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Mother says preschool banned daughter, other students from using term ‘best friend’

A Georgetown, Massachusetts, preschool is causing controversy by banning students from using the term “best friend.”

WFTXT reported that mother Christine Hartwell said she is outraged after a teacher at Pentucket Workshop Preschool told her 4-year-old daughter she couldn’t call one of her classmates her “best friend.”

The preschool defends its stance, saying banning the term promotes inclusion in the classroom, while Hartwell said it can end up having a negative affect on her daughter.

“How do you police a 4-year-old from expressing their feelings?” Hartwell told WFXT. “It’s outrageous. It’s silly (and) it hurts.”

>> Read more trending news 

Hartwell said she first learned of the ban after her daughter Julia came home from school one day acting differently. Julia told her mother she was upset because her teacher told her she couldn't call one of her classmates her best friend.

“When I asked her what was wrong, she said she was really sad about what her teacher did that day,” Hartwell said.

Hartwell said her daughter is now hesitant to call anyone her best friend, adding that she and her husband went to the director at Pentucket Workshop to find out more about the policy. Hartwell said it’s not spelled out in the school handbook.

The preschool sent a letter to the Hartwell family in response to the issue, saying they’ve done research on the pros and cons of using the term best friend, and that they’ll continue to discourage children from using it in group settings.

“It has been our experience (which spans decades) that the use of the term ‘best friend,’ even when used in a loving way, can lead other children to feel excluded (...) which can ultimately lead to the formation of ‘cliques’ and ‘outsiders,’” the letter said in part.

Hartwell said having a best friend allow a child to feel more secure at school, and she is removing Julia from the preschool to find a new one where her daughter can still call someone her best friend.

“I want her to be able to express her thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, as children should,” said Hartwell.

The school said it has no comment on the issue.

Immunotherapy plus chemo doubles lung cancer survival, study says

Chemotherapy and radiation are common treatments for lung cancer. However, immunotherapy may be able to help double a patient’s survival, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from New York University’s Perlmutter Cancer Center recently conducted a study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, to determine which treatments were most effective for those newly diagnosed with lung cancer.

To do so, they examined 616 people with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer from 118 international sites. The participants did not have genetic changes in the EGFR or ALK genes, which have both been linked to the rapid reproduction of cells. 

>> Related: Healing process after breast cancer surgery could cause cancer to spread in mice, study says

About 400 of the subjects underwent pembrolizumab, a form of immunotherapy that helps destroy cancer cells; platinum therapy, a procedure that uses cell damaging agents; and pemetrexed, a chemotherapy drug that targets the lungs. The other 200 only received platinum therapy and pemetrexed with a saline placebo. 

After analyzing the results, they found the risk of death was reduced by 51 percent for those treated with pembrolizumab, platinum therapy and pemetrexed, compared with those who only got chemo. Furthermore, those with the combined therapy also had a 48 percent decreased chance of progression or death. 

>> Related: Groundbreaking 'cancer vaccine' set for human trials by the end of the year

Suresh Ramalingam, deputy director at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the finding is “very important” as “it moves the milestone forward.”

“This study shows that by combining the two treatments, you can maximize or even improve patient outcomes. From that standpoint, it does shift the treatment approach to lung cancer in a positive way,” said Ramalingam, who was not a part of the trial.

By using both approaches together, doctors can create a multiplying effect. During chemotherapy, cells die and leave behind protein. Immunotherapy activates the immune system, aiding its ability to kill any remaining cancer cells.

>> Related: New cancer 'vaccine' completely wipes out tumors in mice -- human trials are on way

The NYU researchers did note there are severe side effects to the combination treatment, including nausea, anemia, fatigue and an increased risk of acute kidney injury. 

However, Ramalingam believes the trial gives experts the ammunition to test the approach in many other cancers. He also said there are several ways to treat different types of the disease, and people should understand that some tumors may need to be tackled differently.

For example, he recently led a separate, large clinical trial that targeted lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation, unlike the NYU analysts. As a result of his findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the use of a lung cancer pill called Tagrisso to those with the EGFR gene.

>> Related: Pharmaceutical company touts 'breakthrough' cancer treatment

While it was initially only used for individuals whose lung cancer worsened after treatment with other EGFR therapies, Ramalingam and his team proved the medication almost doubled the survival outcome for newly diagnosed lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation. In fact, it resulted in better outcomes than chemotherapy and immunotherapy. 

“Given all these exciting advances that there are in lung cancer, patients should not settle for what’s been told,” Ramlingam recommended. “Basically get a second option or go to a major center that specializes in lung cancer to make sure they’re getting the cutting-edge treatment options that are out there.”

LA Fitness apologizes for racial profiling incident at New Jersey club

LA Fitness issued an apology after two black patrons were wrongly accused of not paying at a New Jersey club and were asked to leave, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Tshyrad Oates posted videos of the encounter, which occurred Sunday in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Facebook. Oates said he had a guest pass and his friend was a current member. Oates said in his Facebook post that a manager told them they were banned and his friend’s membership was revoked “immediately.”

Police were called to the fitness club, but no arrests were made, CNN reported.

The incident comes a week after two men were handcuffed at a Philadelphia Starbucks after the store manager called police because the men hadn't ordered anything.

LA Fitness, in a statement Thursday, said there was confusion among the employees at the club. 

>> Video of arrest of two black men at Starbucks causes outrage

"Clearly, (Oates’ workout partner) is a long-time member, with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was canceled and no one, including the member's guest, was banned from the club."

A spokeswoman for Fitness International, the parent company of LA Fitness, said the three employees involved in the incident are no longer with the company, according to The Associated Press.

>> Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia

LA Fitness said it has apologized to the current member, assuring him that "he and his guests are welcome in our clubs at all times."

"We are currently exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff," the company said.

7-year-old cat who walked 12 miles to owners who gave him away finds forever family

A 7-year-old cat given away by his family walked 12 miles back home -- only to be given away again.

WRAL.com reported that, according to an April 4 Facebook post from the SPCA of Wake County, Toby, a fluffy orange and white cat, was given to another family but found his way back to his home.

>> Read more trending news 

“When he arrived, he was met with heartbreak,” the post said. “The family he thought had loved him took him to a shelter and asked staff to euthanize him. The shelter called us at the SPCA to ask if we could take him in and help him find a new family. Of course we said YES!”

The animal shelter said it took Toby in from a county shelter at the end of February.

Toby was adopted by his new mom, Michele, on Friday the 13, SPCA of Wake County communications manager Tara Lynn said in a blog post.

“It’s funny. He’s very sweet, but he didn’t get along with his (feline) roommate,” Lynn told People Pets. “We thought he’d need to be adopted out as the only cat in a home, but his new family has two other cats and he’s fine with them. He’s just been through a lot and wasn’t settled yet.”

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

Lynn told People that she wasn’t sure if Toby, who is FIV-positive, was given up by his family because of his disease, but it didn’t seem to impact interest from potential adopters.

“It’s cool, people were interested in him despite his FIV,” Lynn said.

Toby’s life with his forever family is captured on his own Instagram page, a.cat.named.toby. The page has more than 15,000 followers and includes a post supporting the SPCA of Wake County’s annual Dog Walk, which benefits all animals in the shelter.

College students create app making it easier to track diabetes

When it comes to diabetes, the numbers are staggering -- 30 million Americans are estimated to be living with the disease, 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States and about 25 percent of those patients don’t know they have the disease.

Those numbers caught the attention of some Harvard students who came up with an easy way for people to track their blood sugar levels.

>> Read more trending news 

It’s an app called Checkmate Diabetes.

Harvard graduate student Michael Heisterkamp is part of the team developing the app and is also a diabetes patient. 

“You need to check 4-5 times a day, up to eight times a day, depending on what your doctor recommends, and that can be a bit of a grind," Heisterkamp said.

All those tests are essential for a person with diabetes because they need to make sure they’re in a safe range.

Dr. Jason Sloane, an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said ‘the biggest problem is, once complications hit, it’s very hard to reverse them.”

Harvard senior Emi Gonzales got the idea for the app when there was a guest speaker in a class.

“He had lost his leg and was about to lose his other leg," Gonzales said. "And I talked to some more people with diabetes and this just seemed like a situation that needed fixing.”

The app makes a game out of tracking blood sugar levels, creating competitions within a person’s network. 

“If you have a scoring system and someone is doing better than you, pushing you, you know you want to get to first right," Gonzales said.

Checkmate Diabetes also offers the ability to connect with other patients.

Soon, they’ll start adding prizes.

Sloan, who has consulted with the budding entrepreneurs, said gamification has been shown to work for health care.

He believes this approach can get people to pay attention to diabetes earlier. 

“It has the potential to change things dramatically,” Sloan said. “Convincing young people, from my experience, has been very difficult. Even from a personal perspective, one of the last things I wanted to pay attention to was my blood sugar.”

Dr. Sloan said earlier interventions can reduce serious complications like kidney failure, amputations, and heart disease later in life.

Checkmate Diabetes is free to download.

7 great sources of protein that aren't meat or animal products

"You're vegetarian? How do you get your protein?"

It's a question vegetarians (and vegans) are asked over and over again. While meat and other animal products are common sources of protein for much of the population, there are countless protein options for those on a plant-based diet, too.

» RELATED: These protein powders are toxic to your health, study says

Scientific evidence suggests that animal farming causes between 14.5 percent and more than 50 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

>> Read more trending news 

As concerns for animal welfare, along with environmental realities, continue to grow, many are adopting vegetarian or vegan diets. But starting off can be daunting, especially if you’re worried about maintaining strong bones and muscles.

"It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often much, protein," the Vegetarian Resource Group explains on its website.

» RELATED: 31 healthy and portable high-protein snacks

Here's a look at some of the best sources of protein that aren't from animals:

1. Lentils and beans

Not only are lentils a great source of protein, they are also rich in healthy carbohydrates and fiber. One cup of cooked lentils contains an average of 18 grams of protein. A cup of beans contains a bit less, coming in at an average of 15 grams.

2. Spinach and kale

Popeye was definitely onto something when he chowed down on spinach before saving the day. Most people already know that spinach and kale are trendy "superfoods," primarily because they’re great sources of protein. There are about 3 grams of protein per 100 grams of spinach. Kale has even more, with 4.3 grams per 100 grams.

3. Quinoa

Another popular superfood, quinoa is considered a starchy protein because it also contains carbohydrates and fiber. In just half a cup of quinoa, there are seven to nine grams of protein.

4. Nuts

From almonds to walnuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios, nuts are an ideal source of protein. They are also rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats. Nuts vary in their protein content. For instance, 21 grams of protein can be found in 100 grams of almonds. Cashews have about 18 grams of protein per 100 grams.

» RELATED: Eating nuts can improve survival rate for those with colon cancer, study says

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is another vegetable rich with protein, plus it works to detoxify your body. Per every 100 grams, there are about 2.2 grams of protein.

6. Tofu

One serving of tofu contains about 20 grams of protein. The protein in tofu is also considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all the necessary amino acids.

7. Broccoli

It may not be the most popular vegetable among children, but broccoli is high in protein, as well as fiber, antioxidants and other essential minerals. There are about 2.8 grams of protein per 100 grams of broccoli.

How to manage your spring allergies

Spring is in the air, literally. 

Over the next few days, many parts of the country may experience high pollen levels.

Dr. Castellaw with the Baptist Medical Group said, “This is probably one of the worst allergy seasons that we have seen in years.”

Castellaw said the signs are clear to see and even easier to feel.

“If the drainage from your nose and things that you're coughing start to change color and consistency, then you need to go see the doctor,” Dr. Castellaw said.

The problem comes when the signs go un-treated. Allergies can turn into much more serious issues.

Dr. Castellaw said, “And oftentimes those allergy problems lead to infections like sinus infections, bronchitis and even pneumonia.”

>> Read more trending news 

Castellaw adds if you're going to take over the counter medicine - be careful. If you have high blood pressure - check the ingredients.

The doctor suggested, “If you have heart problems, thyroid problems you have to stay away from them.”

While the allergy season may have already started, it will likely get harder to deal with before your symptoms subside.

Dr. Castellaw said, “Things are still blooming and actively going we're still seeing cases daily of people coming in who are getting sick.”

Related video:

NC restaurant offering tarantula burger

This burger has legs -- eight of them, to be exact.

>> Read more trending news

A North Carolina restaurant, celebrating Exotic Meat Month, is serving a tarantula burger, WGHP reported.

Bull City Burger and Brewery runs the exotic meat promotion every April, noting on its website that “We never met a meat we wouldn’t eat!”

The burger costs $30 and includes a beef burger, gruyere cheese, an oven-roasted tarantula and spicy chili sauce, WGHP reported.

But to bite into this burger, customers must enter a raffle. Customers must sign up for the Tarantula Challenge in the restaurant, then monitor Facebook and the restaurant’s website to see if their ticket is chosen.

If the winning participant eats the entire burger, they will receive a free T-shirt, WGHP reported.

Study: Night owls have 10 percent higher mortality risk

Being a night owl can be hazardous to your health, according to a new study.

>> Read more trending news

A study that was published Thursday in Chronobiology International revealed that people who identified themselves as “definite evening types” had a 10 percent higher risk of “all-cause mortality” than morning people, CNN reported.

The study used data from 433,268 adults in the United Kingdom over a six-year period. Night owls were more likely to have diabetes, neurological disorders, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory disorders, according to Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and a leading author of the study.

“What we think might be happening is, there's a problem for the night owl who's trying to live in the morning lark world,” Knutson said. “This mismatch between their internal clock and their external world could lead to problems for their health over the long run, especially if their schedule is irregular.

"Previous work has shown that people who are evening types -- are night owls -- tend to have worse health profiles, including things like diabetes and heart disease," Knutson added. "But this is really the first study to look at mortality.”

The researchers used data from the UK Biobank, conducted between 2006 and 2010 that probed risk factors for major diseases in men and women between the ages of 37 and 73, CNN reported.

The study showed that approximately 10,000 died during the study's 6½-year follow-up period, CNN reported. Researchers discovered that those who identified as "definite evening types" had a 10 percent increased risk of dying during the follow-up period compared with those who identified as "definite morning types."

The study also found that evening types were nearly twice as likely to report having a psychological illness than early birds, CNN reported.

Although the study did not look at the specific causes of death, research has suggested that night owls are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer such as prostate and breast cancer.

According to Knutson, a person's chronotype is probably a mixture of inherited and environmental factors.

"Whether or not you're a night owl is partly determined by your genes, which obviously you can't change, but it's not entirely a given," Knutson said. "I want to emphasize the gradual aspect. You can't suddenly tonight just go to bed three hours earlier. It's not going work.”

E.Coli outbreak in 11 states linked to chopped romaine lettuce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked store-bought chopped romaine lettuce from a growing area in Yuma, Arizona, to an E.coli outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in 11 states, the agency reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news 

Twenty-two people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.

The states impacted include: Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

The agency has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, yet, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and (often bloody) diarrhea. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.

If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you get sick.

People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.

DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.

To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
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