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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Drexel Prep, St Mary’s vie for Girls Division III title

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:25 PM PST

Here’s a report from WGNO Sports’ Karen Loftus.

Game time is Noon Saturday in Alexandria.

High flying Jay: Jesuit’s Chris Tadros is our Best player of the week

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:19 PM PST

Jesuit’s Chris Tadros is our Friday Night Sports Best Player of the week, presented by St Thomas Community Health Center.

Tadros scored the game tying goal and assisted the game winner in Jesuit’s 2-1 overtime win over St Paul’s in the Division I championship last Saturday night in Lafayette.

Here’s a report from WGNO Sports’ Robert O’Shields.

’35, Sophie B. Wright, Landry Walker all charge into Top 28

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:15 PM PST

It was a big night for Orleans Parish Public in the state quarterfinals.

And Friday Night Sports on Nola 38 and WGNO had the highlights.

Landry Walker defeated HL Bourgeois 72-49 in the 5A quarterfinals. The Bucs will play Ouachita Parish in the semifinals at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Here’s the highlights.

In class 4A, McDonogh 35, the 18th seed defeated St Martinville 68-67. '35 will play Woodlawn of Shreveport in the 4A semis. Here's the highlights.

And, Sophie B Wright reached the Top 28 with a 97-59 win over Crowley in the 3A quarterfinals. Here's the highlights.

Sophie B Wright will play #2 seed Peabody in the 3A semifinals.

Howling Wolves: St Paul’s reaches Top 28 with win over Brother Martin

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:03 PM PST

The St Paul’s Wolves reached the Top 28 for the first time in school history with a 78-66 win over Brother Martin Friday at the Gene Bennett Sports Complex.

Parker Edwards scored 35 points for St Paul’s. Here’s the highlights from Friday Night Sports presented by Delgado Community College.

St  Paul's will play Catholic Baton Rouge in the semifinals. Head coach Stephen Dale said the monkey is definitely off his team's back after getting to the Top 28.

Also in Division I, the four seed McKinley defeated Jesuit 62-52. Here's the highlights from Friday Night Sports presented by Delgado Community College.

And, St Aug fell at Catholic 38-25. Here's the highlights from Friday Night Sports presented by Delgado Community College.

McKinley will play Scotlandville in the Division I semifinals. Scotlandville defeated Holy Cross, 99-60.


Mechanic finds body in trunk while working on car

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 08:36 PM PST

PITTSFIELD, Maine – An auto mechanic at a Maine dealership found a body in the trunk of a car Friday, according to state police.

An employee of Varney Chevrolet on Somerset Avenue made the grisly find, and detectives responded around 4 p.m., according to the Bangor Daily News.

The car had apparently been abandoned in the parking lot of a Walmart store and taken to the dealership, according to WFVX.

Officials have not identified the body found in the car, but WFVX reports that the person was a woman.

It’s not clear what happened to the woman and the cause of death is not known, pending a full autopsy.

Pilot reports that ‘pretty much everyone’ threw up while landing during storm

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 06:28 PM PST

WASHINGTON – A pilot’s report after landing in Washington D.C. during severe turbulence from a storm buffeting the East Coast pretty much sums it up.

“Very bumpy on descent,” the pilot wrote. “Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up.”

The plane’s stomach-churning motion didn’t just sicken the passengers.

“Pilots were on the verge of throwing up,” according to the report. An airline official said the pilot was flying United Express Flight 3833 from Charlotte, according to The Washington Post.

More than 5,000 flights have been canceled as a nor-easter quickly gained strength, pounding much of the East Coast Friday, according to flightaware.com.

To get an idea of just how strong the wind was, here’s video of a plane taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport:

Wiener dogs will be horsin’ around on Saturday at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 03:39 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS - Who let the dogs out? Well, lots of people did, apparently!

Only time will tell if practice makes perfect for one of the cute wiener dogs we found out on the race track Wednesday afternoon. They were there practicing for Saturday's Wiener Dog Dash, when one hot dog champion will take home a $500 purse.

48 pure-bred dachshunds were picked to compete in this friendly tail-wagging competition at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Owners are allowed to use whatever it takes to get them across the finish line. At Wednesday's practice session, we saw treats, toys and actual edible hot dogs.

There were young pups, as well as dogs eight and nine years old.

"New Orleanians love crazy things! They love horse racing and it's a perfect mix," says Leslie Monson, Sr. Marketing Manager for the Fair Grounds. She says the wiener dogs are a huge crowd pleaser.

There's something joyful about watching these adorable dogs wander around the track. Some four-legged friends seemed more content to daydream than to dash! They often had trouble finding the finish line and it's a comical scene.

The event has been going on for more than five years, and the folks in charge say they hope the Wiener Dog Dash will attract a new crowd to the race course.

The doggie heats will happen between the first four Thoroughbred races, and the first post time for the horses is 1 p.m. Parking can be a challenge so get there early.

There will be food trucks and inflatable bounce houses for the kids.

For more on the family-friendly event, click here.


Boy sleeping on top bunk killed when tree falls during powerful nor’easter

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 03:14 PM PST

CHESTER, Va. -- Six-year-old Anthony Hamilton died at a Virginia hospital after a tree fell onto his family's home Friday morning during a powerful nor'easter, according to WTVR.

Anthony was sleeping on the top of a bunk bed he shared with siblings when the tree crashed into the mobile home, partially caving in the roof. His siblings were able  to escape the bedroom alive.

"She (Anthony's mom) got the girls out. She tried to get the tree off of Anthony by herself and she just couldn't do it," Anthony's grandmother, Dawn Summerfield, said. "She's guilt ridden. She said, 'I just couldn't get it off of him, I tried.'"

Family members called Anthony a "bright and shining light" who loved race cars, Minions and anything to do with video games. Summerfield said he had "the biggest heart of any 6-year-old you'll ever meet."

Rescue crews were called to the family's Cliffside Drive home at about 2 a.m. Firefighters had to stabilize the large tree with wood blocks prior to cutting the legs off the boy's bed to free him, according to a Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesperson.

Anthony did not have a pulse when he was rescued, Chesterfield Police Lt. Brad Conner said, but first responders were able to regain a pulse en route to the hospital.

Anthony later died with his family by his side at VCU Medical Center, relatives confirmed.

"I saw his face and it wasn't moving," neighbor Jeffrey Bustillo said. The tree also partially damaged the Bustillo's family home next door, but no one was injured.

"If it fell in the middle of the trailer, I don't know if I would be standing here right now," Bustillo said.

Wind gusts will be between 40 and 60 mph on Friday, with higher gusts near the coast, the mountains, and in northern Virginia. A wind advisory is in effect for areas just west and southwest of Richmond for gusts 40 to 55 mph.


‘Horton Hears a Who!’ But whoever heard Horton speaking Russian? Chinese? Haitian Creole?

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 02:43 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -  Everybody who knows Dr. Seuss knows the book.

It's a classic.

It's right up there with all of them.

You know them.

Here are just a few of them.

The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

And this one, Horton Hears a Who!

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood discovers it's the favorite of the kids from the International School of Louisiana.

The kids there got to pick a book to read to celebrate Read Across America Day.

And what book did these creative kiddos select?

Of course on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, on the day the good doctor would have turned 114, the kids had to pick one of his best.

They picked Horton Hears a Who!

And when they decided on this book and they decided to read it, they didn't just read it.

They decided to read it in twelve different languages.

Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and even English.

Wild Bill says to second grader Delilah McDuff, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss already sounds like  a foreign language to me, why do you kids here at the International School of Louisiana work so hard and study all this stuff?"

Delilah McDuff at first answers Wild Bill.

She answers, in French!

And then she translates.

She says, " learning languages makes you smart."

Wild Bill says to that, "well, at least smarter than this guy asking all the questions."





This Sunday: ALG Style Warehouse Sale!

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 02:17 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – Mark your calendars for the shopping event of the season, it’s The Warehouse Sale by ALG Style!

Yet again, ALG Style will be bringing together 25+ of your favorite local boutiques and designers in one location, for one big sale. Think the Barney’s Sample Sale meets The Hunger Games. Everything you ever wanted to buy and most of it is 60 – 70% off – some even 90% off.

And for the ultimate shopper, they have the ULTIMATE shopping experience: The VIP Hour. From 10 am – 11 am, VIPs can shop the best deals and sip champagne before everyone else! Purchase VIP tickets here.

If all that shopping talk is making you exhausted, don’t worry, there will be food on site. The parking is free and ALG Style will be giving out prizes all day long.

The Warehouse Sale is focused on helping local businesses. When ALG Style started The Warehouse Sale 5 years ago, their goal was to help drive revenue and marketing for local boutiques. After 14 Warehouse Sales and over 8,000 customers, the goal is still the same.


Here are all of the stores:

See you there!

The world’s last male northern white rhino is on death watch

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 02:08 PM PST

With three northern white rhinos left in the world, the only male is gravely ill, raising fears the subspecies is getting closer to extinction.

Sudan made headlines last year when the Tinder dating app named him the “most eligible bachelor in the world” in a campaign to raise funds to save the subspecies.

At 45, considered elderly in rhino years, the animal lives at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya with two female northern white rhinos — Fatu and Najin. They are the last three northern white rhinos.

With the animal on the verge of extinction, the fate of the subspecies rests on Sudan’s ability to conceive with the two rhinos.

Bleak future

But Sudan’s ill health is a cause for concern as experts scramble to ensure the subspecies does not go extinct.

“We don’t think he will last for much longer,” said Elodie A. Sampere, a spokeswoman at Ol Pejeta.

Sudan developed an age-related infection on his back right leg last year, Ol Pejeta said. It was assessed and treated, and he resumed normal movement in January.

A secondary infection developed beneath the initial one, and it’s not responding to treatment.

“Euthanasia will be explored if we feel he is suffering too much and won’t recover,” Sampere said. “We do not want him to suffer unnecessarily. Right now he is still feeding and walking around … albeit very little.”

Even before his illness, Sudan was a crucial part of ensuring the beloved animal does not go extinct. So much so, he was protected from poachers by 24-hour armed guards.

Race against time

Rhinos are targeted by poachers, fueled by the belief in Asia that their horns cure various ailments. Experts say the rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs.

With only three left, there’s a race against time to try to sustain the northern white rhino. A committee at the conservancy is looking at various alternative reproduction techniques, including in vitro fertilization.

The western black rhino was declared extinct seven years ago as a result of poaching. All five remaining rhino species worldwide are considered threatened, according to the conservation group Save the Rhino.

Experts say if poaching continues, rhino deaths could surpass births.

Local author, fisherman hosts book launch party Saturday

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 01:26 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans author has written a book for middle school aged children called “The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou.”

You can meet the author, Gary Alipio, and the book’s illustrator, Sarah Gramelspacher, at the book launch Saturday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Octavia Books.

About the Book: Hatcher Hampton is turning twelve. Per family tradition, he’ll be entering his first fishing rodeo, hoping to prove he’s better than his older brother. First prize wins $500––money that could save his family from eviction. Reality soon intervenes in Hatcher’s heroic fantasy as he faces a one-armed man, boat blunders, and an old swamp legend, ‘Ol Gator. But getting stuck in a horsefly-infested swamp with Grampa Grump and no extra underwear isn’t what he had in mind.

Alipio is an award-winning advertising writer, a marketer and an amateur fisherman.

He grew up just outside of New Orleans and spent many years on the bayou waters with his family. Over the years, his love of fishing with his Grampa turned into fishing with friend and now with his daughter. This is his first middle grade novel. Find him on Twitter & Instagram @garygalipio.

Russian ‘seductress’ in Thai jail promises to spill Trump-Russia secrets

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 12:56 PM PST

Watch Video

PATTAYA, Thailand – A self-described Russian “seductress” is asking for US help to escape a Thai detention center in exchange for information on alleged links between US President Donald Trump and Russia, according to her Instagram account.

Anastasia Vashukevich, who also goes by the name Nastya Rybka, says she’s being held in Thailand after being arrested on February 26, along with nine other Russians, in the city of Pattaya for running so-called “sex training” sessions. Rybka has said she’s from Belarus but entered Thailand on a Russian passport, a Thai immigration official told CNN.

While on the way to prison in Pattaya, Rybka published a video on her Instagram account begging US journalists to help her.

“I’m ready to give you all the missing puzzle pieces, support them with videos and audios, regarding the connections of our respected lawmakers with Trump, Manafort and the rest. I know a lot. I’m waiting for your offers and I’m waiting for you in a Thai prison,” she said.

Rybka has come under the spotlight in recent weeks after the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny published an investigation earlier this month on his anti-corruption foundation website into her connections with some of Russia’s richest and most powerful men.

Rybka has described herself as a seductress and has published a “diary” on “how to seduce a billionaire.” In the investigation, Navalny published video from Rybka’s Instagram account showing an August 2016 yacht trip with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko.

Navalny said the two men could be heard in the video discussing Russia’s poor relationship with the United States. Navalny suggested Deripaska and Prikhodko may have served as a link between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. CNN has repeatedly tried to contact Prikhodko for comment but has received no response.

Deripaska previously worked with President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. According to emails described to The Washington Post, Manafort, through an intermediary, offered to provide Deripaska with “private briefings” about the state of the Trump campaign. But a spokesperson for Deripaska told CNN that the billionaire “never received any communication about it.” Manafort’s spokesman told the Post that any briefing offered on the state of the campaign would have been “routine,” but that no briefings took place.

When he was confronted by CNN last year, Deripaska called allegations that he may have been a back channel from the Kremlin to the Trump campaign “fake news.” In a post on his Instagram account, he called the most recent allegations contained in Navalny’s investigation “outrageous” and “false.”

In a statement provided to CNN, his spokesperson said he was suing Rybka and her business partner because they “maliciously made his private photos and personal information public. If someone sneaked onto your house and then published photos from it you would do the same. This information was then used by Mr. Navalny as bait to drum up the interest of an audience, and make up a story far from any truth.”

CNN contacted Rybka after Navalny’s report came out but she failed to provide any evidence about Russian meddling in the US election.

The Russian Embassy consul in Thailand, Vladimir Sosnov, told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that 10 Russians, including Rybka, were detained for running “illegal training” sessions and were “awaiting trial and deportation from Thailand.”

The deputy chief of Pattaya’s immigration police office told CNN that Rybka, who was traveling on a Russian passport, was released on bail after being held for working in Thailand without a work visa. She was subsequently detained again and is being held in custody prior to deportation because her tourist visa was revoked, police Lt. Col. Dulayapat Techapornchayasin said.

Rybka has claimed she was arrested in Thailand on the orders of the Russian government because of the videos she published with Deripaska and Prikhodko.

“If we go back to Russia we will die in Russian’s [sic] prison or they will kill us,” a post on Rybka’s Instagram account said. “This is very serious. … Please USA help us not to die from Russians!”

After she was detained, a post on Rybka’s Instagram account suggested her arrest was connected to the recent arrival in Thailand of Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council and former head of the FSB.

The Kremlin dismissed any such suggestion, saying “such visits are, of course, organized in advance. It is quite ridiculous to associate it with the arrests of Russian citizens in Thailand.”

Health effects of fish oil: Where do we stand?

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 11:35 AM PST

Study after study will say that adding fish to your diet is a healthy move.

Using fish oil supplements, though, is under near-constant debate.

The latest salvo: a new study that says the risk for some childhood allergies might go down if the mother takes fish oil and probiotic supplements during pregnancy.

The federal advisory committee that wrote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 advises adults to eat about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each and every week.

This guideline is intended to provide you with healthy amounts of two essential omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

These nutrients play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, metabolism and curbing inflammation, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Our bodies cannot manufacture these fatty acids, so we must consume them.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, are rich in both DHA and EPA. (There’s a third omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. Our bodies can convert ALA, in limited quantities, to DHA and EPA.)

Despite the plentiful options for adding DHA and EPA to our diet, many people prefer to hack the process by taking fish oil supplements, the same way you’d drink vegetable juice instead of eating actual veggies.

“A lot of people don’t know why they take fish oil,” said R. Preston Mason, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and president of Elucida Research, a biotechnology research company. “You take fish oil for the omega-3 content. … People have heard it’s good for you, so they take it. It’s a booming industry.”

In fact, fish oil is the third most widely used supplement in the United States. A National Institutes of Health study published in 2015 estimated that 7.8% of Americans used fish oils in 2012, though other studies put the number of Americans using fish oil as high as 23%, according to Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s.

Though a simple swap appears to make sense to huge numbers of people, the underlying science suggests that fish oil supplements may not do justice to our physical need for omega-3s.

And, over the years, opinion on its benefits has gone back and forth.

18th century (and earlier): Fish oil cures what ails you

Fish oils had been used as a cure for generations in Northern European fishing communities, according to the National Museum of American History. In particular, citizens of Germany and Britain used cod liver oil to treat rickets, rheumatism, gout and tuberculosis during the 18th century.

Yet it is widely believed that fishermen of earlier centuries commonly used oils for a range of conditions including wounds, body aches, the common cold and skin diseases. Cod liver oil, as a mass-produced product, dates to the 1700s and 1800s, according to Ismail.

“In fact, it can be traced to the Viking era,” Ismail wrote in an email. The age of the Vikings is commonly believed to range from the late eighth century to the mid-11th century.

19th century: Fish oil is big business

Though the Vikings may have begun the disruptive technology of fish oil production, the commercial industry took flight at the beginning of the 19th century in northern Europe and North America, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Based mainly on surplus catches of herring, oil production activities found industrial uses in leather tanning, soap production and other non-food products.

Originally, the residue was used as fertilizer, but since the turn of the 20th century, the oil leftovers have been dried and ground into fish meal for animal feeding.

20th century: Fish oil production becomes more refined

Some of the olders traditions continue unchanged into the 20th century, though the UN report notes that a number of options in the fields of energy saving, automation and environmental protection have increased in recent years. Unpalatable species of fish — or so-called industrial fish, including menhaden, sand eel, anchoveta and pout — are reduced into oil by standard methods — essentially, heating, pressing and grinding.

While Europe may have dominated production in previous centuries, in the latter half of the 20th century, Peru and Chile came to the forefront of the industry, each exporting about 18,000 metric tons of fish oil worldwide. Iceland, Denmark, Norway and the United States also produce fish oil, with all production companies selling mainly to Asia and Europe.

2010: Fish oil supplements during pregnancy do not prevent postpartum depression

Fish oil supplements taken during pregnancy have no effect on postpartum depression and do not help babies’ brains develop more quickly, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team of Australian researchers had expected to find that fish oil had positive effects for the more than 2,000 pregnant women studied. However, the women who took the supplements during their pregnancy were just as likely to experience postpartum depression as those who didn’t and the brains of their babies didn’t appear to grow and develop more quickly than other babies. Yet, the supplements were associated with a reduced risk of preterm birth.

The authors attributed their study’s silver lining to DHA, which benefits the cardiovascular and neurological systems, and the other disappointing results to overinflated claims from two past studies.

One study looked at a mother’s seafood consumption and a child’s verbal IQ score, while the second study looked at a mother’s seafood consumption and depressive symptoms during pregnancy. But both of these studies involved the benefits of seafood rather than fish oil itself.

2011: Fish oil eases ADHD symptoms and lessens baby colds

Fish oil supplements, particularly those with higher doses of EPA, were found to be “modestly effective” in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

After reviewing and analyzing 10 clinical trials involving 699 participants, Yale Child Study Center researchers found “a small but significant effect” demonstrated by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Separately, the authors found that supplementation treated symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. However, they cautioned against using omega-3s in lieu of pharmaceutical treatments.

Given “evidence of modest efficacy” and the “relatively benign” side-effects, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, particularly with higher doses of EPA, “is a reasonable treatment strategy” to use either alone or along with the usual prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, the researchers concluded.

Also in 2011, a study published in the journal Pediatrics found that the babies of pregnant women who took fish oil supplements containing DHA had more fortified immune systems.

Specifically, those babies had fewer days with cold symptoms in their first six months of life than those whose mothers received a placebo, the researchers found. Newborns in the DHA group were also slightly less likely to come down with a cold in the first place.

2012: Fish oil might help the brain stay young and heal traumatic brain injury

Accelerated brain aging is more likely to occur in people who eat diets short on omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in fish oil, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

Lead author Dr. Zaldy S. Tan and his colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles looked at circulating levels of DHA and EPA in the blood of 1,575 people.

Next, they compared these levels with participants’ MRI brain scans and cognitive test results: problem-solving, multitasking and abstract thinking.

They discovered that those participants who scored in the bottom 25% on various mental tests had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood and lower brain volumes — what equates to about two years of brain aging.

Tan and his co-authors said those with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids were also more likely to have minute but significant structural changes in the brain, apparent on the MRI images. The brain scans of the low omega-3 fatty acids group even showed tiny lesions in the brain, which would raise their risk for death, stroke and dementia.

With blood vessels supplying a full third of the brain’s volume, the results are consistent with signs of damage to that intricate network, according to the study authors.

Also in 2012, high-dose fish oil supplementation helped 17-year-old Bobby Ghassemi, who was in a coma after a car crash.

Two weeks after beginning a fish oil regimen, Ghassemi began to emerge from his coma, showing movement on his left side. Shortly after, he began to show signs of recognizing his family and his dog and of discerning things like colors and numbers. His family ardently believed high-dose fish oil helped his brain heal.

2013: Fish oil supplements linked to increased the risk of prostate cancer

Eating a lot of oily fish or taking potent fish oil supplements was associated with a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The researchers also discovered a 71% increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer among those consuming fish oil or large amounts of oily fish.

They researchers had looked at blood samples of men taking part in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, which ultimately found that selenium supplements did not prevent prostate cancer, while vitamin E supplements slightly increased risk of the disease.

However, blood samples from men who went on to develop prostate cancer over the course of the trial showed more omega-3 fats than those of healthy men.

Perhaps because of this well-publicize news, sales of fish oil supplements, which grew from about $100 million in the late 1980s and peaked at $1.3 billion during 2012, began to flatten and decline beginning in 2013, according to Ismail, of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s.

2015: Fish oil may transform fat cells

Fish oil may transform fat-storage cells into fat-burning cells, which may reduce weight gain in middle age, according to research conducted in mice and published in Scientific Reports. According to Kyoto University researchers, fish oil not only activates receptors in the digestive tract, it induces storage cells to metabolize fat.

The scientists fed fatty foods to one group of mice, and a second group ate non-fatty fish oil additive foods. The mice that ate fish oil gained 5% to 10% less weight and 15% to 25% less fat than the others, the researchers discovered. An animal study, more research is needed to see if the same effects occur in humans.

2016: Fish oil during pregnancy lowers risk of asthma in children — but are the supplements all they claim?

Women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy lowered the risk of their children developing asthma, according to a Danish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 17% of children whose moms took fish-oil capsules had asthma by age 3, compared with nearly 24% of the children whose mothers were given placebos.

The doses were 15 to 20 times what most Americans consume from foods a day — 2.4 grams per day — yet no adverse effects occurred in either the mothers or babies. Still, the researchers hesitated to recommend that pregnant women routinely take fish oil until more studies are done.

While this is certainly good news, a very different study of fish oil authored by Harvard’s Mason appeared around the same time.

“I just wanted to ask the question: What’s actually inside these capsules?” Mason said of his study, which looked at a limited number of popular US fish oil supplements. “We were quite surprised to see that in some of these widely used supplements, only a third of the product was the favorable omega-3s, and the balance of them were these other lipids, including saturated fats, which we don’t associate with health benefits.”

Saturated fats raise our bad cholesterol, or LDL.

Mason said he was also surprised to learn the fish oil supplements contain cholesterol.

“Omega-3s are highly vulnerable to breakdown during manufacturing. They become oxidized or rancid,” Mason said. Along with the challenge of manufacturing these products without damage, most of them come in large shipments sailing the seas.

“During that process, they are often exposed to elevated temperatures, which will rapidly break them down,” he said, adding that “in the lab, if we expose omega-3s to just normal environmental conditions, within hours, they’re breaking down into these oxidized products.

“Once they are broken down, certainly they don’t have their favorable benefits that we hope for,” Mason said.

Though the same thing can happen with fish, you can smell fish and look it over before you purchase it.

“Imagine going to a store where the fish is rotted and smells terrible,” Mason said, explaining that supplements contain deodorants and other chemicals to cover their bad smell.

He said he believes that supplementation is necessary for many people, but the bottom line is that there’s no consistent quality.

2017: Precision medicine

Registered dietitian Nancy Copperman, who works for Northwell Health, reviewed the latest research and recommends a simple — if more expensive — option for consumers who want to add fish oil to their diets: “pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements that tend to be purer.”

But don’t believe all you read, says Copperman. In many studies of fish oil, “the data waned and waxed.” Though some people did well, others did not, and even worse, the scientists were unable to replicate the good findings from one study to the next.

One exception is people who have very high triglycerides and are at risk of cardiovascular disease, Copperman said. “Adding a marine oil supplement — again, it needs to be … pharmaceutical-grade — it does lower triglyceride levels in that population,” she said, based on all the research she’s seen over time.

There may also be some benefit in using fish oil to reduce ischemic stroke risk among people who have atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, according to Copperman.

Since omega-3s are necessary nutrients, Copperman suggests that people stick with eating oily fish rather than taking supplements: When you’re eating more fish, you are most likely eating less beef, including fatty hamburgers.

Fast food burgers, as well as other fatty foods such as cakes and cookies, contain lots of omega-6s, which in abundance may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, according to the American Heart Association.

“You can’t tell the omega-3 story without telling the omega-6 story,” said Floyd “Ski” Chilton, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Omega-3s and omega-6s come into our diet simultaneously and are metabolized by the same enzymes.

Over the past 50 years, the ratio shifted from two omega-6s for each omega-3 to what is now about a 10- or 15-to-one ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s, said Chilton. Working hard to metabolize omega-6s, our bodies cannot metabolize and effectively use omega-3s. Meanwhile, many people find it difficult to get enough omega-3s from the get-go.

There’s dramatic ancestry-based variation in our ability to transform ALA into EPA or DHA, according to Chilton. African-Americans transform ALA into EPA or DHA very well, Europeans not so much, and Native Americans not at all, with variability among individuals within each group.

When it comes to supplementation, then, “the one-size-fits-all model is likely not appropriate,” Chilton said, adding that we have entered the “bold new world of precision nutrition.”

“Precision nutrition simply says that different individuals and in particular different ancestry-based populations, racial and ethnic populations may very well require — when it comes to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids — different recommendations,” he said.

2018: Help with childhood allergies?

In a systematic review and meta-analysis of approximately 500 studies, researchers at Imperial College London found that adding omega-3 fish oil supplements to the diet during pregnancy and lactation reduced a child’s risk of egg allergy by 30% at one year of life. The analysis didn’t find a correlation between omega-3 supplements and a reduced risk of any other allergies, but using probiotics during late pregnancy and early breastfeeding reduced eczema risk by 22%.

“The studies only included participants with a high risk of developing allergies so it is unclear what effect probiotics or fish oil supplements would have in families with no history of allergies,” Dr. Louisa James of Queen Mary University of London, who was not involved in the study, said in a statement. “While the results of this study are likely to inform the development of guidelines on maternal and infant diet, it seems that there is much more work to be done.”

The UK’s National Health Service recommends against taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy, as some can contain vitamin A, which in high doses can be harmful. In the US, neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has a stated policy. Instead, they suggest that pregnant women eat fish that is low in mercury two or three times a week, avoiding fish high in mercury.

First chicken, now gravy. KFC has another shortage in the UK

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 11:27 AM PST

Winner winner chicken dinner? Sure, but likely without the gravy. That’s the conundrum KFC is facing in the UK, where feathers were ruffled earlier this month when the fast-food chain had delivery issues that resulted in a chicken shortage and mass restaurant closings.

Now, even though all but about 3% of the 900 KFC locations in England and Ireland have since reopened, the BBC reports that delivery issues remain, meaning many sites are serving a “reduced menu.” Gravy is one of the items that has temporarily vanished.

“We’re working as hard as we can to get this sorted out,” a KFC spokesperson tells the Independent. “We know that our gravy is a big favorite!” That rep notes KFC’s gravy grief is from “ongoing distribution challenges” with new delivery vendor DHL.

The Sun reports that suppliers have since been told to circumvent DHL’s logistics warehouse and send their goods straight to individual branches. KFC put out an ad last week apologizing for the inconvenience to its customers, with its mea culpa appearing next to a photo of one of its chicken buckets that was labeled “FCK” instead of “KFC,” USA Today reports.

Bloomberg takes a closer look at this “supply chain breakdown,” but most customers don’t want an in-depth take—they just want their comfort food back.

“Well that is the end of the world. Gravy the only reason i go to kfc,” one patron lamented on Twitter. (Brits expressed great displeasure at the KFC closings.)

The end is near: Flu has ‘definitely peaked’ for the 2017-18 season

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 11:26 AM PST

Flu has been shown the door in the United States. Illness activity peaked and began to decline during the eighth week of the year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly surveillance report indicated Friday. Just 5% of people who visited their doctors did so while complaining of flu-like illness, down from 6.4% the previous week.

Caused by viruses, flu is a contagious respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms that can sometimes lead to death.

"We have definitely peaked," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, quickly adding, "that doesn't mean we aren't going to see more flu activity."

And as long as flu continues to circulate in your community, the CDC recommends that you get a flu shot, she said.

Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington experienced low activity of flu-like illness, while Florida, Maine and Montana saw minimal activity for the week ending February 24.

Puerto Rico, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin all experienced moderate activity.

"You really see the West Coast and the border with Canada and a couple of places in the East are starting to see a drop in activity," Nordlund said.

Despite the positives, the flu season is not nearly finished.

But it's not over yet

"Where we are at now is still the peak we saw last season," Nordlund said. Last year was a relatively mild season for influenza.

"There's still high activity and many more weeks of flu season to go," she said.

In fact, high flu-like illness activity continued in New York City, the District of Columbia and the remaining 32 states.

The CDC reported 17 additional flu-related deaths in children, raising the total to 114 pediatric deaths for the 2017-18 season, which began October 1. There were 101 pediatric flu deaths last season.

The season also included 23,324 confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations as of February 24. The cumulative rate of flu-related hospitalizations rose to about 82 people out of every 100,000, up from nearly 75 out of every 100,000 last week, the CDC estimated in its weekly surveillance report.

Additional information gathered on some of these hospitalized patients showed that more than half of the adults -- about 67% -- had at least one existing medical condition, such as heart disease, metabolic disorder, obesity and chronic lung disease, the CDC reported. Among hospitalized children, less than half -- 44% -- had an underlying medical condition, most commonly asthma, a neurologic disorder or obesity.

The CDC also found that circulating flu strains this season are a mix of H3N2, H1N1 and B viruses. Though H3N2 strains persisted and dominated during the eighth week of 2018, the overall proportion of influenza A viruses is declining, and the proportion of influenza B viruses is increasing. H3N2 commonly leads to more severe illness and more hospitalizations, according to the CDC.

The CDC confirmed 10,286 new infections for the week ending February 24, bringing the season total to 217,592.

Among adults, the proportion of pneumonia- and flu-related deaths declined half a percentage point to 9% of all deaths reported during the week ending February 10, the CDC reported, noting that these data are always two weeks delayed. This rate is higher than the 7.4% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths that had been anticipated for the week.

Potential vaccine changes

"It's been a really, really mixed season," said Richard Webby, a flu scientist who is part of the World Health Organization's advisory board and a member of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Department of Infectious Diseases.

Looking globally, he said, "in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia had one of their biggest seasons for a number of years, which was dominated by the same H3N2 virus that we had in North America." Yet New Zealand had a very mild season, and Europe saw a mixed bag of H1N1 and influenza B viruses in circulation. Rates of illness fluctuated by nation.

"We expect a mixed season. It's not typically the same all around, but I think this season seems a little bit more mixed," he said.

"It's mostly this season there really was a problem with the virus that was circulating -- H3N2 -- and a less-than-ideal vaccine as well," Webby said. In the US, an interim season report found that the vaccine was just 36% effective in preventing the flu.

Recalling reports of triage tents being set up outside emergency rooms in some American hospitals, Webby said, "when we hit these bad seasons, it highlights all the shortfalls that are there" in health systems.

Webby spoke on his return from a WHO meeting last week in Geneva, where representatives of the six collaborating centers from around the globe met to discuss the composition of the flu vaccine for use in the 2018-19 Northern Hemisphere season.

The background to the discussion this year was "understanding that the vaccine hasn't really performed the way we would like in the last couple of seasons," he said. "We're still faced with this challenge, this technical challenge of getting a H3N2 to match the circulating strains."

Most of the discussion related to the H3N2 component of the flu vaccine and one of the influenza B components, Webby said. In particular, H3N2 viruses all change when they get into chicken eggs that are used to manufacture the vaccine, so a good H3N2 match to the circulating viruses can morph into a not-so-good match. The WHO committee discussed which H3N2 strains might be less likely to change.

Next year's Northern Hemisphere flu shot will contain a different strain of H3N2. "That particular strain, the Singapore strain, does seem to do a better job of covering circulating viruses than the one we have this year," Webby said. "That's assuming nothing changes between now and next winter."

With regard to the influenza B components of the forthcoming flu shot, a new B/Victoria variant emerged at the very end of last winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so that component of the vaccine was changed, as well.

Ultimately, the WHO meeting mostly reiterated the problems with the vaccine technologies and discussed changes in how to make vaccines for flu. "Unfortunately, they all take time," Webby said. "Until we get those systems in place, there will be continuing struggles to get the right virus match."

Scientists find a previously unknown mega-colony of penguins on Antarctic islands

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 11:13 AM PST

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If you ever find yourself hanging out on Antarctica’s Danger Islands, we hope you like penguins. There’s a lot of them there.

A previously unknown “mega-colony” of Adelie penguins have been found on the islands, which sit on Antarctica’s northern tip.

More than 1.5 million of the birds were found in 2015 during a survey of the area, according to a report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers estimate the Danger Islands hold the largest colonies of Adelie penguins in Antarctica and the third- and fourth-largest colonies in the world. Even more interesting, scientists think the penguins have flourished on the Danger Islands for decades, while other colonies of the birds have declined on other parts of the continent, especially on its western half.

So how were all those birds missed for all these years? Well, the Danger Islands are fairly remote, even by Antarctica standards. It’s locked up in sea ice most of the year, and even in summer it’s difficult to reach.

Special protection urged

But a boatload of researchers managed to get to the islands in December 2015, and they counted the penguins by manually counting individual nests and also counting nests using panoramic photos taken by drones.

Scientists are eager to study the birds, to figure out how they’ve managed to survive in such large numbers all of these years, while their numbers plummeted on other parts of Antarctica. It’s believed climate change, including “changes in sea ice extent and concentration as well as changes in air temperature and precipitation patterns and their possible effects on prey availability” are the primary culprits for the decline in Adelie penguins in western Antarctica.

The researchers want the Danger Islands to receive some kind of consideration for special protection because of the large number of penguins found there.

Billy Graham is remembered in what’s his final crusade

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 11:06 AM PST

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Billy Graham, the Protestant preacher known as “America’s pastor,” was laid to rest Friday at a funeral that seemed like a continuation of his decades of evangelistic preaching, with his eldest son, Franklin Graham, issuing an explicit call for people watching the service to convert to Christianity.

“Just a few days ago, my father followed Jesus all the way to heaven,” Franklin Graham said of his father, who died February 21. “How about you, if this were your funeral, would you be in heaven?”

The noontime service, in many ways Graham’s final crusade, was streamed live online from Charlotte, North Carolina. Franklin Graham said there was “no better place” than at his father’s funeral for viewers to convert to Christianity.

“The world with all of its political correctness would lead you to believe that many roads lead to God, but that’s just not true. Jesus is the only way,” he said.

More than 2,000 people attended the private service for Graham, who was 99 when he died last week at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. Among the guests were President Donald Trump, the first lady and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.

Graham’s sister, Jean Ford, spoke of their religious upbringing.

“We learned hard work, we learned to love the Lord, we learned to pray, we learned to love the Scriptures, and that has never left any of us,” Ford said.

Graham’s longtime pastor, Donald J. Wilton of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, spoke of Graham’s deep belief in biblical truths.

“He loved the Bible,” Wilton said. “It governed how he lived, and it governed how he died.”

After the service at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, the globe-trotting preacher and spiritual confidant to American presidents was to be buried beside his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the library’s Prayer Garden.

“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” said Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

A tribute at the US Capitol

Trump and high-profile Washington leaders praised Graham this week at the US Capitol Rotunda. The influential minister became only the fourth person to lie in honor there.

A guiding light to generations of American evangelicals, Graham is said to have converted millions to Christianity. He evangelized to nearly 215 million people over six decades and prayed alongside US presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

US leaders who relied on the spiritual counsel of the man some called the “Protestant pope” included Lyndon B. Johnson, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Converting millions to Christianity

During his life, Graham reportedly persuaded more than 3 million people to commit their lives to Christianity. His preaching reached 185 of the world’s 195 countries, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

News of Graham’s February 21 death elicited remembrances from Trump, Pence, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush and many others.

Graham is credited with bringing the gospel message of tent-revival preachers into the modern media age by employing everything from telegrams to telephones to the internet in his lifelong quest to “win souls for Christ.”

Along the way, he avoided the types of public scandals that befell other prominent preachers.

His missionary work began in 1944 at rallies for the Youth for Christ Campus Life ministry. Within a few years, he held the first of his famous tent crusades in downtown Los Angeles, where 350,000 people heard him preach over eight weeks. Those who heeded his message of salvation under the “Canvas Cathedral” included a radio disc jockey, a small-time mobster and an Olympic athlete.

Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950, launching a global ministry that even attracted followers from liberal Protestant congregations and Catholic parishes.

The preacher eventually took his crusades — a mix of hymns, preaching and patriotic fervor — to more than 80 countries, according to William Martin, a former historian at Rice University and the author of “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story.”

His “last crusade” in June 2005 in Queens, New York, drew 230,000 people.

Graham also delivered his message via a weekly Sunday radio program called “The Hour of Decision” and wrote an advice column, “My Answer.” In 1956, he founded the magazine Christianity Today, a leading evangelical publication.

Born into a farming life

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born November 7, 1918. He was raised on a dairy farm near Charlotte. He said he made a personal commitment to God in 1934 after hearing an evangelist preach.

He graduated in 1940 from the Florida Bible Institute, now Trinity College. Graham was ordained that year by a Southern Baptist church in Florida.

Graham graduated in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Wheaton College in Illinois, where he met Ruth Bell, his future wife. She was the daughter of the Southern Presbyterian missionary and surgeon L. Nelson Bell.

The couple married in 1943 and later moved to Montreat. They had five children.

“I don’t think I could have ever married anybody that would have been more helpful to my work and ministry than she has been,” he told Larry King on CNN in 2005.

Ruth died in 2007 at the couple’s home in Montreat.

“Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team,” Graham said in her obituary. “No one else could have borne the load that she carried.”

The pulpit brought him great political influence. He urged Dwight Eisenhower to run for president in 1952 and was an unofficial adviser to the former general after he was elected. He also became close friends with President Lyndon Johnson and preached at the former president’s funeral. President George W. Bush credits Graham for his transformation as a serious and committed evangelical.

But one political connection tarnished a largely scandal-free life. His association with President Richard Nixon led to embarrassment in March 2002. At the time, tapes of private conversations revealed the evangelist joining the President in making anti-Semitic remarks. Graham apologized.

While some critics have said Graham was not active enough during the civil rights movement, the preacher was credited with taking down ropes that separated blacks and whites during crusades in the early 1950s, according to historian Martin and Cliff Barrows, Graham’s longtime music and program director for the evangelistic association.

During a crusade at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1957, Graham asked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver a prayer.

After Friday’s service, Graham’s pine plywood casket — which was crafted by Louisiana prison inmates — was to be lowered into the ground next to his wife’s grave. The couple had agreed to be buried side by side.

Teacher accused of having sex with 14-year-old boy

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:57 AM PST

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A 26-year-old former middle school teacher in Florida is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Former New Smyrna Beach Middle School teacher Stephanie Peterson was arrested on Wednesday after the teen told his parents about their alleged relationship, which began in November.

Deputies say Peterson would send the 14-year-old nude pictures and often picked him up around 11 p.m. at his home to have sex and smoke marijuana. She would bring him home around 1 or 2 a.m.

Peterson, also known as Stephanie Ferri, resigned from her job on Monday.

She is charged with lewd and lascivious battery and transmission of harmful materials to a minor. Peterson is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Serial huffer caught on camera getting high in home improvement store

Posted: 02 Mar 2018 09:56 AM PST

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. - An alleged serial huffer was caught in the act by a customer at a Missouri Menard's store in January, getting high from compressed cans of air in the aisles.

The customer, who asked only to be identified as Chris, shared the video with KTVI with the hope of raising awareness. He also shared the video with law enforcement.

"He just starts spraying air and I knew immediately what he was doing," said Chris.

In the video you see the man shake as he sniffs in the inhalant. He then laughs, screams throughout the store, and later bursts into an incoherent song.

The man in the video is wearing the same jacket and black and white hoodies that he was arrested in time and time again for the same offense. St. Louis County police said they've arrested the man 17 times since the start of 2018 for huffing, but he's never been formally charged.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said there are no laws against huffing in Missouri. Thirty-seven other states have laws prohibiting inhalants, according to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition. Some of those laws prohibit the sale to a minor, others outlaw certain ingredients and violators could face fines or jail time.

The video shows the man leaving the store with an armload of canned air.

Chris said he went to the register and paid for the cans, as he huffed them at the register.

"He's still doing it in front of everyone down there and as soon as a cop walked in, he stopped and cashed out with the can of air and walked out, but I don't know what happened after that," he said.