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  • The Baby Box Company(NEW YORK) -- Alabama will give families of all newborns in the state free baby boxes in which to slumber if they take a quiz on sleep safety. The initiative, to start Wednesday, follows New Jersey and Ohio's campaigns for infant sleep safety with the Baby Box Co.For Alabama, however, the goal is for the state to combat its higher than usual infant mortality rate, where 8.3 infants die every year out of 1,000 births, compared with the national average of 5.8 infant deaths to 1,000 births, according to officials."Alabama is sort of in a crisis situation," Jennifer Clary, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Baby Box Co., told ABC News while comparing the state's infant mortality rate to the other two states that have already started using the company’s resources.About 3,500 infants die every year in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.“If every mother in the state of Alabama used the baby box, it could cut the infant immortality rate by 22 percent,” Suzanne Booth, executive assistant for the Alabama Rural Development Office, told ABC News.The top three causes of infant deaths in Alabama are malformations at birth, disorders from short pregnancies like low birth weights in premature babies and SIDS, according to Alabama Department of Public Health.Alabama has set up the resources where parents can watch online videos about SIDS and safe sleep for their newborns through Baby Box University, and take a quiz to qualify for the free box. The families can pick up the boxes at a distribution center or have them mailed to their home address.The baby box is portable, secure and comes with a firm foam mattress and tight-fitting sheet for safe sleeping. The boxes, which retail for about $70 to $225, also include breast-feeding accessories, onesie, diapers and wipes.“It feels to me sometimes that I’m doing more for these families by giving them the education, and giving them the box, than by actually being their midwife during labor,” Celina Cunanan, director of the division of nurse-midwifery for University Hospitals/Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News.Infant mortality rates among black infants were also three times higher than white infants in Alabama, even though there are nearly double the number of white infant births in 2015, according to the state.Here are some tips the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to create a safe sleep environment for an infant:
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  • Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With drug overdoses causing tens of thousands of deaths every year in the U.S., physicians are calling for the crisis to be treated like a medical emergency.On Monday, the American College of Physicians (ACP) published a position paper arguing that action needs to be taken by the medical community and others to stem the crisis, especially in light of the massive growth of the opioid epidemic."Twenty-two million people need treatment and a large percentage of people aren't getting treatment," Dr. Nitin S. Damle, president of the American College of Physicians, told ABC News, citing national statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). "We want to focus the spotlight on that."In the paper, the ACP is making a host of new recommendations on the basis that substance abuse should be considered a chronic disease that needs ongoing treatment, not a "moral disorder or character defect."Damle said compared to other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes, where 75 percent of people get treatment, just 18 percent of people with substance abuse disorders get treatment, according to CDC statistics.The ACP paper emphasizes shifting the focus to treatment, rather than punishment, for drug addiction, including opioids. They said they would like to see tighter controls for opioid prescriptions, more training in the medical community to deal with substance abuse and more options for patients to receive mental health treatment.In addition, the ACP advocates for policies that give non-violent drug offenders the option to receive treatment and reduced prison sentences for possession."We need to have more treatment programs and we need to have more funding in this area," Damle explained. "It's a heavy societal burden it really endangers families and not just individuals."Physicians can make a huge difference in combating the substance abuse epidemic by limiting the amount of opioids they prescribe, Damle added. Checking databases to ensure patients aren't getting opioid drugs from other doctors and taking additional courses on substance abuse to better treat disorders can also help, he said.Opioid abuse remains a deadly crisis in the U.S. An estimated 91 people fatally overdose on opioids every day, according to the CDC, and approximately 52,000 died from drug overdoses in 2015.Dr. Caleb Alexander, Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, said the paper is "welcome news" given how little help there is for people suffering from substance abuse disorders."There is a huge gap between the need for these services and their delivery," Alexander said. "Millions of Americans need treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem yet don’t receive.""This is all the more shocking because it’s a good investment," he continued. "For every dollar invested in drug prevention and treatment, we save money as a society –- we can either pay for it now, or pay for it later."Alexander said the fact that the paper emphasizes treatment for substance addiction rather than incarceration is important."When it comes to opioids, we should be talking about addiction, not abuse," he said. "Addiction is a disease, abuse is a behavior."
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — A trio of runners were caught on camera coming to the aid of a fatigued runner whose legs appeared to buckle within sight of the finish line of a half-marathon in Philadelphia on Sunday.Video shows the unnamed female runner struggling to hold herself up as she nears the end of the Philadelphia Love Run Half-Marathon.A fellow runner in a long-sleeved green shirt running on the woman’s right stops and grabs her arm while another male runner on the woman’s left stops and grabs her left arm.The two men and the woman, who all appear to be strangers, then jog together towards the finish line at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.With dozens of runners passing them by, the two men continue to help the female runner as she becomes more and more unstable and nearly unable to run.Just steps from the finish line, the woman almost collapses. At that point, a third runner, wearing the same long-sleeved green shirt as one of the first two runners who stopped, halts his finish line sprint and circles back to the female runner.The third runner then picks the woman up and carries her to the finish line, putting her down just inches from the line so she can finish the race on her own two feet.The clock above the finish line shows the four runners all finished the race in just over two hours.Ten-thousand runners completed the race on Sunday, Philadelphia Love Run Half-Marathon race director Michele Redrow told ABC News. Race officials have identified the female runner but have not yet released her name.
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  • Phil McCarten/CBS(HOUSTON) -- Ebony Banks, the Houston teen battling a rare form of cancer, has died -- just days after her wish to speak to her idol Beyonce was fulfilled.A spokesman for Alief Independent School District, where Banks was a student, confirmed that she passed away early Sunday morning."I understand she had a smile on her face till the very end," spokesman Craig Eichhorn told ABC News.Hours later, the students at Alief Hastings High School, from which Banks had recently graduated and where she was a member of the color guard for four years, organized a candlelight vigil in the band practice lot.Members of the color guard held their candles up in the air and swayed along to the song "Halo" by Beyonce.They were the same folks who had organized a social media campaign more than a week ago to get Beyonce to meet Banks, using the teen's nickname Ebob and the hashtag #EbobMeetsBeyonce.After Beyonce made the FaceTime call to Banks last Wednesday, friends and fans took to Twitter to celebrate and post pictures of the big moment.In the clip, Banks tells Beyonce that she loves her, and the singer replies, "I love you."
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  • The Lambert Family(RICHMOND, Va.) -- A Virginia fire department is coming together in support of a fellow fireman's toddler, who is fighting cancer.
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  • ABC NewsBy PAIGE MORE"Good Morning America" booker and segment producer Paige More shares her personal experience of under going a double mastectomy in her early 20s after she tested positive for a BRCA1 genetic mutation, which greatly increases your risk of developing breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Foundation.I have always been fearless. I grew up snowboarding, surfing, and cliff diving in southern California. New adventures excite me and nothing stresses me out. I have always believed that no matter what happens in my life, I can handle it.That all changed when I was 22 years old and tested positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation. I had just started working as a booker for Good Morning America, when my mom urged me to take the test. I didn't think much of it as I was busy trying to prove myself at my new dream job. I figured if it would make my mom happy, then I would take the test. I found out a few weeks later that I had tested positive when my doctor called me with my mom on the line. They both told me they were sorry. I still didn't really understand.It wasn't until a few months later when my mom came to visit me in the city that the gravity of the mutation set in. It is so important to make sure you are ready for the results before you get tested. We didn't understand how much this was going to impact my life. It is so important to be prepared for the results. I was told that I essentially had two options. I could begin intensive surveillance programs, which meant endless visits to the doctor's office for mammograms, MRIs and blood work. That felt like waiting around to get cancer. My other option was to have a preventative double mastectomy. I left my oncologist's office feeling overwhelmed and scared of my future for the first time in my life.I spent the next few months talking with my close friends and family. Everyone was incredibly supportive. But no one told me what to do. I really wanted some guidance either way. Should I have the surgery or should I wait until I was older? What if cancer struck while I was waiting? What was I waiting for?I was never a worrier or an anxious person and I worried about getting cancer every single day. Every time I tried on a new top, took a shower, or looked in the mirror I thought, "I am going to get breast cancer." It was so overwhelming I realized I couldn't live in constant fear anymore.Fortunately, I was in a great place in my life and I felt like I was ready to have a preventative double mastectomy. My friends, family, and boyfriend were incredibly supportive. I had a stable and steady job. I was healthy and fit. I knew I didn't want to worry and I knew that I would most likely have to do this someday anyway. I was ready now. I wanted to do everything in my power to be a "Previvor," not a survivor.A previvor is someone who is a survivor of a predisposition to cancer but who hasn't had the disease. This group includes people who carry a hereditary mutation, a family history of cancer, or some other predisposing factor.In October, we set my surgery date for January 3. I had 90 days to really prepare. I asked my doctors if I should do anything to better prep myself for surgery. They said no. I didn't listen. I joined the gym across from my office and started working out regularly. I ate as healthfully as I could. I made sure I was in the best shape of my life for January 3.Walking into surgery was one of the strangest experiences in my life. I wanted to turn and run away, but I knew I had to face this head on, like I do with everything else in my life. After a few hours my doctors came out to tell my parents that the surgery had gone incredibly well, in part because my muscles were so strong and I was so healthy. I am so thankful I chose to be proactive and make sure my body was as strong as possible before my surgery. It gave me something other than the surgery to focus on and gave me a sense of power that I had control back over my body. Having a strong core a
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