently," Garcia said. "She’s never acted like any of this was a problem. It’s just normal, this is her life. She’s never been less than happy."

Garcia entered Aubrey in the "Little Cardinal" track meet, a running competition the town puts on for kids once a year. After months of anticipation and practicing by running down the field with her friends at her sister’s track meets, Aubrey was ready for her big race.

Garcia stood with Aubrey by the starting line while her husband waited for her at the end of the lane. When the starting bell sounded, Garcia couldn’t help but get tears in her eyes.

"It’s just one of those moments you can’t help but cry because you thought these were things you were never going to get to see happen," Garcia said. "Yet it wasn’t surprising to see her out there running because that’s just how she is."

Aubrey stumbled before she got to the finish line, and although the other kids she competed against already finished, the crowd made it clear that she was first in their hearts.

"I couldn’t help but lose it when she began to stumble," Garcia said. "It was amazing to see how many people were clapping and rooting for her to finish."

Garcia said Aubrey was smiling from ear-to-ear when she finished the race. Although 50 meters may not have seemed long to the other kids, Aubrey conquered many hurdles to cross that finish line.

"My husband and I both told her how proud we were of her and how we were so amazed she made it," Garcia said. "To see her do something that you didn’t think she’d ever be able to do, it makes you think about all the other things she’s capable of."

Garcia says Aubrey definitely wants to run in the next track meet and is looking forward to participating in the Special Olympics when she’s old enough.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- You might think kids are sharing too much on social media, but in many cases it's parents who are doing it -- with kids complaining that their moms and dads are revealing way too much.

For 14-year-old Lillian Durben of Silverlake, Washington, her mom Kate Durben was posting photos of her without permission.

"To be honest, I was very upset," Lillian told ABC News' Good Morning America in a sit-down interview.

Mom Kate said that although she knew her daughter didn't want her to share certain pictures, she just couldn't resist.

"I justified it by saying, 'It's fine, it's a cute picture. Why wouldn't she want me to share it?,'" Kate told GMA. "She looked cute … but that isn't the issue, is it?"

"It really wasn't the picture I was upset about," Lillian explained. "Mostly it was just because I asked her not to post my photo. I just was hurt after I clearly didn't want her to."

Kate has since pulled down the photos that Lillian had asked her not to share.

Even celebrity moms have found themselves in hot water. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was recently scolded by her daughter Apple after posting a photo of her on Instagram.

"Mom, we have discussed this," Apple wrote in the comment section. "You may not post anything without my consent."

Jodi Gold, a child and adolescent psychologist who is the director of the Gold Center for Mind, Health and Wellness, said parents of middle schoolers and above should get consent from their children before posting.

"We're all on social media and all of our kids are on social media, so we're now going to have to navigate the parental-child relationship in the realm of social media," Gold told GMA.

Gold also warned that even if your kids are too young to care, you should still use discretion.

"The naked [baby] pictures in the bathroom are really cute, but will the 20- or 25-year-old children really appreciate them? Probably not," Gold said.

And it's not just photos. In April, an anonymous user who said he or she was in middle school vented on Reddit, "…my mom has posted literally every aspect of my life … If we get in a fight, she's on FB asking for advice. I feel like I have absolutely no privacy. I can't talk to my own mother for fear she'll post it on social media. I'm her child, not her dog."

Gold said it's important for parents to keep the dialogue open with their kids.

"It is very dangerous if you start posting about what's going on with you and your child, because you will shut down that dialogue immediately and you will lose your child's trust," said Gold.

"It's fine to vent to friends but there's appropriate places to vent, and social media is not the place," Gold added.

Kate Durben said she now sees that damage can be done if you don't respect your child's wishes.

"She's got her own image to manage," Kate said of her daughter.

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Adam Calaitzis/iStock(LAWRENCE, Mass.) -- More questions than answers remain in the mysterious death of a 13-year-old girl as investigators look into how she died at a Lawrence, Mass., emergency room this week.

Authorities have not released the name of the Amesbury, Mass., girl, but the family identified her as Chloe Ricard, reported ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.

The 13-year-old was brought to the Lawrence General Hospital emergency room at 4:47 p.m. Monday and was pronounced dead "shortly after arrival," the Essex District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but it's expected to "take some time before there is a ruling on the cause and manner of death," according to the district attorney's office.

Foul play has not been ruled out, district attorney's office spokeswoman Carrie Kimball told ABC News Wednesday.

Investigators are not disclosing how the teen arrived at the emergency room, citing the ongoing investigation, Kimball said.

She added, "The people who brought her made her identity known to the hospital."

Ricard's family said the teen had stayed with a friend on Sunday night.

"Who can do that? Who can take and just dump her?" Chloe's mother, Deborah Goldsmith-Dolan, told WCVB.

Chloe's stepfather, Brian Dolan, added, "I've been trying to piece it together, like trying to get a hold of her friends to see if I can find out what's going on, and no one is saying nothing to me."

No arrests have been made, the district attorney's office said, and the investigation is ongoing.

Brian Dolan called his stepdaughter "a great kid... she was bright."

"Just the wrong place with the wrong people," he told WCVB.

A spokesperson for Lawrence General Hospital tells ABC News, "Our hearts go out to the family in this situation. We're cooperating fully with the police in the investigation."

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DNY59/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Katie Porter while fighting through the pain of a burst appendix during campaigning and just weeks before election day in Irvine, Ca., texted her campaign manager that she needed to go to the hospital.

Even though there was an emergency room close by she asked to go to Hoag Hospital because she knew her health insurance would cover her since it was an in-network provider.

Six hours later she awoke from surgery to see the medical team around her in a panic.

They couldn’t get her temperature to drop or her blood pressure to rise and she would spend the next five days in the hospital recovering.

Roughly $55,000 worth of her hospital costs were covered by her Anthem Blue Cross insurance policy. However, a few days later, Porter said she received a roughly $3,000 bill from her surgeon. While the hospital she went to was in-network, the surgeon himself was not and her insurance company refused to pay.

“Apparently, to Anthem Blue Cross, $3,000 was too high a price to charge for saving my life,” Porter said in a Tuesday congressional hearing.

Rep. Porter’s surprise medical bill is a phenomenon that impacts 57 percent of American adults, according to a University of Chicago survey conducted last summer.

In the midst of a political showdown between Congress and the White House over issues ranging from subpoenas to immigration, lawmakers are currently considering bipartisan pieces of medical billing legislation that might ultimately make it to the president's desk. Two weeks ago, Trump announced his desire to see surprise medical billing legislation rolled out and within a week, Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate drafted bipartisan legislation to answer that request.

A number of 2020 presidential contenders have weighed in on this issue including Sen. Bernie Sanders whose re-launched Medicare-for-all proposal would provide government-run, Medicare-style health insurance for all Americans, outlaw most duplicative private insurance in the process and end copays, deductibles and surprise medical bills.

Several of his fellow 2020 presidential competitors have signed onto his bill in the past, including Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing with lawmakers, medical experts and health care trade association leaders to address the problem of surprise medical bills.

“I know both sides of the isle of Congress are interested in finding a solution that protects patients,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said.

In the Senate, lawmakers unveiled the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act that would ban surprise medical billing for patients who visit an out-of-network provider in both emergency and non-emergency situations. The bill, which Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has been working on for nearly a year, would have patients pay the same cost as if they went to an in-network provider. However, under the legislation insurers and providers could appeal the payment amount to an independent arbitrator.

"Patients should be the reason for the care, not an excuse for the bill," Cassidy said in a statement. "This is a bipartisan solution ensuring patients are protected and don't receive surprise bills that are uncapped by anything but a sense of shame."

The No Surprises Act, which was drafted by the House Ways and Means Committee, is similar to Cassidy’s proposed legislation but leaves out the independent arbitration process which the White House has said it doesn’t support.

Reps. Joe Morelle, D-N.Y., and Van Taylor, R-Texas, released their own piece of bipartisan legislation that would give providers and plans 30 days to participate in negotiations about medical costs. If they do not come up with an agreement, then the insurer must pay the provider a temporary payment. Either party could dispute the temporary payment from arbitration.

“Americans are already struggling to afford the continually increasing cost of health care – they shouldn’t be blindsided by unexpected and hyper-inflated medical bills when they unexpectedly need to see out-of-network providers,” Taylor said. “Reducing out-of-pocket health care cost isn’t a partisan issue and I am proud to come together with Representative Morelle to introduce this commonsense proposal that will end surprise billing and give more certainty to our constituents."

According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 17-point margin say Trump’s handling of health care makes them more likely to oppose than support him for a second term.

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Kate Lord/New York University(NEW YORK) -- Frank Baez was a teenager when he started working as a janitor at New York University's Langone Tisch Hospital, cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms and hallways.

On Monday, Baez, now 29, graduated with a nursing degree from the same institution where he started as a janitor.

"I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU," said Baez, who moved to New York from the Dominican Republic with his mom at age 15. "Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished."

Baez got his first job in housekeeping at the hospital because he wanted a job that would help support his family.

Once he started working, he became intrigued with the medical field and applied for and got a job as a patient transporter, taking patients to and from their rooms for surgeries and tests.

He eventually left the job to finish his bachelor's degree at nearby Hunter College, becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. But Baez said he always knew he wanted to return to where he started: NYU.

"While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized I wanted to be one of them," he said. "I learned how much they advocate for their patients and the passion they have for their job."

Baez was encouraged by the nurses he worked with to apply to NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He entered an accelerated program that allowed him to graduate with a nursing degree in just 15 months.

"Our program is extremely rigorous," said Natalya Pasklinsky, director of simulation learning at the college of nursing. "Frank didn’t just kind of make the program, barely getting through. He flew through it with flying colors."

Pasklinsky worked as a nurse in the same unit where Baez worked as a janitor while in high school. She saw him be promoted to patient transporter and remembers the thoughtful care he gave patients.

"The way he interacted with patients, to me showed a lot of compassion," she said. "In my mind, he’s a star. I think he's going to be a fantastic nurse."

Baez, who graduated with a 3.6 GPA, has already set his next goal of becoming a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit.

"I was never an A student. I just studied a lot and worked a lot," he said. "Of course there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself, that I deserved better, that I wanted to continue to move forward and grow and go on with my life."

"What I did was, I never gave up," Baez said.

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Courtesy Victoria Brady/Laura Rosenthal(NEW YORK) -- Being a mom is hard enough but being a mom who struggles with weight can be devastating.

For Victoria Brady, it was a pediatrician expressing concerns about her 1-year-old son’s weight that spurred her to make a change for herself too.

“I decided I was tired of failing and it was time to break the cycle of obesity in my family,” Brady said. “I wanted my sons to live a healthier lifestyle than I did so they wouldn’t have to endure what I did growing up overweight.”

Since that pediatrician appointment in June 2017, Brady, 31, a mother of two, has lost 125 pounds, dropping from a size 22 to a size 6.

For another mom, Laura Rosenthal, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, it was her 40th birthday that was all the motivation she needed to lose weight.

“I turned 40 and was very unhappy with my life,” she said. “I decided to get healthy so that I did not waste the next 40 years of my life feeling miserable.”

Rosenthal, mother of an 8-year-old daughter, joined Weight Watchers in December 2017 and has lost nearly 120 pounds.

Both Brady and Rosenthal are among the weight loss success stories featured in People magazine's annual 100-pound weight loss feature, available in the newest issue of People on newsstands this Friday.

Here is how Brady and Rosenthal said they lost the weight:

1. Creating healthier versions of comfort food

Rosenthal, now 41, said she grew up on a "meat and potatoes diet." She has found healthier ways to make the foods she loves, rather than subsisting on quinoa and kale.

When she makes tacos, Rosenthal now uses chicken instead of beef and salsa instead of sour cream. She uses fat-free cheese so she can still have tortilla chips on the side, but dips the chips in black beans instead of a cheese sauce.

"I make choices every day, like would I rather have beef in my spaghetti or a piece of garlic bread?," she said. "It allows me to still choose what I want the most and I never feel deprived."

Brady said she has also found ways to make her favorite dishes healthier, using low-carb tortillas to make pizza, for example, and making banana protein pancakes instead of the more indulgent option.

2. Having a cheat meal, not a cheat day

Rosenthal enjoys a "cheat meal" every Tuesday night, but keeps it to that versus an entire day of eating whatever she wants. She also tries to incorporate all foods into her diet to help avoid cravings.

"I personally don't believe in excluding anything from my diet, be it carbs, fat or whatever, so that's another reason Weight Watchers works for me," she said. "God put all those elements into food and it's about balance, not deprivation."

3. Fitting in exercise after diet

Both Rosenthal and Brady are now avid exercisers but they focused on their diets first.

Rosenthal lost 100 pounds before she started to really work out. She started out walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week on a treadmill at work, then added in three days per week of a circuit-training workout.

Brady also fit in exercise at work, participating in group fitness sessions at her job’s gym and walking four days per week. As she lost weight, she started "exploring more intense workouts" like high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting.

4. Staying committed

Brady admits there were days during her weight loss journey that she was "depressed and discouraged" but said she never let herself get defeated.

"For a while I believed that I would need weight loss surgery or that I would always be obese," she said. "However, this journey has taught me that nothing is impossible until God says it is."

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andipantz/iStock(NEW YORK) -- No longer relegated to health food stores, kombucha has made a big splash in the world of beverages.

The fermented tea drink can now be found on the shelves of grocery stores and even convenience stores.

Kombucha typically comes with a hefty price, usually $4 or more per 16-ounce bottle, and a lot of questions about what it actually is and whether it's health benefits are real.

There can also be confusion about what is actually in kombucha since ingredients and nutrition information, like grams of sugar, tend to vary by both type and brand.

ABC News' Good Morning America is here to help with kombucha confusion. We tapped two registered dietitians -- Heather Bauer and Maya Feller -- to answer the biggest questions surrounding kombucha.

What is in kombucha?

Kombucha is generally produced from a mixture of sugar, brewed tea (typically black) and symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or scoby.

Some kombucha drinks also have fruit juice added to them.

How is kombucha made?

The process of making kombucha starts with steeping tea leaves or tea bags in boiling water. The scoby plus a small portion of previously-fermented kombucha are then added to the sweetened tea.

That mixture is then placed into a jar, covered and left to ferment, usually for seven to 10 days. The kombucha is then ready to drink, either unflavored or juices, herbs or fruit can be added.

What are the health benefits of kombucha?

Kombucha is touted as doing everything from helping with weight loss to lowering blood pressure and helping to prevent cancer.

Research on the health benefits of kombucha though has been conducted mostly on animals, not humans, according to a 2019 review published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Kombucha does contain probiotics, live bacteria that are considered good for the body. Probiotics come in any type of food that is fermented, from yogurt to sauerkraut and kimchi.

Both Bauer and Feller recommend probiotics in a diet for overall gut health, but pointed out that they should come from a variety of foods, not just a drink like kombucha.

"If you’re looking for the nutrition benefits, I don’t counsel to get them solely through a drink," said Feller. "What really maintains healthy gut flora for the average person is paying attention to what you eat on a regular and consistent basis, having a good mix of prebiotics and probiotics and if there’s an unwanted change in your gut health, getting individualized attention from a qualified healthcare provider."

Does the sugar in kombucha matter?

The sugar in kombucha is a by-product of the fermentation process, but there will be additional sugar if the kombucha is sweetened with a fruit or fruit juice.

The amount of sugar in kombucha depends on the brand and the ingredients. While the sugar is naturally-occurring, dietitians advise consumers to still pay attention to it.

"I would say be mindful of which brand you get and make sure you get the lowest sugar one," advised Bauer, creator of The Food Fix weight loss plan. "If you pick a brand that has 20 plus grams of sugar and you’re having four bottles a day, it can add up."

Both Feller and Bauer noted that consumers should be smart about reading the nutrition labels, especially noticing if one bottle contains more than one serving.

"Do the math and multiply it so you understand what you’re actually taking it in," said Feller, who has a cookbook coming out this fall. "Read the ingredients. It's best to be an informed consumer who’s making a mindful choice."

Are there any risks with drinking kombucha?

Kombucha is not advised for pregnant women or children, according to both Bauer and Feller. The reason is that the drink carries with it a small amount of alcohol because it is a fermented drink.

Alcohol is a by-product of any fermentation process but alcohol levels in kombucha can vary depending on how the drink is made.

Kombucha sold in stores must have less than .5 percent alcohol in order to be sold as a non-alcoholic beverage, according to U.S. government regulations.

Final verdict

Both Feller and Bauer see kombucha as an acceptable drink for people who like the taste and want to drink it, but not a drink that people must have in order to be healthy.

In other words, drink it if you like but don't blow your budget thinking you have to buy $4 bottles of it daily to have good health.

"If you’re drinking it because you’re looking for the purported health benefits associated with kombucha, I would urge you to think twice," said Feller. "If you want to have it, have it and enjoy because it was an intentional beverage choice."

Bauer said the phrase "moderation is key" applies to all foods and drinks, including kombucha.

"People go crazy on things and nothing is designed to be consumed excessively," she said. "You can’t drink coffee or Diet Coke all day either."

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Lauren Ochalek(NEW YORK) -- If you've ever wondered what a kid with Down syndrome thinks about it, Ellie Ochalek has your answer.

Turns out, she thinks it's a pretty good thing, if you consider the words "powerful," "loving," "kind" and " grateful" -- all positive personality traits.

In a video shared with ABC News' Good Morning America, the 7-year old's mom, Lauren Ochalek, asks her what makes her extra special. To which she responds "powerful," "extra kind" and "gratitude."

Ochalek said she talks with Ellie about Down syndrome frequently.

"While our lives do not revolve around Down syndrome in the least, we often talk about Down syndrome so that Ellie is familiar." she said. "We embrace the fact that she is more like her typical peers than not, but we also want her to be familiar with Down syndrome and what that means for her as a unique individual. We love watching her come into her own as a confident self-advocate."

Sometimes Ellie tells her mom that she, Lauren, also has Down syndrome.

"She does often debate that I too have an extra chromosome," her mom chuckled.

"We have also talked a lot about her extra chromosome meaning that she may have to work extra hard to achieve things, however, she also understands that she is bright, talented, and no less capable than anyone else, and that she can achieve anything that she puts her mind to," she said.

"Thus far, she has always proven us right in that regard. She is confident, competent, and blows outdated stereotypes about Down syndrome out of the water," she added.

In addition to being kind, loving and grateful, Ellie said that an extra chromosome gives her the "power to run."

Ochalek called her daughter a "devoted daughter, sister, and friend."

"She is a dancer, a swimmer, a bookworm, a spelling bee whiz, and a Girl Scout. She is also a talented student who could not be more excited to start second grade in the fall," she said.

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jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Dalton Johnson knew that his phone would be ringing off the hook.

Every time Alabama lawmakers or courts move on a bill that chisels away at abortion rights, patients call in with questions for the Alabama Women's Center, one of the three clinics that provide abortions in the state, which is owned by Johnson.

That happened in 2013, when lawmakers required that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and again in 2016 when they banned a second trimester method known as dilation and evacuation, and barred abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of public elementary and middle schools. All of those laws -- which are known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws -- were later blocked in court.

"It happens every time one of these TRAP laws happens," Johnson told ABC News. "There's always a flood of calls: 'Are you guys still open?' 'Can I get my procedure done?'"

Since the state Senate passed a bill last week that would criminalize providing abortions, without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, the "phone's been ringing nonstop," Johnson said, especially since Gov. Kay Ivey went on to sign it.

The signing of that Alabama bill came a week after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a so-called "heartbeat" ban. This week, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he'd sign a "heartbeat" ban in Louisiana should it pass the state legislature.

None of these bills have gone into effect, and the Georgia and Alabama bills are both facing legal challenges. Abortion remains legal in all 50 states, and no state has a functioning six-week abortion ban.

The sometimes convoluted procedures for how laws are approved and then challenged in court, coupled with the charged language used by politicians and advocates on both sides of the issue, has at times left patients misinformed.

Employees at abortion clinics in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana told ABC News they are receiving non-stop calls from patients, mostly with the same concerns: has abortion been outlawed, has the clinic closed its doors, should appointments made for the future be pushed sooner? One Alabama clinic got a call from someone asking “will they get locked up, will they be charged of a crime" if they got an abortion.

The sometimes convoluted procedures for how laws are approved and then challenged in court, coupled with the charged language used by politicians on both sides of the issue, has at times left patients misinformed. It is not the case, for example, that any state has passed an outright abortion ban, or that abortion has been outlawed once a "heartbeat" is detected, around six weeks of a pregnancy. IF NO THAT, WHAT HAS HAPPENED???

Amanda Kifferly, vice president for abortion access at The Women's Centers, told ABC News she's concerned about how these laws are potentially raising the stigma around abortion, and making patients feel like "it's actually a criminal experience."

"We don't want people to feel like they have to break a law in order to get safe care," she said.

Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said that after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a so-called "heartbeat" ban, "there was a lot of media headlines speculating about the impact of the bill and speculating about criminalization of women, and what we started hearing was a lot of fear."

It got to the point where Planned Parenthood Southeast set up an automated message on their call line just to say abortion is still legal and their doors are open.

"We want to make sure everyone in this country knows what's going on," said Fox. "But at the same time, I don't want a single person to be feeling scared and alone and abandoned, and thinking about doing something, when they can come in and get something safe and legal."

Some health care providers are putting information on their websites and on social media, and they're also relying on advocacy groups and funds, like the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama and the Southeast division of Access Reproductive Care (ARC), to help educate the public with accurate information.

While employees at clinics and other health care providers say they are happy to answer questions, they worry about the patients who are not calling. Providers worry about what patients will do to attempt to self-manage if they think they can't come in for an abortion, which is a safe medical procedure with a very low rate of complications when performed under proper conditions.

"I'm not sure what we can do beyond educate when we have them on the phone," said Kathaleen Pittman, who runs the independent clinic Hope Medical Group for Women in Louisiana.

Advocates also worry that the bad press generated by the restrictive laws could impact recruitment of qualified doctors to states like Georgia and Alabama, which have among the highest rates of maternal mortality in the country. Dr. Lisa Haddad, who is affiliated with the Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia, told ABC News she knows of one doctor who held off on making a decision to take a position in the state because of restrictive laws.

"We know that it's going to influence attracting individuals from coming to the state -- a state that has huge gaps in maternal care," Haddad said. For her part, Haddad has noticed she's been "more self-aware" recently, especially since anti-abortion protesters at George's capital were carrying guns.

Johnson, in Alabama, said the bill there is "just one more thing to discourage physicians coming to the state, especially physicians in women's health," on top of an overall health care system that is generally lacking. Alabama is ranked 46th out of the 50 states in health care, according to U.S. News.

Add to that, Johnson said, "When you're [discussing] placing jail time on physicians making health care decisions that are best for their patients, that's scary."

Chad Jackson of the West Alabama Women's Center told ABC News that he sometimes wonders if he will still have a job in six month. But he said he is even more concerned about "what the women will do once the doors close," should the Alabama ban actually go into effect.

Still, Jackson said the clinic has no plans to close.

"We are still open, we are still providing safe and secure terminations," Jackson said.

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Courtesy Andrew Newberg(NEW YORK) -- Cash, a 10-year-old boy who lives in Los Angeles, is obsessed with the game Fortnite, his mother Rusti says.

Fortnite represents the current pinnacle of game theory and player engagement. It's filled with bloodless violence, intensity and it's peppered with random surprises.

It's constantly being updated with pop-culture add-ons and it's filled with silly victory dances that delight the player. Because it can be played on a console, a tablet or a phone, it can travel with a player anywhere they get cellular data or Wi-Fi.

It is one of the first totally social, play-everywhere video games, with 250 million players. Its creator, Epic Games, is reportedly valued at $15 billion.

Makings of a habit

"He asks me to wake him up 20 minutes early on school days so he can play," Rusti says of her son, Cash. "He doesn't want playdates at other kids' houses anymore … he just wants to be in the house so he can play."
Cash plays with friends from school, his cousins in Costa Rica and random strangers, and is allocated an hour of playing each school night. Rusti doesn't limit him on the weekends, and estimates he plays four to five hours each Saturday and Sunday.

Watching Cash play Fortnite on his iPad can be dizzying as he manipulates the weapons in his arsenal. He has colorful adornments on his various avatars and when asked how he earned those skins, he says his allowance is now paid to him weekly in V-Bucks, the currency used to buy items in Fortnite.

Rusti confirms that Cash has spent close to $2,000 in the game.

"I can get him to do any chore I want if I pay him in Fortnite money," she says.

Is there is anything he'd rather be doing than playing Fortnite?

"That's a good question … but ... no!" he says.

His mom says he often screams with joy at events in the game and Cash admits he "rages."

"When someone kills you or you die of fall damage and you get angry at that, and you just go insane on your tablet and you throw it," he says.

He admits there are times when he forgets to eat and times when his body tells him he's played too much.

"When you're just lightheaded and you can't get enough Fortnite, but it hurts inside," he says.

Effects on the brain

Andrew Newberg, M.D., a neuroscientist at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson Health, has devised a way to illustrate some of the physiological and structural changes happening to gamers. He wants to compare a gamer's brain to a non-gamer's brain to see how the response to different stimuli affects them.

Amado, a 12-year-old fellow student at Cash's school who loves music, basketball and watching movies, fits the profile of a non-gamer, occasionally playing car-racing games but who overall isn't into video games.

For the experiment, Cash settled into an MRI machine while game footage was played in a monitor bolted above his face. First a control: Newberg contrasts a minute of non-Fortnite gaming video (from an older shooting game that doesn't have the neon colors, social integration or fun dances) with a minute of neutral video (birds at sunset). The neutral video is colorful and moving, so it will stimulate some of the visual regions of the brain. By playing video the older game on the monitor, Cash will see violence, action and many of the same stimuli that he sees in Fortnite, it just won't be his favorite game. After 10 minutes, Newberg stops the imaging and gives Cash a chance to move his arms and legs.

Now for the Fortnite portion: To most accurately simulate the experience of playing the game, video was recorded from Cash's iPad of his actual gameplay, complete with his avatar and favorite skins.

Within a few minutes, Newberg sees the pleasure centers of Cash's brain light up. The presumption is that dopamine is firing into his frontal lobes. After 30 minutes Cash is done.

Amado goes through the exact same process. When Amado is done, Newberg analyzes the scans and meets with Cash's mom, who wants to know what's going on in Cash's brain when he's playing the game.

Newberg brings up an image contrasting both boys' brains, and points to the one on the left that has big red and orange blooms of color that Newberg says represent blood flow and stimulation. Cash's brain had much greater activation than Amado's in an area called the anterior cingulate cortex, a structure that can be involved in focus, emotional regulation and addiction.

"These are areas that are very involved in our reward system of the brain," he explains, noting game play delivers dopamine hits to the brain's reward center.

Newberg explains that brain scans of people with internet gaming disorder, an addiction classified in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," show these rewards centers are enlarged. It takes more and more dopamine for people with this problematic gaming behavior to experience the same levels of euphoria.

The data on gaming and addiction varies widely: a meta study done by Mass General in 2017 examined 116 different gaming studies summarized their findings with the reality that there's a lot we still don't know.

"We are still working out what aspects of games affect which brain regions and how. It's likely that video games have both positive (on attention, visual and motor skills) and negative aspects (risk of addiction), and it is essential we embrace this complexity," says a report in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The reward centers of the brain in people with internet gaming disorder look different than those of non-gamers. They are smaller. In layman's terms, the physical structures that signal happiness or satisfaction to the brain are robust compared to people without the disorder. One possible theory for that difference is that gaming produces so much dopamine on such regular intervals, that the part of the brain that makes us happy about little things, gets lazy or out of shape.

To quote another study published in Substance Abuse & Misuse on "reward deficiency theory," "the modified reward system leads to lower enjoyment from the same level of rewards that excited a person in the past, and hence propels people to seek additional rewards; in this case, possibly also from substance use." This physical change is consistent across studies that look at other addictions specifically alcohol and drugs.

Despite all this data, Newberg's exercise comparing the brain scans of a gamer and a non-gamer is only an illustration of how the brain's dopamine centers are is being stimulated. And, he clearly states, this is in no way predictive of Cash's future.

"Just because we see a dopamine area lighting up in the gamer that we saw today, that doesn't inherently mean that the person has an addiction," he says. "What it means is that it's affecting the areas of the brain that are involved in that. We ultimately have to find out how they're doing as a person."

Newberg goes on to reiterate that these images are in no way predictive of any addictions, but may help explain Cash's resistance to putting his iPad down and going out to play in the park. He also points out something obvious: addictive disorders are not diagnosed by brain scans but by obsessive and destructive behavior, which Cash is not exhibiting. By all accounts he is a well-adjusted kid with good grades and healthy family relationships.

What now?

How does all this make Rusti want to alter or adjust Cash's playing?

"[It's] a long time for that brain to be doing that," she says. "I think everything in moderation … I don't know what moderation is with Fortnite."

"I know it's gotten to be too much lately," she adds. "Even if I just break it up on the weekends and don't let him go for four or five hours at a time."

If only Fortnite makes Cash this happy, what else is there for him? Where does he go from here? What other joys is he going to seek? And will they compare?

Rusti hopes so, but she knows the change will be hard.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- James Longman, a successful foreign correspondent for ABC News, is in a club no one wants to belong to: suicide survivors.

"There's been a lot of secrecy in my family about it. This is not something that people want to talk about now, let alone all these years," Longman told Dr. Jennifer Ashton on her podcast, "Life After Suicide," discussing his family's history and his own depressive episodes.

"It's kind of this looming tragedy that has really marked my family for now three generations. I'm hoping, obviously, to buck the trend," he told Ashton.

Longman's grandfather died by suicide when his father was in his 20s, and his father decided to end his own life 20 years later.

Longman revealed how he would question himself again and again while growing up.

"Well, my dad did it. My grandfather did it. Am I destined for this?" he said he would wonder.

His family's history made it hard to know for sure.

Longman knows that losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves, but he always wondered why that is.

"Is the fact of me knowing that my dad killed himself more powerful than the genes he gave me?" he told Dr. Ashton. "I've always wanted to know the answer to that question."

It's also what sparked him into action. Since his father's death, he's made it his life's mission to understand whether serious depression and the potential for suicide is genetic.

"It's what I've wanted to do, to ask questions, because I've been fortunate enough to be able to research, and to ask the questions that my father wasn't able to do -- and certainly his father didn't seem able to do -- and to really talk about it so much more than either of them were able to," Longman said.

So Longman began interviewing mental health experts and geneticists as part of a documentary.

While at a research facility at King's College University in the U.K., he learned that certain genes are present in people who not only have depression, but also schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. As satisfying as that discovery was, he said he's continued to wonder about the role of nature versus nurture -- a question for which there still is no answer.

And yet Longman has found that being able to talk about the issue with like-minded people has been amazingly therapeutic.

"Talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, just talking," he said. "I mean, it's been the saving grace for me to spend time talking. You don't have to write in the newspaper. You don't have to make documentaries. Talk to your friends. Talk to people you love. It's like a magic trick. I can't explain it. It doesn't even matter what the thing is you're saying. That, for me, has been the thing."

But it isn't always an easy ride.

Longman recalled one day when he was particularly down and felt he'd hit rock bottom. He was at work in the U.K., so he tried calling a non-emergency number and then went to the nearest clinic.

When he arrived, he was told the clinic had shut down six months ago. So he sat down on the curb in the center of London.

"I seriously contemplated walking out in front of traffic. In that moment, I wanted to stop feeling the way I was feeling," he recalled. "I really didn't think that anyone was going to be able to help me. I didn't think that anyone could possibly have the answers to how I was feeling … it just seemed like the easiest thing to do."

A friend reached him in the nick of time.

Longman is a young, successful journalist, and he's aware that many might wonder how someone so privileged could ever think of ending his life. Longman wondered the same thing, but he explained that in that moment he felt numb to everything and all alone. He said it made him realize that if he could feel that way, it could happen to anyone.

That's the reason behind organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, according to Dr. John Draper, the organization's program director. Draper, who has spent 25 years in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, reminds people to be hopeful and to share stories of hope. After all, he says, for every person who dies by suicide, there are another 280 people who consider it.

Sharing stories of hope and teaching people how to help each other are equally important, Draper says, because in the end, we will all be stronger for it.

Longman agrees.

"If you are able to talk, then people will know that you're feeling the way you're feeling," he told Dr. Ashton. "Then, hopefully, you'll get the help that you need."

If you or someone you care about needs to talk, contact the free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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The Taylor Haugen Foundation(NEW YORK) -- For one Florida couple, their life's work to prevent injuries among young athletes is motivated by the loss of their son, Taylor.

Every parent's worst nightmare came true for Kathy and Brian Haugen when they lost their son when he was just 15 years old. He died while doing what he loved most: playing football.

"He was very proud to be a starting wide receiver on the JV squad [at Niceville High School]," Brian Haugen shared with ABC News' Good Morning America.

During the season's opening game, Taylor jumped up in the middle of the field to catch a pass when he was hit by two defenders.

"He got hit simultaneously while catching the ball from the front and back in a way that it basically crushed his liver," Brian Haugen said.

"This is an injury that does happen and it needs to be out in front just like every other injury out there," Kathy Haugen shared with GMA. "These are vital organs just like the brain that you can't live without."

After learning that this type of abdominal injury is not rare among athletes like football players, the Haugens felt compelled to create a foundation that would honor their son and bring awareness to this issue.

With the help of their friends, family and the community, Kathy and Brian Haugen created the Taylor Haugen Foundation.

"I didn't want another parent to have to go through what we have gone through, go through every day," Kathy Haugen said. "I can't sit back and watch this happen to another child."

"Our son had a big heart and a big community service belief," Brian Haugen said. "In many ways, we are trying to continue his legacy by living up to his legacy because this is is what he would want us to do."

The foundation is committed to educating athletes, coaches, schools, trainers and players about how to protect athletes from abdominal injuries.

Kathy and Brian Haugen have even learned about protective tactics such as proper blocking and tackling, which the organization speaks about.

In 2011, the couple expanded their efforts even further by creating a Youth Equipment for Sports Safety (YESS) program under their foundation to help provide young athletes and schools with high-tech equipment to help shield them against deadly abdominal injuries.

The Haugens have helped provide protective gear to more than 5,000 football players in middle and high schools across 14 states.

The couple has heard from other parents who have children that play other sports, such as soccer, where abdominal injuries are also common.

"Kathy gets phone calls and emails from people all the time across the country, from parents who have a child who sustained an abdominal injury from athletics, because there's nothing else out there that covers this," Brian Haugen shared.

"We just felt like that was our calling, like that was our time to step up and do something," he added.

The players themselves also tell the Haugen family how much they love the equipment.

 "They tell us they feel like Superman and it gives them confidence and support," Brian Haugen said.

The Taylor Haugen Foundation has even received support from professional athletes such as former NFL player Matt Stover and Drew Stanton, quarterback for the Cleveland Browns who wears abdominal protective gear.

"We receive several phone calls a year from players or former players," Brian Haugen said. "[They'll say,] 'I'm familiar with your foundation. What can I do to support?'"

The foundation likes to call its work with players "protect it forward" as a form of "pay it forward."

The Haugen family also started #PledgeToProtect in 2018 as another form of awareness for coaches and parents. These are things that can be done to "better protect young athletes."

"Don't be afraid to talk to your coach, ask questions," Kathy Haugen said. "You are your child's best advocate."

"A lot of people out there are astounded that we would support football after losing our son in a football game, but it's so much more than a sport for so many," she said. "For many, it's the only avenue that they have to a better life."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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IGphotography/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Mediterranean-style diet, long associated with longer life and reduced risk of cancer, may also help protect against depression, new research shows.

Researchers in Greece found that a diet rich in vegetables and lower in poultry and alcohol -- two hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet -- was associated with a decreased likelihood of developing symptoms of depression or a diagnosis of depression later in life.

The study was presented over the weekend at the American Psychiatric Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

It is the latest example in a surge of recent research showing how what we eat can affect our brains and mental health. Another popular diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, has also been found to reduce the risk of depression later in life.

Researchers have even said that diet "is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology."

Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets are consistently ranked at the top of U.S. News and World Report’s annual diet rankings. The Mediterranean diet was named the top overall diet this year for the first time.

Here is what you need to know about the diet and the connection between diet and brain health:

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern that emulates how people in the Mediterranean region have traditionally eaten, with a focus on foods like olive oil, fish and vegetables.

U.S. News and World Report calls the diet a "well-balanced eating plan" and pointed to research that suggests the diet helps prevent some chronic diseases and increases longevity.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

It also emphasizes getting plenty of exercise and enjoying meals with family and friends.

How diet affects the brain

Most people experience occasional, “situational” depression, or what doctors call an adjustment disorder, when losing a job or experiencing a difficult breakup, for example.

Depression is a persistent loss of enjoyment in things you used to love, a slide into lethargy and despair, sleep problems and disinterest.

Since what people eat -– the nutrients available to the body -– affects various bodily functions, it seems logical that diet would affect chemistry and mood as well.

Diet decisions that improve the rest of the body may improve the brain’s outlook on the world.

"When people are feeling better by dieting and losing weight or resolving symptoms that they’re having, that could have an impact on mood," Dr. Sherry Pagoto, a licensed clinical psychologist and University of Connecticut professor, told ABC News last year. "When people do engage in healthy lifestyle changes, we do see improvements in depression."

Nutrition also influences the immune system, which has been shown to impact the risk of depression.

It could also come down to inflammation, research shows.

A study published last year gave more support to the theory that increased inflammation in the body could play a role in depression. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that people who had depression had 46 percent higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammatory disease, in their blood.

Diets like DASH and the Mediterranean Diet are both rich in anti-inflammatory foods.

Foods like white bread, margarine, red meat, processed meat and fried foods can cause inflammation in the body and should be eaten minimally or avoided, according to Harvard Medical School.

Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish like salmon and sardines and fruits like oranges and strawberries are all foods that fight inflammation, according to Harvard's list.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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dkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A unanimous Supreme Court has blocked, for now, a class-action lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Merck over "atypical femoral fractures" caused by osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

More than 500 Fosamax users from 45 states contend the company failed to warn them or their doctors of the danger, despite early evidence suggesting the increase potential for spontaneous bone breaks without any previous stress.

Merck, which does not dispute the risk and has included a warning with prescriptions since 2010, argued it cannot be held liable for damages in state courts because the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 rejected a proposed warning to patients.

"When the FDA exercises this authority, it makes careful judgments about what warnings should appear on a drug's label for the safety of consumers," Justice Stephen Breyer writes in the court's opinion.

"For that reason, we have previously held that 'clear evidence' that the FDA would not have approved a change to the drug's label preempts a claim, grounded in state law, that a drug manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the change-related risks associated with using the drug," he wrote.

The case was returned to a lower court for further proceedings.

The justices clarified that it should be left to a judge, not a jury, to decide the preemption question in class-action drug-harm suits, as occurred in this case. But they left the door open for patients to challenge drug companies on the facts surrounding information provided to the FDA -- up front -- ahead of a labeling decision.

Patient advocates have said a decision siding with Merck in the case would embolden drug manufacturers to provide insufficient and misleading information to FDA, in effect insulating themselves from potential legal liability. "It's the pharmaceutical company's job to write the drug label," said Medshadow's Sue Robotti.

Manufacturers are required by law to inform patients of potential adverse reactions to their drugs as soon as reasonable evidence exists. But the FDA has ultimate authority to approve or reject the wording that appears on drug labels.

In a 2008 application to the FDA, Merck proposed revising the warning language for Fosamax, describing a heightened risk of “stress fractures.”

One year later, the FDA rejected that draft language, saying the warning was “not warranted and is not adequately supported by the available literature” and asked for revised language.

Merck said the FDA’s conclusion, based on available evidence at the time, means the company cannot be held liable for failing to warn consumers as required under state law because the federal government wouldn’t allow it.

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed.

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