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Doctors reverse brain damage in nearly drowned 2-year-old girl

Doctors have reversed brain damage in an Arkansas toddler, who was pulled from a swimming pool without a pulse in February 2016, in what is being described as a first-of-its kind reversal.

>> Read more trending news

Eden Carlson, 2, was not breathing when her mother, Kristal Carlson, found her in the family’s swimming pool in 2016. Carlson said her daughter climbed through a baby gate, past a heavy door and into the pool while Kristal Carlson was showering, WDSU reported. At the time, Eden was supposed to be playing with her older siblings, the news station reported.

Family members said Eden was not breathing and had no pulse when she was found between 10 and 15 minutes after she first got into the water. Her mother immediately performed CPR, family member said, but Eden had gone into cardiac arrest and had no heartbeat for nearly two hours.

She was rushed to a hospital, where doctors were able to revive her. However, family members said her kidneys and liver weren’t working, and her blood pressure was alarmingly low. An MRI showed she had suffered a deep gray matter injury to her brain and cerebral atrophy with gray and white matter loss, according to officials at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

Doctors gave her between two and 48 hours to live, but she survived and, 48 days later, was released from the hospital. At the time of her release, according to WDSU, Eden didn’t respond to commands, couldn’t speak and constantly squirmed.

Shortly after her release, doctors with the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine started giving Eden oxygen therapy treatments in an effort to reverse the brain damage in the days before she could travel to New Orleans to undergo treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, according to Newsweek.

Dr. Paul Harch, clinical professor at Louisiana State University, started giving Eden normobaric oxygen therapy, in which patients are treated with oxygen levels that are the same as those found at sea level. For 45 minutes, twice a day, Eden underwent the treatments.

According to a case study published late last month in the journal Medical Gas Research, doctors said Eden became more alert and stopped squirming as a result of the treatment. She started to laugh and had more control over her arms and eyes. Her speech started to improve, although her vocabulary appeared to be diminished.

About 2 1/2 months after Eden nearly drowned, Harch began treating her using a hyperbaric chamber. Eden underwent the treatment for 45 minutes a day, five days a week, and showed “visually apparent” improvement of her symptoms.

After just 10 of the planned 40 hyperbaric chamber sessions, Eden’s mother told doctors that her daughter was “near normal,” according to officials with the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

Twenty-seven days after her last treatment session, doctors said she had only mild residual injuries. The brain damage seen in the immediate aftermath of her near drowning was nearly entirely reversed.

Harch said in a statement that the “startling” recovery was partially due to Eden’s age and the timing. Doctors were able to intervene “before long-term tissue degeneration,” he said.

Harch added that it was impossible to tell from Eden’s case whether the combination of normobaric and hyperbaric oxygen therapy was necessarily more effective than hyperbaric oxygen therapy on its own. Still, he said, “such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”

NASA captures stunning close-up photos of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

NASA unveiled the first close-up views of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on Thursday, taken from its Juno satellite within just 5,000 miles of the spot’s surface.

>> Read more trending news

The gas giant’s Great Red Spot, a 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone, is regarded as the solar system’s most powerful storm.

According to NASA, the Great Red Spot’s winds peak at approximately 400 mph and have been swirling for more than 150 years.

>> Related: NASA finds evidence of 10 new Earth-size planets that could have life

For comparison, the most powerful hurricanes recorded on Earth spanned more than 1,000 miles with winds up to 200 mph.

Scientists have been monitoring the huge storm since 1830 and believe it may have existed for more than 350 years.

The Great Red Spot measures 10,159 miles in width (1.3 times as wide as Earth), and according to NASA, it appears to be shrinking.

>> Related: NASA says it’s not running a child slave colony on Mars

Juno launched in 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit in 2016. So far, scientists have learned that Jupiter’s poles are completely covered in Earth-sized storms, and its magnetic field is even stronger than they initially expected.

The July 10 fly-by over the planet’s iconic Great Red Spot revealed raw, close-up photos created by citizen scientists using data from Juno’s JunoCam imager.

>> Related: 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August

“Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to analyze all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno’s eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the Great Red Spot,” Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton said in a news release.

Heartburn drugs linked to higher risk of early death, study says

People taking common heartburn and indigestion medicines may face a heightened risk of premature death, according to new observational research published Monday in the British Medical Journal Open.

A team of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) — drugs commonly taken to treat both heartburn and stomach acid — led to 25 percent higher risk of early death by any cause when compared to those using H2 blockers, common acid reducers.

>> RELATED: Differences between PPIs and H2 blockers for heartburn 

To come up with the findings, the team examined medical records of 3.5 million middle-aged Americans in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system and compared those taking PPIs and those taking H2 blockers to treat heartburn.

Researchers did not examine over-the-counter PPIs or particular brands of prescription-strength drugs. Instead, the team focused on prescription PPIs typically used at higher doses and for longer durations, CNN reported.

According to senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, for every 500 patients taking PPIs for one year, there would be one additional death that wouldn’t have occurred if the patient wasn’t using PPIs.

And with millions of people using PPIs on a daily basis to treat heartburn and stomach acid, thousands of additional deaths could result.

>> RELATED: Popular heartburn medications may increase dementia risk, study says

Al-Aly and his team also found that the longer a patient used PPIs, the higher their risk of premature death.

Though the precise biological reason for a possible link between PPIs and risk of premature death is unclear, the gene-changing effect of the drugs may contribute to the potential problem. 

Because the research is based on observational study, the team noted the findings are “far from conclusive,” meaning they do not prove cause and effect.

>> Read more trending news

But the findings “may be used to encourage and promote pharmacovigilance [monitoring the side-effects of licensed drugs],” the authors wrote, urging patients to be judicious in their use of PPIs and limit the duration of use unless there is a clear medical benefit that outweighs any potential risk.

It’s not the first time PPIs have been linked to some dangerous health trends. Previous research has also shown links between the drugs and dementia, cardiovascular disease, hip fractures and more.

Read the full study.

Teen birth rates in U.S. hit all-time low, CDC says

Over the past two decades, teen birth rates have declined by nearly 65 percent, according to new data released by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on Friday.

But last year, the teen birth rate for U.S. women ages 15-19 hit a record low after it fell nine percent since 2015.

To come up with the numbers, researchers at the NCHS obtained birth certificates for 2016. According to the study, the birth certificates represent 99.96 percent of all births in the country as of Feb. 16, 2017.

The researchers found that for every 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2016, there were 20.3 births — a 51 percent fall from 2007, when there were 41.5 births for every 1,000 women in that age group.

>> On AJC.com: Opinion: Celebrate declines in teen pregnancy

Since 1991, the rate among all teens has plummeted by two-thirds.

"Data [from previous years] really suggests it is access to contraceptives and use of contraceptives that has really led to these kind of changes," Elise Berlan, a physician specializing in adolescent medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told CNN.

Berlan said most teens are using some form of birth control: condoms, withdrawal and the pill.

Unlike teens, however, the birth rate for women between the ages 30-34 increased last year and women ages 35-39 had their highest birth rate since 1962.

>> Read more trending news

But overall, U.S. fertility rates still hit a historic low in 2016, the CDC and NCHS study found, largely due to fewer young women (teens and 20-somethings) giving birth.

And demographers are debating whether or not these declining fertility rates are leading the country toward a “national emergency,” as some demographers have described, according to the Washington Post.

But some are still optimistic, citing lower fertility rates in other developed countries that have leveled off.

And, as the Washington Post points out, “as fertility treatments have extended the age of childbearing, the birthrates among women who are age 40 to 44 are also rising.”

Read the full CDC and NCHS study.

Alaska Airlines to host eclipse-chasing flight in August

Alaska Airlines will be chasing the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in United States history since 1918.

>> Read more trending news

On August 21, a special charter flight for select astronomy enthusiasts and eclipse chasers will allow passengers to see the eclipse from more than 35,000 feet above the earth.

The flight will depart Portland at 7:30 a.m. and fly off the coast of Oregon, allowing passengers on board to be among the first of millions to witness the eclipse.

» Related: Rare total solar eclipse visible from America in 2017 

Though the flight is invitation-only, Alaska Airlines is giving one person and a guest a chance to win a seat on the flight. The contest begins July 21 on Alaska Airlines' social media channels.

While the partial eclipse will be visible from all over North America, the total eclipse will only be visible from specific locations across the United States.

» Related: These are the best places to see the incredibly rare Great American Eclipse coming this summer

The airline said flights to the prime Pacific Northwest viewing destinations of Redmond, Oregon, and Sun Valley, Idaho, during the week of the eclipse are already filling up.

NASA finds evidence of 10 new Earth-size planets that could have life

NASA unveiled its most comprehensive findings from its Kepler space telescope mission Monday, including the discovery of 219 new exoplanets, 10 of which are similar in size to Earth and could potentially have life.

The results are part of the final catalog of data released from Kepler’s first four years in space (2009-2013) and boosts the total of exoplanets in the galaxy to 4,034.

The 10 rocky, Earth-size planets orbit “in their star's habitable zone,” (the so-called “Goldilocks zone”) meaning they could potentially support liquid water, Kepler scientist Mario Perez said at a news conference Monday in Silicon Valley, California.

>> RELATED: Follow NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions 

The presence of liquid water is considered a key ingredient to the existence of life.

“Many of the new planet candidates are likely to have small rocky cores enveloped by a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, and some are thought to be ocean worlds,” NASA shared in its Tumblr blog.

The Kepler data set is the only set containing a catalog of these near Earth-sized planets with roughly the same orbit, according to Perez.

>> RELATED: Amazing NASA photos through the years 

“Are we alone? Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone,” Perez said.

Only three planets in our solar system are within the habitable zone of the sun: Mars, Venus and Earth. “I would only want to live on one of those," Kepler research scientist Susan Thompson told CNN.

Kepler’s latest findings only account for a tiny part of the galaxy (a patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation) and before it launched, scientists expected the frequency of Earth-like planets to be about 1 percent of the stars, Alan Boss, astronomer at the Carnegie Institution, told ABC News.

>> Read more trending news

But according to Kepler scientists, the number is closer to 60 percent.

As Kepler’s first mission comes to a close in 2018, scientists are calling its finality a new beginning.

“It’s amazing the things that Kepler has found,” Thompson said in a press conference. “It has shown us these terrestrial worlds, and we still have all this work to do to really understand how common Earths are in the galaxy.”

Read NASA’s full news release.

Study: Broccoli extract lowers blood sugar for type 2 diabetes patients

Here’s another reason to eat your greens.

>> Read more trending news 

A powder containing a chemical found in broccoli sprouts is capable of lowering blood sugar levels of persons with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Wednesday by Science Transitional Medicine.

The powder contains a highly concentrated dose of sulforaphane, according to study co-author Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” Rosengren told New Scientist. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 percent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.”

Rosengren and his colleagues conducted a 12-week experiment, with 97 people with type 2 diabetes taking either the sulforaphane powder or a placebo, The Scientist reported. Most of the participants continued to take metformin, a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Rosengren’s team discovered that the broccoli extract was able to reduce the participants’ blood glucose level by 10 percent compared to those who took the placebo, The Scientist reported.

“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” said Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK. She told New Scientist that “for now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”

SpaceX launches 1st recycled supply ship to International Space Station

SpaceX successfully launched its first recycled supply ship on Saturday afternoon, bound for the International Space Station.

>> Read more trending news

The historic launch marked the 100th from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket lifted off from the launch complex at 5:07 p.m. It was topped with the Dragon capsule, which was loaded with nearly 6,000 pounds of scientific research and station supplies. It will rendezvous Monday with the ISS, according to NASA.

It is the second time the Dragon has been sent to NASA’s orbiting outpost. The Associated Press reported that the capsule was sent in 2014 to supply the ISS. It was refurbished afterward for an unprecedented second trip.

“SpaceX hopes to slash launch costs by reusing its rockets and capsules,” according to the AP. “For now, savings are minimal because of all the inspections and tests performed on the already flown parts.”

Dragon will stay connected to the ISS until early July to allow astronauts time to unpack the spacecraft and refill it with completed experiments and hardware no longer necessary onboard, according to NASA.

The Falcon was first expected to liftoff Thursday, but the date was pushed back due to severe weather.

Large iceberg close to splitting from Antarctic shelf

Scientists said a crack in an Antarctic ice shelf soon will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

In the last six days, the break in the Larsen C Ice Shelf has grown by 10.5 miles and is now 8 miles from the edge of the ice, Reuters reported.

“The rift tip appears to have turned significantly toward the ice front, indicating that the time of calving (breaking away) is probably very close," Adrian Luckman, lead researcher in UK-based research team Project MIDAS, said in a statement.

“I would expect it to occur quite rapidly, within days or weeks," Dan McGrath, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who has studied the ice sheet extensively, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The 1,930-square mile chunk of ice is part of the fourth largest shelf in Antarctica. When it breaks off, it will shrink the land mass of Larsen C by 10 percent, Reuters reported.

“If Larsen C were to collapse, it would be concerning for its own reasons, but the contribution to global sea level rise would be very small, something in the centimeters," McGrath told Reuters.

Must-see: 'Faceless fish' found for first time in more than a century

The so-called “faceless fish” was last seen less than a decade after the end of the Civil War, in 1873. The animal was finally brought to the surface again earlier this month when an Australian research vessel discovered one lurking nearly three miles deep.

>> See the fish here

Dr. Tim O’Hara, the chief scientist on the Australian ship, told The Guardian on Wednesday that “the little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can’t see any eyes, you can’t see any nose or gills or mouth. ... It looks like two rear-ends on a fish.”

>> Watch a video about the 'faceless fish'

>> Read more trending news

Their expedition has proven to break miles of scientific ground. The 27 scientists aboard estimate that “about a third” of the specimens that they bring aboard are “completely new to science.” But it wasn’t all good news, the crew claims that they’ve found “hundreds of years of debris” on the ocean floor, only months after a scientific voyage reported surprising levels of pollution in the Mariana Trench.

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