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Washington city sues Oxycontin maker for citizens' opioid problems

March 29, 2017, 6:38 PM

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In the battle against opioids, one city blames drug makers

EVERETT, Wash. --

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After boy's controversial TSA pat-down, a look at SPD

An outraged mother gained widespread attention with a video she posted to Facebook showing her 13-year-old son getting a thorough pat-down by a Transportation Security Administration officer at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Jennifer Williamson accused the TSA of  treating her family “like dogs,” and noted that her son has sensory processing disorder (SPD).

The video shows a TSA officer  methodically patting down her son from head to toe for about two minutes. 

“We were treated with utter disrespect as if we were criminals,” Williamson said in an interview with “CBS This Morning.” 

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Jennifer Williamson posted a video to Facebook on Sunday showing a TSA agent patting down her 13-year-old son.

Jennifer Williamson

She called the pat-down her son was given “excessive.” “They went over his sensitive areas, a little more than necessary, especially given that he wasn’t wearing bulky clothing or anything like that,” Williamson said.

Her son’s condition made the ordeal even more upsetting. “My son has sensory processing disorder so the touch can be very difficult for him to handle,” Williamson said.

SPD is a neurological condition in which the brain has trouble receiving information from the senses. Symptoms can range in severity from mild to incapacitating, and they differ from person to person, but often involve hypersensitivity to sound, sight, and touch.

Elysa Marco, M.D., a pediatric cognitive and behavioral neurologist and director of the Sensory, Neurodevelopment & Autism Program (SNAP) at the University of California San Francisco, said some of her patients liken the feeling of a light touch to that of “a profoundly itchy sweater times 100.”

“Everybody’s going to feel uncomfortable when you scrape your nails down a chalkboard or when you wear that itchy wool sweater,” Marco told CBS News. “Everyone can understand that, but it’s important to realize that some people have a better ability to modulate their response to stimuli and for our patients the threshold is very low.”

Conversely, some people with SPD may under-respond to sensations and show little to no reactions even to extreme pain, heat, or cold.

A study done in 2004 estimates that at least 1 in 20 children are affected by SPD. While the condition is more commonly reported in kids, Marco says adults can have it, too.

SPD is not an official medical diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), an authoritative guidebook for doctors, but is part of the criteria for autism and is currently under study to be considered for inclusion in the next update. 

Marco says the condition is more common in children who were born prematurely , those with fetal alcohol syndrome , and kids with certain genetic conditions.

Treatments include occupational therapy that can help patients tolerate different sensations. Certain medications may also help.

In Williamson’s case, the TSA said it was complying with new policy procedures, which took effect on March 2. The Facebook video shows the officer explaining the process first, then conducting the pat-down in which the officer used the backs

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Brain tech helps paralyzed man move again

March 29, 2017, 1:27 PM

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Vitamin D and cancer risk: New study raises doubts

High doses of vitamin D supplements may not lower older women’s risk of developing cancer, a new clinical trial finds.

Many studies have hinted that vitamin D might help ward off cancer. Some, for example, have found that people with higher blood levels of the vitamin have lower rates of certain cancers, including colon and breast cancers.

In lab experiments, vitamin D has also shown activities that might slow the growth of cancer — such as promoting the death of abnormal cells.

But those types of studies cannot prove that taking vitamin D actually causes cancer risk to drop, explained Dr. JoAnn Manson, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

That, Manson said, takes clinical trials that test vitamin D against an inactive placebo.

That’s exactly what the new study did, but it found no significant benefit.

The trial involved 2,300 older women who were randomly assigned to take either high-dose vitamin D plus calcium, or placebo pills.

Over the next four years, about 4 percent of women on the supplements were diagnosed with cancer. That compared with just under 6 percent in the placebo group — a difference that was not statistically significant, the study authors said.

“This is a null study,” said Manson, who wrote an editorial published with the findings. “We can’t make any public health recommendations based on this.”

And it’s not the first such trial to come up empty, she added.

“The clinical trials to date have been disappointing,” Manson said. “Overall, we have no compelling evidence that vitamin D reduces cancer incidence.”

However, she stressed, the new trial is “by far not the final word.”

The problem is, the trials done so far have had limitations -- small study groups or fairly low vitamin D doses, for instance.

Two large-scale trials, each involving upwards of 20,000 people, are still ongoing, said Manson, who is leading one of the studies.

Those trials should offer more definitive answers in the next year or two, according to Manson.

Joan Lappe, a professor of nursing and medicine at Creighton University, in Omaha, Neb., led the latest study.

She agreed that it’s “not the definitive trial” on vitamin D and cancer.

One reason is that the study was fairly short-term, and there were few cancer cases, which limited the researchers’ ability to detect a protective effect.

Lappe added that important issues still have to be sorted out.

For one, she said, women in her study started out with relatively high vitamin D levels in their blood. On average, their levels were 33 nanograms per milliliter, which is considered well within the adequate range.

It’s possible, Lappe said, that supplements would have a greater effect on cancer risk among people with vitamin D insufficiency.

The findings are based on just over 2,300 healthy women who were 65 years old, on average, at the outset.

Half were randomly assigned to take calcium and 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day. That’s more than triple the recommended dose

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