Tag Archives: children

5 Year Old Dies Of Drug Overdose

17 Apr

Via Huffington Post:

Kimber Michelle Brown, 5-Year-Old, Dies From Cold Medicine Overdose

Medical examiners in La Plata County in southwest Colorado have ruled that Kimber Michelle Brown, a 5-year-old girl who died in February, had toxic levels of two over-the-counter medications in her system at the time of her death, the Associated Press reports.

A toxicology report on Brown found that the kindergartner had two-and-half times the maximum recommended dose of dextromethorphan — the active ingredient in Robitussin, Vicks and many other over-the-counter cold medications — in addition to high levels of the anti-allergy medicine Cetirizine.

“In my opinion, the combination of these drugs — which were the ingredients of the over-the-counter medications with which Kimber was being treated — caused her death,” La Plata County Coroner Dr. Carol Huser wrote in an autopsy reported obtained by the Durango Herald.

Brown was staying with her grandmother, 59-year-old Linda Sheets, in early February when she began exhibiting flu-like symptoms, a sheriff’s department spokesman told the Herald. Huser told the paper that on the evening before her death on Sunday, Feb. 12, the girl had been complaining of leg pain, cramps and muscle spasms that would indicate that she had toxic levels of medication in her system. Investigators are unsure whether Sheets accidentally gave her granddaughter too much medicine or if the girl ingested the substances after finding them on the counter, where they were in reach.
An investigation is ongoing.

According KWGN-TV, the death is currently being treated as an accident.

Read the Durango Herald‘s full report on Brown’s death and herobituary for more on this story.

This Is How The Zombie Apocalypse Begins…

22 Mar

Baffling Illness Strikes Africa, Turns Children Into Violent “Zombies”

by Jason Mick

World Health Organization is on high alert about new Ugandan outbreak, cause is not fully known

It’s called the “nodding disease” and it’s a baffling illness that has struck thousands of children in northern Uganda.  The illness brings on seizures, violent behavior, personality changes, and a host of other unusual symptoms.

I. Violent and Mindless: Child Victims Have no Cure, no Future

Grace Lagat, a northern Uganda native, is mother of two children — Pauline Oto and Thomas — both of whom are victims of the disease.  For their safety, when she leaves the house, she now ties them up, using fabric like handcuffs.  She recalls, “When I am going to the garden, I tie them with cloth. If I don’t tie them I come back and find that they have disappeared.”

Reportedly the children gnaw at their fabric restraints, like a rabid animals — or “zombies”of popular fiction — in an attempt  to escape.

The effort to restrain the children is not unwarranted.  In one of the most bizarre symptoms of this tragic illness, children with the disease are reportedly setting fire to buildings in their communities.  Coupled with the aimless wandering this disease provokes in victims, this is a deadly combination.  More than 200 people have been killed in fires believed to be set by the zombified children.
Nodding disease zombie child
The disease leaves child victims in an often-violent “zombiefied” state. [Image Source: CNN]
The disease is not new.  It popped up in the 1960s in Sudan.  From there it slowly spread to Libya and Tanzania.

The Uganda infections, though, are a new outbreak — a troubling sign.  The jump into a new region could be pure coincidence, or it could indicate the disease has become more virulent or found a new transmissions vector.

Africa map
Uganda is located in central Africa [Image Source: U of Tex., Modifications: Jason Mick]

Infected children typically have regular seizures, which are proceeded by a repetitive nodding of the head.  This characteristic symptom has given rise to the unofficial title for the malady.

II. World Medical Organizations Racing for a Cure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have been tracking the spread of this frightening ailment.  Dr. Joaquin Saweka says the scene in Uganda is horrific, stating, “It was quite desperate, I can tell you.  Imagine being surrounded by 26 children and 12 of them showing signs of this. The attitude was to quickly find a solution to the problem.”

Yet the WHO and CDC are not fully sure what is causing the illness, which cripples children and turns them into mindless, violence-prone zombies.  The best clue they have is that most of the cases occur in regions inhabited by “Black flies”, which carry the parasitic worm Onchocerca Volvulus.  That worm is responsible for another dangerous disease dubbed “river blindness”, the world’s second leading cause of infectious blindness.

Black Fly and worm
The illness may have something to do with Black flies (left, center) and their parasitic worm (right). [Image Source: WHO (left), Wikimedia Commons (center), Human Healths (right)]

However 7 percent of infected children live in regions not inhabited by the Black fly, so a link is speculative at best.

Children with the disease also frequently exhibit vitamin B6 deficiency, leading medical experts to believe that the disease may be nutrition related.  However, infections by microbes, parasites, fungi, or even fungi/microbes carried by a parasitic host, can all lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Dr. Scott Dowell, director of global disease detection and emergency response at CDC, says the race is on to determine the cause and a cure.  He states, “At first we cast the net wide. We ruled out three dozen potential causes and we are working on a handful of probabilities.  We know from past experience an unknown disease could end up having more global implications.”

In the current cases children as old as 19 have been found to be stricken, with the majority of the worst symptoms being spread over the 3-11 age range.

One mystery surrounding the disease is the seizures themselves.  While typically seizures are either randomly occurring or follow some singular cue/pattern, the nodding disease seems to have multiple triggers, including eating new foods, changing weather, and other changes.

Seizure often leave the children soiled with urine and drooling.  Local nurses are afraid to touch the infected.  States local nurse Elupe Petua, “I feel, because I don’t know what causes it, I don’t even know how it transmits, when I touch them I feel that I can also get the infection because I don’t know what causes it.”

III. Medication is Ineffective

Anti-epileptic medication slows the onset of symptoms, but is unable to stop the progression of the disease.  The seizures eventually leave many children unable to walk, only able to drag their bodies along the ground as flies tried to attack them.

Nodding disease
The current treatment approach of anti-epileptics has done little to halt the illness.
[Image Souce: CNN]

The government of Uganda has come under criticism for not being vocal enough in addressing the tragedy and demanding foreign aid/research expertise.  Local politicians have taken to transporting victims from affected villages by bus to city hospitals in order to force the issue into the eyes of the more affluent city-dwellers.

The issue is yet another woe for a nation in which the impoverished majority was terrorized for years by warlord Jospeph Kony’s militia, dubbed the “Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Mr. Kony is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on multiple counts of violent war crimes, including rape and murder.  These offenses are punishable by death, if he is ever brought to trial.

IV. What if the “Nodding Disease” Found a Way to Reach the U.S.?

Dr. Saweka says that for all the hand-waving by the government about using better anti-epileptics and offering more funding, he appreciates and shares in the villagers frustration.  He states, “People complain that it looks like the lives in developing countries have less value than the lives in the western countries. When you know the root cause, you address the cure. Now you are just relieving the symptoms. We don’t expect to cure anybody.”

Ugandans
Ugandans, grief stricken, feel somewhat abandoned by the government and the wealthy developed “First World”. [Image Source: CNN]

While the “First World” may not be focused on — or even aware of — the zombification that is leaving children in these African nations violent, crippled shells of their former selves — tied like dogs — it is an issue that must be addressed.  After all, viruses, bacteria, parasites thanks to the wonders of evolution can mutate and adapt to new environments and new transmission vectors.

Thus this zombie virus may seem like a foreign issue to regions like the U.S. and EU who are struggling with their own financial crisises.  But if the illness finds a way to broaden its spread, this “zombie” outbreak could cripple the globe.


The Importance of Health and Kick-Ass Mothers

16 Mar

A pretty powerful photo:

I don’t weigh 120 pounds. Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever want to. I do have an “ideal weight” goal, but it’s higher than 120 pounds. Both sides of my family produce rather curvaceous women, and I started developing secondary sex features (*cough* boobs *cough*) in the 5th grade. I’ve never been the petite or slender type, and I am perfectly okay with that. I don’t mind my current weight, nor do I care about the stretch marks on my tummy.
What I care about is my health. My cholesterol and glucose values are far more important to me than my dress size.

Health was a huge deal in my childhood. My mom was adopted and her biological family’s medical history remains unknown, so the best she and I can do is lead a healthy lifestyle. She taught me to decipher nutrition labels as soon as I could read. She showed me a bunch of little tricks, like how to compare not only calories, but serving size, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, etc.

She also taught me that:

  • Mayonnaise is Satan in culinary clothing.
  • Salads should be a part of Every. Single. Dinner.
  • There is no such thing as too many vegetables.
  • Bacon is delicious meat-candy which will make your heart absolutely hate you. And can also be microwaved. She would always microwave bacon in a 2 inch layer of paper towels to absorb the grease. It wasn’t until I was 13 did I realize that bacon could also be fried in a pan. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized that’s how most people actually cook bacon. 

However, she did forget to teach me that bacon is very useful when it comes to making meat-themed Nativity scenes, but hey, nobody’s perfect. She was probably too busy being an awesome mom.

She preached against dangerous fad diets, explaining that true weight loss is a lifestyle choice, and there is no easy way. Weight that is easily lost is easily regained. She never complained about her own weight struggles in front of me, instead pursued them with steady perseverance and patience. She never once made a negative comment about my weight, try to guilt-trip me into dieting, or do anything else that would have crippled my self esteem. The goal wasn’t to be thin or to hate your body; The goal was health, because your body deserves to be loved.
I cannot thank her enough for that.

Parents play the biggest role in their child’s health, and too often don’t fully realize it. The Mayo Clinic has a wonderful online resource with simple and effective steps for families to battle childhood obesity in a way the promotes healthy lifestyle choices and doesn’t damage self esteem. I highly recommend checking it out, it’s a quick read. Best of all, while the article is written for parents, their simple suggestions can be applied to all ages:

  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Don’t bring junk food into the house
  • Control your portion sizes
  • Save treats and high-calorie snacks for special occasions
  • Turn off the TV and computer
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Stress the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, rather than a number on the scaleFor other great resources, be sure to check out The University of Michigan Health System, the Help Cure Childhood Obesity website, or simply Google childhood obesity. Another great resource for families on a budget (and poor college students like me) is this super awesome Hamilton Health Science Eating Guide. Money should not be an issue when it comes to eating healthy, and may even save you money.Teaching your child good nutritional habits doesn’t end when they turn 18. Even though I’ve grown up and live in another city, she still gives me handy tips on eating healthy. Just recently she introduced my to a variation of peanut butter on celery sticks. She substitutes peanut butter with a Laughing Cow Lite spreadable cheese wedge. One wedge will fill 3 sticks, at only 35 calories. Genius.

    It smiles because it knows it can kill you.

Children Create Evolution Video

1 Mar

I couldn’t stop squeeeing at all the hearts! ❤ ❤ ❤