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Neighbors help 5-year-old with rare disease celebrate Halloween in May

Family and friends are helping a sick boy celebrate a special Halloween-themed birthday in May.

>> Watch the news report here

Carter Sarkar of Castaic, California, outside Los Angeles, has Sanfilippo syndrome, a disorder that prevents the body from properly processing sugar. The disease will slowly cause Carter to lose his motor skills and brain function until his body eventually shuts down, likely during his teenage years, KTLA reports.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

On Sunday, Carter’s neighbors helped him celebrate his 5th birthday by allowing him to go door-to-door and trick-or-treat with his friends.

>> Read more trending news

“That’s why we go all-out for everything we do because you don’t know if he’s going to be here next year or if he’s going to be able to say ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ next year or his sisters, so you just have to live for today and hope for tomorrow with him,” said mom Jennifer Sarkar.

The family started a crowdfunding account to raise money in hopes of finding a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome. If you would like to donate, click here.

Doctor: Popular charcoal masks could cause permanent skin damage

A popular “do-it-yourself” charcoal mask that has been trending all over the internet could cause serious damage to your skin, according to a dermatologist.

"It might be dangerous if you like all three layers of your skin," Dr. Seth Forman, a dermatologist in Tampa, Florida, said in an interview with WFTS

Many people have taken to YouTube to show users the painful process of peeling off the charcoal mask. Many of these products are sold from “unregulated vendors,” WFTS reports. Forman said that some of these products are mixed with a foreign charcoal powder and super glue, and will “most likely” be illegal soon. 

If certain layers of skin are peeled off, it can lead to scarring and infection “especially when you get down to the second layer (of skin),” according to WFTS

The good news is that there is a large variety of FDA approved facial masks that are safe, Forman said.

WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

A 3-year-old girl in Oregon awoke on May 13 to find herself unable to stand or use her arms.

>> Read more trending news 

Evelyn Lewis’ mother, Amanda Lewis, filmed her daughter’s failed attempts to stand with help from her husband. 

WGHP reported that the parents took Evelyn to the emergency room, where a doctor discovered a small but dangerous reason for her condition.

After combing through Evelyn’s hair, the doctor discovered a tick, diagnosing her with a condition called “tick paralysis.”

“The doctor talked to us for a minute and said over the past 15 years he had seen about seven or eight children her age with identical symptoms and more than likely she had a tick,” Amanda Lewis wrote on Facebook. “It can affect dogs also and can be fatal. I’m glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn’t something worse and that we found it before it got worse.”

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, tick paralysis attacks a person’s muscles and results in symptoms like muscle pains and numbness of the legs. These begin after a tick has attached itself to a host, generally on the scalp.

>> Related: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Fortunately, Evelyn is now doing much better, as her mother wrote on Facebook that she “is now pretty much completely back to her feisty little self. She complains a lot about her head itching but otherwise, she’s just fine.”

Here’s how much fruit juice children should drink, according to new guidelines

Next time you're grocery shopping for your kids, think twice before adding a carton of fruit juice to your basket. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines on all juices, advising parents to pull back on how much they serve their little ones.

» Related: What Atlanta dietitians feed their kids 

Previous recommendations said parents should wait to give their babies juice until after six months, but its latest update is suggesting that they wait one year. 

In fact, infants should only be fed breast milk or infant formula for the first six months. After six months, moms and dads can then introduce fruit to their diet, but not fruit juice. 

>> Read more trending news

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement. “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”

» Related: Should we slap a tax on sugary drinks? 

Scientists laid out instructions for older children, too. Toddlers who are ages 1 to 4 should only have one cup of fruit a day. Four ounces of that can come from 100 percent fruit juice, but it should be pasteurized and not labeled “drink,” “beverage” or cocktail.” 

For children ages 4 to 6, fruit juice intake shouldn't exceed four to six ounces a day. 

The amount increases just slightly for children ages 7 to 18. They can have up to two and a half cups of fruit servings, but only eight ounces of it should be juice. 

Miss USA says affordable health care is a 'privilege,' not a right

The reign of the newly crowned Miss USA is off to a rocky start.

Even before Kara McCullough, Miss District of Columbia, was announced the winner, social media was in a frenzy over her responses during the Q&A segment of the broadcast.

McCullough, a 25-year-old physical scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was asked whether affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege.

>> Photos: Miss District of Columbia Kara McCullough wins Miss USA 2017

“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” she said. “As a government employee, I am granted health care, and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you have to have jobs.”

McCullough also set fingers a-tweeting when she said she did not consider herself a feminist.

McCullough, a woman of color, said she was worried about how audiences would view her natural hair in a sea of straight and teased pageant locks.

>> Read more trending news

“When I chose to wear my hair curly, I was afraid. I didn’t know how people were going to accept it, if anyone was going to be receptive to it at all, but I felt like a Grecian goddess on stage!” she told Refinery 29.

But it was her viewpoints that ended up as the topic of debate rather than her hairstyle:

McCullough is a 2013 graduate of South Carolina State University, a historically black college in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

She follows the reign of Deshauna Barber, the former Miss USA who also hailed from D.C.

The organization, once owned by President Donald Trump, was sold in 2015 to talent agency and entertainment company WME/IMG.

Police officer donating kidney to sick boy she just met

A police officer is taking her oath to a whole new level, protecting and serving one of the young members of the community by donating her kidney.

>> Watch the news report here

Officer Lindsey Bittorf of the Milton, Wisconsin, Police Department saw a plea on Facebook in December by Kristi Goll, who was desperate to find a kidney donor for her 8-year-old son, Jackson.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Jackson was born with posterior urethral valves, family members told WISN.

Bittorf was tested and learned that she is a match for Jackson. Doctors were shocked to find such a strong match in someone who wasn’t a blood relative.

>> Read more trending news

Bittorf surprised the family with the good news at their home. The touching moment was captured on video.

“I took an oath to serve and protect our community,” Bittorf told Jackson, “and now my kidney’s going to serve and protect you.”

Read more here.

Say cheese! Health risks from dairy, even full-fat, debunked in study

It’s time to break out some cheese and wine to celebrate a new study that debunks long-held rumors about dairy products.

The study, published in the “European Journal of Epidemiology,” states that consuming dairy products, including full-fat versions, “does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke,” The Guardian reported

>> Read more trending news

It was believed that dairy products had been harmful because of their high amount of saturated fats, The Guardian reported. 

However, an international team of experts argues the opposite and said those who cut dairy from their diet are doing more damage, according to The Guardian.

People, especially young women, who don’t drink enough milk are at risk of damaging their bone development and getting conditions such as osteoporosis, or “brittle bones,” according to The Guardian. 

Read more at The Guardian

Editor’s note: The research cited in this report was part-funded by three pro-dairy groups -- Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia -- but the groups had no influence over the research, according to The Guardian.

Does Roundup kill more than just weeds? Lawsuits claim it also causes cancer

You'll find it in garages, garden sheds and farms across the country.

WSB-TV consumer investigator Jim Strickland looked into claims that the popular weed killer Roundup causes a rare form of cancer.

Thousands of farmers and consumers have filed lawsuits against its maker, Monsanto.

As some countries continue to evaluate it, several have banned it.

Roundup makes its biggest impact on the farm.

>> Read more trending news

According to a recent study, giant sprayers, like the ones Floyd County, Georgia, farmer Nick McMichen uses, have applied 370,000 tons of the active ingredient, glyphosate, in the U.S., most of it in the past 10 years.

Along with McMichen’s Alabama and Georgia farms, it coats the Midwest and a swath of Georgia's farm belt.

McMichen is using it on a North Georgia cotton field.

“I handle it myself. I spray it in this sprayer on a regular basis,” McMichen said.

He said it’s helped him to reduce the use of multiple chemicals to combat weeds. He calls it revolutionary for farming.

The faces behind the lawsuits

In Swainsboro, farmer Bill Hammock used it on his 2,000 acres in south Georgia. 

“He would come home and it would be all over his clothes,” his wife, Lisa Hammock, told Jim Strickland.

She is suing Monsanto, blaming the chemical for the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that killed Hammock in 2008. 

“There was clots all in his nose and everything. He sucked one of those clots down into his lungs and he choked to death and I had to watch him choke to death,” Hammock said.

It's not just farmers. 

“I've been using it since the very early '80s,” John Jenniges, of Smyrna, told Strickland. 

Jenniges still has last the bottle he used around his suburban yard. 

The 74-year-old is awaiting his first chemo after being diagnosed last year with mantle cell lymphoma. He's suing Monsanto, too.

“People have died from it. People will continue to die from it. I'll die from it,” Jenniges said.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, determined glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

[READ: IARC report 1 IARC report 2]

The European Union will decide later in 2017 whether to outlaw its use.

“It's safe as these things come, to humans and to the environment,” UGA crop and weed science professor William Vencill told Strickland.

Vencill says that branding glyphosate as cancer-causing is misleading. He says exposure levels, even on the farm, are relatively low.

“If there was a serious, you know, systemic toxicological issue, it would have exploded by now,” Vencill said.

Monsanto accused of "ghost-writing" safety studies

What has exploded is evidence unsealed in court documents that Monsanto has "ghost-written" scientific studies that proclaim Roundup is safe.

By email, one top-level exec writes about "...us doing the writing ... That is how we handled William, Kroes and Monro, 2000."

[READ: Internal email from Monsanto executive]

That research paper eventually concluded: “Roundup herbicide does not pose a health risk to humans.”

A 30-year EPA toxicologist wrote in 2014: “It is essentially certain glyphosate causes cancer.”

[READ: Letter from EPA toxicologist alleging collusion between Monsanto, EPA evaluators]

Two months ago, the EPA concluded it did not.

“Something becomes enormously profitable and soon nothing can get in its way,” Tim Litzenburg told Strickland.

Litzenburg represents more than a dozen Georgians suing Monsanto.

“If they don't tell you what the risks are and they don't tell you what precautions you're gonna have to take, then it's not just misleading, it's deadly. It’s dangerous,” Litzenberg said.

The push for changes

Hammock says a warning label would have made a difference.

“We just didn't know the dangers of it,” Hammock said.

She feels it’s too important to farmers to be taken off the market.

Nick McMichen said a world without Roundup would be hungry.

“I feel like this is an unfair attack on an herbicide that is helping to feed the world,” McMichen said.

Monsanto had agreed to an on-camera interview. A month after Strickland’s request, the company still had not made anyone available.

In a statement, Monsanto officials admitted contributing to scientific papers on Roundup, but denied ghostwriting them.

Trial dates on the lawsuits have not been set.

WATCH: Obama talks health care fight in Profile in Courage Award speech

While accepting the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at Boston's JFK presidential library Sunday, former President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to act courageously in the face of political opposition in the health care debate.

>> Watch the full speech here

According to The Associated Press, Obama praised lawmakers who voted for his Affordable Care Act while he was president – even if it meant they would lose re-election.

>> PHOTOS: Profiles in Courage Award winners

"They had a chance to insure millions," Obama said. "The same vote would likely cost them their new seats and perhaps end their political careers. And these men and women did the right thing, the hard thing, and theirs was a profile in courage."

>> Watch the news report here

He added, "It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions ... such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions."

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and son Jack Schlossberg presented Obama with the award “for his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage in a new century," the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said in a statement last week.

>> Read more trending news

Other recipients of the award include former presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, in addition to U.S. Sen. John McCain, former Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko and former U.S. Rep. Carl Elliott Sr.

The award has been given out every year since 1989.

Read more here.

>> Watch more from the ceremony here

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

8 Apps to Help You Get a Solid 8 Hours of Sleep

Sleep is a funny thing. Staying up past your bedtime as a kid was a treat. Sleep didn’t seem so elusive back then. But now with longer workdays, a serious caffeine habit, and an endless stream of binge-worthy shows, it’s a miracle if you get six hours of shut-eye per night.

But you can rest easy (or at least more easily) if you’ve got the right app. We know, we know—it’s ironic to suggest the solution for better sleep can be found on your smartphone. After all, phones emit blue light that messes with your circadian rhythm and keeps you up. Plus, you’re only a few taps away from the addictive scroll of every social app, which is one of the easiest ways to lose track of time. 

Luckily, you can avoid the blue light issue—and stop tricking your brain into thinking it’s still light out—by enabling Night Shift (iOS) or downloading Twilight (Android). Then go ahead and check out these eight apps:

1. White Noise Tune out all of the background noise—from your clunky pipes to your loud next-door neighbor—with this app. Don’t let the name deceive you. You can opt for traditional white noise or choose from a full catalog of ambient sounds, including “extreme rain pouring” and “cat purring.”  (Free; iOS and Android) 2. Sleep Pillow This app lets you be your own sleep DJ. Choose from more than 70 pre-recorded ambient sounds or mix them up on your own. You’ll never get bored, considering there are more than 300,000 possible combinations. The app also includes a sleep timer and alarm clock.  (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android) 3. Sleep Cycle Do you wake up feeling groggy even after getting a solid eight hours of sleep? That’s probably because your alarm jolted you awake in the middle of deep sleep. This app is designed to wake you up at the lightest point in your sleep cycle—hence the name. That means the app may wake you up 15 or 20 minutes before your typical alarm, but you’ll feel refreshed. Sleep Cycle comes with a bunch of other cool bells and whistles, including sleep analysis and snore detection.  (Free with optional in-app purchases: iOS and Android) 4. Centered Studies have found that meditation and exercise can help with sleep issues, and that’s exactly what Centered does. Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. Black DS, O'Reilly GA, Olmstead R. JAMA internal medicine, 2015, Jun.;175(4):2168-6114. The app encourages users to meditate and increase their level of activity, measured in the number of steps they take every day. You can choose from seven mindfulness practices, including self-guided meditation, a mindful walk, and body-awareness meditation.  (Free; iOS) 5. Headspace For years meditation has been sold to us as some mystical type of practice. But Headspace is here to prove anyone can do it. The app starts off with a 10-day intro to meditation and then lets users choose their own adventure. The guided meditations help slow down the racing thoughts in your head—a necessary skill when you try to fall asleep but can’t stop thinking about all the things on your to-do list.  (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android) 6. Aura If you think you’re too busy to meditate, we’ve got news for you: All you need is three minutes. Aura specializes in guided micro-meditations. Start by telling the app how you’re feeling (anxious? stressed? great?), and get a meditation tailored to your needs. The app also features a gratitude journal, which studies have shown can help people fall asleep faster. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android) 7. Sleep Genius Fall asleep using the same ambient noises NASA sends to astronauts to help them get shut-eye in space. The scientifically composed audio is designed to relax your breathing, lower your heart rate, and prepare your brain for sleep. It’s basically like the app version of getting rocked to sleep as a baby.  ($4.99; iOS and Android) 8. Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson How many times did you fall asleep in the middle of a lecture when your teacher was droning on and on? This app does the same thing, thanks to Andrew Johnson’s gentle, melodic voice. You can’t help but feel relaxed while listening to his guided meditations—we barely make it to the 10-minute mark before drifting off to sleep.  ($2.99; iOS and Android)

 

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