Health Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

Kristin Marx(MILWAUKEE) -- Kristin Marx finished the Milwaukee Half-Marathon Sunday, surrounded by family, friends and her cardiac-care team.

It was a huge accomplishment for Marx, 37, who said she'd come up with the "crazy idea" with her sister-in-law one day in July.

"We thought, 'Hey, wouldn't it be fun to do a half-marathon.' It was kind of in a joking way and I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to it because I have never run a half-marathon in my life," Marx said.

It was also a huge deal because more than 16 years ago, Marx had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and was in and out of the hospital in Wisconsin, desperately awaiting a heart transplant.

In 2000, Marx was a healthy, 20-year-old college sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Then, she got very sick. Marx thought she'd come down with a cold. A chest X-ray later revealed that she had an enlarged heart.

"Right away that night, I was admitted to the hospital," she said. "In my 20 years of life, that was the first time I was ever in the hospital. I never had a surgery, a broken bone, nothing in my life, until that very moment. It was my first hospital stay and it was terrifying. At the doctor's office, they told me that I would need a heart transplant."

For the next 10 months, Marx said, she was in and out of the hospital, as she awaited a new heart.

"I had to take a leave of absence from school," she said. "I literally couldn't walk 10 feet without having to stop and rest."

In January 2001, she received her new heart. She said her donor's name was Mindy. Eventually, Marx's good health returned. She returned to college in August of that year and finished her schooling. And, she got married and traveled.

Since her transplant, Marx said, she has remained a very active person.

"I felt like running a half-marathon would be a great way to honor my donor because I have been taking such good care of myself and the doctors have been taking such good care of me. ... This would be a great way to honor her by how strong my heart is -- our heart, I guess! And what better way to do that then run a half-marathon," Marx said.

Before she could run, Marx got medical approval from her doctors at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The staffers were supportive and encouraged her to run. Some of her doctors even decided to join her.

"When you come across a person like Kristin, who is post-transplant and trying to do half-marathons, you're, like, all of the sudden, looking in the mirror at yourself and saying 'OK. Where are you, mister?' ... I decided, 'OK, this is a good chance to run alongside her and start taking better care of myself,' and I only have Kristin to thank for this," said Dr. Asim Mohammed, who ran as well and was right beside her at the finish line.

Marx's time: 3 hours, 1 minute.

Not a day goes by that Marx doesn't think about her donor family or about Mindy, she said.

"Everything I do is with purpose and to give thanks to them for letting me live my life. ... Every Thanksgiving, people talk about how grateful they are,” Marx said. “That's my every day.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Deanna Alfano(MIAMI) -- Meet the baby boy whose smile has been viewed more than 1 million times on Facebook.

His name is Cruz Muse, born six weeks ago during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Miami, his mother, Lidia Muse, told ABC News.

"We didn’t lose power -- thank God -- because I’m in a new house so they built the electricity and everything underground," she explained of giving birth. "I was so worried that I would have a newborn in the heat with no air."

Lidia Muse, 35, said every morning she sings to her son, whom she and her boyfriend of three years, Antoine Williams, welcomed.

A video of their morning routine, with baby Cruz showing off his winning smile, went viral on Facebook recently with 1.6 million views.

"I just wake up and say, 'Good morning, Cruz' and he's just smiling," she added. "He's my first. He's a blessing."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Affordable Care Act has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of adults with cancer who lacked health insurance, new research shows. But whether future changes to this law could reverse the trend remains to be seen.

 “We wanted to understand what the ACA did, especially for vulnerable populations,” according to Aparna Soni, a doctoral candidate at the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University whose research on the topic was published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology. “Cancer treatment can be expensive or unaffordable for people without insurance.”

She and other researchers used data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program. They compared pre-ACA (years 2010 to 2013) to post-ACA (2014) data from more than 850,000 adults (ages 19 to 64) without health insurance at first-time cancer diagnosis. They found that the uninsured rate dropped from 5.73 percent to 3.81 percent after the law's implementation – a 33.5 percent relative decrease.

Past research has revealed that numerous socioeconomic factors can determine whether cancer patients live with or die from their cancer; one such factor is insurance coverage. The ACA Health Insurance Marketplaces and state-specific Medicaid expansion significantly reduced the number of uninsured Americans – including those with cancer – after going into effect in 2014.

 “[We thought] the ACA would have increased insurance coverage for people with cancer, but we weren’t sure by how much,” Soni said, adding that she was surprised to discover that after the ACA took effect in 2014, “uninsurance among adult patients newly diagnosed with cancer fell by one-third. It was greater than we expected.”

In fact, the percentage of uninsured patients with all types of cancer studied – breast, prostate, colorectal, lung and thyroid – dropped. And this change was seen across all cancer stages as well. Among the races the researchers evaluated, they saw the greatest drop in Hispanics, who had a nearly 40 percent relative decrease. The uninsured rate declined most dramatically in states with Medicaid expansion.

These findings echo those of an article published last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, where researchers at the American Cancer Society looked at over 1.7 million adults with the 17 most common types of cancer in the National Cancer Data Base. They found that the number of uninsured among nonelderly adults with newly-diagnosed cancer declined significantly after the ACA, particularly among low-income adults living in Medicaid expansion states.

But as questions loom over the future of the nation’s health care system, Soni said it is uncertain what will happen to the rate of uninsured adults with cancer if parts of the ACA are repealed or replaced.

“There are multiple ways it could go,” she said. “Our hypothesis, based on these findings, is that it could reduce insurance coverage for adults with cancer … but we don’t really know by how much. It is more important now than ever to study the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, in order to understand the implications should the ACA be repealed.”

One of Soni’s next research goals is to examine how health insurance status influences treatment options in relation to cancer stage and mortality. Prior studies have shown that a lack of insurance is associated with higher cancer stage at diagnosis, worse clinical care and increased risk of death following a cancer diagnosis.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fire safety experts are urging people to close their bedroom doors before they go to sleep, saying the simple task can potentially save lives in the event of a fire.

“When you can’t get out, the most important thing you can do, close that door between you and the fire," Stephen Kerber, the director of the UL's Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI), told ABC News, adding that the simple act "could save your life.”

Alexis King told ABC News that she survived a house fire in Corpus Christi, Texas, that killed her parents and brother when she was only 10 years old. Her family home's smoke alarm battery was not working, and King said she credits closing her bedroom door with saving her life.

"The door helped me to still have clean air ... and to really figure out a way to get out," King said.

Following devastating wildfires in northern California earlier this month that left 42 people dead, the UL FSRI is re-launching its safety campaign, "Close Before You Doze," calling on people to always remember to shutter their doors before they go to sleep.

Approximately half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to a 2017 joint report from the U.S. Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Researchers with the UL FSRI found that during a fire's spread, closed-door rooms had average temperatures of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while open-door rooms had average temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The UL FSRI used a model home to serve as a test facility in order to demonstrate how crucial it can be to close the door. The model home was outfitted with cameras and sensors to track temperature and gas levels, and all of the information was fed into a control center where the UL FSRI monitored the data.

During the demonstration, which was overseen by the Philadelphia Fire Department, a fire was started in the living room and two bedroom doors were closed, while one bedroom door was left open.

When fire experts opened the model home's front door to feed more oxygen to the fire and increase its strength, part of the window in the room with the open door flew off.

After 10 minutes, the UL FSRI and the Philadelphia Fire Department put the fire out and examined its aftermath.

The bedroom with the open door reached temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to melt the TV that was inside. Carbon monoxide levels soared to 6,000 parts per million. An industry standard carbon monoxide machine would go off at approximately 70 parts per million.

Meanwhile, the bedrooms with the closed doors reached temperatures of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and carbon monoxide levels were 10 times lower than what was recorded in the room with the open door.

The UL FSRI called a closed bedroom door versus an open bedroom door the difference between "life or death" in a fact sheet on its website.

King told ABC News that she wishes her brother had known this information.

“Every day I wish my brother had closed the door,” she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

manifeesto/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When one woman met a young man in a popular D.C. nightclub, she had no idea she'd go onto marry him, much less become part of a royal family.

But that's just what happened when Ariana Austin met Joel Makonnen in Pearl Nightclub 12 years ago.

Austin told ABC News it was "days before my 22nd birthday" and she had no idea the relationship would last. "We were just so young; that's the thing," she recalled.

But for Makonnen, 35, the great-grandson of Ethiopia's last emperor, Haile Selassie, he had a feeling right away that Austin was different, noting that "within five minutes, I said, 'You'll be my girlfriend.'"

"It was more like an assertive question," he added with a laugh. "I just had a really good chemistry with her right away. I felt like I already knew her."

Still, the prince was hesitant to reveal his royal heritage to his new girlfriend.

"We were with some friends ... and one of my friends brought it up and said, 'You know, you're lucky. Your boyfriend is a prince!" Makonnen recalled. "And I always kind of like had my own way to introduce it, but he just put it out there and I kind of laughed it off."

"But then she turned to me and said, 'What? Is he serious? What does he mean?'" Makonnen said, explaining how his friend told his future bride, "I am serious. He's the great-grandson of Haile Selassie."

Although his humility tried to downplay the importance, Makonnen said it was Austin's reaction to the news that confirmed what he already knew -- that she was the one.

"She kind of got it right away in the most respectful sense," he explained, "where she was like, 'Wow don’t shrug. It’s a big deal. I’m really impressed and it’s amazing.'"

Austin, 33, told ABC News she was "pleasantly surprised" by the news. "I obviously knew of the emperor, but I didn’t know the full scale of it then."

The two wed in front of more than 300 people on Sept. 9 inside Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Wedding planner Yodit Grebreyes told ABC News, "They chose to get married on the Ethiopian New Year because it’s about new beginnings and they were creating a new life together."

Austin, whose grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, and Makonnen are "still in the process of moving," the prince said, adding that they've chosen an apartment in the Washington, D.C., area.

Right now, they're both looking forward to starting a royal life together.

"It feels pretty weighty but I’m excited," Austin said. "It’s the world’s oldest monarchy and there’s just something pretty powerful about that. Of course I'm happy to be a part of it and I hope I can ... be of service and take all this good will and all this good energy and just turn it back and do good work in our countries."

Makonnen added, "I just look forward to being with Ariana all the time and kind of continuing this journey."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Jevgenij Kulikov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Southwest Airlines has marked their very first "unmanned" flight.

The company tweeted photos on Oct. 18 of the all-female crew posing before takeoff on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.


The first "unmanned" Southwest flight on a @BoeingAirplanes 737 MAX 8! All-female Crew pic taken before flying STL - SFO.

— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 18, 2017

The plane was headed from St. Louis to San Francisco.

Four flight attendants took a photo in the main cabin area along with the female pilot and co-pilot.

The pilots also posed for a picture inside the cockpit.

According to 2016 data from the Federal Aviation Administration, there were an estimated 39,187 active women airmen certificates held out of 584,362 pilots total.

Southwest followers replied to the company's tweet on the crew, commending the women working the flight that day.

Southwest Airlines has not yet replied to ABC News' request for a comment.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

(Mike Juliannelle) Mike Juliannelle, 41, the author of, poses with his two sons in this undated family photo.(NEW YORK) -- Mike Julianelle, a blogger and father of two, gained internet fame by posting photos of all the things kids can ruin, like when his kids turned a coffee table into a train set.

The 41-year-old Brooklyn dad, is now sharing photos on Instagram of how kids have changed the parents themselves.


Julianelle, who writes at, posted his own photo this month of how he looked in 2006, before having two kids, compared to 2016, after several years of raising two sons, who are now seven and one years old.

“It’s funny to make fun of yourself and kids and how much your life has changed and what they’ve done to you,” said Julianelle, who noted the change is also “obviously” because he aged.

Julianelle, who works full time as a marketing writer, said he has received hundreds of submissions from other parents to share on his Instagram page.

“People like to know they’re not alone,” said Julianelle, who started his blog as an antidote to the blogs portraying parenthood as perfect and complete joy. “It’s the solidarity of it and there’s a contingent of parents who like poking fun at the idea of parenthood.”

One of those parents, Kate Cortelyou, sent Julianelle her before-and-after photo.



Cortelyou, 32, from Nashville, said she finds herself “laughing out loud” at Julianelle’s take on parenthood. The before-and-after photos, she said, resonated with her experience.

“Sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, who is this person,” said Cortelyou, who has a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter with her husband, Justin.

“Not to say we never dress ourselves up but there are days, especially in the early days and with two toddlers, when you’ll go a week without showering and not even notice it,” she said. “These first several years of your kids’ life are just so dead exhausting.”


See below for more parents' before-and-after photos:




Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

(Courtesy Dean Otto) Dean Otto; Will Huffman, left, the driver of the truck; and Dr. Matt McGirt, the surgeon, participated in the Napa Half Marathon to celebrate Otto's rehabilitation.(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Dean Otto of Charlotte, North Carolina, was riding his bike one humid morning in September 2016 when the unimaginable occurred: The husband, father and marathoner was struck by a truck.

His spine was fractured. His pelvis, tailbone and ribs were broken. And he could not feel his legs.

After surgery, Otto's surgeon Dr. Matt McGirt gave him a one percent to two percent chance of ever walking on his own again.

But, after months of grueling physical therapy, Otto was taking his first steps with the help of a walker. Slowly, he picked up speed, eventually climbing stairs and then running.

"As far as my recovery goes, it's been a really long, rough road," he told ABC News Wednesday. "I've worked really hard but I've had a lot of great support from my doctors, my physical therapists as well as my family and friends supporting me."

During Otto's rehabilitation, he was also visited in the hospital by Will Huffman, the driver of the truck. The two became friends.

Otto says that forgiveness had been key to his recovery.

"To be able to forgive Will immediately after the accident has been paramount in my positive attitude, in my recovery from this terrible accident," he said.

Dean Otto's spine was torn in two and dislocated, his doctor said. He also had no movement in his legs. "The odds were stacked against him," his doctor said.

Eventually, Otto invited Huffman and McGirt, with whom he'd formed a friendship as well, to run a half-marathon with him. Neither men had run in years but felt motivated by Otto's perseverance.

On Sept. 24, a year to the day of the accident, the three completed the Napa Half Marathon in California.

"To be able to do that with my doctor Matt McGirt as well as Will Huffman, the guy who was driving the truck that morning on Sept. 24, was fantastic," Otto said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man overcomes paralysis to run half-marathon with his surgeon and the driver who hit him


Subscribe To This Feed

(Courtesy Beth Gaudino) Sisters Anna Howat, 29, and Beth Gaudino, 32, photographed with their doctor, Andrea DiLuigi. (TOLLAND, Conn.) -- A selfless woman is carrying a child for her sister who experienced the heartbreaking loss of newborn twins.

Anna Howat is due to give birth to her niece, Charlotte Grace, on Feb. 2. Howat offered to carry her sister Beth Gaudino's baby when Gaudino had difficulties conceiving after losing her son and daughter at 20 weeks pregnant.

"She's healthy, she's beautiful, so we are getting really excited," Gaudino told ABC News Wednesday of the upcoming birth of her daughter. "My sister says to people, 'Well, wouldn't you do that for your own sister?' To her, it's not a choice that had to be made. Of course she would do it. I think it's amazing and I'd do it for her."

Gaudino, 32, of Tolland, Connecticut, unexpectedly went into labor halfway through her pregnancy, in August 2015. Both babies died.

Due to complications from the pregnancy and a struggle with endometriosis, Gaudino underwent several surgeries on her uterus. She and her husband tried getting pregnant again via IVF from December 2015 until the last transfer failed in April 2017, she said.

"I would always say, 'I don't think I want children' just because I am a very career-oriented woman," Gaudino said. "And then I met my husband. I was like, 'I'm so in love with you. I want to have a mini Justin [her husband] and Beth running around.'

"Dealing with that emotion [losing the twins] and trying to heal from it and look to the future..then having all these medical issues, it gave us so much stress and it literally ruled my life."

Gaudino's sister, Anna Howat, 29, was still pregnant with her own daughter, Penelope, now 1, when she told Gaudino that she'd like to carry a child for her.

Howat said she had suffered three miscarriages before having Penelope.

"I feel like it's not the same losing babies at 20 weeks as opposed to my miscarriages at 8 weeks, but I could know what she was going through in a sense," Howat told ABC News. "Seeing your sister struggle even harder, of course you would do it."

In May 2017, Howat underwent a successful embryo transfer and became pregnant. The Gaudinos will name the baby Charlotte "Charlie" Grace Gaudino, after their twin baby girl, Grace, whom they lost two years ago.

Kathy Varkal is a registered nurse the third-party program coordinator at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services in Farmington, Connecticut. Varkal worked with the women during the transfer process.

"I think their closeness and the way they interact is going to make this usually very tumultuous process a breeze because these two, they finish each other's sentences, joke with each other and they have each other's support," Varkal told ABC News. "It's been really hard for both of them, but they laugh at every visit and they carry each other through."

On Sept. 30, Howat and Gaudino both participated in a photo session with women who are expecting their own rainbow babies.

Photographer JoAnn Marrero invited the sisters to be part of her project after they hired her for maternity, birth and newborn pictures.

"I called Beth and Anna and I said, 'I'm doing this rainbow thing do you guys want to join me? and they said, 'Absolutely,'" Marrero told ABC News. "It's such a beautiful story. They both had such losses, but were happy to join in."

"It was nice to hear people's stories and how they're getting to their happy endings," Gaudino said of the photo shoot.

Howat said she is looking forward to helping her sister welcome her daughter, Charlie, into the world. She hopes Charlie will be close to her cousins, Penelope and Finley, 11 months.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

(Courtesy Bharathi Rao) Gitanjali Rao, 11, works on her lead testing device at home in Lone Tree, Colo., in an undated handout photo.(LONE TREE, Colo.) -- An 11-year-old girl inspired by the Flint, Mich., water crisis has been named “America’s Top Young Scientist” after she developed a device that can quickly detect lead levels in water.
Interested in Flint?

“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” Gitanjali Rao told ABC News. “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”

In Flint, elevated levels of lead were found in the city's water supply after the city disconnected from Detroit's water line as a cost-cutting measure and began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014.

Gitanjali, a seventh grader, also saw firsthand how complicated it can be to test water for lead by watching her parents, Bharathi Rao and Ram Rao, try to test the water in their Lone Tree, Colo., home.

She said she found a way to help solve the problem while browsing the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s website, a site she said she checks weekly to see “if there’s anything new.”

The website featured an article on new technologies used to detect hazardous substances, which Gitanjali figured she could adapt to detect lead.

Gitanjali reached out to her parents, both engineers, her teachers and experts at local colleges and universities for help.

“We had to learn as she asked questions,” said Ram Rao. “Our first question was, ‘Is this what you really want to go after? Because it’s a sizable problem.’”

He continued, “Then you go one day at a time. There was no real expectation that she would necessarily finish, but the journey itself would be the learning experience. It turned out she had a lot more determination.”

Gitanjali spent months trying to convince local high schools and colleges to give her lab time to continue her experiment.

At home, Gitanjali worked on her project in the “science room” she asked her parents to create for her when they moved from Tennessee to Colorado.

“I have a room with green walls and black polka dots and a huge white table for all my experiments,” said Gitanjali, who also plays piano, swims, fences and dances. “Most of my code was done there. Most of the spills and failures were made there.”

When Gitanjali was named one of 10 finalists in the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this year, she was able to partner with a 3M scientist to help develop her innovation.

The result is Tethys, a sensor-based device designed to detect lead in water faster than other techniques currently on the market.

The device utilizes carbon nanotube sensors –- similar to the technology Gitanjali saw on the MIT website –- to detect lead. It can then send the results to a smartphone.

Gitanjali presented Tethys to a panel of judges this week in a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn.

She was named the grand prize winner and received a $25,000 prize.

"It's not hyperbole to say she really blew us out of the water," said Dr. Brian Barnhardt, an Illinois school superintendent and one of the seven 3M judges. "The other nine kids, they were also such amazing kids, so for her to stand out the way she did with a peer group like this is like an exclamation point on top of it."

He added, "She is the kind of young person that we can all look forward to what she’s going to do for society."

Gitanjali plans to continue on her goal "to save lives and make the world a better place."

The woman whom Gitanjali said inspired her to pursue science and follow her passion to develop the lead testing kit believes Gitanjali can do it.

"She really wants to change the world," said Jennifer Hartsell Stockdale, an attorney who was Gitanjali's STEM program teacher in Tennessee. "She has the intellectual capacity to learn anything she wishes, the confidence to take on every project ... and the perseverance to complete anything she starts."

Gitanjali plans to invest most of her 3M prize money back into her project to make it commercially available. She also plans to save some of the $25,000 for college.

"Advice I would give to other kids would be to never be afraid to try," Gitanjali said. "I had so many failures when I was doing my tests. It was frustrating the first couple of times, but towards the end, everything started coming together."

"I knew all these failures, which were learning experiences, would make my experiment better."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Over the past week or so, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women.

Among them: Former "Friday Night Lights" star Minka Kelly claimed that Weinstein asked her to be his girlfriend in exchange for "a lavish life," while actress Ashley Judd alleged in The New York Times that Weinstein asked her for a massage. Cara Delevingne said in an Instagram post that Weinstein brought her to a hotel room, where he asked her to kiss another woman, and though she declined, she felt like she later landed a role in one of his moves that she didn't deserve.

Weinstein has acknowledged inappropriate behavior, but through his spokeswoman, "unequivocally denied" any allegations of non-consensual sex.

However, with the claims ranging across a spectrum, it invites the question:

What constitutes sexual harassment?

ABC News delved into the issue as it pertains to the workplace or academic setting by speaking with experts about the issue and what people who feel victimized can do about it.

What is sexual harassment? "In a lot of the storytelling that we’ve been hearing, there are a lot of examples of innuendo and comments or sometimes even physical contact that could've been construed as innocuous but really felt sexual," Anne Hedgepeth, vice president of policy for The American Association of University Women, told ABC News. "I know that people struggle with, 'At what point does it become bad enough to come forward?' but all of those things can add up to create a hostile climate."

The bottom line, according to Sara McGovern, press secretary for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): "If someone is making unwanted sexual comments or advance[s], it's never OK."

However, the legal definition is a bit more specific. Workplace investigations expert Fran Sepler told ABC News that legally actionable harassment — or when a victim can sue an employer — must fit into one of two categories: a hostile environment claim, which involves unwelcome severe or pervasive behavior that would offend a reasonable person and impacts the terms or conditions of employment; or quid pro quo sexual harassment, which occurs when a person asks for a sexual favor in exchange for something else.

Who sexually harasses others? "Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances," McGovern said. "The harasser can identify with any gender and have any relationship to the victim, including a being a direct manager, indirect supervisor, co-worker, teacher, peer or colleague."

Victoria Lipnic, acting chair of the EEOC, added that the problem is "very persistent and pervasive." "It is across all industries. It is across income levels. It is across positions in organizations, high-level positions, lower-level positions, white-collar jobs, blue-collar jobs. It's every day, everywhere," she said. "We've seen in the last year and a half celebrity-infused incidents that call more attention to it and I think that might encourage more people to file complaints. But the charges we see are the tip of the iceberg."

What happens when a sexual harassment claim is made? Lipnic said that once a company receives a sexual harassment complaint, there are three steps that should be followed: 1.) The manager or human resources representative handling the complaint must take it seriously. 2.) The claim must be investigated. 3.) Depending on the outcome of the investigation, some corrective action should be taken. "We want to encourage employees to not be afraid to come forward and for companies to have systems in place where they communicate to their employees that these things will be taken seriously," she said. "First-line supervisors in the organization have to be trained to respond appropriately. A response of, 'That's just how he is' doesn't cut it." Still, Sepler added, the party who reported the harassment does not dictate the punishment enacted by the company.

What else can someone do if he or she has been harassed? Sepler said that if someone is being sexually harassed in the workplace, a person in a position to address the concerns (i.e., a human resources employee or a manager) is legally obligated to do so. Gloria Allred, a California-based discrimination attorney, and her law partner law partner, Delores Leal, also encourage those who have been harassed to keep a journal and include names of witnesses. "It is always best to document the complaint in writing -- e.g., via email, memo, text," Allred wrote in an email to ABC News.

Should the sexual harassment fall into the category of legally actionable, one could also file a legal complaint. Lipnic explained to ABC News that first, the person who faced harassment must file a complaint with the EEOC, which will then serve a notice of charge to the employer and conduct its own investigation. "We can try to settle on behalf of that individual with the company and depending upon whether there are terms that are agreeable, it may settle then," she said. "If that's not the case, we can then give the individual what's known as a 'right to sue' letter, which they can take to a lawyer and file on their own or we may file suit in district court." However, she continued, the EEOC files a very small percentage of cases in federal district court every year compared to the number of charges they investigate.

However, many people do not feel comfortable coming forward with their stories because of fear of retaliation, among other concerns. There is still something those people can do, Sepler noted. "There's actually some really good research that says if you can find a way to tell the person, 'This is not working for you and it's got to stop or I'm going to take further steps to address it,' there's a really good chance that it will stop," she said. "The law is very clear: You are never obligated to do that. You can go straight to HR and report it but there's pretty good anecdotal evidence that if it's early enough and you tell them to knock it off, they will. If not, you'll feel OK getting them in trouble because you gave them an opportunity to fix it."

What legal penalties does someone who is sued for sexual harassment face? Different states have different laws, but, for example, Allred and Leal noted that in California, a victim of sexual harassment can recover economic damages (if, for example, the person was terminated or demoted for not acquiescing to the sexual demands); compensatory damages (for physical, psychological and emotional distress); punitive damages; and attorneys' fees and costs.

What steps can business owners take to ensure that their employees are safe from sexual harassment? Again, different laws apply in different states, but Allred and Leal wrote that in California, for example, depending on the size of the company, The California Fair Employment and Housing Act requires employers (with at least 50 employees or independent contractors) to train supervisory employees once every two years. They must also train employees within six months of them taking their position as a supervisor.

Lipnic also noted that companies have a responsibility to focus on the individual workplace, too. "They can't just say, 'Here's our policy: We don't tolerate harassment,'" she said. "They have to be focused on the culture of the workplace. Maybe some men are saying things and they don't realize that's harassing or they don't realize that's a put-down. What's the culture there? That can lead to more egregious behavior."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The longtime personal trainer of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- who has gained the nickname "The Notorious R.B.G." -- shared secrets for how the 84-year-old stays physically strong every day as she interprets the Constitution.

Bryant Johnson has been training Ginsburg since 1999, shortly after she was treated for colon cancer. Ginsburg has referred to Johnson in a past interview as the most important person in her life.

The two have worked together to rebuild her strength and bone density following the oldest Supreme Court Justice's two battles with cancer.

Johnson described Ginsburg as "inspiring" in a statement announcing the book.

"She is a living example of what she stands for, including the fight for equal rights for women," he added.

Johnson appeared live on Good Morning America to demonstrate Ginsburg's workout, which he has dubbed "The RBG Workout."

Here are the moves that he shared that you can do at home:

Machine pulldowns

3 sets and 12 reps

As an alternative to using a machine, a modified version of a machine pulldown is to place a resistance band between an open door and the door frame. Sit on a chair or bench facing the door and then pull the band down and in towards your chest, then return to your starting position and repeat.

Medicine ball push-ups

1 set and 12 reps

Johnson recommends focusing on the arms, back and core when doing a medicine ball push-up. Start by getting into push-up position on a mat or towel and then cross one foot behind the other and place one hand on the medicine ball and the other on the floor when you do your push-ups.

For a less-intense modification, just do a regular push-up but do two sets and ten reps. Johnson added that you should be sure to keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and keep your abs flexed during the push-up.

Wall squat with yoga ball

3 sets and 12 reps

The wall squat with a yoga ball can also be done with a partner, Johnson said. Either place the yoga ball against a wall if you are solo, or stand back-to-back with a partner and squat at the same time while holding light dumbbells. Grasp the dumbbells in each hand with palms facing in and hold them to your chest. Meanwhile, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle while inhaling and squeeze your buttocks as you squat.

Alternatively, you can also modify this move by doing a wall squat with a resistance band.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A father of two said he lost 100 pounds with the help of a fitness tracker that he wouldn’t have thought to buy for himself.

The Salem, Massachusetts father of two weighed 304 pounds before he stepped into a weekly wellness group, which included fitness trackers, his doctor had invited him to join.

“It was life-changing,” Ricky Chakoutis, 29, told ABC News.

Chakoutis was given a Withing watch to track his steps and, after the first week of the program, he lost two pounds.

“It kind of blew me away how well these things actually work,” says Chakoutis about the fitness trackers.

Dr. Jeff Philips, Chakoutis’s primary care doctor, spearheads the innovative wellness program with the help of Lisa Gualtieri, the founder of RecycleHealth.

RecycleHealth is a nonprofit organization that collects new and used fitness trackers, refurbishes them, and redistributes them to people who would benefit from them the most, a program that started in 2013 but has started to grow its reach within the last year.

Philips has begun utilizing the technological benefits of fitness trackers for patients like Chakoutis.

“It’s a tool like any other tool,” he said, adding that the devices provide real data that are accurate enough to be useful.

Not just doctors, but also other patients help each other using data from the trackers to stay accountable.

“Groups have decided on their own to create a walking club, they would use their Fitbit online group to motivate each other. ‘I’m going to get walking by the beach, come join me,’” says Dr. Philips. “We focus on support, not competition.”

Chakoutis said his competitive nature did come in handy with his weight loss, though.

"I set up little obstacles all over, just so I’m not on the couch," he said.

Chakoutis didn’t realize how few steps he was taking a day before he started the program. He thought he was taking 10,000 steps a day, but discovered after wearing his tracker that he was actually taking less than 3,000 steps a day.

Philips said that it is normal for people to think that they are moving more than they actually are.

Since the discovery, Chakoutis said he has challenged his goals every day, working up to 8,000 steps a day, then 15,000 steps a day and more.

"Now, I’m at 25,000 steps a day," he said.

He used his Withings watch to track his steps -- almost 2 million of them -- before it stopped working.

Diet and lifestyle changes were also a big factor in Chakoutis' major weight loss accomplishments. He was previously eating a lot of take-out with his kids, but now the whole family is into cooking meals at home and learning about healthy food choices.

“It’s been a challenge, but we are all eating fruits and vegetables now,” says Chakoutis.

Friends and family have been supportive of his weight loss. A year ago, a friend jokingly made a bet that if Chakoutis got to 230 pounds that he would pay for their whole group of friends to take a vacation.

 He said his friend didn't think he could do it, but the bet was worth it. The group is flying to Las Vegas at the end of the month.

Now, Chatoukis is aiming for a new goal of 185 pounds -- the weight he hopes to maintain the rest of his life.

In addition to the fitness tracker and lifestyle changes, Chatoukis said his doctor was a major factor in helping him achieve his goals.

“If I didn’t have Dr. Philips as my doctor, there’s a good chance this wouldn’t have happened," Chatoukis said. "I credit him for all of it."

RecycleHealth said their program is growing; they have received more than 2,000 used and new fitness trackers donations from all over the world, Gualtieri said. There are so many donations, in fact, she's had to move to a bigger office.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(KINGSLAND, Ga.) -- Two active-duty U.S. sailors from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay were found dead of apparent drug overdoses in the same home four days apart, U.S. Submarine Forces confirmed to ABC News.

Last Thursday, Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Jerrell was found dead in a home in Kingsland, Georgia, 20 minutes west of the Navy base.

Then, on Monday, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ty Bell was found dead inside the same home, which he apparently owned.

Sarah Self-Kyler, a spokesperson for U.S. Submarine Forces, told ABC News that the sailors were friends and former shipmates, but not from the same command.

The Kingsland Police Department, supported by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is investigating the deaths. It is unknown at this time what drug caused the sailors to overdose.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, all commands conducted a urinalysis of every sailor on base, Self-Kyler said.

The U.S. Navy has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Shelby Skiles(DALLAS) -- Shelby Skiles was unable to sleep one recent night while staying with her 2-year-old daughter at Children’s Medical Center Dallas when she just began to write.

Skiles, 28, has spent nearly every night since May at the hospital after her only child, Sophie, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma.

Skiles estimates she and her husband, Jonathan, have met hundreds of nurses throughout the course of Sophie’s treatment. The toddler is awaiting a stem cell transplant, after undergoing 15 rounds of chemotherapy that helped stop the progression of the cancer.

But, the intense chemotherapy left Sophie unable to walk, talk and eat on her own.

"It was like 3 a.m. and I was sitting on that uncomfortable couch in the hospital room and I couldn’t go to sleep," Skiles said about the night this month she began to write. "I just started writing down what the nurses do and it just kept going."

The list included more than just routine checkups.

"All the things I see them do for us and for other people," Skiles wrote, "like the nurse who sat on the floor with me when I had a panic attack when we got the diagnosis."

Skiles posted her letter of gratitude to nurses on a Facebook page she and her family created for Sophie called "Sophie the Brave."

"I see you carrying arm loads of medicine and supplies into one child's room all while your phone is ringing in your pocket from the room of another," she wrote. "I see you put on gloves and a mask and try not to make too much noise at night ... I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly."

The post has now been shared more than 25,000 times.

“I thought, ‘Sophie’s page has a lot of followers so I’ll post this and bring awareness to what goes on in a children’s hospital and what nurses do especially when caring for sick kids,” Skiles said. “But I’ve been 150 percent shocked by how much attention it’s gotten.”

The post also caught the eye of the nurses caring for Sophie at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

“I just am so grateful that she did that,” said Susan McCollom, clinical manager of the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, who has helped treat Sophie. “Our job is very difficult, emotionally, physically and mentally and it kind of captured why we do our job and that what we do is not just a job.”

She added, “I’m very proud of my team, but not surprised because I know that’s what they do every day.”

Skiles said she expects Sophie to remain at the Dallas hospital until at least the end of January and then transfer to nearby housing. Once the stem cell transplant is complete, Sophie will need to continue undergoing therapy and live close to the hospital for checkups.

“It’s incredible to watch people put their lives on hold and completely care for kids that really, really need it,” Skiles said of the nurses she’s encountered so far. “And they care for the parents too.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



WJTN Headlines for Friday Oct 20, 2017

The Chautauqua County Legislature will vote next week on a just over $236-million, 2018 budget that reduces the tax rate by 4-cents per thousand full-value.    That from A...

Read More